MSc/Postgraduate Diploma/Postgraduate Certificate
Sustainable Development in Practice
This course is open for applications.
About this course
- Entry year:
- Course code:
- Geography and Environmental Management
- Frenchay Campus
- 14 months full-time; 2 years part-time
- Full-time, part-time, starts September
- Programme leader:
- Dr Sarah Hills
- Key fact:
- A hands-on practical course that focuses on the urgent challenges organisations, communities and government face in bringing about sustainable change in individual behaviour, business practice and wider society - all studied in the European Green Capital 2015.
Page last updated 7 September 2016
Businesses, governments and communities are taking on the practical challenges that come with creating a sustainable future. Innovation is a big part of overcoming these challenges thinking differently, and finding new ways to reconcile the needs of people and businesses with those of our planet.
Sustainable development is now a mainstream agenda, with implications for every area of society:
- Businesses and organisations ensuring sustainability informs every aspect of their operations, from the environmental and social impacts of product design, logistics, manufacturing and waste management, to communicating with shareholders, the workforce and consumers.
- Governments, policy makers and NGOs to create the frameworks of innovation that will ensure pro-sustainability changes.
- Individuals making better choices about things like food sourcing and waste, to energy use, transport and buying goods and services.
Employer Enhancing Skills
You'll get to work on live briefs and real world projects, and have invaluable access to the organisations and case studies we offer through UWE Bristol's research activities, and its thriving network of sustainability partners. You will learn to apply your skills and knowledge to enhance your employability.
You'll also benefit from the expertise and experience our multi-disciplinary team brings from consultancy, policy and practice.
"The course's focus on transforming individual behaviour, business practice and wider society will be absolutely crucial to effect change."
Lynne Ceeney, Director of Corporate Sustainability EuMENA, Parsons Brinckerhoff
European Green Capital
You'll be studying in a pro-sustainability setting as Bristol is European Green Capital 2015, and is home to the largest number of environmental organisations outside London. These organisations include sustainability consultancies, sustainable businesses and leading NGOs such as Sustrans, The Soil Association, Forum for the Future and the Centre for Sustainable Energy.
The full Master's course comprises 180 credits divided into three 60 credits stages: Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma, and Master's. Students work incrementally through the three stages and must pass all modules at each stage in order to progress to the next.
The course's structure and content is informed by extensive research with potential employers, as well as publications and policies from organisations including government. Sustainability needs graduates with the knowledge, tools and abilities to bring about pro-sustainability change in a wide range of contexts and settings. The following core modules are indicative of the course structure:
- Sustainable Development: Principles and Practice (15 credits) Explores the fundamental nature, causes and consequences of sustainable and unsustainable development. Practical exercises and projects give you first-hand experience of putting key concepts, frameworks and tools for implementing sustainable development into practice.
- Creating Sustainable Behaviour Change (15 credits) With case studies and examples, you'll explore a range of different theoretical and practical approaches to understanding and influencing pro-sustainable behaviour.
- The Sustainable Organisation: Vision into Practice (15 credits) This module examines the vision of a sustainable business operating in a complex ecosystem with resource constraints, and compares this with the reality of contemporary business. Case studies and project work provide insight into the knowledge and skills necessary to help organisations achieve sustainable strategies and operations.
- Communications Campaigns: Creative Approaches and Tools (15 credits) Analyses a range of historically significant campaigns and social movements, and their implications for pro-sustainability change. The assessment enables you to develop and evaluate a communication strategy for changing cultural understanding, attitudes and behaviour.
- Work-Based Learning (30 credits) You'll gain vital practice-based experience and build your professional network, as we work with you to identify a host organisation relevant to your career aspirations. Past and present hosts include Arup, Bristol City Council, Bristol Food Policy Council, Bristol Green Capital Company, Centre for Sustainable Energy, Common Cause, Eat Drink Bristol Fashion, Forum for the Future, Happy City, Go Bristol, Good Energy, Oxfam, Soil Association and Stride Treglown. You can also opt to work in UWE's Sustainability Team, or gain research experience within one of our Research Centres.
- Master's Project (60 credits) You'll investigate, tackle and report on a specific issue in current sustainability practice, with supervision from specialist subject tutors.
