School of History and Geography

Climate and Environmental Sustainability

climate environmental sustainability
CAO Code:
Course Type:
NFQ Level:
8 - Please see for further information
Delivery Modes
Minimum Points
Three/Four Years
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700 9124

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Climate change is not only the defining issue of our generation but also of the next generation. Humans have caused so much damage and disruption to our global environment that our own existence is now at stake, as are those of many animals and natural habitats around the world. It is vital that humanity acts to address this issue and the world needs trained experts who can help.

If you are deeply concerned about climate change and our environment, and fascinated by how we affect the landscape and how the landscape affects us, this specialist environmental geography programme could be perfect for you. 

Taking a multi-faceted approach 

This applied geography programme takes a dual approach that is not just about understanding climate change and its consequences, but also about understanding how the environment itself offers solutions. You will learn how to prioritise and implement nature-based solutions, which could involve, for example, supporting biodiversity or natural land use such as retaining flood plains. 

One factor that distinguishes this programme is how it encompasses different disciplines. Not only will students learn topics such as physical geography, climate science and biogeography, but they will also study the social aspects of climate change and become skilled in data analysis. Working geographers must be data-literate as they use spatial analysis and mapping technologies, so the programme has been designed to mirror real-world practice.

“This programme offers a new way of teaching, a new way of learning and a new way of answering the call the environment and the world is putting on this generation. Throughout the programme, you will learn how to understand the key issues and you will be able to go in and inform policy and take action, whether that will be within industry, government or wider society.

Learning rooted in real challenges

With only 20 students on the course, the programme aims to develop a tightly-knit learning community. You will frequently work in teams on engaging challenges based on real data and reflecting issues based on those encountered by industry, the public sector and non-governmental organisations, and will frequently meet and hear from industry partners.

You will learn and understand through immersive learning approaches such as hackathons, sprints, gamification and challenge-based team learning. You’ll also have the option of a year-long work placement or a year abroad between year two and year three, but can progress directly from year two to three if you prefer.

Climate and Environmental Sustainability: Areas of learning

  • Climate science
  • Geography
  • Ecology
  • Environmental policy
  • Geographical Information Systems (GIS)
  • Remote sensing
  • Food security and human health

Building a vital skillset 

  • Teamwork and collaboration
  • Personal agility
  • Leadership skills
  • Communication and presentation skills
  • Data literacy and analysis
  • Fieldwork, observation and research
  • Foreign language 

BA in Climate and Environmental Sustainability modules

Year 1
Semester 1

  • GY105 Geographical interpretation and communication
  • GY110 Introduction to environmental spatial analysis
  • GY111 Introduction to sustainability
  • GY101 Introduction to human geography
  • GY103 Hazardous earth

Semester 2

  • CA179 Data literacy & analytics for the 21st century
  • GY102 Ireland in Europe and the wider world
  • GY104 Global climates
  • GY112 Sustainable cities
  • GY113 Introduction to biogeography and ecology

Year long

  • GY114 Sustainability journey 1 - awareness and skills

Year 2
Semester 1

  • GY209 Evolution of Ireland's physical landscape
  • GY238 Environmental data analysis
  • GY239 Introduction to oceans and the marine environment
  • EF221 Environmental economics

Semester 2

  • GY218 Climate change: causes and consequences
  • GY242 Sustainable food security
  • LG249 Climate change and environmental policy

Year long

  • GY240 Sustainability fieldtrip
  • GY241 Sustainability journey 2: Insights through collaboration

Final Year Provisional 

  • Water resources of Ireland (or standalone equivalent for BCES)
  • Environmental GIS
  • Environmental citizen science
  • Climate and environmental sustainability research project
  • Sustainability journey 3 - active engagement
  • Environmental ethics
  • Ecosystems and conservation
  • Communication, culture and the environment
  • Challenge-based learning for sustainability transformations (DCU-ND collaboration)
  • Environmental impact assessments
View the current course structure

Life on Campus

We have three academic campuses close to Dublin City centre - they are located in Glasnevin and Drumcondra, and can be reached by public transport (Dublin Bus).

Each campus has libraries, study spaces, restaurants, and on-campus residencies. Sports facilities are located on two of the academic campuses. We also have a dedicated sports campus in the form of St Claire’s. 

Exceptional facilities

DCU students have access to exceptional teaching and learning facilities across our three academic campuses. 

