MSc Sustainability in Transport

University of Leeds, Institute for Transport Studies (ITS)

Program Description

MSc Sustainability in Transport

University of Leeds, Institute for Transport Studies (ITS)

The way the world thinks about transport has changed. We now take a more holistic and longer-term view about the future of transport and its relationship with the development of sustainable communities.

Bringing together the expertise of the Institute for Transport Studies and Sustainability Research Centre, this programme considers the interactions between the economy, society, the environment and governance. You’ll examine drivers such as climate change policies and corporate governance initiatives and develop the skills to help deliver integrated transport solutions.

You’ll learn to conduct strategic reviews of transport and land-use policy, undertake sustainability assessments and conduct land-use zoning and development control exercises. You’ll consider the roles of governments, markets and communities in encouraging sustainability and evaluate policy interventions across sectors and spatial scales. Optional modules also allow you to specialise in topics that interest you.

Research environment

The Institute for Transport Studies (ITS) was established as the UK’s first multi-disciplinary transport department, and we continue to lead the field with our research.

Our reputation allows us to invest in world-class facilities, such as the University of Leeds Driving Simulator – one of the most sophisticated in any university in the world, allowing us to research driver behaviour in controlled lab conditions. We also have access to a variety of specialist software tools including those we’ve developed in-house such as SATURN, PLUTO, DRACULA, MARS and KonSULT.

You’ll also be supported by the Sustainability Research Centre (SRC), an interdisciplinary centre for cutting-edge research in this dynamic field. SRC works with partners and funders such as Marks & Spencer and Asda to address key challenges facing businesses and governments alike.

Part-time study at ITS

This programme is also available to study part-time over 24 months, though the programme is flexible and we advise you to allow for taking between 24 and 36 months.

You can also study this programme as a Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) qualification full or part-time – this means you’ll study the same content as the MSc but you won’t complete a dissertation.


This programme is recognised by the Transport Planning Society.

Course content

Core modules will lay the foundations of your studies and introduce you to key topics in sustainability and transport. You’ll examine the concept of sustainability and explore different frameworks for understanding sustainable development – as well as how governance issues impact on the prospects for sustainability.

At the same time, you’ll consider why and how people travel from a range of perspectives and consider global transport issues such as energy security, inclusion and development. You’ll also learn the fundamentals of transport planning and policy and develop skills in data collection and analysis.

In addition, you’ll have the chance to select optional modules from a range offered by both ITS and SRC. These will give you the chance to develop specialist knowledge in specific topics, from traffic management to mitigating climate change.

You’ll gain a range of specialist knowledge and advanced research skills throughout the programme. In your dissertation, you’ll apply these to a project chosen from a wide range of topics. Some topics are suggested and supported by industry, giving you the chance to address a real-world problem and gain experience of working with industry. Your supervisor will support you throughout the process of developing your dissertation topic.

If you choose to study part-time, you’ll study over a longer period and take fewer modules in each year. The part-time programme is flexible – the quickest route takes 24 months, but you can take up to 36 months if you choose to spend longer working on your dissertation.

Course structure

These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.

There are six compulsory modules including your dissertation, and you’ll also choose three optional modules. PGDip students don’t have to complete the dissertation.

Compulsory modules Optional modules
  • Environmental Policy and Governance
  • Environmental Science and Sustainability for Transport
  • Transport Data Collection and Analysis
  • Shaping Future Transport Systems
  • Transport Dissertation
  • Transport Integrated Project
  • Climate Change Mitigation
  • Climate Change: Impacts and Adaptation
  • Critical Perspectives in Environment and Development
  • Standards and Tools for Business, Environment and Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Global Transferability in Policy-Making
  • Green Logistics
  • Analysing Transport and Society
  • Public Transport Planning and Management
  • Road Safety Management
  • System Dynamics: Modelling Policy
  • Tools and Techniques in Ecological Economic
  • Traffic Management
  • Transport and Public Health
  • Transport and Urban Pollution
  • Transport in Development
  • Transport Investment Appraisal

Learning and teaching

Postgraduate study involves a range of teaching methods, supported by independent learning. In addition to the traditional lecture and seminar formats, you’ll experience a blend of workshops, computer exercises, practical sessions, directed reading, reflective journal, student-led discussions, fieldwork and tutorials. Modules are arranged so that part-time students can attend one day per week, but this may limit the optional modules available to you. Some modules are taught intensively over 3-5 consecutive days.


