Objectives and competences

The degree is accredited and jointly awarded by the CHARM-EU alliance institutions that provide the master's: University of Barcelona, Trinity College Dublin, Utrecht University, Eötvös Loránd University and University of Montpellier.

The Master's programme is accredited in Spain, Ireland, the Netherlands, Hungary and France.
One of CHARM-EU's core values is inclusivity. We strongly believe in the power of diversity and how learning in a diverse environment leads to the personal development and cultural enrichment for all involved. In CHARM-EU, we believe in fostering an open, welcoming, safe atmosphere, where all forms of diversity are recognised, respected, and seen as a source of strength and benefit to the CHARM-EU community and beyond. CHARM-EU welcomes applications from all candidates who fulfil the Master's specific requirements, regardless of their backgrounds, lived experiences, and access needs.

The CHARMobility experience
You, the other CHARM-EU students and CHARM-EU staff will be one international university community in five beautiful university cities across five countries. An important and exciting part of your CHARM-EU journey is the wide range of opportunities to meet and interact with your international classmates both online and in person, to develop your academic, personal, social and professional competences and strengthen your communication and language skills in a unique intercultural environment. CHARM-EU mobility combines the best of a truly international classroom and mobility activities. You will be able to follow a unique learning path through Europe, supporting your learning needs and ambitions.

Basic information

Type Master's degree
Faculty or school CHARM-EU
Branch of knowledge
  • Environmental sciences and ecology
  • Interdisciplinary
Mode of delivery
  • Blended learning
Credits 90
Length of course 2 academic years
Course details Indicators
Open pre-enrolment No
Open enrolment No
Lead to doctoral studies Yes
Admission for applicants not holding a degree qualification No
Main university information Master's degree course homepage
Interuniversity Yes
Main university Trinity College Dublin
  • Universitat Barcelona
  • University Utrecht
  • Eotvos Loránd Tudományegyetem
  • Université de Montpellier
  • Trinity College Dublin
Bridging courses No
  • Intensification Food
  • Intensification of Life and Health
  • Intensification Water

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We are happy to announce the 4th edition of the CHARM-EU Master's in Global Challenges for Sustainability.

The 4th cohort will start the program in September 2024. Want to be a part of it? You can apply now.

Objectives and competences


The CHARM-EU Master's in Global Challenges for Sustainability has a transdisciplinary character and focuses on concrete social issues on water, food and life and health. To be able to tackle these issues, students from different backgrounds are selected. The programme consists of three compulsory phases. In the 'preparatory phase', the focus is on acquiring general skills, especially in the fields of Sustainability, Social Innovation and Transdisciplinary Research. In the 'flexible phase', students choose from the three tracks on water, food or life & health. In the final, 'capstone phase', students complete a project on a sustainability challenge, in cooperation with an external partner from business or society.
The objectives of the master's programme are:
  • Research and evaluate complex societal challenges from different stakeholder and intercultural perspectives.

  • Assess and integrate different disciplinary and transdisciplinary knowledge and research methodologies.

  • Demonstrate expertise in the identification and application of the latest technological tools to source, analyse, handle, use and communicate complex bodies of data ethically.



  • Develop creative and critical thinking skills.

  • Acquire expertise and communicate effectively on complex issues.

  • Formulate an advanced understanding of transdisciplinarity and demonstrate expertise in the facilitative, communicative, reflexive and collaborative skills to support its practice.

  • Acquire advanced transversal competencies in problem-solving, entrepreneurialism, innovation, digital skills, and a life-long learning disposition.


Access and admission

Applicant profile and access requirements

Recommended applicant profile

This Master's programme is targeted at a high quality and multidisciplinary audience with graduates from any discipline seeking to share knowledge and gain advanced understanding in sustainability by addressing societal challenges (e.g., Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs]) and the European Green Deal), developing challenge analysing skills, and extending their capabilities to develop solutions for complex problems. It is a full-time, hybrid programme where mobility is a norm embedded in the curricula (compulsory from semester 1 to semester 2).

Access requirements and conditions

General requirements
In accordance with Article 16 of Royal Decree 1393/2007, of 29 October, students wishing to be admitted to a university master's degree must hold one of the following qualifications:

  • Official Spanish university degree.

  • A degree issued by a higher education institution within the European Higher Education Area framework that authorizes the holder to access university master's degree courses in the country of issue.

  • A qualification issued by an institution outside the framework of the European Higher Education Area. In this case, applicants must request homologation of the degree to its equivalent official Spanish university qualification or obtain express approval from the University of Barcelona, which will conduct a study of equivalence to ensure that the degree is of a comparable level to an official Spanish university qualification and that it grants access to university master's degree study in the country of issue. Admission shall not, in any case, imply that prior qualifications have been recognized as equivalent to a Spanish master's degree and does not confer recognition for any purposes other than that of admission to the master's degree course.

