Program Description

Program Requirements

  • TRSU 7001: Foundations of Sustainability and Sustainability Science
  • TRSU 7002: Transdisciplinary Methods in Sustainability Research
  • one elective (approved by the student’s supervisory committee)
  • graduate research seminars (during first two years of program)
  • comprehensive exam
  • thesis proposal
  • thesis

The program will be delivered at Grenfell Campus with the option for courses to be taken and for supervisory involvement from other MUN campuses or other universities. It is available on a full-time and part-time basis, with the typical duration being 4 years (12 semesters) of full-time study. The suggested completion timeline is as follows:

  • Year 1 - complete courses, prepare for comprehensive examination, complete draft research proposal
  • Year 2 - complete comprehensive examination, finalize research proposal, secure research ethics clearance if required, begin research/fieldwork
  • Year 3 - conduct research/fieldwork, perform analyses, begin work on publications/thesis chapters
  • Year 4 - complete research and writing, defend thesis



TRSU 7001: Foundations of Sustainability and Sustainability Science

This course provides an introduction to the theory and practice of sustainability science, an emerging, collaborative field of inquiry with the potential for transforming human-environment interactions by enabling the emergence of new sustainable social practices. The three goals of the course are: 1) to help students achieve a holistic understanding of complex and dynamic social-ecological-technological systems by studying them from diverse or even conflicting perspectives and disciplines; 2) to provide a platform for dialogical, critical and active learning about sustainability, in which students and instructors learn, reflect and make decisions together about changes needed for rerouting the current economies and societies onto a more ecologically and socially sustainable path; 3) to give students the theoretical tools for becoming co-creators of actionable knowledgeable to foster transformative change for sustainability in the fields (ecological, economic and social) and at scales (community, organizational/business, provincial, regional, national or global) chosen by students.


TRSU 7002: Transdisciplinary Methods in Sustainability Research

This course addresses practical and methodological concerns of transdisciplinary inquiry in sustainability research. Specifically, transdisciplinarity embodies broad interdisciplinarity (e.g. the genuine synthesis of perspectives from the natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, and the fine arts) as well as the inclusion of stakeholder perspectives external to academia (e.g. government, Indigenous communities, industry, NGOs) through community-based, interactive, and participatory research approaches. Students will reflect on their own disciplinary backgrounds in methodology and will learn and integrate perspectives from outside their discipline and outside of academia, in order to research or otherwise address complex sustainability issues. Course topics include multiple ways of knowing, heuristic schemes, frameworks for co-producing knowledge, transdisciplinary research approaches, knowledge mobilization, community-based research, and critiques of transdisciplinarity.


Tuition and Fees

  • NL Students - $888 per semester
  • Other Canadian Students - $1,154 per semester
  • International Students - $1,499 per semester

In addition to tuition, students must pay other fees (e.g. recreation, student services) that usually range from $1,000 to $1,500 per year.

We estimate the cost of living in Corner Brook to be about $10,000 per year.


Financial Support:

The typical funding package for a TRSU student is a normally a minimum of $21,000 per year. This amount includes $11,000 in stipend plus $3,000 in guaranteed work as a research or teaching assistant plus at least $7,000 of additional support from the supervisor (who may also want to budget for payments to external members of supervisory or examination committees, such as Indigenous Elders or professional artists; supervisors should not assume that the institution will cover these costs). In exceptional circumstances only, students may be admitted with a lower level of financial support from the supervisor. Rationale for such exceptions must come from the supervisor, not the applicant, and can be included in their letter of support; however, they may wish to contact the Graduate Officer to explore potential options before the application is submitted.

TRSU students are encouraged to apply for additional or supplementary funding from both internal (e.g. School of Graduate Studies database) and external (e.g. SSHRC and NSERC) sources.


(Financial information last updated February 2022)