Masters in Environmental Education Poster

Programme Overview

Climate change, environmental issues, and their ties to social inequality are some of the most pressing challenges of our time. The Masters in Environmental Education (MEd) is an invitation to explore the intersecting issues of ecological, social, and relational justice through education.

Its focus is centred on strengthening research and practice in Environmental Education, Education for Sustainable Development, and Transgressive Learning. Our vision is to inspire educational research that nourishes regenerative African futures for sustainable development.

Key Concepts

The programme is grounded in three core areas of interest:

Education for Sustainable Development 

Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) aims to transform education systems and practices for sustainable futures. It includes the related area of  Environmental Education.

This area of study seeks to equip learners with the knowledge, skills and  values to contribute to more sustainable initiatives, lives, communities, education systems and futures. It addresses critical areas such as curriculum innovation, teaching and learning practices, and skills system development.

Education for Sustainable Development is relevant to all subjects in the curriculum at all levels of the education system, including teacher education, higher and vocational education, as well as the wider skills system. This approach to education understands that people, our planet, and our economies are interconnected, and the health of each one impacts the others.

Transgressive Learning

Integrated into the wider education system studies within the ELRC, is a commitment to understanding and advancing transgressive, expansive and creative forms of learning. Transgressive learning seeks to challenge existing norms, values, and practices that support unsustainable and unjust systems, while engaging more viable alternatives.

By encouraging innovation, play, and transformative approaches to learning, this approach pushes the conventional boundaries of education, empowering the learner to tackle environmental and social problems creatively.  It deepens understanding of learning processes and transformative pedagogy which has been identified as a critical area of research and study in transforming education systems worldwide. 

Regenerative African Futures  

All of the above feeds into a wider commitment to Regenerative African Futures, especially for Africa’s youth.  As we grapple with pressing global and local environmental challenges, we are passionate about how education and learning can drive ecological and social justice. Our vision for education builds on the decolonial project in vital ways. For us:

“a living decolonial project works like two wheels of a bicycle: the first wheel is the work of transgressing what no longer serves us. The second wheel ought to be the creative work needed to nourish and regenerate the conditions under which something different can grow.” 

Woman with nature flowing from hair

Is This Programme Right for Me?

The Masters is designed for practising environmental education, training and development practitioners, including teachers with various subject specialisms, lecturers and other adult educators, curriculum or resource developers, journalists, writers, researchers, conservationists, development workers, and social learning facilitators.

If you are curious about the questions outlined below, this could be the right programme for you:

  • Are you interested in how Transformative Education can foster the link between Ecological, Social and Relational Justice?
  •  Are you looking for an opportunity to make the connection between your existing knowledge and the most pressing social-ecological issues of our times?
  • Do you want to learn how to reflexively co-create transformative learning opportunities with others?

The ELRC celebrates what different knowledges can bring to the table. The centre is located within the Department of Education, but research often draws from various disciplines, including economics, agriculture, philosophy, sociology, environmental science, and more.

Whether your background is in education, the social sciences, humanities, science or the arts, or whether you are an experienced practitioner, there is a place for you here.

What Will I Learn?

This intensive two-year Masters supports you in designing and implementing educational research. It can be done on either a full-time or part-time basis.

The programme includes:

  • Engaging in theoretical and practice-based research on transformative education methods
  • Deepening the practice and scope of your influence as a facilitator, social practitioner, and teacher – helping you to create the change you wish to see in the world
  • Innovating and co-creating powerful local knowledge with scholars, social practitioners, community leaders, and learners.
  • Critically examining your practice and experience as an educator

Between 10 and 15 scholars are registered in this programme at any one time. Scholars engage in a variety of research projects, including research in community and youth education contexts, workplace learning contexts, schools, colleges and universities. Research includes both micro-level studies and wider system-oriented studies.

Why Study With Us?

Photo of a group

Featuring expert researchers, a strong network of practitioners, and a vibrant group of postgraduate students, the ELRC is a dynamic and active hub of research and learning.

Our scholars are supported through regular Masters weeks (four times per annum), regular seminars, high-quality supervision and support, electronically accessible library resources and access to significant knowledge networks. Excellent facilities exist for full-time scholars at the ELRC.

Career Opportunities 

Our graduates work as practising teachers, as education department officials, subject advisors, education system leaders, and in the conservation and NGO sectors as environment and sustainability educators, course designers, learning facilitators and community and adult education practitioners.  They also work in the Sector Education and Training Authorities, and in the wider national system of skills development to strengthen social learning around food, water, energy, climate action and other environment and sustainability priorities. 

Programme Requirements

Admission to the MEd in Environmental Education requires that applicants meet the following criteria:

  • An Honours degree or equivalent ·        
  • At least a 65 % in your previous year of study
  • A relevant focus or interest to the research programme outlined above 

Funding Opportunities

Some of the Masters scholars can apply for DSI/NRF Bursaries on the DSI/NRF bursary application platform.  At times special calls for bursaries are made. Rhodes University also has various bursary opportunities available, so visit the RU postgraduate funding portal on the RU website.  NOTE:  M.Ed scholars are responsible for payment of their own fees, unless they obtain a relevant bursary. 

How to Apply

Visit Select Admission (not yet enrolled) and follow the prompts. This degree is registered under the Department of Education. 

In addition to the general requirements, your application should be accompanied by: 

  1. A two-page motivation expressing why you are interested in the Master’s programme, where your interests lie, and what research you envision doing. It should address the following:
    1. What will be the focus of your research? 
    2. Where do you anticipate conducting this research and why? 
    3. What research has already been done in this area? When, where and what were the findings? 
    4. What is the research gap that you feel your study will be addressing? This need not contain information on the methodology of the proposed study.
  2. An abridged CV, highlighting the areas that are of relevance to your studies, including publications and conferences attended.  Also indicate voluntary or other project related work done of relevance to the study field.  
  3. Full transcripts of previous degrees (unless they are Rhodes University degrees). Applicants with qualifications from outside of South Africa must obtain confirmation of equivalence from SAQA. If the transcript from your latest qualification does not include a comment on ‘conduct’, you will need to submit a separate certificate of conduct from the institution. 

For more detail, please contact Dr Injairu Kulundu-Bolus at




Last Modified: Sun, 09 Jun 2024 10:38:00 SAST