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Course Detail

MA Global Governance and Sustainable Development

MA Global Governance and Sustainable Development

Learn about the course below
January, September
2 years part time
Part Time
Course leader
Fees (Total)
Annual Breakdown
Year 1 - 32,300 Year 2 - 32,300 (Part Time)

The MA Global Governance and Sustainable Development degree is taught within Middlesex University’s School of Law where we deliver high-quality teaching and research, and provide a supportive learning environment, helping students to achieve excellent academic results.

A topic of global importance since the late 1980's, 'sustainable development' refers to "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs" (Brundtland Report, 1987). It encompasses responsible utilisation of environmental resources and the establishment of social and economic contexts which enable that. Sustainable development is at the heart of global policies such as Agenda 21, which emerged from the UN Earth Summit in 1992 and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals enshrined in a UN resolution as recently as 2015.

Quality of governance is increasingly recognised as central to sustainable development, which requires achieving just and legitimate outcomes in major global socio-economic and environmental issues such as poverty, climate change, food security and biodiversity loss.  

Why Study MA Global Governance and Sustainable Development?

With the rise of sustainable development as a major issue of the international policy agenda it is essential that global intergovernmental and governmental agencies, international organizations, international businesses, and other groups/organizations have access to professionals that hold the necessary analytical skills and knowledge to address these challenging governance issues in varying contexts. This master's degree aims to provide students with skills to become such a professional - enhancing their knowledge and skills with respect to global governance approaches and instruments focused on environmental sustainability and social justice.

Students will explore various approaches to how intergovernmental and national strategies, policies and projects pertaining to these global governance issues are formulated, implemented and evaluated. The critical case study approach used in teaching will enable students to develop the skills required for working in the private sector or with global and national public or third sector agencies leading and managing change in a global environment.

Middlesex University Dubai is reputed in the region for its undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in the fields of social sciences. Since the early days of the campus in Dubai, we have offered a range of undergraduate degree programmes in international development studies and global social science. More recently, we have introduced undergraduate provision in Law and international politics and a postgraduate programme in international relations. 

Mode of Study Options

Due to the current global situation, your mode of study options could change for the upcoming September 2022 intake. We are monitoring any possible changes closely and will keep all applicants and students informed in case of any updates. Please keep checking this page on our website here to stay up-to-date on the current regulations for studying online and in-person. If you have any questions about studying at Middlesex University Dubai, please reach out to our Admissions Team at

 The MA Global Governance and Sustainable Development offers both full time and part time modes, with the latter running over 2 years. Four core plus two optional modulels are completed over the Autumn and Spring terms followed by a Dissertation period during the Summer.

You will attend lecture, seminars, workshops and tutorials, where you’ll deepen your theoretical knowledge, work on activities and case studies, and develop your analytical and problem-solving skills. You will do research, produce written reports, give presentations and take part in group discussions and group work, supplementing all this with your own independent study. The use of summative assessment at various stages of the programme will encourage students to consolidate their understanding. Some assessment components will involve group work.

Each module is worth 20 credits, with the exception of the Dissertation and Work Integrated Learning modules, which are worth 60 credits each. The Work Integrated Learning module may be selected as an alternative to the Dissertation, with prior approval.


Open Optional Module (20 Credits)

Students may select any available 20 credit module offered by the School of Law in order to tailor their programme towards their own personal interest. For some modules, programme coordinator approval is needed. Student should discuss with their programme coordinator the opportunities. 

Not all optional modules maybe available each year, as they are dependent upon student numbers and interest.

Programme Outline

The MA Global Governance and Sustainable Development offers both full-time and part-time modes, with the latter being run over 2 years. Four core plus two optional modules are completed over the Autumn and Spring terms followed by a Dissertation period during the summer.

You will attend lectures, seminars, workshops and tutorials, where you’ll deepen your theoretical knowledge, work on activities and case studies, and develop your analytical and problem-solving skills. You will do research, produce written reports, give presentations and take part in group discussions and group work, supplementing all this with your own independent study. The use of summative assessment at various stages of the programme will encourage students to consolidate their understanding. Some assessment components will involve group work.

