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Course content

Cities across the world are facing huge sustainability challenges. Whilst mayors and city governments pledge ‘zero carbon cities’ by 2040, a serious skills shortage means a new generation of sustainability leaders is needed.

The MSc Sustainable Cities tackles this skills shortage by equipping you with the knowledge and tools necessary to become an urban sustainability leader. On this programme you will experience urban sustainability first hand, blending concepts and theories with real world problems and solutions.

We take a ‘systems’ approach to teaching sustainable cities, you will learn about energy systems, transport networks, housing provision, and urban ecosystems. Using applied cases you will discover how these systems can be transformed to produce better economic, environmental, and social outcomes. This course will see students graduate into city government, consultancy, NGO’s and beyond.

The course is delivered in a friendly, challenging and globally competitive Environment faculty where you will have access to cutting edge research, teaching and collaborative learning opportunities.

Course highlights:

  • No other UK programme teaches the key systems that make up sustainable cities; you will graduate with strong academic and practical knowledge.
  • We have revolutionized the MSc experience, we teach modules one at a time, using problem based learning. You will have time to think and work on real world problems.
  • You will be part of a team. We take a free residential field trip in week 2 to the Centre for Alternative Technologies in Wales. Here we work together on practical issues of sustainability and get to know our colleagues for the year.
  • Each student will have a personal leadership plan tailored to their strengths and development needs. This is delivered in parallel to the ‘systems’ content and builds your leadership confidence.
  • The programme is delivered by one of the Top 10 universities in the UK for Academic Reputation for Environmental Sciences and a Global Top 100 university (QS World Rankings 2016-17).


The research project is one of the most satisfying elements of this course. It allows you to apply what you’ve learned to a piece of research focusing on a real-world problem, and it can be used to explore and develop your specific interests.

Examples of project topics would include:

  • Linking up energy and transport systems with a project on electric vehicles in the city
  • Undertaking public ‘visioning’ exercises for major sustainability developments
  • Creating mixed low-carbon housing development by analysing alternative ownership and construction approaches
  • Creating fuel forests in the city, linking urban parks with biomass production
  • Developing city and regional climate change strategies around key systems.

Programme team

You will be taught by staff from across the School of Environment, School of Geography and Institute of Transport Studies.

Visit the Sustainable Cities MSc page on the University of Leeds website for more details!





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