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MSc Climate Change and Sustainable Development

Course Description

The MSc programme is aimed at both recent graduates wishing to specialise in climate change and sustainability, and professionals wishing to extend their knowledge and expertise or seeking a career change.

The programme has an interdisciplinary approach, reflecting the integration of skills and knowledge that sustainable development requires. It is a modular programme, having both taught and research components.

The Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development (IESD) has an international reputation for research and consultancy in this field. This enables the programme to provide students with a broad insight into energy and sustainability issues, backed up by detailed expertise in key areas. Career opportunities in this wide and growing field are numerous: in industry, national and local government, utilities, academia, consultancies and environmental agencies.

The course has been approved by both the Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) and the Energy Institute for completing the educational requirements for Chartered Engineer registration.


The teaching, learning and assessment strategies place considerable emphasis on student-centred learning.

Full-time students attend lectures on two days per week, with the remainder of the time being spent on seminar work and private study. Part-time students attend on one day per week. The course is delivered by the Institute’s experts plus others from commerce and industry.

Distance learners receive individual support from a member of teaching staff plus learning materials in electronic format. Distance learners can complete all taught modules at their home location anywhere in the world.


Methods of assessment include project work, oral exposition and seminars, essays, case studies, demonstrations, reports, and a dissertation. Monitoring of students’ progress is continuous and thorough, with regular informal communication between students and teaching staff.

Entry requirements

Applicants should normally have a good degree (second class and above) in a relevant subject or 5 years work experience in an appropriate field. You should have the equivalent of a British Honours degree (2:2 minimum) in a relevant subject or five years’ work experience in an appropriate field.

We are happy to consider equivalent qualifications from anywhere in the world. If English is not your first language an IELTS score of 6.5 or equivalent when you start the course is essential. English Language tuition, delivered by our British Council accredited Centre for English Language Learning|, is available both before and throughout the course if you need it.

If you do not have the normal entry requirements but can demonstrate substantial experience in an appropriate area, you can be considered for entry to the course.

The modules

Sustainable Development
introduces the key concepts of sustainable development and sustainability. Students are encouraged to develop a critical appreciation of the sustainable development debate, and to challenge widely held views. Policies at various geographical scales (local, regional, national, international) are examined in the light of the insights gained.

Energy in Buildings
presents a broad overview of energy use in domestic and non-domestic buildings and how it relates to building construction. Alternative low energy sustainable approaches to building design are presented. Building energy-flows, thermal comfort and daylighting practices are discussed. The role of regulation and assessment of environmental impact is investigated.

Renewable Energy
imparts a broad understanding of the potential for renewable energies within the urban and rural environment. The need to integrate renewable energy technologies into the design and refurbishment of settlements is discussed.

Research Methods
equips students with the skills necessary to successfully complete a research project of a high standard. Research methods, data interpretation, report writing and basic computing skills are covered, as well as statistical analysis and the design and analysis of questionnaires.

Resource Use and Pollution
provides an understanding of efficient and/or optimal resource use, management of non-renewable and ecological resources, pollution policy, waste management and minimisation, cleaner production and industrial ecology. The insights gained are applied to climate change policy at national and international levels.

Integrated Environmental Strategies
covers the importance of regional and local energy strategies in dealing with the economic, social and environmental benefits of climate change abatement.

Energy Analysis Techniques
focuses on the analysis of the energy performance of buildings, industry and transport. The monitoring and setting of targets in multi-site organisations, energy audit and survey techniques are studied.

People, Society and Climate Change
examines the social and psychological dimensions of climate change, focussing on the most effective methods to inform the public and decision-makers to take action.

Research Project
Projects can be based upon existing specialist Institute research areas or a related topic of the student’s choice. Each year a wide range of projects are undertaken.

Visit the MSc Climate Change and Sustainable Development page on the De Montfort University website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Amanda Palmer

Climate Change and Sustainable Development MSc

"I spent a good deal of time looking for a course and ended up applying for, and being accepted onto, three very different master’s degrees. I chose the MSc in Climate Change and Sustainable Development because the multidisciplinary range of the course impressed me, and was not offered elsewhere. I have not regretted my choice.

The course is broad and the scope stimulating. The diversity of the modules gives a great grounding in the complexity and variety of ways that sustainable development can touch every aspect of life and thus acts as a potential springboard into many different career paths. Overall the course is challenging yet motivating, and has allowed me to learn skills in a number of fields, some of which I never would have thought of exploring.

I would recommend this course – it has definitely been worthwhile."


Entry Requirements

You should have the equivalent of a British Honours degree (2:2 minimum) in a relevant subject. If you have no formal academic qualifications but do have extensive industry experience we will consider your application individually.

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