You also choose two 15 credit optional modules from the departmental offering including:
- International Environmental Law
- International Human Rights Law
- Managing Change
- Leading Change
- Sustainable Procurement
- Natural Resources Law
- Interventions for Creativity and Change
- Researching Educational Contributions to Just and Sustainable Societies
The University continually enhances our offer by responding to feedback from our students and other stakeholders, ensuring the curriculum is kept up to date and our graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for the real world. This may result in changes to the course. If changes to your course are approved we will inform you.
Learning and Teaching
We use blended learning to teach this course, including:
- Taught sessions on campus, from an interdisciplinary team with expertise in areas such as sustainable development, behaviour change, business management, health and well-being, and media and communications.
- Guided learning, through lectures, tutorials, seminars, workshops, visiting speakers, online resources and case studies. A lot of this is collaborative, through group projects, peer assessment and virtual communities including blogs, online discussions and peer-assisted learning.
- Independent study, so you acquire the knowledge to challenge existing perspectives and apply creative thinking and knowledge.
- Work-based learning, involving a six-week professional project.This allows you to apply your sustainability knowledge and skills to a project based with one of our professional partners or in your own workplace.
For more details, see our full glossary of learning and teaching terms.
Part-time students start the project dissertation during the second year, and complete it in the third year if necessary, with the taught part of the course covering two or three years.
Each course has a dedicated course leader. He or she will support you with any academic issues, and be your contact on any other University matters.
The social side of things
The postgraduate society at UWE actively promotes and supports a social network for postgraduate students, which shows them what Bristol and the surrounding areas have to offer.
All core modules are available as short courses.
This course is assessed via a combination of coursework and presentations. You'll take a project-based assessment that focuses on real-world challenges, which will help you build a valuable portfolio of work in pro-sustainability change.
For more details see our full glossary of assessment terms.
As one of the UK's most advanced and responsive universities, UWE makes sure you have the resources and support you need to help you gain your qualification.
For this programme, you will have access to:
- the Bolland Library, 24 hours a day and all our other specialist libraries
- an extensive range of computer suites, some open 24 hours a day
- resources for photography, digital imaging, filming and sound recording
- specialist computing workshops and labs
- remote study options, online discussions and resources via Blackboard, our e-learning tool.
Find out more about the facilities and resources UWE has to offer.
Careers / Further study
In the 2010 Business in the Community survey, 70% of businesses said they expected the gap in sustainability knowledge and skills to become one of the most pressing challenges facing UK businesses in the next five years.
This course offers the blend of skills, knowledge and thinking to develop your career in a wide range of private and public sector businesses and organisations. You might choose to lead change in multi-national corporations, international organisations, national, regional and local governments, or to plan and implement sustainable development with organisations in specialist sectors, such as business, environmental or project management, or in planning, transport, construction, waste or energy.
You could get involved in campaigning, development or aid work, or as an advisor in bodies such as the UN, EU or the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Or you might want to help develop government policy, set up your own consultancy, go on to a PhD, or go into teaching.
Our award-winning careers service helps you develop your employment potential through career coaching, a vacancy service for internships, placements, jobs, global opportunities, volunteering and community activity plus support for entrepreneurial activity, and access to employer events.
Full time course
|Home/EU-Full Time-Award Fee||7000|
|Home/EU-Full Time-Module Fee (15 Credit)||583|
|International - Full Time - Module Fee (15 Credit)||1042|
|International-Full Time-Award Fee||12500|
|Offshore-Full Time-Award Fee||12500|
|Offshore-Full Time-Module Fee (15 Credit)||1042|
Part time course
|Home/EU-Part Time - Module Fee (15 Credit)||583|
|Offshore-Part Time-Module Fee (15 Credit)||1042|
Supplementary fee information
For information on fees, managing your money and determining your fee status, please go to our fees and funding pages.
For information about funding options visit our postgraduate funding and scholarships pages.
We normally require an honours degree of 2.2 or above.
We can consider applicants who do not meet the normal entry requirement, but who do have relevant professional experience or qualifications. In your application, you should describe in detail your professional experience and qualifications.
English Language Requirements
If English is not your first language, you will also need to demonstrate your English Language proficiency. For this course, in the British Council International English Language Test (IELTS) we normally require an overall score of 6.5 and not less than 6.5 in each component.
UWE Bristol's International College
International students who do not meet the academic or English language requirements to study this course can qualify by completing preparatory study at our International College.
For further information
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Telephone: +44 (0)117 32 83333