• University of Edinburgh Featured Masters Courses
  • FindA University Ltd Featured Masters Courses
  • Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University Featured Masters Courses
  • Ulster University Featured Masters Courses
  • Jacobs University Featured Masters Courses
  • Swansea University Featured Masters Courses
  • University of Leeds Featured Masters Courses
  • University of Cambridge Featured Masters Courses
University of Warwick Featured Masters Courses
Imperial College London Featured Masters Courses
Cass Business School Featured Masters Courses
University of Leicester Featured Masters Courses
Newcastle University Featured Masters Courses

MSc Sustainable Development

Course Description

For over 20 years, the University of Surrey has led the way in environmental research. From investigating people’s attitudes to the environment to understanding how nanotechnology can enhance future solar power solutions – environment and sustainability researchers take a truly collaborative approach to seeking new sustainable solutions for a more prosperous, equitable, safe and secure future.


This programme is run by the Centre for Environmental Strategy (CES) (http://www.surrey.ac.uk/ces/), which is a leading centre for environmental and sustainability-related research and postgraduate teaching in the UK. CES accommodates a wide range of disciplines dedicated to resolving environmental problems. The programmes prepare a new generation of environmental professionals for the myriad of challenges ahead of them.

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.

Visit the website http://www.surrey.ac.uk/postgraduate/sustainable-development


This programme provides the essential tools 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, especially in relation to developing countries.

Course content

This programme provides both a theoretical and practical grounding for evaluating technical, social, economic and organisational elements of environmental problems. These include life cycle assessment and other analytical methods to understand how to use resources and manage materials and waste. You will learn how to anticipate and respond to future policy developments and market pressures, understand stakeholders’ roles and develop problem-solving and decision-making skills.

The Centre for Environmental Strategy (CES) has a leading position in environmental and sustainability-related research and postgraduate teaching in the UK.CES runs a suite of three MSc programmes, and jointly runs the MSc in Sustainable Tourism and the MSc in Extractive Industries. The programmes all have an interdisciplinary focus that will challenge you to think pragmatically, systematically and creatively about core environmental issues: we aim to prepare a new generation of environmental professionals for the myriad of challenges ahead. You will gain the knowledge and skills needed to implement ISO 14001 environmental management standards, undertake sustainability life-cycle and environmental risk assessments, develop sustainable and renewable energy solutions, inform low carbon policies and introduce corporate social responsibility programmes into organisations.

The CES programmes can be taken full or part-time, and are taught through a series of intensive, week-long modules. You will also complete a dissertation, and have the option of a placement in industry or the public sector. CES modules make full 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. The programmes provide excellent preparation for any sustainability or environment-related career and they are accredited to provide the basis for Associate membership of the Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment.

Programme structure

The programmes are based on one-week intensive modules in a similar format to the University’s Engineering Doctorate. Each programme consists of eight modules and a project/dissertation. Four modules are compulsory and the remaining four optional modules can be chosen from a wide range available at CES and other relevant MSc programmes. Each module carries 15 credits, with the dissertation worth 60 credits.

The compulsory modules have been designed by CES in consultation with industry and will continue to be fine-tuned in close consultation with our graduates and collaborators in the field.

Students on the full-time programmes start in September and follow a sequence of modules that has been designed to ensure steady and structured progress through the achievement of the Postgraduate Certificate to the Diploma and Masters degree. Part-time students may begin the programme at any time of the year.

You are allowed to choose up to two modules elsewhere in the University of Surrey’s Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, or from the Energy and Environmental Technology and Economics programme at City University, as agreed with your personal tutor. Students may take modules at other universities with the approval of the Board of Studies.

Compulsory modules:

• Corporate, Social and Environmental Responsibility
• Ecological Economics
• Foundations of Sustainable Development
• Sustainable Development Applications

Optional modules:

• Environmental Auditing and Management Systems
• Environmental Law
• Environmental Science and Society
• Industrial Placement
• Life Cycle Assessment
• Life Cycle Thinking and the Circular Economy
• Psychology of Sustainable Development
• Transitions to a Low Carbon Economy

Teaching and assessment

Teaching is a collaborative effort between University lecturers and research fellows, with some industrial contributions where appropriate.

Each module is taught over an intensive five-day period, preceded by preparatory reading and followed by coursework. A typical five-day teaching week is an intensive period of lectures, interactive group work and seminars, with occasional site visits. A preparatory learning package for each module is generally made available on the University’s online learning system.

Seminars, themes, discussions and fieldtrips are also organised to give students opportunities to consolidate their learning.

Each module is a self-contained unit, assessed separately. Traditional essays, report writing and case-study presentations will be required for assessment. There are no exams on any of the modules.

Your dissertation of 15,000 words will involve an in-depth piece of research on an appropriate subject. This may be the findings of a small-scale pilot study, an analysis of data or a development of theoretical aspects of a topic.

You must achieve a satisfactory standard in both the taught modules and the dissertation to be awarded a Masters degree.

Each full-time student will be allocated a personal tutor. Together, you will draw up a personal study plan. It is recommended that you meet regularly to discuss your progress.


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.

Professional recognition

The Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) is a broadly based environmental management organisation with more than 15,000 members. Successful completion of the modules Life Cycle Thinking, Environmental Science and Society, Environmental Auditing and Management Systems, and Environmental Law offer a direct route to associate membership of IEMA.

Find out how to apply here - http://www.surrey.ac.uk/apply/postgraduate

Visit the MSc Sustainable Development page on the University of Surrey website for more details!

