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Global Governance and Sustainable Development MA

Become a leader in shaping public policy for a better and more sustainable world. Led by experts with opportunities to apply for work placements
September 2024
1 year full-time
2 years part-time
September 2024: £11,000 (UK)*
£17,600 (INT)*
Course leader
Meri Juntti
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Why choose Global Governance and Sustainable Development MA at Middlesex?

Sustainable development involves the responsible use of environmental resources and the establishment of social and economic relations which enable that, through governance. Our master's degree equips you with analytical skills and deepens your understanding of sustainable development in theory, policy and practice and of global governance issues, approaches and instruments that pertain to sustainable development.

You will explore various approaches to how intergovernmental and national strategies, policies and projects – addressing issues such as climate change, food security and sustainable urban development – are formulated, implemented and evaluated.

Through a critical case study approach, you'll develop the skills to lead and manage change in a global environment whether in the private sector or with public or third-sector agencies

Learn from renowned international experts in global governance and sustainable development, including Professor Sarah Bradshaw, an expert in development and gender, and Dr Meri Juntti, an environmental policy specialist. Both academics use their impressive research portfolios to inform their teaching.

Take advantage of opportunities to apply for internship and work-based learning placements, in London or internationally at institutions such as the United Nations, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and NGOs.

You can also participate in our Brief Cases at Middlesex partnership as your placement option, working on real industry briefs by The Heaven Company Ltd with feedback from industry representatives. Visit the Heaven Company Ltd.

Our international mix of students exposes you to a range of different cultural and national viewpoints, offering valuable insights and a genuine basis for informed discussion.

What you will gain

Sustainable development is a powerful global agenda enshrined in the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the UN Agenda 2030 and numerous other multilateral and national treaties and policies.

Quality of governance is increasingly recognised as central to sustainable development, which requires achieving just and legitimate outcomes in major global socio-economic and environmental issues such as poverty, climate change, food security and biodiversity loss.

As sustainable development becomes a global priority, professionals with the knowledge and skills to enact it are in high demand by intergovernmental agencies, governments, and private sector companies.

3 great reasons to pick this course

  • One of the world's most international universities
    Ranked 5th in the UK and 14th globally as most International University – Times Higher Education World University Ranking, 2023. 50% of our students are international
  • Postgraduate success
    95% of our postgraduate students go on to work or further study – Graduate Outcomes 2022
  • Excellent reputation
    Top 3 university in the UK  Times Higher Education Young Universities – 2023

Find out more

Sign up now to receive more information about studying at Middlesex University London.

You'll complete four core modules plus two optional modules over the autumn and winter/spring terms, with a dissertation period over the summer. Depending on your entry point to the course, you'll submit a final dissertation or a work-based project report in October or January of the year following your entry.

Each module is typically worth 20 credits, except the dissertation and Work Integrated Learning modules, which are worth 60 credits each. You can choose the Work Integrated Learning module to replace the dissertation with prior agreement if you have secured a suitable placement with an external organisation.

As well as the optional modules listed below, students can choose to study from a range of law modules in terms one and two.


  • Core modules

    • Global Governance for Sustainable Development (20 Credits) - Compulsory

      This core module aims to provide you with skills and knowledge to understand and critique the notion of sustainable development and the many manifestations it takes in policy and governance starting with the global blueprint of Agenda 21. An increasingly popular term, global governance refers to the collaborations of state and non-state actors in advocating, making laws and policies for and undertaking practical actions to address issues that have global scope in terms of impact and/or causality. This module will help you to understand new and emerging theorisations of governance, power and evidence as well as the normative and institutional premises of governance for sustainable development. You will gain a critical understanding of a range of global governance issues such as food security, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and healthy cities.

