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Mastering Sustainable Development

In partnership with
Program Code: GVOL0777M

Course Information

Student Rating
9/ 10

Next start date

Weekly on Mondays

Enrollment closes


Course frequency

Every week



Time Commitment




Optional Extra

GVI Program Abroad


£100 scholarships available. Book by 31 August*

Flexible Payment

Options Available


Want to get a career in social or environmental impact? Don’t know where to start, but want to get off on the right path? Complete our 24 week Mastering Sustainable Development program to get the full perspective of the sustainable development sector, covering everything from wildlife conservation and climate change, to global health and human rights.

Master skills in fundamentals areas such as fundraising, communication, leadership, ethical best practice and monitoring and evaluation. Learn the key concepts in the focus areas of community development and nature conservation as you find out how to contribute to meaningful and impactful real-life developmental initiatives.

Skills you’ll acquire

After completing this course you’ll be able to:

  • explain the factors threatening wildlife and marine conservation
  • debate the effects of climate change and its environmental impact
  • explain what impact measurement is and how to fundraise
  • discuss the principles of social impact and community development 
  • evaluate the different careers available in sustainable development and how to best secure a job in one of these fields.

Is this program for me?

If you feel inspired by the work being done by professionals in the field of sustainable development and would like to transition to a career where you can significantly contribute to global initiatives, then this is the course for you. Whether you are in high school, college or a graduate wanting to launch your impactful career, or a mid-career professional looking to change things up and switch careers, or if you are a retired senior who wants to be involved in community projects, this program has something for everyone.

Course Curriculum

The program includes our Climate Crisis and Sustainability and Wildlife Conservation courses. In the wildlife conservation course you’ll learn about current issues threatening wildlife and biodiversity, such as habitat destruction, pollution and climate change. In the climate crisis course, you’ll analyse sustainability and the principles of climate change and its impact on the environment.

You'll also take part in our Marine Conservation and Conservation and Scientific Research courses. In the marine course, you’ll learn about the issues threatening marine ecosystems and analyse real-world case studies and a variety of solution-based conservation projects. In the scientific research course, topics include species identification, surveying techniques and logistics, and the importance of health and safety protocols.

Another component of this program is our Human Rights and Global Health courses. In the Human Rights course, you’ll first learn about the 30 universal human rights and how local factors affect implementation. You’ll discuss the rights of specific groups and current human rights debates. In the Global Health course, you’ll learn about past and current global health issues and possible innovations. You’ll also discuss universal health coverage and how power and politics influence public health policy.

You'll also complete our Making an Impact Ethically and Fundraising and Communication courses. In the Making an Impact Ethically course, you’ll engage in debate on a range of commonly encountered ethical predicaments and discuss your own solutions to these dilemmas. In the Fundraising and Communications course you’ll explore the different types of fundraising activities and how to overcome common challenges in fundraising.

The program also includes our Community Development and Impact Measurement courses. In the Community Development course, you’ll learn about how community development initiatives fail and how to avoid this. In the Impact Measurement course, you’ll learn how to create an impact measurement plan and implement it. You’ll also learn how to set up and manage effective data collection.

Lastly, you will cover our Careers in Sustainable Development and Leading Teams for Impact courses. In the careers course, you’ll learn about different careers in sustainable development and learn how to network, write a resume, submit an application and impress during an interview. In the leadership course, you’ll find out how to set goals, give feedback, manage conflict and identify different roles of team members.