Assessment is equally varied and can include coursework essays, case-study reports, group assignments, posters, presentations and exams.

Applying, fees and funding

Entry requirements

A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) in a relevant subject such as geography, town planning, earth and environment, architecture, sustainability, logistics, business and management, psychology, social policy, history, politics or public administration. Graduates from other disciplines and those with professional qualifications plus experience in the sector will also be considered. We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. For information contact the ITS admissions team. English language requirements IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications. International students who do not meet the English language requirements for the programme may be able to study an English for Academic Purposes pre-sessional course with a progression route to the degree programme. Application deadlines We don’t have a specific application deadline, but we recommend you apply as early as possible, especially if you are hoping to apply for a scholarship. If you're unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help. Documents and information you’ll need
  • Two references
  • Your degree certificate and transcript, or a partial transcript if you’re still studying
  • Evidence of your English language qualifications, if English is not your first language.
Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy

Faculty of Environment Taught Postgraduate Admissions Policy


UK/EU: £6,500 International: £17,000 Part-time fees are normally calculated based on the number of credits you study in a year compared to the equivalent full-time course. For example, if you study half the course credits in a year, you will pay half the full-time course fees for that year.

Additional cost information

Students wishing to attend the optional European Field Trip are advised to allow a minimum of £500 for accommodation and travel during the week-long trip.

Scholarships and financial support

The Institute, the University of Leeds and other organisations administer a number of scholarships each year for UK, EU and international students.

Career opportunities

Links with industry ITS has close working relationships with a number of organisations and many employers visit ITS each year to interview our students for graduate schemes and other vacancies. ITS also regularly circulates specific job vacancies to students. Our students are highly sought after and have a good reputation with transport consultants, and may receive a job offer before or shortly after graduation. The organisations that have advertised and/or recruited directly from ITS include Arup, Mott MacDonald, AECOM, Capita, Transpennine Express, Transport for London, Pell Frischmann, Leigh Fisher, JMP, Amey and Hyder among many others. Graduate destinations A degree from ITS opens up a range of opportunities to develop a challenging and rewarding career. Transport consultancies are the largest employers of ITS graduates, but other common careers include those in government, academia, regulatory bodies, transport operators, logistics companies, not-for-profit and international agencies. ITS graduates work across the private and public sectors. Many work abroad, whether for UK companies with overseas offices, for international organisations or for national governments.

Careers support

You’ll be provided with a wide range of support geared towards helping you secure the right employment after graduation. Each year there are a number of events provided both by ITS and the University’s Careers Centre. We have a dedicated Careers Consultant from the Careers Centre who works with ITS students, delivering bespoke presentations and one-to-one consultations with students on their career plans. We also invite former students back to ITS to share their experiences of developing a career in the transport sector. We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers. The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate.

Field trips

Transport at ITS is an applied subject. We offer plenty of opportunities for students to experience transport systems in action, both within the UK and Europe, allowing you to meet and hear directly from transport professionals and see what you’ve learned in practice. For many of our students, the highlight of their year is the European Field Trip. This week-long trip which takes place after the summer exams and has been a fixture in the ITS calendar since 1987. The itinerary varies from year to year, but has often included Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany. Stops en-route have included Pedestrian Centres and Docklands Transport in Rotterdam; Cycle and Traffic Calming Facilities in Delft; the Motorway Traffic Control Centre in Amsterdam; the Guided Bus System in Essen; the Wuppertal Monorail; Town Planning features in Duisburg and Dusseldorf; research talks at the University of Hasselt, and visit to the Brussels Metro.
This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated April 27, 2016
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Aug. 2017
12 - 24 months
Part time
Full time
6,500 GBP
Start date Aug. 2017
United Kingdom Leeds, England
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Duration 12 - 24 months
Price 6,500 GBP
UK/EU £6,500 ; International £17,000