Degree Programmes

Master’s and doctoral programmes focused on sustainability

Applications for September 2024 entry are now closed. 

About the Programmes

The UNU-IAS postgraduate degree programmes aim to produce the policymakers and researchers of tomorrow, who will be at the forefront of global efforts towards a more sustainable future.

Studying at UNU-IAS brings the unique benefits of:

• Collaborative research & practical experience,

• A global university within the UN system, and

• An international and interactive learning environment in central Tokyo.

Doctorate Degree

PhD in Sustainability Science

A three-year programme with an innovative approach to sustainability issues and a global change perspective.



Master's Degree

MSc in Sustainability

A two-year programme providing the knowledge and practical skills necessary to solve the challenges of sustainability.



Thematic Areas & Research Opportunities

The UNU-IAS postgraduate programmes are closely interconnected with the institute’s research activities. Students have opportunities to gain practical experience by engaging actively in the research projects in UNU-IAS thematic areas. The courses offered correspond to these thematic areas under the overarching theme of sustainability.

  • Governance for Sustainable Development (GSD)
  • Biodiversity and Society (BDS)
  • Water & Resource Management (WRM)
  • Innovation & Education (IVE)

Applicants are required to choose one of these thematic areas and propose relevant research to conduct at UNU-IAS. A description of each thematic area is available here.

Learn about research by our previous students


The programme is taught by an expert teaching faculty comprising both UNU-IAS academic staff and invited distinguished scholars and practitioners. Please see the list of faculty members here.

Admissions Policy

The UNU-IAS Postgraduate Programmes in Sustainability / Sustainability Science seeks students with the following qualities:

1. Students who possess a firm academic interest in the pressing global issues on the UN agenda, in particular those of sustainability, and a strong desire to contribute to the solving of problems concerning global environment and society through a transdisciplinary approach;

2. Students who have adequate research skills and clear questions related to global issues as well as a strong desire to engage in research in UNU-IAS thematic areas, with the potential and motivation to succeed in our programmes;

3. Students who have the intention to proactively apply academic research findings to policymaking, and aim to pursue careers in international fields in public service or private organisations, including United Nations, multinational corporations, and non-governmental organisations as well as research academic institutions.


Before contacting us, please read through the MSc FAQ and PhD FAQ pages as your question may already be answered there. 

If your question is not covered in the FAQ, please contact us using the form below. If you have already submitted an application to us, please use the same email address as on the inquiry form.

United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS)
Admissions Office
5-53-70 Jingumae
Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-8925, Japan
T: +81 (0)3 5467-1212

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