Master's Programme in Global Environmental History 2020/2021

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In the 21st century, as the world is increasingly aware of the pressing concerns facing nature and humanity, interdisciplinary training for understanding the relationship between human societies and nature is critically important. The Master's Programme in Global environmental history offers such an arena.

Why this programme?

Environmental history is an interdisciplinary subject that explores the complex relationship between man and nature throughout history. The focus is on historical changes, events, debates and analytical perspective on the relations between human societies and natural environments. By analysing these relationships in environmental history we also have the ambition to better interpret, explain and debate contemporary issues of sustainability and resilience.

The programme provides an overview of long-term historical processes of interaction between human societies and natural conditions, and deeper insight into various aspects of how the relationship between man and nature has changed both from a prehistoric perspective and from the perspective of the emergence of modern states and recent global power relations.

The Master's Programme in Global Environmental History intends to give you advanced theoretical and empirical knowledge of social scientific and humanistic analyses of relationships between man and nature. The programme provides a good basis for further research studies, and a labour market that increasingly demands broad, interdisciplinary skills of social analysis in the environmental and sustainability field.

During the programme, you will critically and independently identify and analyse key issues and debates in global environmental history and relate them to current problems of sustainability.

The programme concludes with a Master's thesis that is supervised by teachers and researchers from various disciplines.


The programme leads to a Master of Arts (120 credits) with Global Environmental History as the main field of study.


The interdisciplinary programme is a collaboration between the Departments of Archaeology and Ancient History, Art History, Economic History, Human Geography, and the Uppsala Centre for Sustainable Development (CSD Uppsala)/Centre for Environment and Development Studies (CEMUS) at Uppsala University, along with the Department of Urban and Rural Development at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

As a student in the Master's Programme in Global Environmental History, you will experience Uppsala University's broad expertise in this field of research, with teachers who specialise in aspects of African, European and Asian environmental history.

The first semester focuses on four compulsory courses, 7.5 credits each:

  • Historical Ecology
  • The Context and Process of Research 1: Theories and Methods
  • Modern Natures: Conflicts and Transformations
  • Changing Perceptions of Humans and Nature
During the second and third semesters, you will take one compulsory course, Current Debates and Themes in Global Environmental History, 7.5 credits, where lectures are combined with seminars, essay writing and student presentations. During this time, you can also choose from a wide number of elective courses (7.5 credits each) and have the opportunity to participate in fieldwork, take courses at foreign universities, or do an internship outside academia. You will commence working on their thesis no later than during the third semester.

Semester four focuses on the Master's thesis, and you must choose between writing a thesis that is worth either 45 or 60 credits.

Learning experience

The Master's Programme in Global Environmental History is interdisciplinary and the student group is made up of students with different experiences and backgrounds. The diversity of the student body is beneficial in seminars and discussion groups in which all students are expected to take an active part.

Instruction will be in English and consists of lectures, seminars, discussion groups and independent work. As a student, you will have the opportunity to arrange and run workshops. Courses are usually taken on a part-time basis and students are required to enrol in two part-time courses in parallel.

The compulsory courses within the programme amount to 37.5 credits. You can choose from a large variety of courses for the remaining reading courses.

You will have the option of choosing between writing a 45 or 60 credit Master's thesis. The thesis is examined by the Department of Archaeology and Ancient History in Uppsala, but is supervised by teachers with relevant specialist skills in one of the collaborating departments of Archaeology, Art History, Cultural Geography, Economic History, Rural Development (SLU), and Centre for Environmental and Sustainability Studies (Cemus).

The programme coordinator is responsible for establishing an individual curriculum for each Master's student at the beginning of the programme.

Studying abroad
The master's program in global environmental history gives you the opportunity to participate in teaching at other universities through the exchange programs and research networks established at collaborating institutions abroad. There is also the opportunity to do field work abroad.


As a graduate you will possess a Master of Arts with Global Environmental History as the main field of study.

The programme is especially suited to those looking for future careers in which knowledge of environmental analysis and the analysis of human impact on the environment - or the conditions that nature provides for human communities - is important. This includes, for example, work in government administration on applied landscape management or planning, environmental conservation, heritage work or dissemination of these.

Depending on how you design your courses and thesis you may develop skills for interviewing, surveying and for analysing text, therefore other potential career paths are employments in businesses engaged in environmental analyses or sustainability consulting as sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility advisors, carrying out impact assessments and consultation processes, planners or communication, and/or in similar roles in non-governmental and international organisations where environmental and sustainability issues are central. It is also a suitable education for future history and geography teachers.

You will also graduate with a solid foundation for doctoral studies in environmental history and related topics, as well as for broad interdisciplinary research.

Career support
During your whole time as a student UU Careers offers you support and guidance. You have the opportunity to partake in a variety of career activities and events, as well as receive individual career counselling. This service is free of charge for all students at Uppsala University. Read more about UU Careers.


Master's Programme in Global Environmental History

120 credits

Autumn 2020 - 100 % - Campus

Location: Uppsala

Application Deadline: 2020-01-15

Enrolment Code: UU-M5005 Application

Language of Instruction: English

Academic requirements
A Bachelor's degree, equivalent to a Swedish Kandidatexamen, from an internationally recognised university. The main field of study must be within the Faculty of Arts, the Faculty of Social Sciences or the Faculty of Science and Technology.

Language requirements
All applicants need to verify English language proficiency that corresponds to English studies at upper secondary (high school) level in Sweden ("English 6"). This can be done in a number of ways, including through an internationally recognised test such as TOEFL or IELTS, or through previous upper secondary (high school) or university studies.
The minimum test scores are:

  • IELTS: an overall mark of 6.5 and no section below 5.5
  • TOEFL: Paper-based: Score of 4.5 (scale 1–6) in written test and a total score of 575. Internet-based: Score of 20 (scale 0–30) in written test and a total score of 90
  • Cambridge: CAE, CPE
More information about English language requirements

Selection: Students are selected based on:

  • a total appraisal of quantity and quality of previous university studies; and
  • a statement of purpose (1 page) where you detail why you want to pursue Master's studies within the programme.
Tuition fee-paying students and non-paying students are admitted on the same grounds but in different selection groups.


If you are not a citizen of a European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) country, or Switzerland, you are required to pay application and tuition fees. Fees cover application and tuition only and do not cover accommodation, academic literature or the general cost of living. Read more about fees.

Application Fee: SEK 900

Tuition fee, first semester: SEK 50000

Tuition fee, total: SEK 200000

Contact and further resources


For programme-specific information, please contact the programme coordinator: Anneli Ekblom

+46 18 471 20 77

For admissions-related or general information, please contact our applicant support team:

Department of Archaeology and Ancient History

Thunbergsvägen 3 H, Uppsala

P.O. Box 626, SE-751 26 Uppsala, Sweden

Student portal

Student portal

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