Taught course

Sustainable Cities

Birkbeck, University of London · Department of Geography

Entry requirements

A second-class honours degree (2:2 or above) in a related area from a UK university, or an equivalent international qualification, or relevant experience combined with a sufficient academic background (subject to interview).

Applications are reviewed on their individual merits and your professional qualifications and/or relevant work experience will be taken into consideration positively. We actively support and encourage applications from mature learners.

Months of entry


Course content

The impacts of climate change on cities are a critical challenge in the 21st century affecting the ways of living and livelihoods of more than half the population on the planet. Floods, droughts, inadequate housing, food insecurity and energy crises are now part of the everyday life of urban citizens.

Our MSc Sustainable Cities offers you the opportunity to understand such environmental risks and how their impacts are unevenly distributed across geographies and social demographics, such as race, class, religion and gender.

The MSc Sustainable Cities combines social and environmental approaches to understanding and responding to the climate crisis in highly unequal cities. On the core modules you will be taught by academics active in their research and keen to share their insights on:

  • political ecology
  • climate change
  • environmental sustainability
  • urban inequality
  • critical geography
  • food security and urban governance.

You will explore different theoretical approaches in urban sustainability, apply conceptual tools to distinct challenges engendered by the intersection of climate change and urbanisation, and learn about the limitations and strengths of adaptative solutions, environmental policies and initiatives.

You will be able to put your knowledge into practice investigating the key sustainability challenges faced by London with field trips focusing on the River Thames, a place where critical infrastructures for sustainability coalesce.

  • This interdisciplinary degree brings together the unique expertise of staff members in Birkbeck’s Department of Geography working on human geography, environmental studies, GIS and development to discuss how both environmental and social concerns must inform a strategy towards a more sustainable urban future.
  • Our Department of Geography thrives on the breadth of research interests of our staff. This means that we offer a wide range of postgraduate courses in geography, as well as allowing students to engage with other disciplines such as anthropology and international development. We offer multiple approaches to the study of societies and cultures, human geography, and sustainability, poverty and development, as well as community and citizenship, at local, regional and global levels.
  • We are proud of our vibrant research culture, powered by a shared passion for learning and intellectual engagement among our academics and students. We have a strong commitment to social justice, which is demonstrated in much of our research.
  • Our location in central London offers you excellent access to a wide range of research resources, including Birkbeck Library, LSE Library of Political and Economic Science (LSE), the Royal Geographical Society and Senate House Library (University of London).

Information for international students

If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.

If you don't meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses and foundation programmes to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MA/MSc
    part time
    24 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Student Advice Service
+44 (0)20 3907 0700