MSc Sustainability and Business

University of Leeds, School of Earth and Environment

Program Description

MSc Sustainability and Business

University of Leeds, School of Earth and Environment

You will examine the ways in which businesses can improve their environmental performance and enhance their social responsibility.

Gain a well-grounded and critical understanding of the factors that shape the relationships between business, environment and society, and understand the wide range of policy frameworks and management initiatives that relate to environmental management and corporate social responsibility.

Examine perspectives from government, business and stakeholder groups (such as pressure and community groups), drawing on the expertise of researchers, practitioners and researchers.

During your studies, you will be introduced to a range of management tools and shown how they are applied in practical situations. Examine the factors that shape the success or failure of these initiatives – both from a corporate as well as a societal perspective.

This course is ideal if you wish to develop corporate responsibility strategies and enhance an organisation’s social and environmental contributions. It can also lead you to careers in government or non-governmental organisations working in partnership with, or trying to influence business practice.

Course highlights:

  • Leading in the field for ten years, you will be taught by leading experts from the Sustainability Research Institute (SRI) – one of the largest academic groups of sustainability experts in the world.
  • Uniquely based outside a business school – you will focus on how sustainability leads business practice, and use key inter-disciplinary research methods and approaches that relate to environmental management and corporate social responsibility.
  • Join a truly global School – think beyond Leeds and gain a wider perspective by studying alongside students and academics from across the world.
  • Choose a wide range modules taught by experts from Leeds University Business School.
  • Gain practical experience and apply classroom-based learning first-hand in a developing country context by choosing an optional overseas field course. Essential for anyone considering working in an international capacity.

Course Content

When completed on a full-time basis, this 12-month Masters is split into three semesters. In the first two terms you will take lectures and seminars, followed by approximately four months of individual work leading to the submission of a dissertation in late August.

During this study, you’ll consider different aspects of sustainability, while a wide range of optional modules allow you tailor your study to fit your interests and career plans. You can also choose an optional overseas field course which enables you to gain practical experience and apply classroom-based learning first hand in a developing country context.

When completed on a part-time basis, the programme runs for 24 months, with each year split into three semesters. You will take two modules in each semester, followed by individual work leading to the submission of a dissertation in semester three of your final year.

Course structure

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

You’ll study modules totalling 180 credits, including the compulsory modules below and up to four optional modules. Each module is worth 15 credits unless otherwise stated:

  • Compulsory modules
    • Business, Environment and Sustainability
    • Introduction to Sustainability
    • Research Methods
    • Research Project (60 credits)
    • Systems Thinking and Consulting Practice
    • Standards and Tools for Business, Environment and Corporate Social Responsibility
    • Issues and Cases in Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Optional modules
    • Climate Change Mitigation
    • Climate Change: Impacts and Adaptation
    • Climate Change: Physical Science Basis
    • Critical Perspectives in Environment and Development
    • Debates and Controversies in International Business
    • Environmental Policy and Governance
    • Environment-Development Overseas Field Course – read additional costs
    • Introduction to Ecological and Environmental Economics
    • Managing for Innovation
    • Marketing for Management
    • Organisational Development and Change
    • Risk Perception and Communication
    • Tools and Techniques in Ecological Economics

Learning and teaching

We use a variety of teaching methods, as well as conventional lectures, to help you to develop both generic and subject-specific skills. This includes team work and individual practical exercises focused around real-world scenarios and case studies to produce optimal solutions; and it includes familiarisation with state-of-the-art technical approaches, software and the regulatory regimes that companies and public sector organisations operate within.

The research-intensive environment of the School ensures that course material is both up-to-date and research led. We aim to teach the scientific and rational principles lying behind the practical approaches used in the world outside academia, so that your skills keep pace with changes in technology or the regulatory environment.

A range of learning and teaching methods used include research-based lectures, real case studies, practical workshops, computer lab sessions, research seminars from external speakers, project work (individual and groupwork) and a written dissertation.


The School of Earth and Environment’s £23 million building providesworld class research, teaching and facilities.


To complement teaching, assessment is varied and includes both written and oral assignments and exams.

Applying, fees and funding

Entry requirements

A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) or above in a natural, environmental, physical, management or social science subject.

Mature applicants without a first degree or with a lower degree classification may be considered on the basis of their relevant industry experience and their potential for benefiting from the programme.

In the past students have entered the programme from a number of backgrounds including engineering, environmental management and sciences, management and business, psychology and product design.

We strive to provide a diverse and inspiring learning environment and encourage applicants from across the globe and from people at any point in their career.

We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. For information contact the School of Earth and Environment 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.

If you're unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

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.


UK/EU: £7,500

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

On this programme you have the option to attend an overseas field trip in Semester 2, at an additional cost of £1,200-1,500 (dependent on exchange rates, cost of flights and student demand). This is paid in two instalments across semesters 1 and 2. A £100 deposit is required when enrolling onto the module in October.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There is help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government.

School Scholarships

Four full-fee scholarships are available to UK/EU applicants with an offer on this programme. Applications must be received by Wednesday 1st June 2016.

Two full-fee scholarships are available to International applicants with an offer on this programme. Applications must be received by Sunday 1st May 2016.

Other funding sources

Past students have secured funding through a career development loan, for details visit UK Government website.

Career opportunities

We aim to equip you with the skills to pursue careers both in business and in other sectors of the economy, such as government or non-governmental organisations. Your final career destination often depends on the experience you have had before starting the Masters, so if you have already worked in business you may find it easier to get sustainability or CSR jobs in companies immediately after graduation. This masters could also help you enhance your current sustainability credentials, returning to your jobs with new skills and understanding. Alternatively, you could pursue a research career and continue on to a PhD.

Recent graduates work for local government or NGOs, or undertake internships. While others are now working for consultancy companies.

Typical roles undertaken by our recent graduates:

  • Sustainable Procurement Officer, Leeds City Council
  • Environmental training officer at Carlsberg Tetley
  • Environmental consultant at Young White Green consultants
  • Energy operating company, looking into upcoming environmental legislation and advising different sites on how to comply
  • Research Analyst with Suzlon Energy Ltd India
  • Leading the US strategy for 2degrees network - a collaboration platform for sustainable professionals
  • ICICI Bank India, Project Finance with interest in funding renewable energy investments.

Careers support

We offer extra support and activities to help you stand out in your chosen field and achieve your career goals. The School of Earth and Environment has a strong commitment to enhancing student employability and has its own dedicated Employability Officer. Read more about our careers and employability.

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.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated October 23, 2017
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Aug. 2018
12 - 24 months
Part time
Full time
7,500 GBP
United Kingdom - Leeds, England
Start date: Aug. 2018
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Aug. 2018
United Kingdom - Leeds, England
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
UK/EU £7,500 ; International £17,000