Find out about how we are embedding sustainability in our students’ education.

Our commitment 

Sustainability is embedded into all our programmes as a core graduate attribute. This is achieved through a student-centred, enriching learning environment, with an emphasis on practice-based learning. The University’s Education Strategy 2021-2024 stresses that Surrey graduates will be educated to think critically and differently and make a real impact on society.

Education for sustainable development

Surrey students will develop the knowledge and understanding, skills and attributes needed to work and live in a way that the needs of the present are met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Students will be nurtured as future leaders in sustainability thinking and empowered to take informed decisions and responsible actions that promote the wellbeing of present and future generations.

Education for sustainable development at the University is overseen by Professor Angela Druckman, Director of the Centre for Environment and Sustainability

Our strategy

We are embedding sustainability in the education of all our students:

Taught degrees

All students on taught degree courses will learn about sustainability within the context of their discipline throughout their programme. This will be specified in learning outcomes, and progress will be assessed.

Learning will be underpinned by reference to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Embedding sustainability is being carried out as part of a programme to embed core graduate attributes into the curriculum, with sustainability being one of these. The other core graduate attributes are: global and cultural intelligence, digital capabilities, knowledge and skills, employability and resilience and resourcefulness. 


  • Existing programmes: rollout 2021–22, 2022-23 and 2023-24.
  • New programmes: sustainability embedded in all new programmes from 2023–24.

Postgraduate research degrees

All new postgraduate research degree students are encouraged to take a short ‘Introduction to Sustainability’ course as part of their induction, and the course is regularly promoted through the Doctoral College to current students.

Implementation: Commenced March 2022

Reporting progress

Progress is reported to the Executive Sustainability Steering Group chaired by Professor Bob Nichol. The group reports to the University's Executive Board and Estates Building Executive Committee  as appropriate.

Support and training

All taught courses go through a rigorous validation process during which it is checked that sustainability and the other core graduate attributes are embedded into each course. Workshops are provided to inspire and guide course leaders on how the attributes can be embedded. 

A short ‘Introduction to Sustainability’ course is available to all staff and students. The course is voluntary and takes around 2 hours to complete, with a digital badge being issued on successful completion. The course was launched in September 2020 and is regularly updated. 

Current opportunities

We have integrated various opportunities to experience education for sustainable development within our University: