Master's programme Climate Change and Societal Transformation

Understanding climate change and finding transformative solutions!

Do you want to learn more about climate change, the underlying physical and socio-ecological processes and its impact as a social and political crisis? Are you interested in solutions for a sustainable and just society and economy?

Then Climate Change and Societal Transformation is the right choice for you!

The inter- and transdisciplinary Master’s programme looks at the global climate crisis from a holistic point of view integrating different perspectives:

  • First, it provides an understanding of climate change, its processes and drivers, and its multiple impacts from a natural-sciences-point of view.
  • Second, it presents a social-ecological analysis of the drivers, actors, and consequences of climate change, as well as possible solutions.
  • Third, the programme incorporates transformative approaches to a sustainable and just society with explicit consideration of global differences and dynamics.
  • The programme explores as well how adaptation strategies interfere with other sustainable development goals.

Join us to explore sustainable and just solutions for our society addressing climate change!

Why Climate Change and Societal Transformation?

Humanity is facing many challenges, of which climate change is one of the most critical.

As we are soon about to transgress planetary boundaries, climate change increasingly impacts our physical environment and socio-ecological systems. Growing groups of society call for a low- to zero-carbon transformation. This transformation will provide opportunities for a more just society but also bears risks of conflicts throughout the society with diverse competing interests. Therefore experts are needed to understand, evaluate and guide these transformation processes.

The new Master's programme provides a comprehensive understanding of the climate crisis, as well as tools to address it.

The Master’s programme is attractive and future-oriented not only because it addresses the climate crisis as one of the most urgent issues our society faces today, but also because it presents this content in an innovative way. The idea and ultimately the success of the programme are based on close cooperation between the lecturers from different disciplines across natural and social sciences, and their openness and commitment.

Basic Data

Programm classification no.: UH 066 635
Duration: 4 Semester
ECTS: 120 Credits
Degree: MSc
Language: English





 Dipl.-Kulturw.Univ. Dr. Christina Plank
Dipl.-Kulturw.Univ. Dr. Christina Plank

You will learn to...

  • understand climate change as a result of society-nature interactions.
  • develop and critically assess sustainability strategies.
  • understand the connections between climate change, the fight against poverty and hunger, gender equity, indigenous rights and other social-ecological issues.
  • contribute to a social-ecological transformation towards a sustainable society with low resource use and low greenhouse gas emissions.
  • apply quantitative and qualitative methods, tools and models to analyse the climate system and climate change.
  • assess the effects of mitigation and adaptation strategies as well as the potentials, risks, limitations and ethical issues associated with potential geoengineering strategies.
  • understand strategies to reduce resource use and greenhouse gas emissions (e.g. circular economy, bioeconomy, natural climate solutions, decoupling, degrowth) and the related challenges (including North-South relations).
  • …assess the potentials and limitations of these strategies and understand trade-offs and synergies including issues of environmental conflict and justice.

The programme is structured in four phases:

  1. During the onboarding and foundation phase you will learn the basics of climate change and transformation as well as important research approaches.
  2. In the specialisation phase, you can choose one of three fields which you will focus on. The compulsory modules provide advanced theoretical and methodological skills in the chosen specialisation. You will also have the opportunity to choose elective modules which focus on specific topics like the impact of climate change on nature and society, how to mitigate and adapt to climate change and how these strategies interact with other goals. You will also learn about transformative developments towards a fair and sustainable society.
  3. The integrative closing phase brings together students from the individual specialisations. This will allow you to apply your knowledge and collaborate in inter- and transdisciplinary settings. You will have the opportunity to interact with stakeholders and practitioners and develop creative, innovative and sustainable approaches to solve real-world problems.
  4. During the thesis phase, you will work on a research problem rooted in your chosen specialization. During the master seminar, you will gain additional skills and training in presentation techniques.

Please see the curriculum for further detail.


Climate dynamics and climate impacts provides an in-depth understanding of the physico-chemical processes of the climate system and changes through anthropogenic activity and beyond, thereby providing the theoretical, technical, and empirical basis to understand, observe and model the spatial and temporal dynamics of the climate system, the natural and human-induced changes and the impacts of these changes on nature and society

Social ecology of climate change places climate change in the larger context of interactions between society and nature. Within this specialization you will learn about concepts like the social metabolism and land use as physical drivers of climate change and methods to investigate these interactions. You will also learn to critically and interdisciplinary evaluate strategies of social-ecological transformation ranging from decoupling to degrowth.

Climate crisis and transformative development offers in-depth insights and practical training in participatory and transdisciplinary approaches, processes, and methods. You will be working towards a climate-friendly and just transformation with local communities in specific places in the Global North and the Global South as well as engaging at national and international levels.

Career prospects: transforming society


The Master’s programme qualifies you to pursue the following professional activities:

  • Teaching and research in inter- and transdisciplinary climate and sustainability sciences at university level, in public and private research and educational institutions, both at national and international level.
  • Developing, implementing and evaluating strategies and policies for climate change mitigation and adaptation. This work can be carried out in the public sector (regional or national administration, international organisations), in non-governmental organisations (such as development, environmental and nature conservation organisations), consulting and advisory firms, statistical offices, sustainability departments and more.
  • Contributing to the development and implementation of solutions for sustainable development in the public and private sector. This can involve working in areas such as businesses, public administration, non-profit organisations, social and healthcare sectors and others.
  • Engaging in knowledge transfer and “translation”, communication and dissemination activities. This can include adult education, investigative journalism, media coverage, (non-)governmental organisations and boundary organisations concerned with environmental and climate issues and more.

About the programme and the BOKU...

Admission requirements

For admission the proof of English knowledge at level B2 (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) must be provided.

Graduates of the following Bachelor's programmes are eligible for admission with no further requirements:

offered by BOKU – University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna:

  • Environment and Bioresources Management (Umwelt- und Bioressourcenmanagement)
  • Environmental Sciences and Civil Engineering (Umweltingenieurwissenschaften)
  • Landscape Architecture and Landscape Planning (Landschaftsplanung und Landschaftsarchitektur)
  • Agricultural Sciences (Agrarwissenschaften)
  • Forestry (Forstwirtschaft)

offered by other Universities:

  • Environmental System Sciences (Umweltsystemwissenschaften) offered by University of Graz
  • Geography (Geographie) offered by University of Vienna, University of Innsbruck, University of Salzburg and University of Klagenfurt
  • Graduates of other relevant Bachelor's programmes in environmental and sustainability sciences, natural sciences or social sciences can be admitted with no further requirements if they can prove 9 ECTS credit points each in social and natural sciences as well as 3 ECTS credit points in technical sciences.

How to apply




E-Mail: boku4you(at)
Tel.: +43 1 47654-10430



Fields of research from the educational staff

Why study at BOKU?

At BOKU – University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna different competences of natural sciences, technology and socioeconomics are combined. The 3-pillar principle serves to solve interdisciplinary issues and is the central identification feature of the Bachelor's and Master programmes.

In the Master's programmes, the content of the compulsory and elective modules, based on the entire curriculum (except for the master's thesis), are assigned to the following areas with a minimum share of 15% each:

  • Technology and Engineering
  • Natural Sciences
  • Economic and Social Sciences, Law

The University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences is a leading university in the field of interdisciplinary sustainability research in the German-speaking world. It has a manageable size and therefore offers students good faculty support to thrive individually – and it is located in Vienna, one of the most livable cities in the world.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it possible to start CCAST in summer term?

You can start CCAST both in winter and in summer term. However, four out of five modules of the onboarding phase are offered in winter term only.

Do you teach in class or online?

We teach most courses only in class because we think that an interactive process is important for learning.

I work full-time. Can I still study CCAST?

The master’s programme has been planned as a full-time study.

Can I be admitted with this study?

Please find the admission requirements here.
For a case by case decision, please send your documents to the admissions office.

What do I need to proof my knowledge of English at B2 level?

Please check the proof of English (B2 level) here.