This programme is run by the Centre for Environmental Strategy (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 challenges and opportunities ahead.
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 development.
This programme provides a route to graduate membership of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment.
This programme is studied full-time over one academic year and part-time students must study at least two taught technical modules per academic year. It consists of eight taught modules and a dissertation.
Example module listing
The following modules are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that not all modules described are compulsory and may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.
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:
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.
We often give our students the opportunity to acquire international experience during their degrees by taking advantage of our exchange agreements with overseas universities.
In addition to the hugely enjoyable and satisfying experience, time spent abroad adds a distinctive element to your CV.
The Master of Science in Sustainable Development contains two different tracks: the Erasmus Mundus joint Master in Sustainable Territorial Development and the ICP Master of Science in Sustainable Development.
The Erasmus Mundus Joint Master in Sustainable Territorial Development
STeDe IJM aims to create experts in the area of sustainable territorial development. More concretely it trains professionals to be able to help organizations acting in the territory (enterprises, local communities, civil society organizations) to draft sustainable development policies for economic, social, environmental, international and intercultural management.
The Master concerns the economic competitiveness, social inclusion, environmental protection, international cooperation and intercultural relation challenges of territorial development focusing not only on local communities, but also on enterprises, non-state actors and civil society organizations. It also aims to offer an example of sustainable territory involving all local organizations, which should have human resources available and able to promote sustainable development.
The ICP Master of Science in Sustainable Development
An active research-driven education model with five main pillars
Pillar 1 : Research based teaching courses taught by academic experts leading research in different sustainability domains and parts of the world.
Pillar 2 : Training in research stimulating critical learners, systemic thinking and creativity in the solution of complex socio-ecological problems and triggering real change.
Pillar 3 : A programme informed by and serving the needs of Global South regions facing economic, social and ecological challenges.
Pillar 4 : The active integration of fieldwork in the South, internship, thesis and portfolio development in the professional preparation of the students.
Pillar 5 : The KU Leuven Sustainability Living Lab as the itinerant platform through which the vision and goals of this Master will be tested and implemented in a real world setting. All contents and activities in the Master are connected to the priorities of the Lab, which will be in tune with international institutions agendas and contemporary sustainability debates.
In simple words, this Master programme embraces sustainable development beyond the walls of universities and classrooms to engage with real world settings and localities in their search for solutions to their most pressing problems.
The Master of Science in Sustainable Development is an initial Master's programme and can be followed on a full-time or part-time basis.
In this interuniversity programme, both European and non-European students study together. The EMLM STeDe-students study each semester at a different university. First at the Università degli Studi di Padova (30 ECTS), then at KU Leuven (30 ECTS) and then at the Université Paris 1 Panthéon - Sorbonne (30 ECTS). The fourth semester is dedicated to an internship and a Master's thesis (30 ECTS) written at the university of the student's choice from among the three aforementioned universities and the Universidade Catolica Don Bosco in Brazil.
The students of the ICP Master of Sustainable Development study at the KU Leuven. They can choose between two specialisations: ‘Space and Society’ and ‘Ecology’.
This programme is offered by the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, collaboration with the Department of Biology. The main mission of the Department Earth and Environmental Sciences is to carry out state-of-the-art scientific research with respect to the functioning of geo- and ecosystems at different spatial and temporal scales, including the interaction between humans and the environment and the sustainable management of natural resources. The department aims at providing attractive academic training at an international level in the fields of Bio-engineering, Geology, Geography and Tourism. The department aims at making an important contribution to the scientific understanding of societal issues such as environmental pollution, food production, climate change, nature and landscape management, soil and water management, exploitation of underground resources, rural and urban development, international development collaboration and tourism.
The Department of Biology is committed to excellence in teaching and research and is comprised of four divisions with diverse research activities ranging from molecular and physiological research at the level of cells and organisms to ecological research on populations, communities, and ecosystems. Although many research groups conduct in-depth analyses on specific model organisms, as a whole the department studies an impressive diversity of lifeforms.
Our research is internationally renowned and embedded in well-established worldwide collaborations with other universities, research institutes, and companies. Our primary goal is to obtain insight into patterns and processes at different levels of biological organisation and to understand the basis and evolution of the mechanisms that allow organisms to adapt to their constantly changing environment. This knowledge often leads to applications with important economic or societal benefits. The department attracts many students and hosts approximately 250 staff members.
Job opportunities for graduates may be found in all sectors where sustainable development actions should be implemented, in particular at organizations responsible for the creation of sustainable territories (communities, enterprises, non-state actors and civil society organizations, local governments), the central government and international organizations.
Potential posts include: environmental adviser; sustainable development manager in local communities, public administrations, civil society organizations & local governments; representative within local public institutions, national and international institutions, enterprises, trade unions & professional bodies.
The extensive experience, international collaboration and multidisciplinary insights gained from the Erasmus Mundus Master in Sustainable Territorial Development, will open up new perspectives on the sustainability of territorial use and organization while introducing you to various policy tools and management strategies in divergent territorial contexts.
This multidisciplinary master’s degree programme provides in-depth knowledge on sustainable development and sustainability leadership. The programme provides students with an understanding of organisation and leadership theory in the context of sustainability. It also provides students with an understanding of research methods for sustainable decision-making. The education lays a solid foundation for those seeking to lead or manage sustainable initiatives in the workplace, community and the world.
The master’s degree programme is grounded in four core premises:
1. Sustainability requires new forms of organising, especially when it comes to project-based organisations involving diverse stakeholders.
