MSc in Science for Sustainable Development

Linköping University

Program Description

MSc in Science for Sustainable Development

Linköping University

Do you want to learn how to address global environmental challenges and contribute to a more sustainable world? Or how to get a multidisciplinary perspective on sustainability issues and practice hands-on learning with students from around the globe? Then you should consider our master’s programme.

Our two-year programme will prepare you for a career within research or in a non-academic setting. Our graduates have gone on to positions in research institutes, environmental organisations, businesses, NGOs, river basin commissions, consultancies, power companies and intergovernmental environmental agencies.

Laboratory and GIS exercises, spatial analysis in the Norrköping Decision Arena, study visits to local authorities and businesses in the environmental sector and role-play workshops around complex environmental negotiations are just some of the ways in which you will learn how to tackle real‑world problems.

Cutting-edge with a holistic perspective

Our multidisciplinary perspective is firmly anchored in our research environment, with teachers from academic backgrounds that range from the humanities to social and natural sciences. The programme will give you a holistic perspective, with opportunities to refine your knowledge of complex issues of sustainability.

Top quality and satisfaction

The Science in Sustainable Development programme is the only one in its category to be awarded the highest quality ranking in Sweden by the Swedish Higher Education Authority. In 2015, our students ranked their satisfaction with our programme at 4.6 of a possible 5, which placed us fourth of all programmes at Linköping University. The university is located on a green campus only a short bike ride to the city centre, and close to forests and parks.

Programme description

Science for Sustainable Development is a two-year, full-time study programme that provides a strong basis for a career related to sustainable development and environmental change.

The programme focuses on critical analysis of environmental challenges and applying science to solve real‑world problems. It consists of core and specialisation courses followed by thesis work. Upon completion of the programme, students acquire a Master’s degree in Science with a major in Environmental Science.

Core courses

In the core courses, students gain knowledge of theories, approaches, techniques, and methods from various scientific disciplines (such as critical analysis of sustainability perspectives, commodity chain analysis, indicators, resource management, and GIS). They also learn to develop general analytical skills that will enable them to interpret, design, communicate, and implement sustainability and environmental issues. They develop problem-solving abilities and adaptability skills, which will be indispensable to professional success.

"The courses cover a broad range of topics - from climate change and biodiversity loss to feminism and colonisation. Also, the students are from all over the world - it’s not only fun to be exposed to such a huge diversity of cultures, but in the class, it actually feels like a global cooperation in tackling these issues!" Karolina Gurjazkaite


In the third term, students begin to specialise. Elective courses are offered that train their research skills and provide the opportunity for internships at businesses, organisations or research institutes in Sweden or abroad.

The students on our programme have the opportunity to design their own profile. To support this process, students are offered a series of workshops as mentoring sessions with key staff members throughout their education. These workshops guide the students’ specialisation pathways.

Unique learning portfolio

A unique aspect of the programme is the learning portfolio exercises that each student prepares to suit their particular academic needs and interests (under faculty guidance). The learning portfolio consists of several steps during the programme, ranging from reflection on students’ competence and skills, individual goal setting, and progression in their skills in academic writing. The students gain a greater focus on their specific skills and the portfolio promotes the ability of both critical thinking and greater self-knowledge, both of which will be important for their professional life.

MSc Thesis

In the final term, the students work individually on a project under the guidance of staff. The master’s thesis can either have a research focus or be undertaken in collaboration with external organizations, businesses, etc. Previous theses have addressed a wide range of environmental topics, demonstrating students’ innovation and creativity, and highlighting socially important issues.

Career opportunities

A career in sustainable development will probably bridge academic disciplines and require expertise in multiple areas. Few universities offer such a broad perspective across disciplines in Environmental Science as LiU does.

The programme aims at preparing students to work with issues relating to sustainable development and environmental issues in international and national agencies, universities, municipalities, non-governmental organisations and international corporations. The programme also prepares those students who want to pursue doctoral studies (PhD) in related fields.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated November 27, 2016
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Aug. 2017
2 years
Full time
110,000 SEK
Start date Aug. 2017
Sweden Linköping
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Duration 2 years
Price 110,000 SEK
All others ( per academic year ) ; Citizens from within the EU/EEA and Switzerland: No tuition fees

Science for Sustainable Development at Linköping University