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MSc Social Responsibility & Sustainability (Part Time / Distance Learning)

Course Description

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Business Ethics and Sustainability (including related issues) are of concern for businesses locally, nationally and internationally. Their importance to the global economy has increased significantly in recent years and is likely to increase further in the future. As managers/leaders of the future, all graduates will be required to be socially responsible and sustainability literate. Complex decisions will need to be taken, that take into account economic, social and environmental factors.

At Aston Business School, we believe that our own organisational practices should exemplify the values and attitudes we convey to our students. We fully endorse and are actively engaged with the UN Principles of Responsible Management Education. In addition, Aston University is now ranked 5th in the UK in The People and Planet Awards 2010 (from a position of 93rd in 2007) and was recently placed 11th in the Guardian Green League and has a Gold EcoCampus Award.

This programme combines both academic and practical perspectives and is suitable for those people interested in working in roles related to CSR and Sustainability in commercial business, the public sector, social enterprises or the not-for-profit and charitable sectors. It provides the opportunity to study a specialist MSc for those currently working in this area as well as those who aspire to do so.

The programme aims to:

Adopt a transdisciplinary approach, enabling students to explore social responsibility and sustainability from multiple perspectives in a business context
Engage in intellectual debates that reflect core issues and dilemmas and explore theories and practices relating social responsibility and sustainability
Provide flexible, comprehensive programmes of study that meet the ideas and needs of local, national and international students enabling them to learn by the exchange of experience as well as formal academic study
Provide students with an excellent learning experience that develops intellectual, subject based and transferable skills through drawing on the research and experience of academic staff at Aston and beyond
Ensure relevance by maintaining and enhancing the School’s links with business, professional, public and third sector organisations
Combine both academic and practical perspectives relating to this area to enable students completing the programme to be prepared for roles related to social responsibility and sustainability in commercial business, the public or third sectors
Enhance life long learning skills and personal development to enable students to work with self direction and contribute to business and society at large
Enable students to develop their capacities as an informed and self-aware individual contributing to progressive organisational and social change

Core Modules

Corporate Governance Regulation & Compliance
Sustainability Accounting & Accountability
Global Ethics & Human Rights Responsibilities in Business
Strategic Business Sustainability
Strategy, Change & Leadership
Green Information and Operations Management
Public Policy, Social Responsibility & Sustainable Development
Communicating Sustainability

The programme then concludes with a dissertation project.

Learning, Teaching & Assessment

A sophisticated but easy to use Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) offers a platform where linked readings and audio/visual presentations, discussion forums, webinars, videos and group activities make for a rich and exciting learning experience.

Assessments vary according to the nature of the module but all are designed to ensure that your learning and achievement are of the highest quality and directly related to the programme’s goals of promoting and realising social responsibility and sustainability in the private, public and third sectors.

Part-time / Distance learning

Part-time distance learning will allow you the flexibility to take control of your own learning and balance study with professional and personal obligations.
Applying yourself to two modules per term, combined with the final dissertation, will allow you to complete the course in the recommended two year period. However you are able to spread your study over a maximum of five years, affording you the opportunity to study at a slower pace or take breaks where necessary.
The programme is designed to cater for distance learners and is supported online with a sophisticated Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), with each module being designed specifically to cater for the needs of online distance learners.

Personal Development

We have an established global reputation for offering a unique educational experience. We provide a high quality education and emphasis is placed on personal and professional development through knowledge and skills gained during the programme and personal reflection. We put you at the heart of what we do - providing a truly transformational learning experience. We develop future leaders, encouraging you to be the best you can be, and to be an inspiration to others. Through the Social Responsibility and Sustainability MSc you will develop and demonstrate valuable transferable and practical skills including: presentation skills, negotiation, team work, report writing and ICT skills.

Course director

Dr John Blewitt, BScEcon, MA, MEd, PhD, FRSA
John is author of The Ecology of Learning (Earthscan, 2006) and Understanding Sustainable Development (Earthscan, 2008) and Media, Ecology and Conservation (Green Books, 2010). He has research of urban sustainability, green architecture and city design and new media communications. His most recent project, Connecting Spaces and Places: the right to the city, involves working with the Library of Birmingham project on civic engagement and sustainability communications in the city. He is a member of the Commission for Education and Communication of the IUCN, a Distinguished Schumacher Fellow and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Career Opportunities

This programme combines both academic and practical perspectives relating to this area and would be suitable for those interested in working in roles related to CSR and Sustainability in commercial business, the public sector, social enterprises or the not-for-profit and charitable sectors. It also provides the opportunity to study a specialist MSc for those currently working in this area as well as those who aspire to do so.

Visit the MSc Social Responsibility & Sustainability (Part Time / Distance Learning) page on the Aston University website for more details!

Student Profiles

Aston Excellence Scholarships (All MSc Programmes) - No. of awards TBC

Our MSc scholarships are designed to support talented applicants wishing to develop their skills and knowledge with one of our MSc programmes. For 2015/16 we have a variety of scholarship awards available.

Value of Scholarship(s)

£1,000 - £1,500


Applicants wishing to apply for one of the Aston MSc scholarships must meet the following criteria:Have been offered a place on one of our MSc courses
Be a self-funded student

Application Procedure

Applicants must download and complete the scholarship application form which can be found on the website. The completed form must then be emailed to [email protected] Please note that all forms must be completed in full those recived with missing information will not be assessed.Applicants make only one general scholarship application for all of the above scholarships and are not required to specify which scholarship they wish to be considered for. This decision will be made by the scholarship panel.Please note that all scholarships are specific to the degree programme and point of entry indicated in any scholarship offer confirmation and are not transferable.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

One of the following: a good UK honours degree (minimum lower second class), equivalent overseas degree recognised by Aston University. As well as: two professional references, at least one must be from an academic referee, an official academic transcript of your university grades to date, a completed application form. For International Students: an official academic transcript, with an official English translation, of your university grades to date, students whose native language is not English will also need to satisfy our English language requirements. Pre-sessional English language programmes are available for good applicants whose English qualification falls short of these requirements.

Course Fees

UK/EU: £9,350 (2015 fee) International: £13,800 (2015 fee)

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