Arianna Griffa, studying a  MSc. Climate Change and Environmental Policy degree at the University of Leeds.

Arianna Griffa


Why did you decide to study a masters at the University of Leeds?

I was looking for an interdisciplinary masters programme that delved into both the science of climate change and the policy and governance issues connected with it. Leeds is not only one of the few institutions offering such programme, but it also gives you the invaluable opportunity to be taught by world-renowned scientists and experts from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and join an international postgraduate community of like-minded students.


What has been the best aspect of studying on your course and at the University so far and why?

It can be quite easy to get caught in the routine of student life, yet every week is different at Leeds! I enjoyed the variety and interactivity of lectures, labs, field trips and group projects in my course that always drew on the latest research and practical case studies. Furthermore, every week a number of external speakers are invited to talk at seminars hosted at Earth and Environment, giving even further opportunities to learn more about the topics you are interested in.

Life on campus is pretty busy - there is so much happening every day! Running from a yoga class to a movie night, there are so many activities to get involved with, you will definitely have the chance to do what you love or discover a new passion.


Tell us about some of the exciting projects you have completed.

One of the first and most challenging projects was a research project about climate change adaptation in Leeds. We had to do a survey of the population of Leeds and analyse the data we collected through questionnaires. Stopping people on the streets and asking questions sounds easy until you actually arrive in the city centre and attempt to interview people! As you might imagine, I was not really pleased with the task at the time, yet now I know that this experience pushed me out my comfort zone, giving me confidence and experience to master future challenges.

I was also really lucky to present the findings of this research at the Student Sustainability Conference 2018, organised on campus and showcasing the most exciting sustainability projects at the University of Leeds – truly inspiring!


What does Leeds as a city have to offer students?

Leeds has a really lively student community and an impressive campus with great facilities and services. I love that everything is within walking/cycling distance – which is good for you and for the environment! Whether you love sport, music or theatre, there are many nice venues and cool events to attend and if you love nature and hiking, the Yorkshire Dales are just a few miles away. Last but not least, life in Leeds is quite affordable and you can make the most of your student experience without having to spend a fortune on rent, food, and transport.


What are your ambitions for the future?

I am very passionate about renewable energies and sustainable development. I want to contribute to building a sustainable and resilient future and be able to bridge scientific evidence and policymaking to promote climate action. Whether from a small local charity or a large international organisation, I will strive to enhance knowledge and engagement on climate change issues and bring about a positive change in the society. 


What experiences at Leeds do you think will help you in your future career?

Having acquired a sound understanding of climate change science and policymaking processes, I believe my course has equipped me with the necessary specialist knowledge and critical thinking skills to successfully pursue a purpose-driven career in the field of climate change and sustainable development.

Furthermore, my experience as a Sustainability Architect working with the Sustainability Team of the University of Leeds has provided me with professional skills in communication, behavior-change and stakeholder engagement that are ever more important for a career in sustainability.


What would you say to students coming to do the same course?

If you are passionate about climate change and are looking for a stimulating and challenging environment to develop your skills and make a positive impact, then look no further! This is the right programme for you.