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Master of science in sustainability, development, and peace

Main organization(s): United Nations University (UNU), Institute for Sustainability and Peace


Master of Science in Sustainability, Development, and Peace


The programme addresses pressing global issues of sustainability, climate change, development, peacebuilding, and human rights through an innovative interdisciplinary approach that integrates the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. The programme is intended for recent graduates, professionals, and practitioners, offering the unique opportunity to study at a global university within the framework of the United Nations. It provides students with the knowledge and skills to make important contributions towards solving global issues, whether through employment by UN agencies, other international organizations, governments, civil society, or the private sector.

The programme is practically oriented, user-focused, and of the highest academic quality. It offers opportunities to gain practical experience through internships or field research with a UN agency or other international organization. The programme builds on the strong record of the United Nations University (UNU) in training and capacity development, and utilizes the extensive network of scholars and academic institutions participating in UNU research.

Students who earn at least 30 credits, successfully complete a master’s thesis, and pass the final examination will receive a Master of Science (M.Sc.) degree in Sustainability, Development, and Peace.

Subject areas

Week 1: Energy and Climate Change
- Energy Crisis and options
- Climate projections by state-of-the-art climate models
- Climate change adaptation – 1: Impacts

Week 2: Climate Change
- Climate Change Adaptation – 2: Development Frameworks
- Climate Change Adaptation – 3 : Policy
- Climate Change Adaptation – 4 : Case studies

Week 3: Water Management
- Water Crisis
- Water Related Hazards
- Wise water management

Week 4: Sustainability and Diversity
- Sustainable land management
- Bio diversity in the context of global change
- Agro diversity

Week 5: Sustainability and Risk Reduction
- Disaster risk reduction
- Urbanization and Risks
- Exploring the potential of SATOYAMA Landscapes as models for sustainable systems

Other topics of the syllabus include:
- Knowledge of fundamental concepts relating to urban water-related risks
- Understanding of intensity-frequency-duration relationships to rainfall, and their use in infrastructure design
- Understanding of climate change and urbanization to increase of water-related risks
- Understanding the urban water cycle and its relation to flood and low-flow/water quality problems
- Exposure to water-related risk management through management of the urban water cycle

Target audience

UNU-ISP welcomes applicants with:

- A keen interest in the pressing global issues on the UN agenda, and in particular those of sustainability, development, and peace.
- The intention to proactively apply academic research findings to policymaking.
- A strong desire to contribute to the solving of problems concerning global environment, peace, and development, through an interdisciplinary approach.

Admission Requirement

Applicants for the Master of Science in Sustainability, Development, and Peace are required to have met the following requirements by the application deadline in order to be considered:

1. A completed bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) from a recognised university or institution of higher education

Those who expect to graduate and have a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent conferred before enrolment may also apply.

2. A particular interest and career aspiration in at least one of the following thematic areas:

Global Change and Sustainability
Peace and Security
International Cooperation and Development

For more information on these areas, please refer to the Research page.

3. English language proficiency

The minimum score requirements for English language qualifications required by UNU-ISP are:

600 in TOEFL - Paper-Based Testing (PBT)
100 in TOEFL - Internet-Based Testing (iBT)
7.0 in IELTS - Academic format

Applicants, except for the cases below, must submit original TOEFL or IELTS score reports (from a test taken within the last two years) to Admissions Office at the time of application:

Applicants whose first language is English.
Applicants who graduated from a university or a postgraduate school located in an English speaking country.
Applicants who completed an undergraduate or postgraduate degree programme where the language of instruction and examination was English. In this case, an official statement from the academic institution will be required, confirming the use of English as the language of instruction and examination.

UNU-ISP requires original TOEFL/IELTS score reports (no photocopies accepted).

TOEFL: Please order an official score report using an institution code 6991. For more information on TOEFL, please visit
IELTS: Please request that an official report be sent directly to UNU-ISP. For more information on IELTS, please visit

Geographical coverage



The standard period of study is two years; the programme starts in September, with students expected to complete all the requirements by July in the second academic year after enrolment.

Application procedure

Online Application

Your official application must be made online, using UN-CECAR online application portal. You will need to create a user account to submit your applications. The online form can be saved and returned to at any time before submitting.

Apply online

If you have limited internet access and would like documents to be sent to you as email attachments, please contact the Admissions Office at for further instructions.


The Japan Foundation for UNU (JFUNU) Scholarship is available for outstanding applicants from developing countries who can demonstrate a need for financial assistance, and they will be considered as candidates for the award of the scholarship.

The JFUNU scholarship covers the full tuition fees, and provides a monthly allowance of 150,000 JPY* for living expenses for a maximum of 24 months. Travel costs to and from Japan, visa handling fees, and health/accident insurance costs must be covered by the student.

*150,000 JPY is the average monthly living cost for an international student without dependents in Tokyo, although this amount may vary depending on the lifestyle of the student.

Please note that the JFUNU scholarship is highly competitive and offered to a very small number of students who are granted admission to UNU-ISP. Thus, applicants are strongly encouraged to apply for other funding opportunities from the government of their own country, private foundations, or international funding agencies.

Tuition & cost

Application Processing Fee: None
Tuition Fee: 10,000 USD per year

Estimated total expenses for the master’s degree programme for 2 years including tuition are 5,550,000 JPY or approximately 72,000 USD*. Applicants must show financial resources adequate to meet the full costs of educational and living expenses.

*Based on the UN operational rate of exchange in September 2011: 1 USD= 76.98 JPY.

Deadline for application

30 Apr 2012


53-70, Jingumae 5-chome Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-8925, Japan
Tel: +81 (0)3 5467 1346

Last updated

26 Mar 2012

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  • Type University programme
  • Level Masters
  • Location(s) Japan (Tokyo)

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