MSc Sustainability

Get a taste of this Masters course, with modules taught at Eden.

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MSc Sustainability

This unique postgraduate course has been designed to provide students with the skills and knowledge they need to embed sustainability in their chosen profession and to equip them with the ability to bring about positive change.

Through a blend of online learning, access to researchers at Anglia Ruskin’s Global Sustainability Institute, residential workshops at the visionary Eden Project, and a work placement, the MSc gives students the opportunity to learn, experience and practice different aspects of sustainability.

'The course has re-ignited my confidence in going after a career that encompasses all that I love and have the qualities to do.'
Former student

How you’ll learn

Taught across one year (full-time) or two years (part-time), the MSc Sustainability gives you the opportunity to learn through a combination of approaches:

1. Online learning

Comprehensive online learning, through the MSc’s state-of-the-art virtual learning environment, will allow you to deepen your understanding of sustainability – and to study from anywhere in the world.

2. Residential taught sessions

These five residential sessions, spanning up to five days each, are an essential part of the course and are designed to immerse you in very different learning environments.:

Eden Project, Cornwall
You will enjoy a unique opportunity to experience sustainability first-hand through modules delivered at this world-class attraction and social enterprise.

Anglia Ruskin’s Global Sustainability Institute, Cambridge
You will be taught by a multidisciplinary team of experts working on cutting-edge sustainability research.

3. Work placement

Supported by the Global Sustainability Institute, this six-week placement is a practical opportunity for you to learn how to apply your new skills in a real, work-based setting.

4. Research project

As part of your dissertation you will have the opportunity to contribute to a wide range of sustainability-focused research projects.

'I was able to carry on working at my job, study at my own pace part-time at a distance, but also have the benefits of hands-on teaching.'
Former student

What you'll learn

This Masters course is truly interdisciplinary, with an emphasis on developing your understanding of a complex range of natural and social systems and how these interact. 

Subjects covered include: resource constraints; environmental change; climate finance; good business practice; governance and behavioural change; community engagement, resilience and adaptation.

In addition, you will also develop a range of skills that will enable you to apply your knowledge in a personal or professional context.

'The modules I took were unique in the breadth of topics covered and in the approach to assessing course content.'
Former student

Who it’s for

The MSc Sustainability is open to graduates from any discipline or background wanting to become sustainability professionals or to influence change within their existing profession. Find out more in our FAQs section. You can also hear what former students have got out of it.

Get in touch or apply

If you’re thinking about applying for a place on the course, which begins in September each year, you can:

'It is an utterly awesome, life changing course...'
Former student

Frequently asked questions

You can find all sorts of practical information below – but please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Teaching and assessment

What exactly do we study and when?

You can read more about the individual modules on the ‘Modules & assessment’ section of Anglia Ruskin’s online prospectus.

Where does the teaching take place?

The course is a blend of face-to-face residential workshops and online learning. The residential workshops take place in Cambridge, Peterborough and the Eden project in Cornwall. Find out more about these in the section below.

How does the online learning element work?

In between the residential workshops, students consolidate and extend their knowledge, skills and understanding using Anglia Ruskin’s online virtual learning environment. Through this system students have 24/7 access to the course learning materials including reading lists, videos, assignment details, discussions, webinars (online presentations, lectures, workshops or seminars ) and student activities. Students are able to undertake their online learning at a time and in a place which suits them, but each week are sent an email suggesting what they should be covering.

Will I have contact with a tutor?

Yes, the staff operate a virtual ‘open door policy’ and students are encouraged to contact their module tutors by phone or email. In addition, each student will have regular tutorials (often by phone or Skype) with their personal tutor, who oversees their progress throughout the course and who provides academic and personal guidance on a one-to-one basis.

What are the methods of assessment?