Each module is worth 20 credits, with the exception of the Dissertation and Work Integrated Learning modules, which are worth 60 credits each. The Work Integrated Learning module may be chosen as an alternative to the Dissertation with prior approval. 

Module and programme information is indicative and may be subject to change.

    • Dissertation (60 Credits) - Compulsory
      The module provides students with an opportunity to demonstrate advanced-level legal research skills and understanding in writing a dissertation on a topic proposed by the student and approved by the module leader, drawing as appropriate on knowledge and skills acquired in earlier LLM modules.
    • Sustainable Development and Human Rights (20 Credits) - Compulsory
      This module aims to provide a critical exploration of the key institutions and frameworks that govern human rights at the international level and of the international policy context that promotes sustainable development, to examine how the two do, or do not, interact.  It problematises the notion of rights as competing, contested and co-opted and questions their ability to function in crisis situations.  It focuses on issues of inclusion/exclusion and to this end reflects on how the rights and ‘development’ of three ‘marginalised groups’ have been promoted focusing on indigenous peoples, the caste system and gender inequality.  It aims, overall, to question if the current legal approaches to human rights are sufficient to bring sustainable development to currently marginalised groups.
    • Politics of Globalisation (20 Credits) - Compulsory
      This module considers the implications in International Relations of the forces of globalisation, looking at international political processes and institutions at the level of politics, economics and cultural.  In this module students analyse the relevance of international organisations, and look at transnational politics and issues of global importance. Students explore theoretical debates surrounding these issues and in this way, critically evaluate the effectiveness of international policy. The module aims to provide a platform for students to work constructively in groups, gain leadership skills and formulate arguments and coherent debates in a diverse international environment.
    • Research and Practice Skills (20 Credits) - Compulsory
      This module prepares students for the completion of either a dissertation or an assessed work placement or a work based learning project. A series of lectures and workshops and online exercises address research methodologies, skills and employability. Students will undertake a series of formative and summative assessments developing their critical and practical skills and leading towards either; i) the production of a research proposal or ii) a critical review of the work of the organisation they are to be placed with or work with. The satisfactory completion of the module will then allow the student to proceed to writing a dissertation of 10-12,000 words or to embark on a work placement assessed by production of a project report / paper and exercises reflecting on this experience.
    • Global Governance for Sustainable Development (20 Credits) - Compulsory
      This core module of the MA GGSD aims to provide you with skills and knowledge to understand and critique the notion of sustainable development and the many manifestations it takes in policy and governance starting with the global blueprint of Agenda 21. An increasingly popular term, global governance refers to the collaborations of state and non-state actors in advocating, making laws and policies for and undertaking practical actions to address issues that have global scope in terms of impact and/or causality. This module will help you to understand and learn to contextualise new and emerging theorisations of governance, power and evidence as well as the normative and institutional premises of governance for sustainable development. You will gain a critical understanding of a range of global governance issues such as food security, climate change mitigation and adaptation and healthy cities.
    • International Human Rights Law (20 Credits) - Optional
      To analyse the international human rights law framework under the United Nations and assess its monitoring procedures and efficacy, engaging the complementary America, African and Asian regional systems. Students will be required to reflect on challenges to the implementation of international human rights law globally, as well as engage strategies that advance thematic and country-specific elements of the human rights bodies under the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The module will involve critical research on international human rights mechanisms, including treaty-based and Charter-based bodies, as well as regional commissions and courts. The aim is to reach a comprehensive understanding of the full range of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, and the interaction between domestic, regional and international law in their protection, realisation and fulfilment. Students will be tasked with evolving a rights-based analysis to identify and address gaps that contribute to widespread contemporary global rights violations. 
    • Migration Theories and Approaches (20 Credits) - Optional
      To provide an opportunity for students to undertake work experience commensurate with postgraduate levels of study and, by doing so, to advance knowledge, critical thinking and understanding to an appropriate level. It also provides an opportunity for students to work alongside key decision makers in organisations where global governance occurs, and also provides an option to the dissertation credit for their degrees. In addition, the module enables students to develop advanced insight into core issues in global governance, developing individual capacity for problem solving, interpretation and critical construction of knowledge. 
    • Integrated Work and Learning (20 Credits) - Optional

      Please note this module is a barred combination with Work Integrated Learning.

