New undergraduate programmes addressing major global challenges and their impact

The University of Birmingham’s College of Life and Environmental Sciences has introduced new undergraduate programmes in Human Sciences and Global Environmental Change & Sustainability.

These programmes have both been designed to inspire and train the next generation of global researchers, policy makers and leaders shaping societies’ response to the greatest challenges facing humans and the planet. 

BSc Human Sciences

MSci Human Sciences

Human Sciences is about understanding ourselves as humans. It explores what makes us human at multiple levels including from our biology and our psychology, to our behaviours. It also addresses the responsibility that comes with being human. A responsibility none of us asked for as individuals, but which we collectively bear as the only species on earth that can act as potential guardians or destroyers of our planet and its ecosystems.  

The programme follows an exciting interdisciplinary structure that combines topics including genetics, sociology, psychology, evolutionary biology, biochemistry, neuroscience and anthropology. This is coupled with understanding the past and ongoing impact of the human race and the human condition on ecosystems and the planet. It draws on teaching and research expertise from the four Schools that make up the College of Life and Environmental Sciences.

The Schools that collectively deliver this course use very different research approaches reflecting their different disciplines. This programme provides a unique insight to these different approaches, but also what fundamentally unites them and how they can be brought together to address major local and global challenges.  

The needs for global action are changing the graduate employment market in real time. New roles are arising in companies from new start-ups to global corporations as well as in agencies (such as WHO, UNICEF, UN), in NGOs, forestry, agriculture, governments, law, education, research, journalism, and broadcasting. This programme has been designed in response to these growing employment needs and will equip students to be able to become one of the next generation of leaders, innovators, policy makers, teachers, and researchers at forefront of tackling global challenges. 

BSc Global Environmental Change & Sustainability

MSci Global Environmental Change & Sustainability

Understanding Global Environmental Change, how we address its causes, how we live with and respond to its impacts, and how we find sustainable solutions to our use of Earth’s resources, are some of the most pressing issues facing humanity today.

This programme aims to prepare a new generation of environmentally aware students for graduate employment in a range of industries positioned to tackle these global grand challenges. In a world that is increasingly affected by environmental change, it is of paramount importance that we are able to develop sustainable management of energy and natural resources, food security, biodiversity, ecology, and natural hazards. Tackling these themes requires a broad and interdisciplinary approach, based on a sound understanding of Earth and environmental processes, and of the intersection of human pressures and ecological systems.

By combining sociological, ethical, and economic dimensions with a sound scientific understanding of environmental change, students will graduate with a broad skills set – drawing on analytical approaches and able to communicate ideas and develop solutions. This will prepare graduates for work with a broad range of stakeholders, from NGOs to global businesses, in seeking more sustainable approaches to current problems.

There is also an option to join a four-year programme where students will spend a year abroad between the second and fourth years at a partner institution in the EU or elsewhere in the world.