In Brief:

  • Study a broad MSc with options to focus on environmental sustainability, geographies of sustainability and many more areas in the field including planning, food security and more
  • Research-led teaching by international experts in the field of sustainability, free field trip opportunities[£25 administration fee applies]
  • Particularly strong growth within this sector - sustainability is at the forefront of global and national debates, with employers viewing qualifications providing skill sets around this topic as highly sought after
  • Part-time study option
  • International students can apply

Course Summary

Sustainability is a broad and interdisciplinary field involving challenges related to improving human welfare, environmental quality, resource and food security, urban planning and beyond. With cities expanding and the world’s population reaching 9.7 billion by 2050, this field is being viewed as increasingly important and career opportunities are vast.

This course allows you to explore the field in a variety of ways: choosing an environmental, geographical or mixed pathway and touching on contemporary themes from food security to urban planning and beyond.

Teaching on this course is informed by research drawing on the international work being carried out with colleagues in Africa, North America and other parts of the world. In addition, you will gain both theoretical and practical experience - field trip opportunities form an important part of this course, allowing you to experience sustainability first hand. Ultimately this MSc is perfectly positioned to allow you to seize upon the burgeoning sustainability sector.

Core Modules may include:

  • Contemporary Issues in Sustainability (15 credits)
  • Resource Security (15 credits)
  • Postgraduate Scholarship Skills (15 credits)
  • Planning and Policies of Urban Environments (15 credits)
  • Research Design and Delivery (15 credits)
  • Dissertation (60 credits)

Then you can choose two 15 credit modules which may include:

  • Geographical Information Systems (GIS) (15 credits)
  • Environmental Pollution and Remediation (15 credits)
  • Energy and Sustainability (15 credits)

Entry Requirements

Applicants should possess at least a UK lower second class honors degree (2:2) or equivalent in any subject.

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

We welcome applications from students who may not have formal/traditional entry criteria but who have relevant experience or the ability to pursue the course successfully.

The Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) process could help you to make your work and life experience count. The APL process can be used for entry onto courses or to give you exemptions from parts of your course.

Two forms of APL may be used for entry: the Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) or the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).

English Language Requirements

International applicants will be required to show a proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.0 (no element below 5.5) is proof of this.

Suitable for

Geographers, environmentalists, planners and other recent graduates

Practitioners in the field looking to advance their skill set and careers

Individuals interested in the field of sustainability.


  • Lectures/seminars – interactive sessions using innovative techniques by lecturers at the forefront of the sustainability field.
  • Field trips – a residential field trip along with day trips for each module.
  • Practicals – getting hands-on with the latest equipment.
  • Guest talks – hear from those driving the sustainability agenda in practice, from politicians to local authority and consultant leads.


Methods include coursework, exams and consultancy work.

Career Prospects

The broadness of this MSc ensures that career options are not constrained, from graduate schemes which require a postgraduate qualification to more specialist roles and further study, there are many career options to take advantage of from studying this degree. Some of which include:

  • Sustainability Officer/Environment Lead (all major organizations have these roles)
  • Environmental Consultant
  • Ecosystems Specialist
  • Project Officer
  • Teacher
  • Military Sustainability Officer
  • Governmental Researcher
  • Academic
  • Geotechnical Assistant
  • Public Health Intelligence Officer
  • Ranger
  • Ph.D. study
  • And many more (civil service fast track, police fast track etc)

Links with Industry

You will have opportunities to get hands-on experience working with local, national and global key actors through guest lectures and field trips to sites, along with the integration of a client-based ‘live project’. Furthermore, formative and summative work will be based on real industrial problems in this area, allowing you to work on ‘real life’ problems. Industrial partners range from local authorities to national and international bodies; there is an opportunity to work alongside these actors within modules and the dissertation element.

Further Study

After completion of this course, you may wish to specialize in a chosen subject area in one of the School’s two main research centers: Ecosystems and Environment Research Centre (EER) or Biomedical Research Centre (BRC). There are ample Ph.D. opportunities in the field of Sustainability – from studying energy and food security to ecosystem services and environmental assessment.

Program taught in:

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Last updated October 3, 2018
This course is Campus based
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Jan. 2020
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MSc Sustainability