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

Our commitment 

Sustainability is being embedded into all our programmes as a core graduate attribute. This will be 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 make a real impact on society.

Education for sustainable development

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

Students will be nurtured as future leaders in sustainable thinking, 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 Richard Murphy, 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).


  • Existing programmes: rollout 2021–22, 2022-23 and 2023-24.
  • New programmes: sustainability embedded in all new programmes from 2024–25.

Postgraduate research degrees

As with all new undergraduate students, all new postgraduate research degree students are encouraged to take a short ‘Introduction to Sustainability’ course as part of their induction.

Implementation: Commenced March 2022

Reporting progress

Progress is reported to the Environment and 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 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. 

Current opportunities

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

Wind turbines on a hill at sunset

Sustainability research

Surrey's Institute for Sustainability is a pan-University sustainability research network, providing both staff and students the opportunity to collaborate, inspire and make significant change.