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

This course includes material related to these Goals
COURSE 1 : Climate Crisis and Sustainability
Orientation to our online learning platform
Module 1 : The Earth System
Module 2 : Environmental Problems
Module 3 : Sustainable Development and the Environment
Module 4 : Approached to Environmental Sustainability
Module 5 : Making Change for Our Planet’s Future
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COURSE 2 : Wildlife Conservation
Orientation to our online course
Module 1 : Introduction to conservation
Module 2 : Biodiversity and ecosystem management
Module 3 : Key threats and pressures
Module 4 : Wildlife conservation in the field
Module 5 : The institutional and funding landscape
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COURSE 3 : Marine Conservation
Orientation to our online course
Module 1 : Introduction to Marine Conservation
Module 2 : Approaches to Marine Conservation
Module 3 : Key Threats to Marine Environments
Module 4 : Marine Conservation in the Field
Module 5 : Marine Conservation Stakeholders
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COURSE 4 : Conservation and Scientific Research
Orientation to our online learning platform
Module 1 : Target Species Identification
Module 2 : Survey Techniques
Module 3 : Survey Logistics
Module 4 : Project partner relationships
Module 5 : Health and Safety Procedures
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COURSE 5 : Human Rights and Advocacy
Orientation to our online learning platform
Module 1 : Human Rights Introduction
Module 2 : International Normative Framework Around Human Rights
Module 3 : Cultural Relativism and Regional Issues
Module 4 : The Rights of Specific Groups
Module 5 : Current Issues, Debates and Ways Forward
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COURSE 6 : Global Public Health
Orientation to our online learning platform
Module 1 : The Evolution of Global Public Health
Module 2 : Global Health Issues
Module 3 : Universal Health Coverage
Module 4 : Health Policy, Power and Politics
Module 5 : Innovation in Global Health Delivery
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COURSE 7 : Ethics in Sustainable Development
Orientation to our online learning platform
Module 1 : Introduction to Ethics
Module 2 : Ethical Theories in Action
Module 3 : Ethics and Solutions to Global Problems
Module 4 : Is There a “Right and Wrong” Way?
Module 5 : The Future of Doing Good
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COURSE 8 : Social Entrepreneurship and Impact Investing
Orientation to our online learning platform
Module 1 : Social Entrepreneurship
Module 2 : Human-Centred Design
Module 3 : Behavioural Science
Module 4 : Systems Innovation
Module 5 : Impact Investing
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COURSE 9 : Impact Measurement
Orientation to our online learning platform
Module 1 : Introduction to Impact Measurement
Module 2 : Planning for Measurement
Module 3 : Implementing Your Measurement Plan
Module 4 : Managing and Using Data for Impact
Module 5 : Current and Future Approaches to Impact Measurement
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COURSE 10 : Community Development
Orientation to our online learning platform
Module 1 : Introduction to Community Development
Module 2 : Understanding a Local Context and Its Priorities
Module 3 : How to Engage with Communities
Module 4 : The Ethics of Stakeholder Management
Module 5 : Best Practices in Community Development
View modules
COURSE 11 : Careers in Sustainable Development
Orientation to our online learning platform
Module 1 : Career Paths and Opportunities
Module 2 : Your Values and Ways to Make an Impact
Module 3 : Career Mapping and Choices
Module 4 : Building Your Profile and Personal Brand
Module 5 : Securing Your Dream Job
View modules
COURSE 12 : Leading Teams for Impact
Orientation to our online learning platform
Module 1 : Introduction to Team Leading
Module 2 : Planning and Setting Team Goals
Module 3 : Preparing by Creating a Safe, Supportive Environment
Module 4 : Presenting and Communicating With Your Team
Module 5 : Performing and Developing a Leadership Style
View modules

Earn a certificate

Want to show colleges, universities and employers that you’ve got the knowledge and skills covered in this course? Once you’ve successfully completed any of our courses, we’ll send you a digital certificate of completion at no additional cost. The certificate will feature the official name of the course and your name. Add the certificate to your college application, your graduate school application, your job application or your LinkedIn page.

Your course experts

Robin Sears

Environmental Sustainability instructor
Robin Sears has been looking into the environmental and policy side of environmental sustainability since 2000. She served on the Millennium Development task force on environmental sustainability and has worked with governments, farmers and scientists designing ways to reverse environmental destruction and to restore nature’s capacity. She loves teaching, and when she is not thinking about your learning, she enjoys any sort of outdoor recreational activity, reading scientific literature and tending to her garden.

Michael Musgrave, PhD

African Conservation and Sustainable Development Professional
Michael Musgrave has over two decades of experience in wildlife conservation, sustainable development and sustainable business across Central and Southern Africa. Recently, he consulted for African Parks, a non-governmental organisation, and developed an innovative community conservation project for communities who live in and around conservation areas in 16 National Parks in nine different African countries. He holds an MSc in African Ecology and a PhD in Sustainable Development.

Miguel Angel Lozano

GVI Program Manager of Mexico
As GVI’s program manager of Mexico, Miguel Angel Lozano oversees the development and running of the marine conservation programs in Puerto Morelos. Miguel holds a degree in oceanography, and before working with GVI, resided in the Mexican Caribbean contributing to marine conservation. He has worked with several NGOs, contributing data such as vital research on bull sharks. He gained experience in teaching from six years as a faculty member at his state university, lecturing on alternative tourism and data analysis.

