MSc in Sustainability (2019)

Overview
Requirements
Applications
Scholarships
FAQ
Courses
Contact
  • Online Application Form

     

    The Master of Science in Sustainability programme is a two-year programme, which provides students with the knowledge and practical skills necessary to contribute to solving challenges of sustainability. Drawing on an innovative, interdisciplinary approach, the programme integrates methods and resources from the natural and social sciences, as well as the humanities. The programme is intended for recent graduates, professionals and practitioners who seek to meaningfully contribute to the work of governments, civil society, the private sector, and/or the UN and other international organizations in the area of sustainability.

    The programme builds on UNU’s strong record in research and capacity development, as well as the extensive network of scholars and academic institutions participating in UNU research. The programme is practice-oriented, user-focused, and of the highest academic quality. It provides students with unique opportunities to interact with leading scholars and policymakers through lectures, international conferences, and workshops.

    The programme starts in September, and by July of the second year students must complete the course requirements, obtaining at least 30 credits. Students can select courses from those offered by UNU-IAS, while also enjoying the opportunity to take courses at other leading universities in Japan such as the University of Tokyo, Sophia University, International Christian University, and Yokohama National University.

    Application deadline: 28 February 2019

    This information can also be downloaded as a Programme Brochure.

    Faculty

    The programme is taught by an expert teaching faculty comprising both UNU-IAS academic staff and invited distinguished scholars and practitioners.

    Joint Diploma Programmes

    Students of the UNU-IAS master’s degree programme are also encouraged to pursue one of two joint diplomas in sustainability science, which are offered in partnership with the University of Tokyo Graduate School of Frontier Sciences (UT-GSFS), and with Sophia University. These diploma programmes require students to gain 34 credits, of which eight must be from courses specified by UNU-IAS and the partner university under the respective joint diploma programme. A joint diploma can only be awarded to students who successfully complete the two-year UNU-IAS master’s degree programme.

    Learning Environment

    UNU-IAS is a global university located in Tokyo, with all classes conducted in English. Sharing a building with many UN agencies, it offers a unique learning environment for its diverse and international student body. The master’s degree programme includes courses featuring more than 15 international guest lecturers from leading agencies and institutions, providing students with opportunities to learn from their unique expertise and experience. The class sizes are sufficiently small and students benefit from interactive and personalized teaching.

    Facilities

    The UNU Library offers access to a range of academic books, over 20,000 electronic journals, official UN documents issued since 1946, and publications in the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development e-libraries. All students are provided with a comprehensive library orientation session at the beginning of the course. Students also have access to the libraries of International Christian University, Ochanomizu University, Sophia University, Temple University Japan, and the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies.
    Computers are provided for students, with software to cater to the needs of each course, including geographic information systems (GIS).

    Project Research Opportunities

    Our teaching programme is closely interconnected with UNU-IAS research activities across three thematic research areas (Sustainable Societies, Natural Capital and Biodiversity, Global Change and Resilience). Students have opportunities to gain practical experience by engaging actively in the institute’s research projects. Student research is expected to contribute to the project with which the student chooses to be affiliated; and students hone skills learned in the classroom by conducting research in the field alongside experts and seasoned practitioners.

    Student Support

    UNU-IAS assists students from the time of their registration to graduation, acknowledging that students may experience difficulties adjusting to a new country and culture.
    An induction programme is conducted at the beginning of the academic session, introducing students to the staff responsible for specific student services, and familiarizing students with the campus through a tour of the facilities.

    Housing

    Students are provided with a handbook about living in Tokyo prior to their arrival, including information on how to find and secure accommodation.

    Academic Calendar

    The Academic Calendar shows important dates and university holidays for the academic year.

  • UNU-IAS welcomes applicants with:

    • a keen interest in the pressing global issues on the UN agenda and in particular those of sustainability;
    • an aspiration to pursue careers in international fields in public service or private organizations, including the United Nations, multinational corporations and non-governmental organizations as well as research and academic institutions;
    • the intention to proactively apply academic research findings to policymaking; and
    • a strong desire to contribute to the solving of problems concerning global environment, through an interdisciplinary approach.

