Sustainable Development MSc
Why choose this course
This programme is run by the Centre for Environment and Sustainability (CES)– a leading centre for environmental and sustainability-related research and postgraduate teaching. CES accommodates a wide range of disciplines dedicated to resolving environmental problems, and this Masters programme prepares a new generation of environment and sustainability professionals for the strategic challenges ahead.
What you will study
This programme equips you with the tools essential for analysis of the relationship between environmental issues and human society, in order to make informed decisions.
As part of this approach, you will evaluate political, socio-economic, ethical, cultural and regulatory frameworks. You will acquire a sensitive appreciation of issues surrounding sustainable development and an understanding of the theory and application of sustainable
This programme provides a route to IEMA (Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment) graduate membership.
|Qualification||Study mode||Course length||Placement||Start date|
|MSc||Part-time||60 months||October 2018|
|MSc||Full-time||12 months||October 2018|
Study and work abroad
There may be opportunities to acquire valuable European experience by working or conducting research abroad during your degree or shortly afterwards. It is possible to do this in the summer period with an Erasmus+ grant working on your dissertation or as a recent graduate. In order to qualify your Erasmus+ traineeship must be a minimum of two months.
Several high-profile guest lecturers have assisted with the delivery of some of the modules. CES modules make maximum use of guest lecturers, drawing on the practical skills and experience of key experts from government and industry to complement the theoretical components of the modules offered.
For example, Jonathon Porritt, former chairman of the Sustainable Development Commission, gives a guest lecture on the Sustainable Development Applications module, analysing the standing of sustainable development in business and policy making.
The extensive expertise of CES academics and researchers is also drawn upon in modules. Professor Tim Jackson, advisor to the government and international bodies and author of the seminal book, Prosperity without Growth – economics for a finite planet– also lectures on some CES modules.
Full-time students are able to undertake an industrial placement module which enables them to spend six to twelve weeks working for a company or NGO, doing the type of work they will aim to find on graduation.
Examples of organisations at which recent industrial placements have taken place include:
- Minimise Solutions
- Portsmouth City Council
- Diocese of London
- The Radisson
- LC Energy
- Solar Aid
Graduates go on to a diverse range of careers implementing sustainable development and dealing with the real environmental challenges facing humanity.
Recent examples include working as an energy efficiency officer for a local government, an environmental officer in multi-national chemical company, a sustainability advisor for a national television / radio station, an environmental consultant for an engineering consultancy, and a programme officer with a sustainability charity.
Other graduates use the research skills they developed to go on and do PhDs.
CHENOWETH JL Dr (CES)
Terms and conditions
When you accept an offer of a place at the University of Surrey, you are agreeing to comply with our policies and regulations, and our terms and conditions. These terms and conditions are provided in two stages: first when we make an offer and second when students who have accepted their offers register to study at the University. View our offer terms and conditions and our generic registration terms and conditions as a guide as to what to expect.
Please note: our offer terms and conditions will be available in the September of the calendar year prior to the year in which you begin your studies. Our registration terms and conditions will vary to take into account specifics of your course.
This online prospectus has been prepared and published in advance of the academic year to which it applies. The University of Surrey has used its reasonable efforts to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content or additional costs) may occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for a course with us. Read more.
Academic year structure
Both full-time and part-time students must complete 5 compulsory modules and 4 elective modules by the end of their MSc. The dissertation forms 1 of the compulsory modules.
The academic year begins with induction week when students are introduced to the university and full time students choose their elective modules. (Part-time students can enrol in modules close to the time they wish to take a module).
Modules are taught on an intensive five day basis, with classes running approximately from 9 to 5 Monday to Friday over the course of a single week. All modules require students to undertake individual study in preparation for the intensive week (readings and in some cases a pre-class assignment) and each module includes a post-taught component assignment.
All students are allocated a personal tutor who acts as a liaison between the student and the university.
During second semester students begin to focus on their dissertations, with a series of seminar events held to help students focus their ideas and make a start. Students are free to choose their own dissertation topic, with most students choosing topics related to issues or ideas encountered in the taught modules or in a professional context which relates to environment or sustainability. Each student is allocated a dissertation supervisor to help guide them through the dissertation process.
The structure of our programmes follows clear educational aims that are tailored to each programme. These are all outlined in the programme specifications which include further details such as the learning outcomes.
Modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that modules may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.
Unstructured (3-5 years)
Each module on this programme is taught on an intensive modular basis. There is pre-reading to do for each module and on occasion a pre-module assessment, followed by the intensive taught week where classes run from approximately 9 - 5, Monday - Friday for one week. Post-module coursework is to be completed over the four week period after the intensive week.
Learning and disability
We have two services, the Student Personal Learning and Study Hub (SPLASH) and Additional Learning Support (ALS) which can help develop your learning.
Student Personal Learning and Study Hub
SPLASH is a learning space in the Library where our learning development team is based. It comprises dedicated Student Learning Advisers and Information Skills Librarians who can help you develop your academic and research skills, including writing, presenting, revision and critical thinking.
Find out more about the study support available.
Additional Learning Support
ALS is the University’s disability and neurodiversity service which supports students with disabilities, long-term health conditions, specific learning differences (for example: dyslexia and dyspraxia) and other neurodiverse conditions (for example: autism spectrum and attention deficit disorder).
If you have a disability, we encourage you to disclose your condition and register with the service so you can be appropriately supported during your studies.
The ALS team can arrange exam and learning support adjustments, give advice on applications for the Disabled Students' Allowance and screen students for dyslexia and dyspraxia. Regular study skills and mentoring support is also available.
See the Additional Learning Support website for more information.
A minimum 2:2 in a UK honours degree (or overseas equivalent).
Relevant work experience may also be considered.
View entry requirements by country
English language requirements
IELTS Academic: 6.5 overall, 6.0 in each component (or equivalent).
View the other English language qualifications that we accept.
If you do not currently meet the level required for your programme, we offer intensive pre-sessional English language courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here. The University of Surrey is also an IELTS test centre.
The University of Surrey recognises that many students enter their higher education course with valuable knowledge and skills developed through a range of professional, vocational and community contexts. If this applies to you, a process called recognition of prior learning (RPL) may allow you to enter your course at a point appropriate to your previous learning and experience, or to join the start of a course without the formal entry requirements. This means that you may be exempt from certain elements of study in the course for which you have applied and be awarded credit based on your previous qualifications/experience. There are restrictions on RPL for some courses and fees may be payable for certain claims.
Please see the Code of practice for recognition of prior learning and prior credit: taught programmes (PDF) for further information. Please email Admissions with any queries.
|Study mode||Start date||Placement||UK/EU fees||Overseas fees|
- These fees apply to students commencing study in the academic year 2018-19 only. Fees for new starters are reviewed annually.
- If you are on a two-year full-time Euromasters or MFA programme, or a two-year part-time masters programme (excluding modular/self-paced/distance learning), the annual fee is payable in Year 1 and Year 2 of the programme.
There are associated costs with this programme:
Commuting (local travel expenses): Unable to specify amount - Some optional modules are taught at City University, which requires travel to London for each day of the intensive taught week.
Scholarships and bursaries
Surrey International Scholarship for Engineering and Physical Sciences 2018 entry
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Discounts for Surrey graduates
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“Ultimately, sustainable development is the study of how past decisions affect the future, and I want to be part of shaping that future.”
"Sustainable Development is a wonderful programme; the module sections are so diverse, there is definitely something to suit everyone."