Gabrielle L. Johnson, PhD

Senior International Marine Program Manager and Conservation Education Specialist
Gabrielle L. Johnson has nearly a decade of experience as a senior program manager on multi-national marine conservation projects for various organisations. She has assisted with creating educational programs, usually focused on marine environments, for a range of purposes, from vocational, corporate and governmental training to children’s education initiatives. She has also served as an educational consultant for National Geographic, PADI and the Charles Darwin Foundation.

Corey Barr

Human Rights Consultant
Corey Barr is a human rights consultant specialising in gender equality. She regularly consults with globally recognised organisations such as Amnesty International, the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), the United Nations International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women). She’s also served as Program Director at Human Rights Education Associates (HREA) where she developed gender-related human rights courses.

Dr Lindi van Niekerk

Medical Doctor and Health Innovator
Dr Lindi van Niekerk has designed and led health innovation projects around the world in partnership with a wide range of organisations. She co-founded the Social Innovation in Health Initiative (SIHI) with the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases based at the World Health Organization (WHO). As SIHI’s principal investigator, she researched 25 social innovation models across 17 countries. She also led the establishment of social innovation research hubs at universities in Malawi, Uganda and the Philippines.

Rosie Urbanovich

Applied Ethics Specialist and Non-profit Communications Manager
Rosie Urbanovich is an adjunct professor of moral philosophy. In this role, she lectures undergraduates on contemporary ethical issues such as animal welfare, climate change and global poverty. She has nearly a decade of experience managing communications and other marketing activities to assist non-profits in raising funds. Rosie holds a MA in global ethics from King’s College London.

Debbie DiVirgilio

Nonprofit Consultant
Debbie DiVirgilio has 25 years of experience in leadership roles across the non-profit sector, and is currently a non-profit department chair and an adjunct faculty member. Debbie teaches nonprofit administration and grant writing classes at a graduate level and public speaking, ethics and sociology classes at an undergraduate level. Debbie is also a certified grant professional and governance trainer.

Elisabeth Richardson

Sustainable Business and Social Enterprise Leader
Elisabeth Richardson holds an MBA and has worked in leadership roles at businesses and non-profits that focus on solving social and environmental problems for nearly 20 years. She developed the standards behind the B Impact Assessment, a platform designed to measure and manage a company's positive impact, is a regular speaker at conferences such as TedX and has been published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review.

Candice Clark

HR Practitioner and Career Coach
Candice Clark, a certified life coach, has spent over a decade as a human resource (HR) practitioner and has led hundreds of individuals in making crucial career decisions. Her background is in psychology and she’s a specialist wellness counsellor registered with the Association for Supportive Counsellors and Holistic Practitioners (ASCHP). She’s currently completing a Master’s of Public Health (MPH).

Cheryl Martin

GVI Regional Director of Asia
Over the course of nearly a decade working with GVI, Cheryl Martin has led hundreds of leadership training courses around the world. Originally starting her career as an early childhood development teacher, Cheryl has over 25 years of experience as a classroom teacher and spent five as an assistant principal. As GVI’s regional director of Asia, Cheryl oversees the development of GVI staff across the Asian subcontinent.

Jill Walker

GVI Director of Operations
Jill Walker has spent more than a decade in leadership positions across GVI’s many sustainable development projects around the world. As GVI’s director of operations, she oversees the development and training of dozens of GVI’s mid-level managers. Jill holds a MSc in environmental education, and she’s currently completing an integrative coaching certificate.

Alumni Testimonials

Course Rating

Mastering Sustainable Development

I would highly recommend this course to anyone who is unsure about what career he or she intends on pursuing. This program has opened my mind to so many possibilities and various viewpoints which I hadn’t considered before. Interesting, useful and very valuable course worth undertaking.

Course Rating

Mastering Sustainable Development

This course really helped me to focus in on which career I actually wanted to persue

Course Rating

Mastering Sustainable Development

I really enjoyed the Careers in Sustainable Development. Candice is an experienced HR professional and gave us amazing insights into the hiring process and how to impress a hiring manager in the sustainable development field.

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