    • Politics of Globalisation (20 Credits) - Compulsory

      In this module you will be asked to consider the implications in International Relations of the forces of globalisation, looking at international political processes and institutions at the level of politics, economics and culture. You will analyse the relevance of international organisations, and look at transnational politics and issues of global importance. Additionally, you will explore theoretical debates surrounding these issues and learn to critically evaluate the effectiveness of international policy. The aim of this module is to provide you with a platform to work constructively in groups, gain leadership skills and formulate arguments and coherent debates in a diverse international environment.

    • Research and Practice Skills (20 Credits) - Compulsory

      This module prepares you to complete either a dissertation or an assessed work placement or a work based learning project. You will attend a series of lectures and workshops and online exercises address research methodologies, skills and employability. You will undertake a series of formative and summative assessments developing your critical and practical skills and leading to either; i) the production of a research proposal or ii) a critical review of the work of the organization you are to be placed with or work with. The satisfactory completion of the module will then allow you to proceed to writing a dissertation of 10-12,000 words or to embark on a work placement assessed by production of a project report / paper and exercises reflecting on your experience.

    • Sustainable Development and Human Rights (20 Credits) - Compulsory

      This module will help you critically explore the key institutions and frameworks that govern human rights at the international level and of the international policy context that promotes sustainable development, to examine how the two interact. You will examine the notion of rights as competing, contested and co-opted and question their ability to function in crisis situations. It focuses on issues of inclusion/exclusion and reflects on how the rights and ‘development’ of three ‘marginalised groups’ have been promoted. You’ll focus in particular on indigenous peoples, the caste system and gender inequality. The aim of this part of your studies is to question if current legal approaches to human rights are sufficient to bring sustainable development to groups currently marginalised.

  • Plus one of the following

    • Dissertation (60 credits)

      The module aims to enable you to undertake a substantial academic research project focussed on a key issue within your programme. It requires you to apply methodology, research design and method to the practical processes of undertaking a chosen research topic and presenting the findings. The dissertation requires you to draw upon the prerequisite module Research and Practice Skills but encourages you to demonstrate independence and self-discipline in researching a topic of interest and relevance to you and manage an extended project from conception to completion.

    • Work Integrated Learning (60 Credits) - Optional

      The module enables you to apply theoretical knowledge and research to anticipate and respond to challenges in a selected workplace experience. The workplace experience may be undertaken as an internship that you negotiate yourself or in your current workplace or an existing voluntary role. It also aims to foster sustainable long term learning by requiring you to take responsibility for your own learning, design and negotiate learning goals and make informed judgments about your performance across the programme of study. The module asks you to engage as an active subject in the assessment process, thus enhancing your capacity for transformative learning. By selecting a topic of interest grounded in your own workplace experience you’ll be called upon to demonstrate reflexivity, self-regulation and self-assessment in your journey towards personal and professional development.

  • Plus two optional modules from the list below

    • Environmental Law and Governance (20 Credits) - Optional

      This module will provide students with an in-depth understanding of environmental governance and the central theoretical approaches on which its principles are based. The module introduces the idea of the governance spectrum ranging from a coercive mode and legal instruments to approaches that rely on the agency and knowledge of environmental resource users themselves.

    • Foreign Policy Analysis: Geopolitical Perspectives (20 Credits) - Optional

      The aim of this module is to analyse foreign policy practices as crucial sites of political agency and choice in the contemporary geopolitics of international relations. This course will draw on the advanced classical and critical theories of international relations and geopolitical perspectives applied to the study of the foreign policy traditions, strategies and practices of the key actors and cases in global politics. The module is designed to encourage and qualify an international group of postgraduate students who may wish to further their specialised study of foreign policy analysis and or employment in fields related to governance, business, politics and diplomacy. The overall aim of this module is to create a multidisciplinary, multicultural learning environment that is reflected on the teaching practice and research of the module leader and receptive to the diverse needs and views of students.

    • Global Security (20 Credits) - Optional

      This module analyses changes in the global security agenda since the end of the Cold War, both empirically and theoretically. The meaning of security is explored and competing theoretical perspectives in the discipline are compared. The transformation of military security threats is then analysed with particular emphasis on the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and the significance of global terrorism. The module then explores the rise of non-military issues of human security including environmental change, crime, disease, poverty, and disasters.