    Admissions Requirements

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

    • A strong interest in sustainability studies;
    • Demonstrated commitment to study and understand global issues;
    • A completed bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) from a recognized university or institution of higher education in a field related to sustainability (Those who expect to graduate and have a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent conferred before September 2019 may also apply.);
    • A GPA of 3.5 or above on a 4.0 scale for the bachelor’s degree earned;
    • English language proficiency.
      Please see the section below for more details.

    English Language Requirements

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

    • 600 on TOEFL – Paper-Based Testing (PBT) OR
    • 100 on TOEFL – Internet-Based Testing (IBT) OR
    • 7.0 on 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-IAS 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 http://www.ets.org/toefl/
    • IELTS: Please request that an official report be sent directly to UNU-IAS. For more information on IELTS, please visit http://www.ielts.org/

    Fees

    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 approximately 56,000 USD. Applicants must show financial resources adequate to meet the full costs of educational and living expenses.

  • Online Application Form

     

    Your official application must be submitted through the online application form. 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.

    Selection and Announcement of Results

    UNU-IAS may at any time require applicants to provide verification of the information and documents submitted as part of their application and/or additional information including, but not limited to, an interview.

    • Successful applicants will be notified by email to the address provided on Application Form. Necessary documents for the admission procedure will be sent together with a letter of acceptance. Successful applicants must submit a medical certificate, sealed official transcript(s) and certified copy of degree certificate(s). Only successful applicants – except those accepted as JFUNU Scholarship, UNU Rector’s Scholarship, and ADB-JSP Scholarship recipients – who submit the necessary documents for the entrance procedure and transfer 50% of the tuition fees for the first academic year (5,000 USD, non-refundable) within 10 UNU working days after result announcement will be admitted to the programme. (Please refer to UNU Holidays on Academic Calendar page) The matriculation date (early September 2019) cannot be extended, regardless of any special circumstances on the part of the student.
    • Unsuccessful applicants will be notified by e-mail to the address provided on Application Form. Admissions Office does not provide individual feedback on unsuccessful applications.
    • E-mail will be the primary method of contact. Therefore, it is essential that applicants provide a valid e-mail address in the Application Form and that he/she regularly checks his/her e-mail. Please ensure that our e-mails are not filtered into spam or junk folder. UNU-IAS will not be held responsible for unread e-mail communication.

    Please do not call the Admissions Office regarding application status or admission decisions as we will not release them by phone.

    Important Notes

    • All application forms must be typed and filled out in English. No handwritten or incomplete application documents will be considered.
    • All materials and documents submitted as part of an application become the property of UNU-IAS and cannot be returned.
    • If any falsification is discovered in any of the documents presented for application, admission will be revoked.
    • Unsuccessful applicants of previous years who reapply for admission must submit a completely new set of application documents, including letters of reference. No previous application materials will act as supporting resource.

    Withdrawing an Application

    Those who wish to withdraw from the application process should contact the Admissions Office through the online inquiry form. When submitting the form, please ensure that “MSc Degree” is selected as the topic of your inquiry, and please use the same email address you used when submitting your application.

  • The award of the scholarships listed below is based on application selection results. Only applicants that are accepted for enrolment in the UNU-IAS Master of Science in Sustainability programme can be considered as candidates for the scholarships. There is no separate application form for the scholarships as it is a part of the online application for admission. Interested applicants must provide necessary information and documents for the scholarship together with the required documents for admission to the master’s degree programme.

    Scholarships provided through Japan Foundation for UNU (JFUNU)

    Coverage

    The JFUNU scholarship provides a monthly allowance of 120,000 JPY* for living expenses for a maximum of 24 months. However, travel costs to and from Japan, visa handling fees, and health/accident insurance costs must be covered by the student. The tuition fees are fully waived for the scholarship recipients.
    *The amount of monthly allowance has been changed to 120,000 JPY effective 2017.

    Eligibility Requirements

    1. Applicants must be persons from developing countries* who can demonstrate a need for financial assistance
    2. Applicants who are currently living in Japan under a working visa are NOT eligible for the scholarship
    3. Applicants who want to pursue a second master’s degree at UNU-IAS are not eligible for the scholarship

    *Developing countries included in the latest OECD DAC list.

    UNU Rector’s Scholarship

    I. Coverage

    The UNU Rector’s scholarship provides a monthly allowance of 130,000 JPY (subject to change) for living expenses for a maximum of 24 months. Travel costs to and from Japan, will be covered by the scholarship. The tuition fees are fully waived for the scholarship recipients.