Specific requirements
English language certification
English language certification is necessary for programme admission. C1 is the required level. Students with B2 level will be considered in conjunction with other admission criteria but must attain C1 level before programme registration. Download the English Accepted Certificates.



Applications for admission from 4 to 20 March 2024.
Communication of admission decisions 23-26 April 2024.

Required documentation

Applications with incomplete documentation after the deadline will not take into consideration. It is the applicant's responsibility to make sure that the application form is complete and that all required documents are attached in the appropriate format. Any application sent after the deadline will not be processed.

You must upload in PDF format the following documents in your application file. For admission purposes, all documents must be submitted in English, except for the bachelor's degree or equivalent and the academic transcript. Both documents can be submitted in any of the official languages of the CHARM-EU Alliance institutions that provide the Master (Catalan, Spanish, English, Dutch, Hungarian or French).

  1. Valid ID card: For EU students, national ID or passport can be used. For non-EU students, only passport is accepted.
  2. Bachelor's degree diploma or recognised equivalent: If the diploma is not available yet, up-to-date transcript will suffice. Non-EU students should submit an additional statement from the university recognising that the qualification is sufficient to apply to a Master's level program.
  3. For Applicants with a French Licence: certificate with additional 30 ECTS.
  4. Academic transcript: Acceptable transcript formats must include the mean grade updated until the last evaluation period (GPA). If the GPA is not included in the transcript, students should submit an additional statement from the university including the grade point average.
    *In case of students with multiple degrees (Bachelor's or Master's), only the one uploaded will be assessed.
  5. English language test scores with a LEVEL C1: Download the accepted English certificates here. English C1 is the required level and must be achieved in all skills (reading, writing, listening, and speaking). Applicants with B2 level will be considered in conjunction with other admission criteria but must attain C1 level before programme registration.
    Exemptions: Applicants with the Nationality of an English-speaking country and coming from Education Systems of English-speaking countries or with a previous university degree delivered in English (Bachelor level minimum) are exempt and must provide a document that proves their cause for exemption (passport, certified from the university where they studied in English, etc).
  6. Curriculum Vitae. Include clear sections on Intercultural experience (languages, relevant international and additional cultural experiences) and Civic engagement (relevant experiences and practical examples of the candidate's past and current engagement).
  7. Product: Choose a specific and local challenge related to sustainability (i.e. the challenge should not be general but specific to your surroundings, city or personal experience).
    Using this challenge, create a coherent and comprehensive product in English summarising the challenge, interrelated issues and potential solutions. Ensure to explain:
    1. why you have selected this challenge
    2. your personal experience with this challenge;
    3. analyse it in a critical way
    4. through the lens of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
    • Format: selected by the candidate, some options but not limited to essay, poster, video, booklet, pamphlet, podcast, mind map.
    • Guideline: length 500'750 words, or 6'8 minutes to listen/watch/read.
    • Disclaimer: the use of artificial intelligence is discouraged for content generation. Any suspicious products may result in the rejection of the application.
  8. Video/audio presentation: Download the video/audio instructions. In English. PDF format with the link to the video/audio recording.
  9. Inclusion: If you tick the box to be considered for Inclusivity Points, and once you have correctly uploaded your application documents by the deadline, you will be contacted by a member of the DEI Team to provide a relevant rationale and, where appropriate, supporting documentation. If you wish to provide documentary evidence (e.g. medical report confirming disability / document in relation to socio-economic status), please arrange such documentation in anticipation of contact by the DEI Office. These documents will be handled with the utmost sensitivity and solely by the DEI Team for the purposes of the application process only.

Download your checklist here.

Selection criteria

An evaluation rubric will be used to ensure maximum objectivity. The admissions rubric is based on the competencies identified for selection in the CHARM-EU Rules and Regulations: Admissions. Please consult the detailed admission rubrics to align with the requirements and get the highest scores.

  1. Academic excellence (10 points)
    10 points will be distributed according to previous degree's finale grade mark, converted in a A-D scale, following the grading equivalence table. If the country of the candidate is not listed in this table, the CHARM-EU Programme Board will decide the conversion to be applied.
    1. 10 points
    2. 8 points
    3. 4 points
    4. 0 points
  2. General academic competencies (40 points)
    These competencies will be assessed through the documents and files submitted by the student.
    • Critical thinking (10 points): Quality, originality, coherence, relevance of arguments in the product in relation to the chosen challenge, given different perspectives. Originality and feasibility of ideas and plans expressed in the product.
    • Analytical skills (10 points): The candidate's analytical skills show the thought processes they went through to arrive at a given conclusion and discuss the implications of this, in a structured and clear way, using suitable expressions. Arguments are presented with clarity and clear reasoning.
    • Knowledge SDGs (10 points): Relation of the selected challenge to sustainability, awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals and identified linkage to these.
    • Personal reflection (10 points): Explaining the personal (individual/communal) relation to the selected challenge, including lived experience.
  3. Personal competencies (40 points)
    This will be assessed through the documents presented by the student.
    • Intercultural competence (10 points): languages, relevant international and additional cultural experiences.
    • Oral communication (10 points): the applicant makes a convincing video/audio presentation of their commitment and expectations. The applicant makes good use of the allocated time and questions.
    • Civic engagement (10 points): relevant experiences and practical examples of the candidate's past and current engagement.
    • Commitment to programme entry (10 points): clear expectations from the programme, its structure, components and design; willingness to contribute.
  4. Inclusion (10 punts)In order to ensure access and inclusion, applicants from under-represented communities (in terms of age, gender, family status, disability, sexual orientation, race and ethnic origin, religion, migration status, membership of the Roma and Traveller communities, and socio-economic background in all aspects of higher education, among others), that wish to be considered for these 10 additional points can indicate this on their application. Once those applicants have correctly uploaded the application documents by the deadline, they will then be contacted by a member of the DEI Team and invited to provide a relevant rationale by way of a short explanation with regards barriers in their educational journey and/or underrepresentation in Higher Education. Where appropriate, applicants can provide supporting documentation (e.g. medical report confirming disability / document in relation to socio-economic status). Ticking the box to be considered for inclusivity points is optional for the applicant.