      This practical experience module provides the means for students to link academic work with ‘real world’ work experience related to their specific programme. The aim is to enable the student to conceptualise the relation of theory to policy decisions within the wider world context. This module aims to develop and embed specific key skills which will facilitate career paths and employment in their chosen speciality. It is envisaged that the student will reflect upon and analyse areas of knowledge relevant to the placement learning experience and develop personal knowledge through review of learning. This learning experience provides students with the opportunity to enhance their skills of self-expression, communication, self-reliance, cooperation and team working within an area of work related to their chosen programme.

    • Foundations and Principles of International Law (20 Credits) - Optional
      Students will gain a systematic understanding of the core general rules and principles of international law. Knowledge of this conceptual and legal framework is particularly recommended for those enroling on other specialised LLM courses with an international dimension. The course seeks to enable students to analyse,  critically evaluate and provide authoritative commentary on how international law impacts international relations and contemporary concerns such as globalisation, the use of armed force, terrorism, poverty, governance and the regulation of ownership over territory. 
    • Global Security (20 Credits) - Optional
      This module analyzes changes in the global security agenda since the end of the Cold War, both empirically and theoretically. The meaning of security is explored and competing theoretical perspectives in the discipline are compared. The transformation of military security threats is then analyzed with particular emphasis on the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and the significance of global terrorism. The module then explores the rise of non-military issues of human security including environmental change, crime, disease, poverty, and disasters
    • Foreign Policy Analysis: Geopolitical Perspectives (20 Credits) - Optional
      The aim of this module is to analyse foreign policy practices as crucial sites of political agency and choice in contemporary geopolitics of international relations. This course will draw on the advanced classical and critical theories of international relations and geopolitical perspectives applied to the study of the foreign policy traditions, strategies and practices of the key actors and cases in global politics. The module is designed to encourage and qualify an international group of postgraduate students who may wish to further their specialized study of foreign policy analysis and or employment in fields related to governance, business, politics, and diplomacy. The overall aim of this module is to create a multidisciplinary, multicultural learning environment that is reflected on the teaching practice and research of the module leader and receptive to the diverse needs and views of students.
    • Work Integrated Learning (60 Credits) - Optional
      The module aims to enable students to apply theoretical knowledge and research to anticipate and respond to challenges in a selected workplace experience. The workplace experience may be undertaken as an internship negotiated by the student or in their current workplace or an existing voluntary role. It also aims to foster sustainable long term learning by requiring students to take responsibility for their own learning, design and negotiate learning goals and make informed judgments about their performance across the programme of study. The module asks students to engage as active subjects in the assessment process, thus enhancing the capacity for transformative learning. By selecting a topic of interest grounded in the workplace experience the student will demonstrate reflexivity, self-regulation and self-assessment in their journey towards personal and professional development

Taught sessions are held at our Dubai Knowledge Park campus (Block 16, 17, 04 and 19) during the week (Monday to Friday) between 6:30pm and 9:30pm. Additional sessions might be scheduled over weekends or holiday periods and you can expect to receive plenty of notice for these. You can expect to attend one session per week per module, except where otherwise specified in the programme timetable and for the Dissertation module in which you will be working individually on your thesis with some supervised elements. Attending scheduled weekly classes is an important requirement for completion of this programme.

You will be actively involved in a range of learning, teaching and assessment approaches as part of your programme. Such active approaches aim to put you at the centre of your learning so you are involved and engaged in all aspects of your assessment and learning. Your programme will require your active participation in learning activities and engagement with your fellow students both individually and collaboratively, working and learning with other students as part of a small group. Learning activities may also occur both within and outside the classroom.

Your learning will also be supported by technology. Increasingly your tutors will be using existing and emerging learning technologies to engage you in e-learning activities. Your programme may be facilitated using a variety of media and online tools (My Learning on UniHub, podcasts, wikis, etc.) which could allow you flexible access to a diverse range of online resources, quizzes and learning materials as well as collaborative tools with which you can engage and learn with your peers.

