Interdisciplinary Sustainability Transitions MA programme

06 Sep, 2021 - 01 Jul, 2022

This MA programme equips students with the skills necessary to conceive and achieve sustainability transitions. As a transdisciplinary track within the ESPhil MA Philosophy Now, ‘Interdisciplinary Sustainability Transitions’ is open for Erasmus students from all educational backgrounds who have finished their bachelor’s programmes. Its courses can also be followed separately by EUR students from other master programmes.

The last decade’s major societal shocks – including the corona pandemic – have crystallised the problems of unsustainability and environmental injustice as normative rather than scientific. Knowing what to do is simply not enough to solve our generation’s challenges. What society needs to confront the challenge of transitioning to sustainability along ecological and social dimensions is a change in perspective, of state. But how to achieve this, given existing incentives to maintain unsustainable status quos? 
Unsustainability in all its forms, from climate crisis to biodiversity loss, industry-fueled chronic disease to subsidies for fossil fuels causing air pollution, requires a swift transition on a scale unseen in history. For such global problems we need global solutions, but often policy and norm change is a trickle-up process, rooted in local action. 

“Even though I had studied sustainability before, this was really the first time I had courses on systems and transitions theory. It gave me a more systemic outlook, and a more interdisciplinary perspective. Not only looking at sustainability from a life sciences angle, but also from a social sciences and humanities perspective.”

Eloïse Richard, Erasmus University College student

This program presents students with the perspectives and methods helpful to understand the main drivers of unsustainability and equips students with the skills necessary to intervene to achieve sustainable transitions. Backcasting from the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to chart a course to achieve them, these processes already in motion, from ecosystem degradation to environmental justice, will be dissected and examined from a variety of angles.
Rather than a technocratic approach – which might overlook the relevance of social psychology – this philosophical approach to sustainability confronts case studies and real-world dilemmas to piece together the patterns of resilience, environmental justice, and just transitions to a sustainable society. 
Focusing on transformative change means creatively engaging with the type of non-linear processes of which leadership and social evolution are made. Based in philosophy and working with science, Sustainable Transitions views society as a design process, and in analyzing the principals of design, encourages attentive experimentation with social organization to suit the needs of people, place, and planet.
More info and registration
To learn more and register, go to this page of the Erasmus School of Philosophy. Additionally, you can watch the info session below:

This master track is a combined effort of Erasmus School of Philosophy, the Design, Impact and Transition (DIT) platform, the Dynamics of Inclusive Prosperity Erasmus Initiative and DRIFT.