    • Migration: Theories & Approaches (20 Credits) - Optional

      In this module you will look at the relationship between migration, politics and policies from a comparative and European perspective. This relationship is both ‘top down’, with migration becoming an object of contention amongst political parties and migration policies being largely shaped by political divisions, and ‘bottom up’, with the growing presence of NGOs campaigning for migrant rights and migrant activism. First, you will be asked to comparatively examine migration policies, their regulatory role in the attempt to manage and control migratory flows, and how they have been affected by political debates over migration.

      Secondly, you will look at the growth of anti-immigration politics and how anti-migrant mobilisations have become a constant feature at European level, not only for marginal groups but also for mainstream government parties. During this part of the module you will also investigate the growing conflicts between migrants and natives over the uses of space and the distribution of welfare resources. Thirdly, you will look at different forms of migrant participation in the public sphere, from self-organized migrant protest around issues such as freedom of circulation, citizenship rights and labour rights to more institutionalized forms of participation through unions and NGOs.

    • Political Violence & Terrorism (20 Credits) - Optional

      This module will introduce you to key debates about political violence and contemporary terrorism. You’ll be required to consider a range of perspectives emerging from the study of the different forms of political violence, including terrorism and war. It also adopts a critical approach to theoretical and contextual debates on the use of the term terrorism as shorthand for a range of issues relating to political violence. Both institutional and anti-institutional violence will be discussed, along with critical analysis of the controversies surrounding the definitions of violence and terrorism in the different epochs. In the module you’ll examine in detail the contributions of the major schools of thought, along with the most recent sociological-criminological analysis of authorised and unauthorised political violence. The module requires you to critically examine theoretical concepts and practical considerations in contemporary political violence and terrorism discourse drawing on a range of case studies.

    • International Organisations and Dispute Resolution (20 Credits) - Optional

      This module aims to provide students with a systematic understanding of the rules and principles of International Law and International Relations to the extent that these are relevant towards explaining the legal personality and activities of International Organisations. Special emphasis will be placed on defining the role of International Organisations in the settlement of international disputes including in relation to their involvement in armed conflicts. The course will provide advanced conceptual insights into the legal, political and structural issues that underpin dispute resolution at international level within International Organisation through a thematic focus on issues such as labour, trade, title to territory, and international peace and security. The module will enable students to think strategically about different means of settlement of disputes and their applicability to existing or potential conflicts.

    • Business and Human Rights (20 Credits) - Optional

      The Bhopal disaster, the tragedy of the Niger Delta and the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory are all examples of what appears to be systematic corporate human rights abuses which are not being adequately prevented or remedied. This module enables students to understand how the sub-discipline business and human rights challenges State-centred architecture of international human rights law and delves into the responsibility of non-state actors such as multinational corporations in the area of human rights. It also challenges the idea that only individuals can commit international crimes such as genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes looking into corporate criminal and civil liability for human rights violations

    • Law & Policy of the World Trade Organisation (20 Credits) - Optional

      This module will examine the international legal framework for international trade provided by the World Trade Organization (WTO). The importance of the WTO has dramatically increased in the last two decades, shaping the global trade regimes and regulatory governance. This module is designed to provide students with a thorough understanding and knowledge of global trade regimes: an overview of globalisation and contemporary international economic relations; the regulation of international trade through the WTO; and the relationship among international trade, harmonisation of the law and trade-related issues. This course aims to deepen students understanding of the origins, structure, rationale and scope of the global trading system. Its objective is to enable students to demonstrate their legal and multidisciplinary knowledge, analytical skills and understanding through extended writing in a cogent and appropriate writing style.

To find out more about this course, please download the Global Governance and Sustainable Development MA specification (PDF).