2. Organising and leading sustainability requires new and diverse leading and organising skills, understanding and knowledge for managers and leaders of sustainable projects.
3. Organising and leading sustainability requires a new way of thinking sustainability within and between organisations. Current research on social entrepreneurship and social innovation can reveal new methods and strategies with regards to this.
4. Methodological and methodical knowledge and understanding are needed to enable leaders to make sustainable decisions.
Based on these four premises, the programme bridges together the fields of organisation theory, leadership, project management, social innovation and social entrepreneurship so that together new ways of organising and leading sustainability can be created. This will enable students to rethink commonly held perceptions of leadership and organisational development.
In this programme students are taught to reflect upon organisational and leadership challenges linked to organisational development and sustainability. This programme provides students with knowledge and critical understanding of current research in the fields of leadership and organisation, project management, social entrepreneurship and social innovation in the context of sustainability and sustainable development.
This master's programme is also focused on action and doing via diverse projects and even via the thesis work. This is a way to develop students’ professional, conceptual and human skills so that as for example future sustainable leaders and social entrepreneurs, they will drive sustainable changes and have the capacity to make informed decisions about organisational and leadership issues in the management of sustainable organisations and projects.
Finally, embedded in this program is the idea that sustainability can be reached if individuals rethink commonly held perceptions of leadership and organisational development.
TeachingLectures, seminars, and workshop enable interaction in small and large class. Group work is used to generate discussions about sustainability, especially while doing case studies. Study visits and guest lectures connect learning with practice. Individual papers, individual studies and the thesis work enable to focus and gain specific and in-depth knowledge to master the subject at hand.
This programme lays a solid foundation for those seeking to work as key players in project management and organisational development environments, and where the broader issues of societal development are important. The skills acquired will be relevant for managers in local, national and international governmental bodies, the private and non-profit sector and in consultancy work.
The entrepreneurial content of the course is designed to stimulate and encourage students to initiate projects, businesses or organisations with the purpose of working towards sustainable development.
Knowledge and understanding
Skills and competences
Judgement and approach
Master's Degree (60 credits).
Degree of Master of Arts (60 credits) with a Major in Leadership and Organisation.
Would you like to develop skills and tools that enable you to contribute to a more sustainable society? If that is the case, this programme is tailor-made for you!
The focus of the programme is sustainable development as a vital challenge to our society, which needs to be seriously addressed by government and public administration. The programme is a cooperation between human geography, political science and sociology and is a one-year Master's programme of 60 credits.
The first semester, you take multidisciplinary courses that focus on sustainable development as a political and professional challenge, and contribute to theoretical and empirical insights into the complexity of different environmental problems and their connection to social and economic dimensions. You will develop an understanding of how environmental problems are framed and how these frames impact on what strategies and solutions are chosen, as well as help explain why some problems are not handled at all.
You will also gain knowledge of what the role as a professional public official and planner can, and ought to, mean when working for a more sustainable society. Sustainable development is further described and analysed from a comparative perspective to give insights into why and how conditions, problem patterns and strategies vary around the world. In the courses, we problematise theoretical perspectives on sustainable development and apply theories in relation to concrete cases of sustainable planning. The methods of instruction are varied and include practical applications and problem-based learning (PBL).
During the second semester, you choose between three courses that are focused on sustainable development with a specialisation in either human geography, political science or sociology. These three courses start with a joint course module in method and analysis, which develops your insights and skills in methods and analyses of particular relevance to sustainable development. You practise your abilities and skills in operationalising by working with different sustainability indicators and by working creatively to develop new, alternative indicators. You will also have the opportunity to develop your knowledge and abilities in traditional field studies. In addition, you will acquire knowledge and skills in forward-looking studies, like scenario techniques and prognosis. The second semester ends with thematic studies and an independent project.
The Master's in Sustainable Development focuses on the analysis of changes needed to create sustainable solutions to achieve an environmentally and socially accountable society.
The Master's programme in Sustainable Development (SD) is aimed at those who want to make a substantial contribution to the transition to a sustainable society through their scientific research; and who want to contribute to innovative future solutions for environmental issues. This two year research programme offers you the opportunity to develop excellent research skills and to apply them effectively to a broad range of specialized topics within the field of sustainable development.
In the whole first year, and the beginning of the second, you will follow joint courses in Sustainability, and specialized courses in your chosen track.
This last track has a mandatory internship in the first year.
Most of the second year is spent on independent research for your final Master's thesis. Some students may also participate in an International Joint Master's Programme. As a graduate of the SD programme, you will be eligible for PhD studies or a position in research institutes, government, business or an NGO.
Sustainable Development is the study of scientific solutions and societal interventions for an environmentally accountable society. This two-year Master’s programme educates the scientists of the future.
The MSc in Sustainable Development is a one-year, full-time taught postgraduate programme run by the School of Geography and Sustainable Development.
Sustainable development is now widely regarded as the most promising framework within which the challenges of clean water and adequate sanitation, energy generation and supply, human health, food production and distribution, and the threats to biodiversity can be addressed. The MSc programme will enable you to develop the knowledge you need to understand and address sustainability issues from multiple perspectives.
During the taught portion of the programme, students take seven modules which are taught via lectures, tutorials, seminar presentations, student-led workshops, as well as field trips and away days. Modules are assessed through written examinations and coursework including class tests, presentations and essays.
Over the course of the programme, but with particular focus during the summer months, students will research a project area and produce an academic literature review, a professional policy brief and a reflective essay.
The modules in this programme have varying methods of delivery and assessment. For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the latest module catalogue which is for the 2017-2018 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2018 entry.