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Course content

The sustainable extraction, supply, use and disposal/re-use of natural resources is increasingly critical to business, policymakers, and civil society around the world. This new degree investigates the topics of a circular economy, resource efficiency, and sustainable resource management, and will qualify students with the skills and knowledge to become leaders in this field.

Degree information

The curriculum fully reflects the global nature of the subject. Students will gain in-depth expertise at the intersection of the environmental, social and economic aspects of the management and governance of sustainable resources from both public policy and industrial perspectives. Key concepts will comprise resource efficiency and circular economy, the resource nexus and supply chain security.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of five core modules (75 credits), three optional modules (45 credits) and a dissertation project (60 credits).

Core modules
-Introduction to Sustainable Resources: Challenges and principles
-Introduction to Resource Economics and Policy
-The Demand Drivers for Resource Use
-Tools for Assessing Sustainable Resources
-Future Resource Pathways and Visions

Optional modules
-International Commodity Trade
-Metrics, Modelling and Visualisation of the Resource Nexus
-Resource Governance and the Global South
-Eco-Innovation, Business and Market Development
-Earth Resources and Sustainability
-Climate Risks to Hydro-Ecological Systems

All students undertake an independent research project, which culminates in a dissertation of 10,000 words.

Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, project group work and presentations from visiting speakers from a range of businesses and other organisations. Assessment is through examination, assessed coursework, group work, and a dissertation.

Students will participate in a field trip to Ironbridge (the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution). There will be no additional costs to students for this trip.


This programme equips students for challenging, rewarding and socially beneficial employment in a wide range of sectors including business, national and local government, NGOs and global organisations concerned with economy-resource-environment interactions. The programme includes a careers event with speakers from a variety of organisations, providing an opportunity to discuss opportunities with potential employers.

Students become members of the Sustainable Resources MSc alumni network and will be invited to attend alumni events and benefit from networking opportunities with fellow students.

On graduation students should possess a sound understanding of the key challenges surrounding sustainable resource use, supply and demand drivers and future strategies for global natural resource management. Students should also be technically competent in a range of economic, social science and modelling skills and techniques including integrated assessments, life cycle analysis, material flows analysis, foresight analysis/scenario analysis, system dynamics, and computable general equilibrium models (CGE).

Students develop 'key skills' valuable for future employment, including communication skills (written and oral), teamwork, breaking down complex problems, decision-making under uncertainties, intercultural communication, working in interdisciplinary environments, and awareness of the business context.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The UCL Institute of Sustainable Resources (ISR) has a world-leading research portfolio in the area of sustainable use of resources, economics and the environment. ISR is particularly strong in analysis related to actors and their decision-making as well as strategies.

The exciting multidisciplinary programme includes contributions from economics, law, political science, development planning, engineering and the natural sciences as appropriate for understanding planetary boundaries, the circular economy, people and the resource nexus, and developing response options.

Learning key employment skills is an integral part of the programme. The residential field trip to Ironbridge offers a valuable opportunity for student and staff interaction and staff at the start of the year. Regular seminars are held across UCL and there will be opportunities to undertake industry-focused dissertation projects.

Visit the Sustainable Resources - MSc page on the University College London website for more details!





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