    II. Eligibility Requirements

    • Applicants must be persons from developing countries* who can demonstrate a need for financial assistance
    • Applicants who are currently living in Japan under a working visa are NOT eligible for the scholarship
    • Applicants who want to pursue a second master’s degree at UNU-IAS are not eligible for the scholarship
    • Not a recipient of other concurrent scholarships
    • Applicants who demonstrated interest in the broader work of the United Nations

    *Developing countries included in the latest OECD DAC list.

    III. Additional Requirements

    • Recipients of the Rector’s Scholarship are required to write a short reflection on their learnings and experiences of their time at UNU. One written paper, totaling 400 words, is requested once a year. For the final paper, recipients are also encouraged to reflect on their future plans.
    • Recipients will agree to foster good collaboration with UNU such as through participating in activities, events and other opportunities offered at UNU and promoting UNU activities amongst the student body.
    • Recipients will agree to uphold the core values of the United Nations, such as integrity and respect for diversity.

    Asian Development Bank–Japan Scholarship Program (ADB–JSP)

    A limited number of scholarships are offered for the UNU-IAS Master of Science in Sustainability programme under the Asian Development Bank–Japan Scholarship Program (ADB–JSP). The award of the scholarship is based on application selection results. Only applicants that are accepted for enrolment in the UNU-IAS Master of Science in Sustainability programme can be considered as candidates for the ADB scholarship.

    I. Eligibility requirements to be a candidate of ADB-JSP scholarship

    1. Citizenship in a developing country that is a borrowing member of the Asian Development Bank. (Applicants from countries that are no longer borrowing from ADB are not eligible for the ADB–JSP Scholarship: Hong Kong; the Republic of Korea; Singapore and Taiwan (Republic of China). Please see Appendix 1 for a complete list of eligible countries.)
    2. A Bachelor’s degree or its equivalent with superior academic record. For applicants from Nepal, Bangladesh or Pakistan who have earned their Master’s degree in their home country and have completed only 16 years of education, their master’s level education will only be equivalent to a Japanese bachelor’s degree.
    3. At least two years of full-time professional working experience (acquired after a university degree) at the time of application.
    4. Oral and written English communication skills sufficient to be able to pursue studies.
    5. Not more than 35 years old at the time of application.
    6. In good health.
    7. Should agree to return to his/her home country after completion of studies under the Program.
    8. Executive Directors, Alternate Directors, management and staff of ADB, consultants, and relatives of the aforementioned are not eligible for the Scholarship.
    9. Applicants living or working in a country other than their own home country are not eligible for the ADB-JSP scholarship, with the exception of those who are working in ADB developing member countries.
    10. Applicants who are already enrolled in graduate degree programs are not eligible. This includes those who have already obtained a Master’s Degree at an institution other than UNU-IAS.
    11. Applicants who have never studied abroad.

    II. Coverage

    Full tuition, subsistence allowance including housing allowance, medical and accident insurance, books, and instrumental allowance will be covered by the scholarship. The monthly subsistence allowance including housing allowance for one person for the academic year 2017 is approximately JPY 150,000 (subject to change for the academic year 2017). An economy class airfare will also be provided for the most direct route between the scholar’s home country and Tokyo Narita International Airport.

    Further information is available on the ADB website.

    III. Application Documents

    Interested applicants should submit the following documents in addition to the application documents required by UNU-IAS. Please upload the following documents under section 7c of the online application form.

    1. ADB-JSP Information Sheet
    2. Certificates of annual income of the applicant
    3. Certificate of family income (parents’ income if single or income of the spouse if married)
    4. Employment certificate that demonstrates two years of full-time work experience

    Note: Each income certificate must show annual income in your local currency and US dollars, and be written in English with a signature or a stamp. Please only submit authorized certificates issued by public agencies. For parents who are retired, unemployed or deceased, kindly submit a certificate issued by a local agency, company or government, with a signature or a stamp as applicable.

    The Japan Educational Exchanges and Services Scholarship (JEES scholarship)

    I. Coverage

    1. The scholarships will provide 50,000 JPY for living expenses for a maximum of 24 months. However, travel costs to and from Japan, visa handling fees, and health/accident insurance costs must be covered by the student.
    2. The tuition fees (10,000 USD per year) will not be waived.

