Taught Postgraduate Degree Programmes in Sustainable Development
The University of St Andrews launched a new suite of interdisciplinary postgraduate programmes in Sustainable Development in 2009. The first class of 9 students had 5 students from the UK, 2 from Germany and 2 from the USA. The second cohort of students to take the MSc in Sustainable Development started in October 2010. This class has 18 students from a range of countries including the USA, Canada, Poland, Germany, Greece, the UK, Ghana and China. The third cohort grew in 2011-2012 to 30 students including further nationalities from Russia, Taiwan and South America.
These courses will expand your knowledge and understanding of sustainable development. They will allow you to explore sustainable development form a critical perspective in both theory and practice.
Course Programmes include (full-time and part-time):
- MSc in Sustainable Development (full academic year)
- Double Masters in 'Sustainble Energy' with MGIMO, Russia (two full academic years, one year in St Andrews and one year in Moscow).
- MRes in Sustainable Development (full academic year)
- Postgradaduate Diploma in Sustainable Development (two semesters)
- Postgraduate Certificate in Sustainable Development (one semester)
You will learn about the underlying issues that have created today's global challenges and the possible journeys to a more sustainable society, whilst also taking advantage of options from a variety of other disciplines to follow your own personal pathway.
Please see the Postgraduate Prospectus for more information.
Comments from the class:
Coming from an essentially social scientific and Arts background the course gave me the opportunity to enrich my knowledge with findings from natural science. During the course I learnt about climate change, food security, environmental economics and natural resource management. These topics, I believe, are crucial to taking an interdisciplinary approach to research and to understanding life in general. Ultimately the MSc in SD allowed me to direct my academic and future professional career to a position where I now have the freedom to move on in a multitude of directions rather than being highly specialised and restricted in one specific aspect of academia.
Daniel Schuett, MSc in Sustainable Development, 2009-10
Studying Sustainable Development at St Andrews has been a wonderful experience. The degree program provides a wide range of courses, supported by core modules which give a strong foundation in SD. I, and other students have benefited greatly from the high quality, depth of knowledge and expertise of the staff. My expectations of the town and the course have been well exceeded: St Andrews is a great place to study and live.
Rhona McLaren, MSc in Sustainable Development, 2009-10
The Sustainable Development course at St Andrews gives you a unique opportunity to engage in interdisciplinary studies in a supportive environment. From the beginning we were encouraged to challenge disciplinary boundaries in order to build a deeper understanding of the complex nature of real-world problems. The course reinforced my ability to identify creative solutions to diverse problems from exploring a low-carbon future for Scotland to examining the UK's role in promoting sustainable international development. The course successfully draws on your previous experiences and through its flexibility in both core and optional modules encourage you to both develop your personal interests and explore new ones. Lectures, seminars and workshops are supported by a variety of engaging field trips, from trekking up the East Lomond Hill in pouring rain, visiting a local eco-park* to exploring an Eco-village on the North East coast of Scotland. The programme's greatest strength is its core group of dedicated staff who are very supportive of all who study with them.
Alex J Gnanapragasam, MSc in Sustainable Development, 2009-10
For further details of the Programme, please see below.
Interdisciplinary teaching provides multiple perspectives - You will be taught by experts from disciplines across the University. This will enable you to understand and embrace sustainability from multiple perspectives. The ability to integrate knowledge is at the core of the degree.
Exploring academia as if the world matters - The lecturers and visiting speakers all have practical experience of advising government and business on aspects of sustainable development as well as being leaders in their academic fields. Coupled with the leading role the University plays in implementing sustainable development initiatives in its own estate, you will get the benefit of access to current practice as well as leading theory.
Exploring the world as if academia matters - The University of St Andrews is one of the top seats of learning in the United Kingdom and the world. Emphasis here is placed on exposing students to emerging academic debates in the broad field of sustainable development. You are confronted with state-of-the-art thinking from a broad range of disciplines.
Develop your research abilities so you have the capability to tackle the issues - We will develop your ability to understand the complex nature of these problems and how to create strategies that will allow you to overcome them, both now and in the future. Additionally, we prepare your for current (e.g. dissertation) and future research endeavours (e.g. PhD) through a detailed suite of research methods.
Options and a dissertation so you can personalise your taught degree - In addition to the core set of subjects, a wide range of taught options are available. Coupled with your dissertation research in an area of your interest, these choices allow you to tailor your degree to suit your needs
Field trips bring the subject alive - Exploring practical applications of sustainable development brings you out of the classroom and into real world contexts.
Starting in September, taught masters (MSc and Double Masters) students will have two semesters of taught coursework before developing your research abilities by writing a dissertation, which will enable you to explore in detail one aspect of SD that most interests you.
As an alternative, you may opt to take the first semester only to receive a Certificate in Sustainable Development or both the first and second semesters to receive a Diploma in Sustainable Development.
|Semester 1||Semester 2||
Semester 3 (Summer)
Introduction to SD
Master classes in SD
Option choices will vary from year to year, see below for more details.
Semester 1 core modules
Introduction to SD
This module provides an introduction to sustainable development. First, it introduces the history and application of the concept of sustainable development. Second, there is a series of disciplinary-based lectures that describe the nature and functioning of the social, political, economic and physical, biological, social and economic systems that combine to create the world that we can observe around us. Specific material will also be presented that links these various aspects together and explores their interactions.
