"The MSc Sustainable Development at Surrey is great for someone with critical thinking skills and multiple interests. I am hoping this course will bring me some clarity about where I can make the most impact in combating climate change."
CourseSustainable Development MSc
"After eight years of working in the non-profit and renewable energy sectors, I felt like I was hitting a ceiling professionally. I was unsure whether I wanted to continue working in the non-profit sector or try something new to make a different kind of impact. I was keen to go back to school, but very intimidated by the typical process in the US for applying to schools – it's a significant financial and time commitment, just to apply!
Thanks to some serious Google sleuthing, I found the MSc Sustainable Development at the University of Surrey.
It initially seemed too good to be true, a one year intensive course that was affordable, accessible and would expose me to students from around the world! And the more I thought about it, the more important it felt to study sustainable development outside of the United States, where we are undoubtedly the biggest contributor to climate change. I became eager to get out of the belly of the beast and gain a new perspective outside of the US. The UK and its European neighbours have been leading the way in the sustainability movement in many ways, so it made sense to come here. And it helps that the language barrier was not an issue!
"The wide range of careers that the students were pursuing was impressive."
While researching the course, I also did some research on LinkedIn to see where the course alumni were working. The wide range of careers that the students were pursuing was impressive.
I was also happy to see that the course allows for an industrial placement to count as credit, as I was eager to gain some experience working abroad and open myself up to a global market.
Since I was applying to the University without ever having visited, the process was a bit worry-driven – what if I didn't like Surrey? What if I didn't like the campus and the style of teaching? Needless to say, I ended up sending quite a few emails to the head of the department, and he always responded promptly, answering my questions and easing my concerns. I felt very welcomed even from thousands of miles away. Once I actually arrived on campus, I was blown away by how generous the faculty and staff are with their time. It's clear they really want you to succeed and make themselves readily available for anything you may need.
I was also very drawn to the one week intensive module format. It's been a great way to pace yourself through a masters course. I have friends and colleagues who find themselves stretched very thin in other masters courses, forced to take up to seven classes in a semester, and never really being able to focus on one thing. Having the ability to really focus on one subject at a time is something I have really appreciated. It is also clear the faculty spends time discussing how their modules relate to one another as the course naturally feels like a progression, each module constantly building on the last.
I have a background in international relations, philosophy and environmental science. The MSc Sustainable Development at Surrey is great for someone with critical thinking skills and multiple interests. I am hoping this course will bring me some clarity about where I can make the most impact in combating climate change. So far, the coursework and lectures have helped me start to put the pieces together and I am confident with the help of the Centre for Environment and Sustainability and staff that I will find a meaningful role where I can apply everything I have learned."