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Key Programme Information

  • Degree BSc (Hons) Global Sustainable Development
  • Language English
  • Awarding Body University of Plymouth
  • Start January, May or September Next start date is 9th September 2024
  • Cost £8,700
  • Duration 24 months
  • Apply now

Welcome Aboard

A welcome to your course from Alex Mejia, Director, Division for People and Social Inclusion Head, United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR).

UNITAR provides innovative learning solutions to individuals, organizations and institutions to enhance global decision-making and support country-level action for shaping a better future.

Course Description

Introducing you to the concepts and thinking behind the idea of sustainability, the BSc (Hons) Global Sustainable Development programme starts by exploring key thinkers and issues in engaging the global community with the notion of sustainable development. At the same time, we introduce you to important ways to investigate, interrogate and analyse new research in sustainable development, and familiarise you with the expectations of higher education.

We then focus upon the connections between the classic ‘three pillars’ of sustainability; society, economy and the environment. It is these connections that present the greatest challenges and opportunities to forge a sustainable world.

The course aims to:

  • Provide a sound and critical understanding of sustainable development, particularly with reference to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • Show how sustainability is conceived and practiced differently across the globe.
  • Provide key theoretical and practical knowledge of a range of subjects that are important considerations within the SDGs.
  • Enable students to understand the role of individuals, communities, and institutions in delivering sustainable development.
  • Foster debate and enable students to express reasoned, evidence-based arguments.

This distance learning programme has been jointly developed and implemented with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). On successful completion of the programme and in addition to a degree certificate, graduates will be awarded a UNITAR certificate of completion.

Programme Modules

Click on a module for more information.

Application Information

  • A copy of your CV
  • A suitable English language certificate, for example an IELTS. A full list of certificates accepted can be found here. (For International students only)
  • Copies of academic certificates and/or transcripts
  • A copy of your passport (photo page only)
  • A 200-300 word personal statement explaining your motivation for wanting to join this programme. You may find our Guidance document helpful.

Entry Requirements

The BSc Global Sustainable Development (Top Up) programme is designed to meet the needs of students who may have no formal higher education experience or have yet to gain a degree elsewhere. This Programme is your stepping stone to a career in GSD, either as a newcomer to the field but with study experience in a different area, with work experience in sustainability but with no formal higher education qualification, or a mixture of the two.

Our admissions process will assess your readiness to study and promote you into the final year of a traditional degree programme (hence the name ‘Top Up’).

Applicants must meet one of the below criteria:

  • A Foundation Degree, or equivalent, in a related subject area


  • Relevant work or life experience in a relevant subject area


Applications for this programme can be made up of the following:

  • Qualifications from a recognised education provider, or professional bodies.
  • Prior work experience relevant to the programme.
  • A mix of both qualifications and relevant work experience.

As part of the evaluation of your application you may be asked to provide further information about your work experience by completing a Mapping Matrix. 

Further information about the Admissions Process and Mapping Matrix read our Admissions Statement here.

Suggested Pre-Reading List

Lewis, S. and Maslin, M. 2018. The Human Planet: How we created the Anthropocene. Pelican: London

Cottrell, S. 2019. The Study Skills Handbook. Bloomsbury: London

MLA College and the University of Plymouth use Harvard style referencing and it is advisable to pre-study on the importance of referencing on all academic coursework and how to do it, which is available here.

University Degrees validated by the University of Plymouth


Graduate testimonials

Start quotation.

The handbook is clear and sets out what is required.

BSc Sustainable Maritime Operations Student
End quotation.
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