Master's Programme in Global Environmental History

Academic year 2023/2024

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The world is increasingly aware of the pressing concerns facing nature and humanity. It results in the increasing demand for highly qualified professionals with an interdisciplinary understanding of the relationship between human societies and nature. The Master's Programme in Global Environmental History prepares you to meet this challenge.

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 perspectives 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.

The programme provides an overview of long-term historical processes of interaction between human societies and natural conditions, and a 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 humans and nature. The programme provides a good basis for further research studies, as well as for a labour market that increasingly demands broad and interdisciplinary skills in social analysis in the environmental and sustainability fields.

During the programme, you will critically and independently identify and analyse the 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, and Human Geography at Uppsala University, as well as the 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 (SLU).

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, 7.5 credits
  • The Context and Process of Research 1: Theories and Methods, 7.5 credits
  • Modern Natures: Conflicts and Transformations, 7.5 credits
  • Changing Perceptions of Humans and Nature, 7.5 credits

During the second and third semesters, you specialise through a wide number of elective courses (7.5 credits each) and have the opportunity to participate in fieldwork or do an internship outside academia.

You will start working on your Master's thesis no later than during the third semester. The thesis course includes several thesis elements. Fieldwork outside Sweden is usually done as part of the thesis work. As a student, you are responsible for establishing contacts with organisations where you want to do the fieldwork. You will get advice and support from the programme coordinator. The majority of our students who have conducted fieldwork abroad have done it at non-governmental organisations and they have often combined it with an internship.

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 programme is international, Swedish students represent 25% of the students, with a large spread of nationalities from the EU (5% from the UK), USA (5%), China (6%) and several other countries (in total 26 different nationalities represented thus far). Students come from a wide variety of study backgrounds (social sciences, business and economics, biology and natural sciences, geography, history, archaeology, literature studies and humanities in their widest sense).

The student group normally ranges between 10-20 students and the benefit of the diversity of backgrounds in the student group 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. We work with student active learning and teaching methods based on peer learning.

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 elective courses for the remaining courses.

Your Master's 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 in subject areas such as Art History, Cultural Geography, and Economic History at Uppsala University, as well as the Department of Urban and Rural Development at SLU, and the Centre for Environmental and Sustainability Studies in Uppsala (CEMUS).

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


The programme is especially suited to those looking for future careers in which knowledge of environmental analysis and the analysis of the 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 fields of knowledge.

Depending on your choice of courses and thesis topic, you may develop skills for interviewing, surveying and for analysing text. This opens up other potential career paths, such as:

  • employment in businesses engaged in environmental analyses or sustainability;
  • consulting as sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility advisors;
  • carrying out impact assessments and consultation processes;
  • employment as planners or in 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 who want to broaden their competence in environment and sustainability. You will also graduate with a solid foundation for doctoral studies in environmental history and related topics, as well as for broad interdisciplinary research.

Several of our alumni students (20%) have gone on to postgraduate studies in various fields (history of ideas, history, geography, business administration, global studies and interdisciplinary institutions). Other alumni students work in Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), in the development sector abroad, at environmental consulting companies, as teachers, or work practically with rural development to give a few examples.

Career support

During your time as a student, UU Careers offers support and guidance. You have the opportunity to take part in a variety of activities and events that will prepare you for your future career. Learn more about UU Careers.


Below you will find details about eligibility requirements, selection criteria and tuition fees. For information on how to apply and what general documents you need to submit, check the application guide. Besides the general supporting documents, you also need to submit one programme-specific document: a statement of purpose.

Master's Programme in Global Environmental History

120 credits

Autumn 2023, 100%, Campus

Location: Uppsala

Application deadline: 16 January 2023

Application code: UU-M5030 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

Proficiency in English equivalent to the Swedish upper secondary course English 6. This requirement can be met either by achieving the required score on an internationally recognised test, or by previous upper secondary or university studies in some countries. Detailed instructions on how to provide evidence of your English proficiency are available at

Selection: Students are selected based on:

  • an overall appraisal of previous university studies; and
  • a statement of purpose.

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 50,000

Tuition fee, total: SEK 200,000

Contact and further resources

Is this programme right for you?


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

Engelska parken, Thunbergsvägen 3H

Box 626, 751 26 UPPSALA

018-471 2093

Last modified: 2022-10-27