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Course content

The Master of Studies (MSt) in Sustainability Leadership is an interdisciplinary postgraduate degree that explores leadership responses to sustainability challenges and opportunities. This programme is accredited by the University of Cambridge and delivered by the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL).

The MSt is offered in association with the Departments of Architecture, Engineering, Geography, Land Economy and the Judge Business School. Both academic excellence and leadership on sustainability are prioritised in the competitive selection process, and in the design and delivery of the programme.

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Aims of the programme

- To develop leaders who have a wide awareness and deep understanding of the social, environmental, ethical and economic challenges facing the world, and equip them to respond more effectively in their executive roles.
- To expose leaders and future leaders to a range of best-practice cases of how business, government and civil society are responding to these challenges.
- To help leaders to make a compelling ‘business case’ for sustainability in their sector and/or institutional context, and understand how best to put sustainability policies into practice.
- To give leaders insights into the academic debate on sustainability, including some of the key scientific and technological issues, and equip them with research skills relevant to sustainability.


The primary approaches to teaching and learning are:

- taught sessions by academics and practitioners, who are thought-leaders and/or case study illustrators
- group work, involving dialogue, debate and presentations throughout the taught modules, as well as a group research assignment
- individual work, involving research and written presentation of findings on selected topics
- support and facilitation by a CISL-led team of faculty, tutors and supervisors from within the University
- intensive and collaborative e-learning programmes, including e-modules, online webinars and content-based discussions to maximize knowledge sharing.

Contact time

- Lectures: 35 hours per year
- Seminars and classes: 50 hours per year
- Small group teaching: 26 hours per year
- Supervision: 7 hours per year


- Dissertation: 15,000 words maximum (including footnotes, tables and graphs but excluding appendices and bibliography).
- An analysis paper of 3,000 words maximum
- A strategy paper of 3,000 words maximum
- A group project of 5,000-7,000 words

Some assignments and the dissertation require literature reviews. The dissertation also involves an oral presentation.

Students are given formal feedback on their assignment and informal feedback throughout their course, including during supervisions. First year tutors give an annual progress report at the end of year 1 and dissertation supervisors provide termly reports during year 2.

How to apply:


A limited number of small grants may be available from the alumni bursary fund to support eligible research activities.

Sources of government funding and financial support - including Professional and Career Development Loans:

Visit the MSt in Sustainability Leadership page on the University of Cambridge website for more details!




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Recipient: University of Cambridge

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