Climate Futures: Science, Society and Politics MSc

Year of entry

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Start date
September 2024
Delivery type
On campus
12 months full time
Entry requirements
A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) in any subject.
Full entry requirements
English language requirements
IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component
UK fees
£13,250 (Total)
International fees
£28,750 (Total)

Course overview

SEE students talking in Sustainable Garden

Climate change has become one of the most defining crises of our time, affecting every corner of the world. From extreme weather to food and water insecurity, the future of our planet relies on qualified specialists to deliver solutions to help combat these problems.

Our Climate Futures Masters will provide you with a holistic understanding of the climate crisis, delivering the scientific, social and political approaches you’ll need to respond creatively and effectively to the unprecedented, complex and dynamic challenges of a changing climate.

The transdisciplinary design of this course means you’ll be engaging with multiple perspectives from world-leading climate experts across the University— giving you a comprehensive and extensive skill set that’ll enable you to challenge failed strategies and provide innovative solutions going forward. You’ll be taught by academics and researchers who are dedicated to providing climate solutions and are directly engaged in a wide variety of groundbreaking research surrounding the climate crisis, meaning you’ll be at the helm of innovations as they happen.

Here at Leeds, we also offer a uniquely active, immersive learning experience with the chance to put theory into practice and get involved in exciting, climate-based projects across the campus, city and beyond.

This means that, once you graduate, you’ll be equipped with the in-depth knowledge, skills and practical experience that’ll empower you to contribute towards meaningful climate action and pursue a challenging yet rewarding career that contributes to sustainable paths for our future.

Want to know more? Watch this video to gain more of an insight into this course and why it could be for you.

Why study at Leeds:

  • Graduate with a transdisciplinary MSc that covers the scientific, social and political areas of climate from a university which is actively taking action on climate change.
  • Learn the latest insights in diverse aspects of climate change and sustainability from the research conducted across the several world-leading institutes right here on campus, which feeds directly into the course.
  • Advance your knowledge and skills in critical areas such as the societal challenges connected to climate change, the natural science describing climatic change, the history of climatology and social and political dimensions of climate as a problem.
  • Tailor your degree to suit your career aspirations and interests with a selection of topical yet diverse optional modules, giving you the flexibility to shape the course to your preferences.
  • Develop your individual and team skills in real-world challenge-based activities that give you the chance to pursue your specific interests and grow your professional network through engagement with our private and public sector contacts.
  • Discover cutting-edge science, the latest perspectives and innovative solutions from leading climate researchers, professionals (e.g. policy makers/advisors, activists, organisations) and impacted communities in talks and seminars across campus.
  • Take your own action against climate change throughout the course and get hands-on in exciting and transformational projects including our Living Labs, new woodlands and rewilding initiatives, the Sustainability Service, Atmosphere and Critical Zone Observatory, Geosolutions, the centre for Advanced Research Computing and the Leeds Climate Commission.
  • Experience expert theoretical and practical teaching, delivered by a programme team who are actively working to tackle the planet’s most pressing environmental challenges.

Join our online taster courses

Our five-part series of courses will show you how environmental management policies are developed and help you understand the challenges surrounding their formulation.

View this video on Bilibili.

Course details

This course will equip you with the transdisciplinary knowledge and tools to become facilitators of innovative climate action. The course breaks new ground in the race to understand, mitigate and adapt to twenty-first century climate change.

Through our programme of active learning, you’ll engage with multiple perspectives from world-leading climate experts across campus, directly tapping into the unique depth and breadth of climate research at the University of Leeds. You'll acquire a trailblazing ability to see and tackle climate-posed problems from multiple angles, becoming a holistic, strategic thinker, uniquely equipped to facilitate transformative action. No pre-requisite knowledge is required for this course.

Semester 1

Semester 1 provides an interdisciplinary landing platform for you to begin your journey into the complexities and challenges of climate change as a whole. Diversity in students’ experiences and knowledges will be celebrated, adding breadth to your existing knowledge and skill base, while building onto your current expertise.

Teaching in this semester will equip you with the core conceptual, empirical and analytical skills in social, political and natural science disciplines required to undertake subsequent specialist modules. This will include a residential field course that will immerse you in practical climate-based solutions, building strong relationships with your peers and instructors and practicing core transdisciplinary knowledge and skills. The rest of the semester will be devoted to following up this knowledge with drop-in skills workshops and two compulsory 30-credit modules.

Semester 2

The second semester is geared around problem-based learning, provoking you to start creating your own innovative approaches to challenges posed by climate change. You'll select two modules from a choice of 30-credit electives based on the outcomes you want to achieve and roles you want to play in addressing climate change. These modules will build on the interdisciplinary foundation already established to directly address transdisciplinary themes from the public, private or third sectors, and achieve deeper specialisation within chosen topics.