Communication of admission decisions: 23-26 April.


As a general rule, at the UB you will be required to enrol online. Remember that you can lose your place if you do not enrol on the day you have been assigned

Course curriculum

Subjects and course plans

Distribution of credits

Compulsory 30
Optional 30
Compulsory placements  
Compulsory final project 30

List of subjects

Subject Type Language Credits
Specialization: Intensification Food
Capstone Compulsory 1st semester 30
Food Systems and their Transformations Optional 2nd semester 10
Social Innovation Compulsory 1st semester 10
Sustainability Compulsory 1st semester 10
Sustainable Food Systems Optional 2nd semester 10
The Food-Health-Environment Nexus Optional 1st semester 10
Transdisciplinary Research Compulsory 1st semester 10
Specialization: Intensification of Life and Health
Capstone Compulsory 1st semester 30
Health Challenges and Solutions Optional 2nd semester 10
Health Systems and Policies Optional 2nd semester 10
Healthy Lives and Well-Being Optional 2nd semester 10
Social Innovation Compulsory 1st semester 10
Sustainability Compulsory 1st semester 10
Transdisciplinary Research Compulsory 1st semester 10
Specialization: Intensification Water
Adaptation Measures and Strategies in Water Management Optional 2nd semester 10
Capstone Compulsory 1st semester 30
Extremes in the Water Cycle and Their Complex Consequences Optional 2nd semester 10
Resilient Cities: Water in Urban Environments Optional 2nd semester 10
Social Innovation Compulsory 1st semester 10
Sustainability Compulsory 1st semester 10
Transdisciplinary Research Compulsory 1st semester 10

Phases and pathways

  • Phase 1: Preparatory phase (30 ECTS)
    • Locations: UB, TCD and UU. If the number of admitted students is higher than their capacity, another location can be opened.
  • Phase 2: Flexible phase (30 ECTS) Compulsory Mobility
    • Pathways and locations:    
      • Water (UM)
      • Food (ELTE and UB)
      • Life and Health (ELTE)
  • Phase 3: Capstone (30 ECTS)
    • Locations: Depending on the challenges. For more information about the master's and the application process, check our informative short videos.
More information

Previous years


Placements in a company or another type of organization are an integral part of university studies, providing first-hand experience of working methodologies in students' chosen professional fields. They offer invaluable practical experience for the transition into work after graduation.

Placements are supervised by tutors and subject to assessment. They are therefore included in the academic record.  There is also an option to complete non-curricular placements of up to 500 hours, which can be extended to 900 hours. For both curricular and non-curricular placements, an educational cooperation agreement is signed between the UB and the company, institution or other organization at which the placement will be carried out.

Institutional information

Career opportunities

What can you work on ?

The master's programme strongly supports student employability, professional-specific competencies, and academic career progression. It strengthens these aspects through identifying multiple career pathways, aligning learning outcomes to business and civil society stakeholder needs, and fostering of a broad industry-ready skillset.

Four potential postgraduate student pathways (i.e., fields of employment) have been identified:

  • sustainable policy and communication roles.
  • social innovation and action either within existing companies (intrapreneurship) or via generation of new enterprises (entrepreneurship).
  • managers with the ability to deal with complex issues from a sustainability perspective and to advise company senior management on sustainability matters.
  • progress further along the academic pathway.

Specific roles that graduates might consider are:

  • Sustainability Specialist
  • Communications Specialist
  • Social Innovation Analyst
  • Entrepreneur (Environmental Strategist)
  • International Consultant (for enterprises, governmental institutions and NGOs).
  • Researcher

Contact us

The CHARM-EU Office of the university where you have been assigned to start the master's will support you before and during your stay. You will find the contact information of the CHARM-EU Office in each of the universities: https://www.charm-eu.eu/masters/globalchallenges/charm-eu-offices

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