These include modern learning theatres, research centres, new media and TV studio, radio/podcast studios, classrooms, computer suites and advanced labs in the areas of languages, engineering, physics, chemistry and biotechnology, as well as a sports performance centre and training hospital ward. In 2021, we opened our first virtual reality ‘Leadership Lab’, which is located in our Business School.

Construction on our FutureTech building on the Glasnevin campus will get underway in 2022. Once completed, this facility will advance DCU’s international reputation for excellence in science and health, computing and engineering disciplines. It will have the capacity to accommodate an additional 3,000 STEM students on the university’s Glasnevin campus.

Campus life

DCU student facilities boast a fully equipped sports complex with a 25-metre pool, three libraries and The Helix, our renowned performing arts centre.

Our purpose built, state-of-the-art new student centre known as 'The U' serves the needs of a rapidly growing student body of 18,500. It is home to the Student Leadership and Lifeskills Centre, performing arts and cultural spaces for students and the wider community, and the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Hub.

DCU Students' Union and the Office of Student Life are also based in the U.  The centre is a space for students where they can meet, with lots of charging points and isolation booths. Clubs and Socs avail of meeting rooms here and it's also home to DCUfm. NuBar, Londis and the Venue are also located here.

There are more than 140 clubs and societies for students in DCU, with ‘Clubs & Socs’ days taking place on both the Glasnevin and Drumcondra campuses at the start of the academic year.

Student Supports

We have a number of academic, professional and social supports for students.

Student Advice Centre: Offers a wide range of supports and services to students and advice 

The Writing Centre - drop-in writing workshops for students through the academic year 

Maths Learning Centre - provides maths support for students of all ability levels with maths modules 

Student Learning: facilitate the transition from passive to active learning for students at DCU, by teaching study skills, nurturing critical thinking and building student confidence. 

Careers work with students to help them on their professional journey into graduate employment.

Our student support team offers a comprehensive support programme, helping students make that all important transition into university life and focusing on building confidence and skills which are key to success at third level.

Darren Clarke, Assistant Professor, DCU School of History and Geography, and Programme Chair, BA in Climate and Environmental Sustainability

“This programme offers a new way of teaching, a new way of learning and a new way of answering the call the environment and the world is putting on this generation. Throughout the programme, you will learn how to understand the key issues and you will be able to go in and inform policy and take action, whether that will be within industry, government or wider society.

A future-facing qualification 

You won’t end up being either a natural or a social scientist, but will have the skillsets of both, and understand how both can work together. This ability to bridge two worlds is a must-have for anyone seeking to have real impact in addressing climate and environmental challenges. 

Furthermore, with data literacy built in throughout the programme, you will find that your skills are much sought after now and in the future

Preparing for a host of careers

Graduates of this programme may end up working with organisations specifically focused on climate change and the environment, but could also work in organisations across the public and private sectors in roles such as: 

  • Climate Scientist
  • Sustainability Manager
  • Environmental Consultant
  • Environmental Data Analyst
  • Environmental Resource Manager
  • Corporate Social Responsibility Manager
  • Strategic Change Manager
  • Conservation Manager


Leaving Cert

There are no additional entry requirements for this programme apart from the general entry requirements for admission to the university.

GCE A Level

There are no additional entry requirements for this programme apart from the general entry requirements for admission to the university.

FET Level 5

For details of QQI requirements and relevant codes please click here. Simply enter the DC code for the programme you are interested in or if you are not sure of the code enter DC in the Select by Institution option, then click on Go. 

EU Transfer Applications

Transfers are not permitted at present

International Applications

International candidates are expected to have educational qualifications of a standard equivalent to those outlined above. In addition, where such candidates are non-native speakers of the English language they must satisfy the university of their competency in the English language. For further information on international applications click here.

Next Steps

Mature Applicants

All mature applicants apply through the CAO by 1st February. For further information and for special application procedures for mature students, please click here

Applicants presenting EU school Leaving Examinations

Applicants presenting EU School Leaving/QQI FET examinations: Apply through the Central Applications Office (CAO) by 1st February or 1st May

Applicants presenting examinations from outside the EU

Candidates should apply directly to DCU. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis up to 1st July. All Non-EU candidates are advised to apply early, as places are limited.

EU Transfer Applicants

Transfers are not permitted at present

Make an Application

Candidates required to apply through the CAO can apply online at
Candidates required to apply directly to DCU can download, print and complete a direct application form R10 by clicking here