How we'll teach you

The course is delivered by our academics and industry partners in person and on digital platforms. Our learning activities include lectures, presentations, workshops, seminars, interactive learning, webinars, one-to-one tutorials and group projects. You will also get the opportunity to gain skills in computer-based data analysis.

You'll be taught by an experienced teaching team with a wide range of expertise and professional experience.

Where will I study?

You will be studying at our north London campus in Hendon.


Whether you are studying full or part-time – your course timetable will balance your study commitments on campus with time for work, life commitments and independent study.

We aim to make timetables available to students at least 2 weeks before the start of term. Some weeks are different due to how we schedule classes and arrange on-campus sessions.

Teaching and independent learning

In a typical year, you’ll spend about 1200 hours on the taught aspects of the course.

Outside of teaching hours, you’ll learn independently through self-study which will involve reading articles and books, working on projects, undertaking research, and preparing for assessments including coursework, presentations and exams.

Typical weekly breakdown

A typical week looks like this:


Contact hours per week





Independent study


For your placement, there may be additional hours.

Learning terms

On-campus: This includes tutor-led sessions such as seminars, lab sessions and demonstrations as well as student-led sessions for work in small groups.

Independent study: This is the work you do in your own time including reading and research.

Part-time study

You can also study this course part-time over two years.

Academic support

We have a strong support network online and on campus to help you develop your academic skills. Our Sheppard Library is open 24 hours a day during term time and always available online. We offer one-to-one and group sessions to develop your learning skills together with academic support from our library, IT teams and learning experts.

Coursework and assessments

There are no exams but your coursework including essays, reports, evaluations and a research proposal will be assessed.


To help you achieve the best results, we will provide regular feedback.

You'll evaluate your work, skills and knowledge and identify areas for improvement. Sometimes you'll work in groups and assess each other's progress.

The Sheppard Library

Our library is open 24 hours a day during the term and includes:

  • Over 1,000 study areas with rooms for group study and over 600 computer spaces
  • 350,000 books and e-books and more than 24,000 online journals
  • Free laptop loans, Wi-Fi and printing.

Student support

We offer lots of support to help you while you're studying including financial advice, wellbeing, mental health and disability support.

Additional needs

We'll support you if you have additional needs such as sensory impairment or dyslexia. And if you want to find out whether Middlesex is the right place for you before you apply, get in touch with our Disability and Dyslexia team.


Our specialist teams will support your mental health. We have free individual counselling sessions, workshops, support groups and useful guides.

Work while you study

Our Middlesex Unitemps branch will help you find work that fits around uni and your other commitments. We have hundreds of student jobs on campus that pay the London Living Wage and above. Visit the Middlesex Unitemps page.

Financial support

You can apply for scholarships and bursaries and our MDX Student Starter Kit to help with up to £1,000 of goods, including a new laptop or iPad.

We have also reduced the costs of studying with free laptop loans, free learning resources and discounts to save money on everyday things. Check out our guide to student life on a budget.

Our university's postgraduate courses have been recognised for their ability to support your career.

95% of our postgraduate students go on to work or further study (Graduate Outcomes 2022).

How can the Global Governance and Sustainable Development MA support your career?

This degree will enhance your knowledge and skills with respect to global governance approaches and instruments focused on environmental sustainability and social justice.

Career paths

Graduates of this master's course can expect to find work in national and global NGOs as well as private and public sector institutions delivering on social and environmental policy targets.

Some of the roles our graduates have gone on to work as include consultant, researcher and policy advisor and they have found positions in organisations such as Westminster-based consultancies, national government departments and private enterprises with an interest in aspects of sustainable development.


Our employability service, MDXworks will launch you into the world of work from the beginning of your course, with placements, projects and networking opportunities through our 1000+ links with industry and big-name employers in London and globally.

Our dedicated lifetime career support, like our business start-up support programme and funding for entrepreneurs, has been recognised with the following awards:

The top 20 UK universities for business leaders and entrepreneurs – Business Money, 2023

A top 10 university for producing CEOs – Novuana, 2023.

