PSL University is opening a research master's degree in “Sustainability Science” at the beginning of the 2024 school year.

Facing climate issues: the choice of radical interdisciplinarity

The unprecedented complexity of climate and social issues specific to our time require new and decisive interdisciplinary responses. This new Master's program is intended for students from all backgrounds (disciplines, nationalities, professional aspirations) who wish to gain solid expertise in their “major discipline” while developing scientific knowledge and skills beyond these disciplinary boundaries.
Thus, a wide range of “core disciplines” will be offered: economic sciences and public policies, social sciences, life and biodiversity sciences, earth and climate sciences, history, geography, philosophy, mathematics, cognitive sciences, physics, chemistry, digital humanities .

Facing climate problems: field choice and transdisciplinarity

In order to face global changes, this master's degree stands out in the current sustainability training landscape for two strong features: a project-based educational approach (working on “problems” of a systemic nature) and transdisciplinary research in collaboration with non-governmental academic actors (communities, national parks, associations, government agencies, farmers, etc.).

Thanks to this diversity, by connecting rich disciplinary knowledge and new skills, students will be able to gain a global understanding of sustainability issues and develop more creative solutions, better adapted to the field.

With the strong support of the Ecole Normale Supérieure – PSL (CERES) Center for Teaching and Research on Environment and Society, the lessons offered will give students the scientific keys to transition scenarios and initiatives at different levels. and the actors involved, their points of view, their implications and their interactions. Methodological skills in terms of modeling, conducting surveys, communication and collaboration with different stakeholders will be key tools for developing transformative research.

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“By combining solid theoretical training with practical experiences and working with the professional world, we train experts capable of designing and implementing sustainable transformation trajectories. Scientific expertise is placed in the center of the transition! » explain the leaders of the master's degree Corinne Robert (researcher at INRAE ​​​​and teacher at CERES at ENS – PSL) and Amaury Lambert (teacher – researcher at ENS – PSL and at the Collège de France).

One program, more promotions

This first class will consist of students from different disciplines such as social sciences, philosophy, cognitive sciences, physics and mathematics… The goal is to bring students and researchers from all backgrounds into dialogue. This diversity and collaborative project work with field stakeholders will enable strong emulation to gain a global understanding of sustainability issues and approach transitions in a systematic way. This will involve proposing, in collaboration with stakeholders, creative transformation trajectories adapted to the field.

  • In the first year (M1), 80% of the courses will be followed in one of the 12 partner master's studies to deepen students' disciplinary roots. The rest of the lessons (20%) will be devoted to issues of sustainability and the development of a collaborative student project.
  • In the second year (M2), students will follow theoretical and methodological courses on global changes and various aspects of social and ecological transitions. A significant part of their activities will be devoted to collaborative transdisciplinary projects and internships on the topic of ecological and/or social transitions.

The two years of training will be interspersed with internships, conferences and study days, especially with those in the field, crossing specialties, goals, viewpoints and approaches.

Great need for scientific experts in sustainability

From research to public policy, including consulting and corporate social responsibility, there are many employment opportunities:

  • Responsible positions in companies with a social and environmental appeal, think tanks, consulting companies or even positions within non-governmental organizations or state institutions;
  • Writing a dissertation in interdisciplinary transition research by participating in dedicated programs or within interdisciplinary research institutes.

“This new master's program relies on the significant research strength of PSL institutions. It enables our University to strengthen its leading position in the field of sustainability, complements the already rich and innovative offer (for example the degree “Science for a Sustainable World”) and illustrates our desire to train decision-makers and experts. and scientists from tomorrow. » explains Alain Fuchs, president of PSL University Test: are you made for professions dealing with the environment and sustainable development?

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