Geographies of Sustainable Development, Master's, 2 years

Geographies of Sustainable Development addresses the effects of changing social and political geographies and natural environment in a global perspective.
  • TuitionFor non eu/eea citizens
  • Years2 Years
  • Intake8
  • Grade requirementsMinimum C
  • LanguageEnglish
  • ECTS120
  • StartAutumn

Main content

Our planet is facing increasing climate changes and inequities, urgently requiring that environmental, social and economic sustainability challenges are addressed through a knowledge-based focus. The Master’s Programme in Geographies of Sustainable Development gives you the framework, theories and practices to work out research-based ways to solve some of the most important issues today. Research questions like:

  • How can Himalayan farmers adapt to climate change? 
  • How should African fisheries be governed to ensure that the poor can afford to eat nutritious fish? 
  • Are Latin American cities prepared for the transition to greener forms of energy and increasing emphasis on environmental responsibility?  

This study programme will introduce you to the current scientific discourse on human-nature relations and development. You will learn about theoretical approaches to important current issues and be trained in practical methods for researching and evaluating factors affecting the environment and people’s livelihoods. 

During the programme, you will develop your skills in critical thinking, analysis, and academic writing. You are integrated in the activities and courses of the larger group of geography master students.

You will also have the opportunity to conduct fieldwork abroad or in Norway, and use that as the basis for your master’s thesis. 

More information below

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Our graduates have highly applicable knowledge and skills for today’s society, as we face a range of global issues such as migration, climate change and sustainability.  

Typical jobs that our graduates go on to do are in  

  • planning
  • regional development 
  • environmental management  

These can be in public or private sector organisations or in NGOs, both in Norway and abroad. Many of our graduates continue in academic research by pursuing a PhD, while others work in the education sector. 

More information below

Student life

As a Master’s student, you are an important part of everyday life in the department, and will enjoy an informal relationship with other postgraduate students and academic staff. You are very welcome to take part in academic seminars.  

Our staff and students are from all over the world, and we have hosted international programmes for almost 20 years.  

Most lectures and seminars are in the department seminar room at the Department of Geography, which is on the main city campus in Bergen. As a master’s student, you can also use our computer labs with specialised software for statistics and analysis.  


You will typically be expected to attend 2-4 lectures a week, and to follow these up with reading to broaden your understanding of the issues discussed.  


In your seminar group, you will discuss current issues in enviromental and human geography, and improve your discussion and presentation skills.  

Written assignments 

You will complete online learning courses and regular written assignments, which will improve your writing and analytical skills.  


Fieldwork usually lasts 1-3 months.  It can be carried out in rural and urban areas in countries in the Global South such as Ghana, Uganda, Nepal or Brazil, or in countries in the Global North, including Norway, with a globally oriented sustainability focus. Fieldwork is normally conducted between May and September, depending on your topic and destination. Examples of types of fieldwork: Household surveys, participation in farming activities, interviews with key informants, land use mapping, studying marketplaces, fishing ports, schools, clinics, slums, organisations, etc 

Master’s thesis 

In this master’s programme, students start defining their research topic from day 1. Already at the end of your first semester, you will have chosen a topic in close cooperation with your supervisor. We do our best to find a good balance between a thesis topic that reflects your own research interests and one that can be integrated into an existing research project.  

We find that starting the thesis work early is a success factor for the students’ progress and deeper understanding of the theoretical frameworks that are taught in the first year.  

You will have a chance to put into practice everything you have learned about theory, methods, analysis, and academic writing. Your second year will be spent analysing your findings and finishing the thesis, all with support and guidance from your supervisor. 

Read more about our Master’s students and their projects 


The programme covers two academic years (four semesters), and starts in the autumn.  

First semester

  • GEO308 Theory of Science and Research Design for Geographers (10 ECTS)
  • GEO310 Writing Course and Project Description (10 ECTS)
  • GEO330 Theories of Sustainable Land Use (10 ECTS)
  • Milestone 1: Presentation of project description in Desember

Second semester

  • GEO306 Methods in Human Geography (10 ECTS)
  • GEO337 Discourses, Politics and People: Critical Perspectives on Environmental Governance (10 ECTS)
  • Milestone 2: Presentation of theory, research design and fieldwork plans in April/May

Choose one of the following courses:

  • GEO316 Practical Skills in Remote Sensing and Spatial analysis (10 ECTS)
  • GEO317 Special Topics in Geography (10 ECTS)
  • GEO324 Geographies of the Green Economy (10 ECTS)

Third and fourth semester

  • GEO350 Master's Thesis in Geography (60 ECTS)
  • Milestone 3: Poster presentation of data, mail findings and methodology in October

See full list of courses

What you will learn

You will learn about current topics such as: 

  • Globalisation and development
  • Food security
  • Human and political ecology 
  • Environmental discourses and institutions in developing countries 

Through various forms of field work you will learn how to delimit, plan and carry out collection of empirical data

You will learn how to write a research report within given time and resource limits, apply geographical terminology and good academic writing, with exact, updated and systematic use of references, with due credit to secondary sources. 

Full list of learning outcomes 

Admission Requirements

In order to apply for the Master's Programme in Geographies of Sustainable Development you need a bachelor's degree of 3-4 years' duration, or an equivalent educational background. The degree must include at least 1,5 years (80-90 ECTS) of full-time studies in geography or other relevant backgrounds such as environmental studies, development studies or political ecology with a social sciences perspective.

You also need to document:

How to apply

Follow the guidelines on how to apply depending on which applicant group you belong to.

All applicants with citizenship from outside the EU/EEA must pay tuition fees.