There are no examinations in this course, and most modules are assessed by two relatively short pieces of work. These are designed to reflect the skills needed to become effective agents of change for sustainability, as well as indicating your understanding of particular subject matter. You will receive comprehensive feedback on your assessments, and this will indicate how you can improve your later work. As you progress through the course, and as part of your assignments, you will also be asked to reflect on your learning and personal development. This helps to build a complete picture of your achievements on the course including your progress towards becoming a knowledgeable and skilled change agent.

Residential workshops

What happens on the residential workshops?

The idea of the workshops is to explore further the issues that you have researched as part of your learning. Activities during the workshops include lectures, seminars, role play and group exercises, peer discussion and presentations – facilitated by Eden Project and Global Sustainability Institute staff, plus guest facilitators such as Kate Raworth, Belina Raffy (read her blog about her workshop) and David Key. You will also get out on field trips, for example to see the post-mining landscape surrounding the Eden Project, and will spend a day in the Fens when in Cambridge.

Are the residential workshops compulsory?

Yes, we have designed the course so that the workshops are an essential part of your learning journey. They also provide an opportunity for you to discuss your progress, and of course allow you to meet with your fellow students. However, if you are unable to attend part of a workshop for unavoidable reasons, such as illness, the course team will make every effort to support you in compensating for this.

Where will I stay during the residential workshops?

You will need to find and pay for somewhere to stay locally during the workshops. The Eden Project has onsite YHA accommodation.

Work placement

How long is the work placement?

In total students must undertake approximately 200 hrs in their work setting. This part of the course takes place in Trimester 2 (around February) for full-time students and in Trimester 3 (around June) for part-time students.

How will I find a work placement?

The course team supports students in finding a placement which is of interest and within commuting distance.

I am already working part-time. Can I do the placement where I am already working?

Several of our part-time students have done this very successfully but you will need to consult with the course team to ensure your current employment is appropriate for the module.

I already have relevant work experience – can I use this instead of doing the placement?

We find students look forward to the opportunity of testing out their new skills and knowledge in a new or current work environment. The course team will be able to advise on individual cases.

Who the course is for

I’m not a science graduate; can I still study this MSc course?

Understanding the scientific basis of sustainability challenges is an important part of this course and you will need to engage with scientific debates, but you don’t need to have a background in science to do this. If you would like to discuss your suitability please do get in touch using the contact details on this page.

I don’t have a first degree, but have worked in sustainability for a number of years. Am I eligible?

If you feel you can demonstrate your ability to work at Masters level we would love to hear from you. Please get in touch.

Can I apply for the course if I live outside the EU?

As this course is a blend of online, student-led and face to face learning it does not meet the requirements for a Tier 4 Student visa which requires full-time attendance in the UK. However, it is possible that you could travel to the UK for the residential sessions using a Student Visitor Visa, spending the rest of your study time back in your home country. If you choose this option, then we can issue a letter to support your application for a Student Visitor Visa when this is required. Please contact the Anglia Ruskin International Office for more information.

What careers could the MSc lead to?

Our students have gone on to work in a wide range of roles in business, charities, governments and education. Some have used the MSc as an opportunity to kick-start their career as a sustainability professional (in a variety of fields including waste and water management, energy consumption, climate change) or as the bridge to a change in career direction. Others have returned to a sector that is already familiar, working with a new sustainability perspective to help drive change from within. For others, the course has provided the skills and motivation for them to set-up or grow their own sustainable business or as a stepping stone to PhD research.

Application process

When is the application deadline?

The course starts in September each year, and we welcome applications throughout the year. As there is a limited number of places on the course, we would encourage you to apply as soon as you can.

How do I apply?

You can apply for the course via the Anglia Ruskin website.

How does the application process work?

You will receive a receipt of your online application, which will be forwarded to an admissions officer who will make a decision on your suitability for the course. Under certain circumstances you may be invited for an interview before a decision is made.

How much does the course cost and could I get funding?

You can find out more about current course rates, as well as sources of funding on the ‘Fees & funding’ section of Anglia Ruskin’s online prospectus.