Semester 3

In semester 3, the capstone project equips you to actively address a climate challenge with mentorship from an interdisciplinary team. The module is designed to guide you through building a track record in identifying and enacting positive solutions in a team, while developing and showcasing your unique individual strengths and professional skills.


Students setting up field equipment on a sunny day in Pembrokeshire

Residential fieldwork in the UK will immerse you in multi-disciplinary methods, language and cultures. Embedded in the physical, social and political sciences, the course will foster effective communication and collaboration between individuals, maximising different strengths and backgrounds.

You'll undertake observational and experimental activities to characterise environmental conditions and will conduct social science research into interventions for acting on climate change, including related policy and planning processes, and public acceptance issues.

Additional fieldwork will continue the programme of experiential learning. This will give you further opportunities to specialise in using industry-grade equipment and cutting-edge approaches to understanding and communicating climate change as a natural and social challenge, for example in conjunction with the University of Leeds farm and woodlands, renewable energy and transport infrastructure projects, and various conservation/re-wilding projects.

Course structure

The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.

For more information and a full list of typical modules available on this course, please read Climate Futures: Science, Society and Politics MSc in the course catalogue

Year 1 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Physical climate change, impacts and mitigation 30
Social and Political Dimensions of the Climate Challenge 30
Engaging with Climate Change: Capstone Project 60

Year 1 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
Climate and Development 30
Climate Justice 30
Climate Security 30
Climate Risk 30

Learning and teaching

The programme will adopt a blended approach to learning, developing digital offerings alongside immersive face-to-face teaching.

You'll be provided with the basis material you’ll need to give you the core level of knowledge and understanding needed for the course, no matter what your background, followed up with digital materials to assess your own level of learning.

Traditional lecture-style content will be delivered digitally (e.g., as screencasts) and through the reinforcement of clearly structured core preparatory reading that maps onto the online and face-to-face activities directly. Your time with teaching staff will be spent in face-to-face group sessions, including research skills & Continuing Professional Development (CPD) tutorials, challenge-based workshops (e.g. seminars, debates, hackathons, discussions), practical work (e.g. fieldwork and computer-based sessions) and oral/poster presentations.

Recognising the diversity in student backgrounds, learning will be supported with additional academic skills training and employability-related training.

Active research environment

Learn from and work with the experts. The University of Leeds is home to several world-leading research institutes on climate change and sustainability, working to tackle the planet’s most pressing environmental challenges. Throughout your degree you'll be taught by leaders in their fields and will be directly engaged with their cutting-edge research.

Academics and researchers teaching on this course are based in or working with:

  • Priestley International Centre for Climate Change, a world-leading centre for policy-relevant, solution-driven climate research advising the vast majority of UK Government departments, large corporations, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, UN climate negotiations (UNFCCC COPs), including Action for Climate Empowerment, i.e. on climate change education, training and public participation.
  • Place-based Climate Action Network, working to deliver climate policies on a global to local scale and the Centre for Global Development which addresses the transformation of human societies in response to critical global challenges such as poverty, inequality and climate change.
  • Transformational projects on climate and environmental action, such as Living Labs, Sustainability Service and Geosolutions.
  • United Bank of Carbon and the White Rose Forest who are protecting, planting and restoring trees and forests both in the UK and across the world.
  • Climate Commissions for Leeds and Yorkshire and Humber, which bring together public, private and third sector stakeholders to facilitate ambitious steps towards a low carbon, climate-resilient future.
  • Centre for Global Security Challenges, which fosters interdisciplinary links across the university around the theme of security as it relates to issues including climate change, global health and political violence.
  • National Centre for Atmospheric Science, based in Leeds and one of only six research centres funded by the Natural Environment Research Council, providing its core research into atmospheric science.
  • Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science, which is the UK’s most diverse academic institute for atmospheric research, and the UK Met Office, who provide concrete meteorological information for making short and long-term decisions on environmental resilience.

Specialist facilities and resources

As a university, we are heavily involved in sustainability and tackling climate change, which means we have a range of specialist facilities and industry-grade equipment, much of which is used to inform our research.

Through our programme of immersive teaching, you’ll engage with our observational and experimental facilities; such as farms, woodlands, rewilding projects, renewable energy projects, remote and in-situ instrumentation operated in conjunction with the National Centre for Atmospheric Science and our outdoor centre situated in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. You’ll also have access to the Atmosphere and Critical Zone Observatory, laboratories and high-performance computation too.