Not confined by the time and space associated with traditional teaching methods you may take part in online discussions and learning activities from wherever you are studying. By engaging with e-learning you will also be developing skills which are essential for your learning and are also highly valued by employers. These include but are not limited to: working flexibly, communication, understanding of IT, team working and creating shared understandings based on quality resources and access to global expertise.

Lectures will provide an overview of topics to be supplemented by directed reading. In seminars students will discuss issues raised in the lectures and in readings. They will engage in debate, sometimes work in small groups on assigned topics and feedback in oral presentations to a plenary session. In some sessions debate is stimulated by reading of primary materials and/ or recent news items.

Taught modules are assessed by Book Reviews, Primary Document Reports and essays. The final module is assessed by a dissertation proposal of 2,000 words and the dissertation of 10,000 words.

Aims of the Programme

The programme aims to:

  • Provide students with in depth knowledge of evolving theoretical and conceptual, governance and policy debates within the field of sustainable development.
  • Develop students' systematic critical awareness of the complexities that inhibit the ability of national and international policies to effectively address global challenges such as climate change and poverty.
  • Provide an intellectual setting in which students can develop appreciation of substantive issues in relation to processes of governance and public policy formulation in different societies and contexts.
  • Develop critical understanding of notions such as sustainability, social justice, and rights.
  • Enhance opportunities for senior/managerial level employment through advanced intellectual, communication, technological and work related skills.
  • Provide students with a multi-disciplinary understanding of the changing trends in sustainable development.
  • Foster students’ ability to collect, analyse and interpret information on key issues related to their programme of study and to use this to construct reasoned, evidenced argument.
  • Apply research, policy, legislation and best practice principles to complex situations relevant to their own area of work or career aspirations through a substantial piece of independent study.

Academic Requirements

  • Graduates with a good (2nd class) honours degree, or an equivalent qualification, in a relevant discipline are eligible to apply.
  • Graduates with a good (2nd class) honours degree, or an equivalent qualification, in any discipline plus relevant work experience are also eligible to apply.
  • Those without formal qualifications need to demonstrate a minimum of three years relevant voluntary or professional experience, and other professional qualifications and the ability to study at postgraduate level.

If students have relevant qualifications or work experience, academic credit may be awarded towards Middlesex University programme of study.

English Language Requirements (Postgraduate)

All programmes at Middlesex University Dubai are taught in English and applicants with previous education outside of English-speaking countries (such as the UK, the United States, Canada, England, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand), must demonstrate English language proficiency as follows:

English Language Test

Entry Requirement

IELTS Academic

6.5 (minimum 6.0 in each band)

TOEFL Internet-based

87 (21 in listening & writing, 22 in speaking and 23 in reading)

PearsonPTE Academic


For admissions related enquiries, kindly contact our admissions team on 0097143678100 / 0097143751212 alternatively you can email on

The MA Global Governance and Sustainable Development programme provides students with specialised knowledge and practical skills relevant for a range of new career opportunities or career progression in their current workplaces.

Career prospects for candidates with postgraduate qualifications in Global Governance and Sustainable Development are quite promising in the region and internationally due to the strong emphasis being placed on sustainability. Due to increasing global interconnectedness and awareness by decision makers of the complex and compounding threats to sustainability currently facing the world, individuals with this qualification will be able to transition easily between the public, private, and third sector (ie government, business, and non-profit) in their career. Graduates may consider rewarding careers with international agencies such as the United Nations and its sub-agencies or the World Bank and similar institutions. Private business organisations that operate in multi-national markets in every area ranging from health and education to environmental protection and cultural affairs to banking employ professionals with the knowledge and skills developed in this programme.  The programme would position graduates well for positions in Corporate Social Responsibility, Government Relations, Research, Policy, PR and outreach, and a variety of ‘analyst’ positions (risk analyst, political analyst, and market analyst).

Middlesex University’s Careers and Employability Service offers postgraduate students support in planning their career.

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