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About GCM

Global Change

Global environmental change processes modify the character of the earth system and therefore influence directly or indirectly the fundamental natural resources of mankind.

Nowadays climate change is recognized as the most important factors driving these changes. Other facets of global environmental change concern the loss of biodiversity, vast deforestation, freshwater availability and soil degradation. Main drivers of these rapid changes are population growth, propagation and intensification of agriculture and industry, rising consumption of goods and energy and the globalization of the world economy.

Scientific and public interest in global change issues is continuously growing. Actors and various levels (from local to international) are seeking political and institutional solutions for the pressing problems of Global Change. There is growing demand for well-trained specialists who are able to cope with challenges of natural resource management under Global Change.


The aim of the Programme

This Master programme trains specialists who are able to effectively contribute to the mitigation of and adaptation to the drastic effects of Global Change. The main focus is on a proactive sustainable use of natural resources.

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A distinctive feature of this programme is the partnership of the University with internationally renowned research institutes as well as business and NGO partners. The partners, Deutsche Gesellschaft für International Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Germanwatch e.V., Munich Re, Naturschutzbund Deutschland (NABU), and Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and Thünen-Institute contribute with modules specifically designed for this study programme.

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Programme elements

1. und 2. Semester:

  • Factors contributing to human wellbeing
  • Fundamentals of system functionality
  • Threats and risks to dynamic systems
  • Strategies and implementation of change management

 3. Semester:

  • Independent research project (at a GCM-related organisation in Germany or abroad) 

4. Semester:

  • Research colloquium, Master thesis and defence (in total 120 ECTS credits)

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Contents and learning objectives

    • Acquisition of a science-based understanding of the causes, dimensions, mechanisms and current trends of Global Change processes that are relevant for natural resource management
    • Development of key skills for understanding human-environment interrelationships and for communicating with stakeholders and the broader publics
    • Evaluation of the reactions of biological systems of various hierarchical levels (from cell to ecosystems) and the impacts of Global Change
    • Application of scientific knowledge and planning methods for the design of strategies to minimise risks associated with Global Change

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    Career opportunities

    Mitigation of and adaptation to impacts of global change has become a cross-cutting issue in natural resource management. All corresponding sectors require experts capable of proposing proactive solutions to dynamically changing problems. Possible job opportunities in the context of:

    • Local and national implementation of international conventions (e.g., land use and forestry projects as contribution to climate change mitigation)

    • Adaptation of land and natural resource use to the projected climatic changes

    • Adaptive management of protected areas

    • Adaptive, global-change oriented management of development projects

    • Economic and socio-political risk management (e.g., insurance companies)

      The university degree "Master of Science" qualifies to enter a Ph.D. programme.

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