(Student Profile)


Cheyvonne James, from Trinidad and Tobago, studied her MSc in Sustainable Development at the University of Surrey. She now works as an Implementation Coordinator at the Ministry of Planning and Sustainable Development.

“Having grown up in a developing Commonwealth nation, I always had a desire to pursue tertiary level studies in the United Kingdom,” she says. “I was attracted to Surrey’s postgraduate taught programme at the Centre for Environmental Strategy (CES) because of the manifold modules it afforded.”

She continues, “Coming to Surrey provided me with an opportunity to enhance my behavioural science background at the undergraduate level, whilst also obtaining knowledge and advance training in a completely new field. I also appreciate Surrey for its proximity to the diverse city of London.

“At CES, my supervisors were always very supportive and made themselves available to provide guidance, feedback and encouragement. Lecturers were always well-prepared and articulate; facilities were comfortable and the subject matter was in-depth, diverse in scope and relevant to the development issues facing modern societies.”

Cheyvonne undertook a Professional Training placement as part of her MSc. “I worked at an organisation called BIW (now Conject Ltd),” she explains. “I undertook an extensive market research of the sustainability practices of organisations in the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry. This industrial placement exposed me to actual practices the AEC industry could employ in order to have more sustainable operations.

“The opportunity to study at an internationally acclaimed academic institution in a developed country was really invaluable to me,” she concludes.

Now working within the Ministry of Planning and Sustainable Development, Cheyvonne is significantly involved in research and developmental exercises, geared towards national policy formulation.

(Student Profile)


Harsheenee Doorga, from Mauritius, studied at the University of Surrey for an MSc in Sustainable Development, and is now a Sustainable Development Analyst at EcoVadis Ltd.

“I liked the fact that the MSc at Surrey was assignment-based, not exam-based,” she says. “I was also attracted by the emphasis placed on class discussion, and the international profiles of the students. My supervisors were supportive and knowledgeable in their field and the facilities and resources were very up-to-date.”

Harsheenee took up a placement whilst on her MSc, with Healthy Planet, based in London. “My internship as a project manager helped me connect with people from the charity field, as well as develop managerial, communication and organisational skills.”

Her job at EcoVadis Ltd now means that she is responsible for the analysis and rating of suppliers, as well as leading a community involvement team in Mauritius.

“Surrey really prepared me for my new role,” she explains. “I got exposure to experienced and international postgraduates whilst at the Centre for Environmental Sustainability (CES), and learnt a lot of new things.”

(Student Profile)


I am hoping to work in an environmental-related area after finishing the course, so learning more in this area is an advantage. All the academic staff are very helpful including my personal tutor and module leaders. The fact that the course is multidisciplinary has meant that I have learnt content from a variety of areas. It also means that students from different backgrounds and work experience were on the course too. Much of the course highlights how we can apply our studies to working life, so I feel prepared to go forward with this. There is a lot that the programme offers and Surrey is a great place to study. As a result of my course, I will have more opportunities in the future.


Discounts for Surrey graduates - No. of awards TBC

If you are a self-funded UK, EU or international student who has studied for an undergraduate degree at the University of Surrey campus in Guildford, you could be eligible for a ten per cent discount on our taught postgraduate Masters programme fees. This scheme is for applicable to Postgraduate Taught entry students only and is reviewed annually.Students who graduated in 2013 are eligible, as well as alumni from previous years, on receipt of evidence of the award from Surrey and where we can identify that you actually studied in Guildford. Students from SII-DUFE are eligible for this scheme.Associated Institution students are not eligible. Not available to modular self-pacing students.

Value of Scholarship(s)

10% tuition fee discount


Self-funded UK, EU or international student who has studied for an undergraduate degree at the University of Surrey campus in Guildford

Application Procedure

If you have any enquiries regarding this matter please contact the Student Fees and Funding Office on [email protected]


GREAT Surrey Scholarships India - 6 Awards

Funded by the University and the UK government’s GREAT Britain campaign, up to six scholarships worth £5,000 (paid in the form of a fee discount) are being offered on postgraduate taught courses from the following subjects:- Chemical and Process Engineering
- Chemistry
- Civil and Environmental Engineering
- Computer Science
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering
- Environment and Sustainability
- Mathematics
- Mechanical Engineering Sciences
- PhysicsWHO CAN APPLY?You can apply for a GREAT Surrey Scholarship if:- You hold a high first-class degree from an Indian university (the minimum requirement is 65 per cent from a prestigious university or 70 per cent from a regional university).
- You hold an offer from Surrey to study any MSc course within the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, as listed above (you must hold an offer before submitting an application for a scholarship)

Value of Scholarship(s)



The GREAT Scholarship – India programme is aimed at high-calibre Indian students who want to study for a postgraduate programme in engineering.

Application Procedure

To apply, you will need to complete the online form - http://www.surrey.ac.uk/content/great-scholarships-india-2016

Further Information


Entry Requirements

The normal entry level is a minimum 2.2 honours degree (or equivalent) in social, life or physical sciences, or engineering disciplines, or sufficient work experience.English language requirements-IELTS minimum overall: 6.5-IELTS minimum by component: 6.0

Email Enquiry

Recipient: University of Surrey
Insert previous message below for editing? 
You haven’t included a message. Providing a specific message means universities will take your enquiry more seriously and helps them provide the information you need.
Why not add a message here
* required field
Send a copy to me for my own records.
Email Sent

Share this page:

Cookie Policy    X