    II. Eligibility requirements

    1. Applicants must be from developing countries listed in Appendix 2.
    2. Applicants who will receive more than 60,000 JPY from other funding agencies are not eligible for the scholarship.
    3. Applicant’s residential status in Japan must be “student”.
    4. Applicants are preferred who have been involved in volunteer activities or international-understanding-related activities. Applicants who are willing to engage such activities are also eligible to apply.
    5. Applicants should be willing to continue to update the organization on their status following graduation.
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    General

    • What is the status of the master’s programme at UNU-IAS?
      UNU-IAS is an international academic institution chartered by the United Nations to grant postgraduate degrees. The master’s programme at UNU-IAS is officially recognised as a foreign institution of higher education by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan (MEXT). That is, credits earned at UNU-IAS are recognised by Japanese universities, and graduates of the programme are entitled to apply for PhD programmes in Japan. In addition, UNU-IAS postgraduate degree programmes were accredited by the National Institution for Academic Degrees and University Evaluation (NIAD-UE) of Japan.
    • How long is the master's programme? When does it start?
      The standard period of study for the UNU-IAS master’s programme is two years. Students are expected to complete all course work and thesis on site over a two-year period. The programme starts in September each year, with students expected to complete all the requirements by July in the second academic year after enrolment.
    • Do you allow students to attend part-time? Do you offer online courses?
      The programme is offered on a full-time basis only. Students need to reside in Tokyo for the full duration of the programme to attend lectures and seminars. UNU-IAS does not offer online degree programmes at this time.
    • Can I visit UNU-IAS prior to applying? Do you have an open campus day?
      Unfortunately, we are not able to hold any information sessions or campus tours at this time.
    • Does UNU-IAS also offer a PhD programme?
      UNU-IAS established a PhD programme in 2012. Please refer to the PhD programme pages for further details.

    Fees and Expenses

    • Are there other fees besides the 10,000 USD annual tuition?
      No processing fee is required for application.
    • Do you have a payment plan for tuition or do I need to submit a full payment?
      50% of the tuition for the first academic year (5,000 USD, non-refundable) is due within 10 UNU working days after the notification of admissions decision. The rest (5,000 USD) is due before the start of the Autumn Semester. For the second academic year, a full tuition (10,000 USD) is due before the start of the Autumn Semester.
    • Can I pay for tuition with a credit card?
      No. We do not accept credit card payments. Currently, the only method of payment accepted is wire transfer. Details will be provided in the acceptance letter to admitted students.
    • The website says that the tuition is 10,000 USD per year, but that I need to have 56,000 USD for two years. Can you explain?
      The annual tuition is 10,000 USD. In addition to this fee, we anticipate that it will cost you approximately 27,719* USD per year to live in Tokyo. Therefore, the total estimated cost is 75,438 USD for the two-year programme. Below we provide an estimate of average costs for monthly housing and living expenses for students in Tokyo: Rent (central Tokyo): 80,000 JPY, 778 USD Utilities (gas, electricity, water): 8,000 JPY, 78 USD Compulsory National Health Insurance: 3,000 JPY, 30 USD Communication (mobile, internet connection): 10,000 JPY, 98 USD Food: 32,000 JPY, 331 USD Transportation: 10,000 JPY, 98 USD Books: 9,000 JPY, 87 USD Monthly total: 152,000 JPY / 1,480 USD

    Scholarships and Funding

    • Does UNU-IAS offer financial assistance for students?
      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 120,000 yen 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. Please note that the JFUNU scholarship is highly competitive and offered to a very small number of students who are granted admission to UNU-IAS. Thus, applicants are strongly encouraged to apply for other funding opportunities from the government of their own country, private foundations, or international funding agencies.
    • How can I apply for a UNU-IAS scholarship (i.e. JFUNU scholarship)?
      During admission selection process, outstanding applicants from developing countries with financial need will be automatically considered as candidates for the award of the JFUNU scholarship. Thus, no separate application is necessary.
    • What is the FAFSA school code for UNU-IAS?
      UNU-IAS does not hold a code for the U.S. Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) system. Citizens from the United States are encouraged to find other funding sources.
    • Can you provide me with a list of organisations that offer scholarship funding for postgraduate students?
      We currently do not have a list of scholarships available as we receive students from around the world and each country has its own systems for awarding scholarships. We would recommend that you consult with your home university as they may have information on various scholarship opportunities available for graduate students.

