In our Master's course, students will be trained to conduct problem-driven transdisciplinary environmental research.


Social-Ecological Resilience for Sustainable Development

Our 2-year Master’s programme in Social-Ecological Resilience for Sustainable Development will introduce you to the complexity of interactions between humans and nature. The programme starts every autumn term and the application period is 15th October to 15th January each year for all applicants.

This a research-focused programme where you will learn how to use resilience thinking as an approach to understanding and managing social-ecological systems, contribute to the research in this field and adressing real-world problems. You do this in an international and highly interactive learning environment.

The programme is a 2-year, full-time study where you attend four mandatory courses the first year that provide broad training in concepts, theories and methods for studying the complexities of social-ecological systems. In the second year, you will develop and conduct your own research. This research will form the basis of your Master’s thesis which will relate to one or more of the research themes at the Stockholm Resilience Centre and usually compliments on-going research. Our ambition is that your research will be publishable in peer-reviewed journals.

The programme is hosted by the Department of Biology Education at Stockholm University.


Eligibility & Application

The programme attracts top international students. In order to ensure a high quality, spaces are limited to 18 students per year. We aim to achieve a student group with diverse backgrounds, because this creates the best environment for learning about sustainability. Applications require a Bachelor's Degree, or the equivalent, from an accredited university and a very good command of English that may require certification. Please see this page for detailed information regarding English Proficiency tests and requirements.

One of the application requirements is a series of questions regarding your motivation to attend SERSD and about your research ideas and interests. We are looking to understand your motivation to attend this specific Master’s programme to ensure we can meet your expectations and your ability to formulate a research question that fits within the programme’s field of study and at least one of the centre's research themes and streams. This can include identifying a project(s) and/or researcher(s) at the centre that you would like to work with. You can find the template for the motivation letter and research ideas on the Stockholm University programme page under "How to apply". Please make sure to follow the instructions in the template carefully! It is important that this is written in English! 

For complete eligibility criteria and application procedures please check here.

Applications will be screened for meeting the requirements then reviewed and ranked in March at the Stockholm Resilience Centre. Decisions will be communicated in April via BIG.

Please click here for information about fees and scholarships.

For information on residence permit, please contact www.migrationsverket.se


Career prospects

The programme serves as good preparation for continuation to PhD studies within social-ecological systems and sustainability science. It opens up potential careers in governmental ministries and local administrative authorities, NGO’s and research institutes, or working with indigenous rights. In the private sector, job possibilities exist in consulting agencies and companies worldwide.

Watch video below where researcher and lecturer Tim Daw provides you with a brief overview of what you can expect from the Master's programme:


Programme details

The courses run full-time and back-to-back. There are no other breaks other than those listed below under Term dates.

First year

The first year kicks off with an introduction week the week before course start for all new students. It includes an introduction to the Stockholm Resilience Centre and Stockholm University, meeting the new class and teaching team as well as providing and introduction to the Swedish academic system and essential study skills to begin work at the Master’s level.

Course 1: Social-Ecological Systems: Challenges and Approaches, 15 ECTS

This course introduces students to the concept of the Anthropocene, the new geological era in which humanity is the dominant force structuring the planet. Students then reflect on the role of theory in sustainability science and explore concepts and methods for understanding how ecological processes support human wellbeing. Read more

Course 2: Systems Theory and Resilience Thinking, 15 ECTS

This course introduces qualitative and quantitative approaches to the analysis of systems. Students apply these methods to real cases to understand system resilience and potential transformations towards sustainability. Read more

Course 3: Governance and Management of Social-Ecological Systems, 15 ECTS

This course will explore alternative approaches for analyzing how people make choices, use rules, and learn to manage and govern social-ecological systems. Read more

Course 4: Resilience Reflections and Applications, 7.5 ECTS

This course will reflect on how resilience thinking methods can be applied to study social-ecological systems, building students’ research skills in anticipation of their thesis year. Read more

On completion of the above courses, students have 7.5 ECTS for optional courses or a traineeship (see below). Optional courses need to be given at a university and approved by the SERSD programme director.

Optional course: Traineeship in Social-Ecological Resilience for Sustainable Development, 7.5 ECTS (optional) Note: This is for SERSD Master’s programme students only. If interested in doing an internship at the SRC as an independent student please go to: Independent Courses.

Second year

Students execute and write their Master's thesis (60 ECTS). Students' theses are related to one or more of the research themes and streams at Stockholm Resilience Centre, and often contribute to on-going research projects.

We strongly encourage students to publish their research in peer-reviewed journals.

Click here to read previous Master's theses

Term dates for the academic year 2020/21

Introduction week: 24-28 August 2020

Autumn term: 31 August 2020 — 15 January 2021

Winter break: 23 December 2020 — 3 January 2021

Spring term 2020: 18 January 2021 — 5 June, 2021

Spring break: 2 — 11 April 2021

Term dates for the academic year 2021/22

Introduction week: 23 — 27 August 2021

Autumn term: 30 August 2021 — 16 January 2022

Spring term 2020: 17 January 2022 — 3 June, 2022

Watch video with programme director Miriam Huitric answering some of the most important questions she usually gets from potential students:


In my work as a Social Scientist at WWF I develop different types of evidence and knowledge to inform decision-making and adaptive management. I also work hard to bring a systems and resilience lens to the work we do!

Former student Shauna Majaha

I am doing a PhD at the Natural Resources Institute in Finland. SERSD provided me with an excellent introduction to issues of sustainability science and transdisciplinary research. This inspired and encouraged me to pursue a PhD within similar topics.

Former student Viola Hakkarainen

Related info

Programme summary

Duration: 2 years full-time (daytime)

Degree: MSc in Social-Ecological Resilience for Sustainable Development

Language: English

Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Application deadline: 15 January

Begins: 30 August 2021

Apply for the programme here: www.universityadmissions.se


For information about the programme or the SRC, please contact:

Miriam Huitric
Master's programme director
miriam.huitric@su.se

Cornelia Ludwig
Education Coordinator
cornelia.ludwig@su.se


For information about your application, please contact:

Department for Biology Education
info.big@su.se

Study counsellor
Ann-Christin Lindås
ann.christin.lindas@su.se

Meet our current students

REFLECTIONS FROM FORMER STUDENTS

In my work as a Social Scientist at WWF I develop different types of evidence and knowledge to inform decision-making and adaptive management. I also work hard to bring a systems and resilience lens to the work we do!

Shauna Mahajan

I am doing a PhD at the Natural Resources Institute in Finland. SERSD provided me with an excellent introduction to issues of sustainability science and transdisciplinary research. This inspired and encouraged me to pursue a PhD within similar topics.

Viola Hakkarainen

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Stockholm Resilience Centre is a collaboration between Stockholm University and the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

Stockholm Resilience Centre
Stockholm University, Kräftriket 2B
SE-10691
Phone: +46 8 674 70 70
info@stockholmresilience.su.se

Organisation number: 202100-3062
VAT No: SE202100306201