Global network

You’ll study with students from 122 countries who’ll hopefully become part of your global network. And after you graduate, we'll still support you through our alumni network to help you progress in your chosen career.

  1. UK entry
  2. International study
  3. How to apply

The fees below refer to the 2024/25 academic year – September 2024 and January 2025 start.

UK students1

Full-time students: £11,000
Part-time students per taught credit: £84
Part-time students per dissertation credit: £42

International students2

Full-time students: £17,600
Part-time students per taught credit: £117
Part-time students per dissertation credit: £59

Additional costs

The following study tools are included in your fees:

  • Free access to resources, learning materials and software you need to succeed on your course
  • Free laptop loans for up to 24 hours
  • Free specialist software for your course
  • Free printing for academic paperwork
  • Free online training with LinkedIn Learning.

Financial support

We offer lots of support to help you with fees and living costs. Check out our guide to student life on a budget and find out more about postgraduate funding.

Postgraduate scholarships

You may be eligible for one of our scholarships including:

  • The Alumni Postgraduate Award – as an undergraduate student continuing postgraduate studies at Middlesex, you can apply for 20% off your fees
  • The Commonwealth Scholarship – full course fees, airfares and a living allowance
  • The Chevening Scholarship – full course fees
  • The European Academic Awards – £1000 to £7000 for students showing academic excellence
  • Regional or International Merit Award –up to £2,000 towards course fees.

For international students, we also have a limited number of other awards specific to certain regions, and work in partnership with funding providers in your country to help support you financially with your study.

Find out more about our postgraduate scholarships.

Help from your employer

Your employer can contribute towards the cost of your postgraduate study as part of their staff development programme.

Fees disclaimers

1. UK fees: The university reserves the right to increase undergraduate tuition fees in line with changes to legislation, regulation and any government guidance or decisions. The tuition fees for part-time UK study are subject to annual review and we reserve the right to increase the fees each academic year by no more than the level of inflation.

2. International fees: Tuition fees are subject to annual review and we reserve the right to increase the fees each academic year by no more than the level of inflation.

Any annual increase in tuition fees as provided for above will be notified to students at the earliest opportunity in advance of the academic year to which any applicable inflationary rise may apply.

Dr Meri Juntti
Programme Leader

Dr Meri Juntti has a track record of research in European environmental policy and she has undertaken case studies on policy implementation and sustainability in a number of European countries. She has authored a range of publications on the role of evidence and the representation of environmental values and problems in environmental policy and planning. Her recent funded research includes developing an evaluation framework for the environmental impact of corporate investment in rural land resources, and developing the notion of 'experienced quality' of urban environments so that it can be integrated into the ecosystem services approach in environmental assessment.

  • Dr Malaika Mkhosi

    MA Global Governance and Sustainable Development (was MA Global Governance and Public Policy) Graduate

    Doing the MA in Global Governance for Sustainable Development has put me in the perfect position to be an asset to organisations that operate within the public affairs and policy sector. As the world shifts towards becoming greener and cleaner, sustainability politics is shaping the principles of large organisations that now understand the importance of developing sustainable ways of working. My master's allowed me to apply my theoretical knowledge of sustainable development to a practical setting before graduating through the work-integrated learning module, which allowed me to refine my transferable skills before taking on my graduate job within the sector. The highlight of my master's is gaining such knowledge in a diverse learning environment as I had the opportunity to learn from students from across the world.

We’ll carefully manage any future changes to courses, or the support and other services available to you, if these are necessary because of things like changes to government health and safety advice, or any changes to the law.

Any decisions will be taken in line with both external advice and the University’s Regulations which include information on this.

Our priority will always be to maintain academic standards and quality so that your learning outcomes are not affected by any adjustments that we may have to make.

At all times we’ll aim to keep you well informed of how we may need to respond to changing circumstances, and about support that we’ll provide to you.

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