    Entry Requirements

    Online Application

    Admissions Decisions

    • Can you tell me the status of my application?
      No. The Admissions Office does not reply to the inquiries regarding the application status or admission decision by email or phone during the review period of applications (6 to 8 weeks after the application deadline).
    • I want to withdraw my application. What should I do?
      We must receive written notification from you that you would like your application to be withdrawn by email addressed to the Admissions Office (gdp@unu.edu) indicating “MSc Application Withdrawal” in the subject line. Please use the same email address you provided on your Application Form.
    • How are admission decisions made? What are the criteria?
      Admission decisions are based on institutional review, using a combination of factors, including academic degrees and records, essays, research plan, letters of reference, and relevant work experience (if any). UNU-ISP also considers the appropriateness of your goals to the degree programme and to the research interests of the programme's faculty.
    • Why was I rejected?
      Unfortunately, we cannot provide individual feedback on unsuccessful applications.
    • Can I reapply?
      Yes. You can reapply for the programme for the next academic year. Resubmission requires a completely new set of application documents, including letters of reference. No previous application materials will act as supporting resource.
    • Can I defer my offer?
      No. Acceptance is valid only for the academic year that you applied for, and applicants have to re-apply.

    Living in Tokyo

    • How do I apply for a Japanese visa?
      Upon acceptance into the programme, we will provide you with all the necessary information and documentation for obtaining a Japanese student visa.
    • Can you help me find housing in Tokyo?
      There are no UNU housing facilities available. Admitted students are provided with a handbook which provides information and advice on finding housing in Tokyo. Students are expected to secure their own housing for this programme.
    • How much will it cost me to live in Tokyo?
      The annual tuition is 10,000 USD. In addition to this fee, we anticipate that it will cost you approximately 18,000 USD per year to live in Tokyo. Therefore, the total estimated cost is 56,000 USD for the two-year programme. Below we provide an estimate of average costs for monthly housing and living expenses for students in Tokyo: Rent (central Tokyo): 80,000 JPY, 778 USD Utilities (gas, electricity, water): 8,000 JPY, 78 USD Compulsory National Health Insurance: 3,000 JPY, 30 USD Communication (mobile, internet connection): 10,000 JPY, 98 USD Food: 32,000 JPY, 331 USD Transportation: 10,000 JPY, 98 USD Books: 9,000 JPY, 87 USD Monthly total: 152,000 JPY / 1,480 USD

    After UNU-IAS

  • Courses

    MSc in Sustainability
    Each student is required to obtain at least 30 credits to receive a master’s degree, in keeping with the instructions that will be provided during orientation.

    Note: The curriculum is reviewed on a yearly basis, so the course offerings may not be identical to the ones listed below.

    Overview Courses (Compulsory)

    • The United Nations System and Sustainable Development*
    • Global Change and Planetary Boundaries*
    • Natural Capital and Biodiversity*
    • Resilience and Adaptation Science
    • Frontier of Sustainability Science

    Courses marked with * are held over a short period as part of the UNU Intensive Core (IC) Courses.

    Elective Courses

    • Water Resources Systems
    • Sustainable Bioproduction and Ecosystems Management
    • Law and Practice of the United Nations
    • International Development: Ideas, Experience & Prospects
    • Sustainable Cities

    A wide range of elective courses offered by partner universities are also available to UNU-IAS students through credit exchange arrangements.

    Competency Courses

    • Trans-disciplinary Research Seminar*
    • Sustainability Science Research Seminar*
    • Science Communications
    • Remote Sensing, Geographical Information Systems and Analysis: Theory and Application
    • Environmental Statistics and Research Methods

    Courses marked with * are compulsory for first-year MSc and PhD students.

  • Before contacting us, please read through the FAQ page and the brochure as your question may already be answered there.

    If your question is not covered in the FAQ, please contact us using the online inquiry form. Please ensure that “MSc Degree” is selected as the topic of your inquiry. If you have already submitted an application to us, please use the same email address on the inquiry form.

    United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS)

    Admissions Office

    53-70, Jingumae 5-chome

    Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-8925, Japan

    T: +81 (0)3 5467-1212