Programme team

Your programme leadership team are Dr Ruza Ivanovic, Dr Susi Lorenz and Prof Olaf Corry, who each represent one of the core themes of climate science, social studies and politics, overseeing their integration across the whole course and delivering teaching in their areas of subject specialism.

The wider course delivery team is made up of specialists from a variety of different climate disciplines. There’s also a close-knit team of researchers, lecturers and support staff delivering teaching in their respective areas of expertise. Climate practitioners outside of academia may also contribute, bringing their industry experience to teaching.

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.


You’ll be assessed using a broad range of methods that will not only test your knowledge but will give you first-hand experience in producing and completing ‘real-world’ tasks.

Each assessment has been carefully designed to provide you with diverse opportunities to develop and demonstrate key transferrable skills that will prepare you for your career, whilst gaining deeper insights into the topics being discussed in each module.


Entry requirements

A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) in any subject.

We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. For more information, please contact the Admissions Team.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English

International students who do not meet the English language requirements for this programme may be able to study our postgraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.

This pre-sessional course is designed with a progression route to your degree programme and you’ll learn academic English in the context of your subject area. To find out more, read Language for Science (6 weeks) and Language for Science: General Science (10 weeks)

We also offer online pre-sessionals alongside our on-campus pre-sessionals. Find out more about our six week online pre-sessional.

You can also study pre-sessionals for longer periods – read about our postgraduate pre-sessional English courses.

How to apply

Application deadlines

Applicants are encouraged to apply as early as possible.

31 July 2024 – International applicants

8 September 2024 – UK applicants

Click below to access the University’s online application system and find out more about the application process.

If you're still unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy

University of Leeds Admissions Policy 2025

This course is taught by

School of Earth and Environment
School of Politics and International Studies
School of Geography

Contact us

School of Earth and Environment Postgraduate Admissions Team



UK: £13,250 (Total)

International: £28,750 (Total)

Read more about paying fees and charges.

For fees information for international taught postgraduate students, read Masters fees.

Additional cost information

Travel, accommodation and subsistence costs associated with compulsory field trips are covered by the university.

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more on our living costs and budgeting page.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There may be help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government.  Find out more at Masters funding overview.

Career opportunities

The climate crisis has become one of the greatest challenges of our time. It’s a multidimensional problem that needs to be treated as such to reach holistic solutions for the future.

Because this MSc takes a transdisciplinary approach, you’ll have the broad knowledge base surrounding the three critical areas needed to tackle climate change: climate science, social studies and political systems/theories. You’ll also be equipped with lifelong skills for collaborative problem solving and teamwork. The sheer scope of skills and understanding you’ll learn could give you the edge when you graduate and open a lot of doors in terms of career opportunities in industry.

From research to media communications, governmental institutions to NGOs, your specialist yet transferable skill set means you won’t be limited to just one career path choice – with the potential to make a real difference to the future of the world.

University of Leeds students are among the top 5 most targeted by top employers according to The Graduate Market 2024, High Fliers Research, meaning our graduates are highly sought after by some of the most reputable companies in the field.

Here's some examples of the job roles that could be available to you when you graduate:

  • Climate Science Advisors
  • Policy Officers
  • Civil Service Social Researchers and Analysts
  • Stakeholder and Community Engagement Officers
  • Corporate Social Responsibility Officers
  • Communications Officers/Managers
  • Environmental Campaigners
  • Educators and teachers
  • Partnership Managers
  • Supply Chain Managers
  • Risk Managers
  • Project and Programme Managers

Careers support

At Leeds, we help you to prepare for your future from day one — that’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers. The University's Careers Service is one of the largest in the country, providing a wide range of resources to ensure you are prepared to take your next steps after graduation and get you where you want to be.

  • Dedicated Employability Officer — gain quality advice, guidance and information to help you choose a career path. From CV and cover letter writing to supporting you with job applications, our School’s dedicated Employability Officer is on hand to help maximise your capabilities through a process of personal development and career planning.
  • Employability and networking events — we run a full range of events, including careers fairs and industry talks in specialist areas and across broader industries, with employers who are actively recruiting for roles, giving you the opportunity to network and engage with industry sponsors. 
  • Employability skills training – to support your transition to the workplace, we embed training in a range of key transferable skills valued by employers such as research and data analysis in all our programmes.
  • MyCareer system — on your course and after you graduate you’ll have access to a dedicated careers portal where you can book appointments with our team, get information on careers and see job vacancies and upcoming events.
  • Opportunities at Leeds — there are plenty of exciting opportunities offered by our Leeds University Union, including volunteering and over 300 clubs and societies to get involved in.

Find out more at the Careers website.