Interdisciplinary Global Change Studies

The MSc by coursework and research report in the field of Interdisciplinary Global Change Studies aims to enhance capacity for multi-, inter- and transdisciplinary research in the area of global and climate change.


The need for a complex understanding of social-ecological sustainability is critically urgent given the pressing challenges associated with Global Environmental Change, GEC (e.g. rising human population growth, unsustainable resource use and associated environmental degradation, climate change and biodiversity loss).

Training the next generation to be able to navigate this changing landscape is also critical both locally and internationally. This programme aims to develop this understanding and train this next generation.


The degree consists of coursework and research components, comprising two compulsory core modules and several elective modules, as well as a compulsory (preferably) cross-disciplinary research project in the area of global change.

The first core module (Introduction to Global Environmental Change) aims to provide participants with a thorough understanding of the key topics in Global Environmental Change (GEC) and expose participants to the interdisciplinary nature of global change issues.

The second core module (Sustainability Science and Governance) will focus more on contextualising sustainability within social systems and will thus emphasise the ‘human dimensions’ and ‘social sciences’ perspectives that can help inform a more holistic understanding of global environmental change and sustainability.

Both core modules will be taught face-to-face, with the first core module running over Blocks 1 and 2, and the second core module over Blocks 3 and 4, over a full academic year.

Formal and informal interaction between students, in the form of discussion groups, tutorials, labs and workshops, will continue between each session.

Entry Requirements

The MSc programme offers an NQF level 9 qualification and hence pre-requites to enroll in the programme are as follows:

  • An Honours degree in science or a related field with a strong motivation.
  • An average pass mark of 65% or better in the preceding Honours qualification. Final decision is at the discretion of the GCI director.
  • Students need to engage with potential supervisors from the institute// and have one identified before being enrolled.

There is a cap applied each year for the number of students that can enroll for the full MSc programme including supervision. Additional students can be enrolled for an entire course per semester. However, there is no obligation to supervise them or assist them settle the credit requirements in the schools that they are registered in.

University Application Process

  • Applications are handled centrally by the Student Enrolment Centre (SEnC). Once your application is complete in terms of requested documentation, your application will be referred to the relevant School for assessment. Click here to see an overview of the Wits applications process.
  • Please apply online. Upload your supporting documents at the time of application, or via the Self Service Portal.
  • Applicants can monitor the progress of their applications via the Self Service Portal.
  • Selections for programmes that have a limited intake but attract a large number of applications may only finalise the application at the end of the application cycle.

Please note that the Entry Requirements are a guide. Meeting these requirements does not guarantee a place. Final selection is made subject to the availability of places, academic results and other entry requirements where applicable.

International students, please check this section.

For more information, contact the Student Call Centre +27 (0)11 717 1888, or log a query at

University Fees and Funding

Click here to see the current average tuition fees. The Fees site also provides information about the payment of fees and closing dates for fees payments. Once you have applied you will be able to access the fees estimator on the student self-service portal.

For information about postgraduate funding opportunities, including the postgraduate merit award, click here. Please also check your School website for bursary opportunities. NRF bursaries: The National Research Foundation (NRF) offers a wide range of opportunities in terms of bursaries and fellowships to students pursuing postgraduate studies. External bursaries portal: The Bursaries South Africa website provides a comprehensive list of bursaries in South Africa.