Education for Sustainability (EfS) is a distance learning postgraduate course at Masters level delivered by a team of experts. The course provides personal and professional development for those interested, or already engaged, in paving the way for a more sustainable world by way of understanding, educating or promoting sustainability. The unique structure of distance learning enables international students to gain a globally recognised qualification from the UK.
If you're looking to study in London, then we also offer a full-time option for students.
Although many of our students are educators or NGO educational, training or campaigning staff, we also draw students from many other backgrounds, including health, media, business, government, botanical and zoological work.
Did you know that we're the only university mentioned in UNESCO's good practice UK case studies in EFS?
6 reasons to study here
- Making a difference:
Education for Sustainability is concerned with empowering people to bring about change towards a sustainable future.
- Global reach:
a distance-learning course delivered through a Virtual Learning Environment.
The first and only Masters programme in Education for Sustainability. Developed in response to the 1992 Rio Earth Summit and introduced in 1994 and continuously updated.
- Extensive library:
access to numerous reading materials, all necessary resources are provided.
- Career development:
The MSc has allowed alumni to secure new roles in NGOs, government departments, and education institutions.
- Join a global learning community:
The online nature of the course brings you into direct contact with participants in other countries; join a growing learning community of Education for Sustainability practitioners.
Our passion for a sustainable future
Developed in partnership with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Oxfam and the EU, the course draws on the expertise of environmental and development NGOs as well as the educational community. It deals with the theory and practice of sustainability and enables you to explore and expand the role that EfS can play in educational, social, political and economic change.
Since its launch in 1994, this internationally recognised and innovative award has embraced and promoted diversity and inclusion. Our roots lie in the 1992 UN Earth Summit in Rio, Brazil, and EfS, the first ever masters programme of this kind, provides a dynamic interface between theory and practice in EfS and promotes the integration of environmental and development concerns in the emerging concept of sustainability while emphasising the importance of education's role in building a sustainable world.
The EfS course at LSBU has been instrumental in the development of LSBU as a United Nations Regional Centre of Expertise in Education for Sustainable Development. It offers many unique qualities that will enhance your international experience and introduce you to like-minded professionals making a difference around the world.
Why study Education for Sustainability?
- Develop your knowledge, skills and expertise in communicating, teaching and advocating for sustainability
- Embed your ethics and values in effective practice and leadership for a more sustainable world
- Apply your coursework to real-world contexts and start to make the changes needed for sustainability
- Benefit from a range of excellent online course materials and expert tutors with over 21 years’ experience in this interdisciplinary field
- Join a global community of practice in education for sustainability, with students from a wide range of countries including Uganda, Sweden, China, Australia.
- Benefit from placement and internship opportunities with our sustainability stakeholders or the London RCE
Key course information - ordered by mode
All modules make use of case studies and readings from a range of global regions and are designed to be applicable to any type of educational or country context.
- An Introduction to education for sustainability
- Values and participation in EFS; from local to global
- Leadership, learning and climate change: the sustainability revolution
- Theory and perspectives on environment and development
- Science and culture in education for sustainability
- Researching education for Sustainability
- Dissertation (MSc only)
Employers have found that the programme has enabled students to develop and enhance work practices in the light of current theories and debates. This has led to a number of organisations sponsoring their staff to do the programme as a means of capacity building and staff development. Many EFS graduates have gone onto gain promotion, career advancement or have made use of the course to change their career direction.
Sustainability skills are an important career asset in the 21st century and this qualification has been recognised by employers, such as news media, National Environment Management Agencies, government ministries, schools, environmental and development NGOs. EFS graduates have gone onto gain promotion, career advancement or have made use of the course to change their lives or career direction. Examples of graduate jobs include education adviser UNICEF, Director of Communications, Transition Town volunteer organiser, Environmental News editor, education director botanic gardens, curriculum manager, schools’ inspector.
The quality of the course has been endorsed by the UK Commonwealth Scholarship Commission which has awarded over 100 of scholarships. A number of organisations, such as World Wide Fund for Nature and Oxfam have also sponsored their staff to do the programme as a means of capacity building and staff development.