Quantitative Methods in Social Science
This module will cover basic concepts and approaches to quantitative research in the social sciences in order to provide students with the basic quantitative tools for collecting, organising and analysing data.
Semester 2 core modules
Master Classes in SD
This module is designed to provide you with an ability to critically reflect on the potential and limitations of sustainable development. It offers an exploration of core SD concepts by academic experts and practitioners. You will have an opportunity to complete a master class review essay in a specialized area of sustainable development of your choice. There is also a field trip to examine examples of sustainable development in practice.
Qualitative Methods in Social Science
This module offers both a theoretical and practical introduction to qualitative research. The diversity of the approaches to qualitative research will be addressed but the focus of the module is primarily practical necessitating the active participation of students.
This is your chance to fully engage with the area of sustainable development which you are most passionate about, by researching and writing a piece of work which is the culmination of your degree. Supervised by a member of academic staff, you will work across the entire year and summer months on your individual dissertation.
The course director will work with you to develop the optimum degree pathway for your specific interests and aspirations. One of your options will cover research methodology. Examples of the options available are given below, but please be aware that availability will vary from year to year.
- Environmental Management and Policy
- Environmental Risk
- Markets, Society and Environment
- Wildlife Population Assessment
- Corporate Governance and Ethics
- Management as if the Earth Mattered
- Anthropology, Indigenous peoples and Resource Management
- Disease and the Environment
Note: timetabling issues and any requirements for prior academic experience may affect the choices available to you.
For more information on the core and option modules, please download the SD MSc Programme Handbook 2012-13 (PDF, 719 KB) .
We welcome applications from students with a wide range of backgrounds - so whether you are coming straight from your undergraduate studies, changing your career or want to develop your skills within your existing area of work, and are passionate about sustainable development, we would like to hear from you. Our academic entry requirements for taught postgraduate study include:
- A 2.1 or equivalent in your first degree (for specific entry requirements by country, please see the Admissions Entry Requirements webpage)
- English language competency of IELTS score 7 or better and 6.5 minimum in each category, or equivalent, if your first language is not English. Please see the ELT pages for more information.
We also recognize the value of practical experience, so please talk to us if you do not meet the academic criteria above as each application is judged on its merits.
Your question should not be "What can I do with a degree in sustainable development?", but instead "Can you imagine a future where it could not be useful?". Sustainability impacts on almost all aspects of life, so your future career could take you in one of many different directions. For example, you could:
- Work in industry addressing sustainability aspects of business management, engineering, planning, transport, project management, construction, waste, energy or environmental management.
- Make yourself heard as a sustainability researcher or policy adviser in local, regional or national government, NGOs and campaigning groups.
- Act as an adviser to supra-national bodies such as the United Nations, World Bank, European Union, OCED and such like.
- Become a sustainability adviser and assessor working directly in private sector organisations, industry or as a consultant (in both mainstream and specialist businesses).
- Help others directly through social development or aid work.
- Spread the word by outreach and education in sustainable living via public or third sector organisations (Councils, NGOs and such like).
- Stay at university to research a PhD, perhaps eventually going on to a teaching or research career.
Apply online at https://portal.st-andrews.ac.uk/postgrad-application/
- Evidence of academic qualifications
- Detailed academic transcripts showing grades
- Two academic references (The online process will allow you to email your referees to request these)
- A 2 page CV
- Sample of Written Work
- This can be up to 1,000 words in length, and gives you the opportunity to show the selection committee that you can produce well structured written work with analytical reasoning and clear logical conclusions. It may be something which you have written as part of your academic studies, work or be specially written for the application, but should have an academic basis and be written in the English Language.
- Personal statement
- No more than 1000 words outlining why you are a suitable applicant and how the degree will help your professional development
- Evidence of English Language proficiency test for applicants whose first language is not English. We require a IELTS of 7 and 6.5 minimum in each category, or a TOEFL score of 100, or better. Please see the ELT pages and especially the SELTs page for more information.
There is no application fee, and we do not require a GRE score.
We are accepting applications for September 2013 entry.
If you have any problems with the online process, please contact Postgraduate Admissions on +44 (0) 1334 463325
Full details of fees, funding opportunities and more about the application procedure are given on the admissions website
The tuition fees for 2012-13 for the MSc in Sustainable Development are: Home (UK/EU) £3,828 ; Overseas £15,650. There will also be a small charge for field trips (c. £200).
Postgraduate residence fees are given on the Accommodation website.
Saltire Scholarships Scheme
For full details about the Saltire Scholarships scheme (including a view of the application form), please see this webpage: http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/admissions/pg/financialinformation/financing/saltirescholarships/
Commonwealth Shared Scholarships
The University of St Andrews has again been successful in its bid and has been awarded two Commonwealth Shared Scholarships for students studying for a Masters in Sustainable Development in 2013-14.
The Shared Scholarship Scheme is a joint initiative between the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission and UK universities, to support students from developing Commonwealth countries who would not otherwise be able to study in the United Kingdom.
If you would like to come and have a look round St Andrews, chat to admissions staff and teaching staff from the MSc in Sustainable Development, why not register for one of the special Postgraduate visiting days. See Visiting Days for more details and to register.
If you have any questions about SASI or the degree programmes, or would like details about the application procedure, please contact Penny (tel +44(0)1334 463904, email firstname.lastname@example.org).