MSc in Sustainable Development and Energy (Double Master)


Program Description

This MSc is part of a double Masters which takes place at both the University of St Andrews and the Moscow State Institution of International Relations (MGIMO) for which students receive a qualification from both institutions. The first year in St Andrews focuses on Sustainable Development, while the second year at the MGIMO focuses on energy.

The MSc in Sustainable Development and Energy is a full-time taught postgraduate programme run by the School of Geography and Sustainable Development.

The course is part of a double Masters degree in which students spend one year at St Andrews and the second year studying abroad at the MGIMO in Moscow. The MSc at St Andrews is awarded independently of the second year at Moscow.


  • Students benefit from studying abroad at MGIMO in Moscow.
  • Interdisciplinary teaching provides multiple perspectives.
  • Practical experience supplements leading theory.
  • Students are placed in internships at an energy company in their second year.
  • Field trips (at no additional costs) explore practical applications of sustainable development.

Teaching format

During the first year at St Andrews, students typically complete seven taught modules. Teaching methods include lectures, tutorials, seminar presentations, student-led workshops, as well as field trips and away days. Over the course of the year, but with particular focus during the summer months, students research a project area and produce an academic literature review, a professional policy brief and a reflective essay.

During the second year at MGIMO, students complete six modules. Teaching is conducted by leading CEOs in energy companies. Students are placed in an internship with an energy company during their second year at Moscow which typically lasts from 4 to 12 weeks depending upon student availability and the company's role. Internships are usually unpaid, but this can vary depending upon experience. All travel costs for internships are normally covered.


The modules in this programme have varying methods of delivery and assessment.


Year 1 – University of St Andrews

  • Interrogating Sustainable Development: provides an introduction to sustainable development.
  • Introduction to Global Environmental Change: provides an introduction to the science of climate change.
  • Master Class in Sustainable Development: trains students to critically reflect on the potential and limitations of sustainable development.

Year 2 – Moscow State Institution of International Relations

  • Energy Economics
  • Financial Management of Energy
  • Legal Regulation of Energy
  • Management and Marketing
  • Oil and Gas Business
  • Strategic Management


Year 1 - University of St Andrews

Students choose up to four optional modules (depending on credit load). With permissions from the relevant Head of School, up to 60 credits may be taken at MSc-level from Schools across the University, in accordance with staff availability.

Recommended modules include:

  • Being a Social Scientist: explores the fundamental skills required by all social scientists and prepares you for research work and professional development.
  • Development and the Environment: introduces students to key topics in development and environmental economics, including poverty, inequality and land reform.
  • Economics for the Environment: introduces the contributions that environmental economics can make to helping us understand and manage a wide range of environmental problems.
  • Introduction to Geographic Information Science: introduces students to the basic principles of Geographic Information Science including the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS).
  • Philosophy and Methodology of the Social Sciences: introduces the basic theoretical approaches in the social sciences, encouraging you to make connections between the methodological and epistemological issues involved in conducting social scientific research.
  • Qualitative Methods in Social Research: offers both a theoretical and practical introduction to the collection, analysis and writing of qualitative social science research.
  • Quantitative Research in Social Science: provides a user-friendly introduction to the fundamental concepts of quantitative analysis.

Optional modules are subject to change each year and require a minimum number of participants to be offered.

Summer project

The summer project, unlike traditional research projects, offers a format that better suits students’ interests and career aspirations.

As the culmination of your degree, the Advanced Study in Sustainable Development module gives you the opportunity to explore an area of sustainable development that interests you. You will then produce an academic literature review, a professional policy brief and a reflective essay based on your research. Advised by a member of academic staff, you will work during the academic year and across the summer months on your individual project.

If students choose not to complete the advanced study project required for the MSc, there is an exit award available that allows suitably qualified candidates to receive a Postgraduate Diploma. By choosing an exit award, you will finish your degree at the end of the second semester of study and receive a PGDip instead of an MSc.

You need a PG Diploma or pass in your Masters to advance to the second year in Moscow (subject to their approval). Completion of the second year means you receive a further Masters in Strategic Management and Sustainable Development in the Energy Sector as part of a double Masters with the University of St Andrews.

The modules listed here are indicative, and there is no guarantee they will run for 2019 entry.


Sustainability impacts upon almost all aspects of life and graduates from the Sustainable Development and Energy MSc pursue many different professional careers including:

  • international development,
  • sustainability advisers to supra-national bodies such as the United Nations, World Bank, European Union, and the OECD,
  • sustainability in business management, engineering, planning, transport, waste, energy or environmental management,
  • sustainability research and policy consultancy.

In addition to these pathways, students often go on to work with energy specific entities such as:

  • energy companies,
  • energy consultancy services,
  • energy departments in Ministries or national civil service,
  • energy regulators such as Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (OFGEM) or Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA).

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students on a taught postgraduate course and offers a programme of events to assist students in building their employability skills.

Entry requirements

  • A good 2.1 Honours undergraduate degree. No previous training in sustainable energy is required, but students with an undergraduate degree in either business, economics, geography or management are encouraged to apply.
  • If you studied your first degree outside the UK, see the international entry requirements.
  • English language proficiency.

The qualifications listed are indicative of minimum requirements for entry. Some academic Schools will ask applicants to achieve significantly higher marks than the minimum. Obtaining the listed entry requirements will not guarantee you a place, as the University considers all aspects of every application including, where applicable, the writing sample, personal statement, and supporting documents.

Application requirements

  • CV or résumé. This should include your personal details with a history of your education and employment to date.
  • personal statement explaining why you are a suitable candidate and how the degree will help your personal development.
  • a sample of academic written work (1,000 words).
  • two original signed academic references.
  • academic transcripts and degree certificates.
  • evidence of English language proficiency (required if English is not your first language).


Recent Graduate Discount

The University of St Andrews offers a 10% discount in postgraduate tuition fees to students who are eligible to graduate or who have graduated from St Andrews within the last three academic years and are starting a postgraduate programme with the University of St Andrews.

Last updated Oct 2019

About the School

Founded in the fifteenth century, St Andrews is Scotland's first university and the third oldest in the English speaking world. St Andrews is a unique place to study and live. Nestled on the east coas ... Read More

Founded in the fifteenth century, St Andrews is Scotland's first university and the third oldest in the English speaking world. St Andrews is a unique place to study and live. Nestled on the east coast of Scotland, students may find themselves crossing golf-courses on their way to class, or jogging along the beach after dinner. Not only does the University have a world-class reputation, but it also offers a diverse range of social activities, including over 140 student societies and 50 sports clubs. Historic buildings are juxtaposed against the modern facilities, and the many student traditions truly make studying at St Andrews an unforgettable experience. Read less
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