The course provides the following transferable skills, which are valued by employers:
- Effective communication
- Ability to apply theory to practice
- Understanding and managing change
- Problem-solving and strategic planning
- Critical thinking
- Holistic thinking
- Curriculum leadership skills.
The London Regional Centre of Expertise EFS (RCE) is hosted by London South Bank University and closely linked with the EFS programme. Partners are drawn from a wide range of organisations including conservation groups, development education centres, universities and colleges, ethical business organisations, community groups. This provides opportunities for placements and projects as well as the chance to be part of global learning space with over 130 RCEs. The centre is accredited by the UN University Institute for Advanced Study of Sustainability and also hosts seminars and conferences. The programme is enriched by EFS expert tutors who are practitioners in the field.
The programme runs an annual conference with recognised keynote speakers in the field of EFS. Recent contributors include:
- Ann Finlayson, education commissioner, UK Sustainable Development Commission;
- Dr Mae-Wan Ho, director, Institute of Science in Society;
- Alan Simpson, MP;
- Professor Stephen Sterling;
- Professor Charles Hopkins, Unesco Chair in ESD York University, Toronto;
- Dr Dorcas Otieno Director Regional centre of expertise in ESD, Nairobi, Kenya.
Teaching and learning
We aim to help you become an effective agent for positive change in learning and education relevant to sustainability. We do so by enquiring into the kind of learning for change in personal, social and ecological spheres that is needed to help understand, develop and promote sustainability. When you complete our programme, you will have achieved the personal and professional development required to be an effective agent for change.
Sessions are delivered through distance learning and web activities with optional - Monthly Saturday day schools Fast Track - Monthly Saturday day schools.
In an emerging field like EfS, the interface between theory and practice is even more important. Theory informs practice and practice, in turn, nourishes theory. That's why our course materials undergo continuous review and updating. Networking is an essential element for us to consolidate our premier position as a theory-practice interface in EfS. The Blackboard e-learning system used by our programmes provides a platform for students and tutors to learn, discuss and debate various aspects related to EfS, regardless of their location.
You'll receive all the materials they need for independent study within a set timescale, which includes:
- a Study Guide to introduce the key themes, debates and theories
- a Course Reader with specialist key texts
- supplementary material (e.g. additional written material or DVD)
- access to the EFS blackboard website for online learning opportunities
All assessment is through written coursework. For example, essay writing, report writing, programme design or research studies.
Student-run community web page
We have a student-run community web page, which gives further information on the subject of Education For Sustainability and our team.
For a successful application, you need an Honours degree minimum of 2:2 award from a UK, EU or International University (Bachelor degree equivalent to UK Second Class Honours Lower Division) or equivalent professional qualification/experience.
We welcome equivalent qualifications from around the world. English language qualifications for international students: IELTS score of 6.5 or equivalent.
Although our programme is primarily designed for educators and communicators striving for a sustainable world, we welcome anyone from any other background provided they are committed to becoming an agent for change for sustainability in their professional, social or cultural context. We welcome students from all parts of the world and view this rich diversity as an asset to the emerging field of EfS as well as to our programme.
Part-time distance learners must apply using the Education for Sustainability form (see How to apply section) and not through UKPASS.
How to apply
Instructions for Home/EU applicants
||Direct to LSBU
Postgraduate students and research students should apply through our dedicated application system. Full details of how to do this are supplied on our How to apply section for postgraduate students and our How to apply section for research students.
Students should apply for accommodation at London South Bank University (LSBU) as soon as possible, once we have made an offer of a place on one of our academic courses.
It's a good idea to think about how you'll pay university tuition and maintenance costs while you're still applying for a place to study. Remember – you don't need to wait for a confirmed place on a course to start applying for student finance.
Postgraduate Application Service
Book a session with one of our specialist Postgraduate Advisors. Over a one on one Advice Session, they'll advise you on postgraduate degrees at LSBU that match your interests and experience.
Prepare to start
We help our students prepare for university even before the semester starts. To find out when you should apply for your LSBU accommodation or student finance read the How to apply tab for this course.
Before you start your course we’ll send you information on what you’ll need to do before you arrive and during your first few days on campus. You can read about the process on our Welcome Week pages.
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