Study at St Andrews

Sustainable Development and Energy (MSc) 2017 entry

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 at St Andrews has a specific focus on energy issues, and the second year at Moscow challenges students to complete a study abroad programme on a wide range of energy modules.

2016 entry

Course type

Postgraduate; leading to a double Master of Science (MSc)

Course duration

Two years full time

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. See English language tests and qualifications.

Tuition fees

UK and EU: £7,500

Application deadline

Applications are accepted until shortly before teaching starts in September. Applicants should apply as early as possible to be eligible for certain scholarships and for international visa purposes.

Application requirements

  • CV
  • covering letter/personal statement explaining why you are a suitable candidate and how the degree will help your personal development
  • sample of academic written work (1,000 words)
  • two original signed academic references
  • academic transcripts and degree certificates
  • English language requirements certificate.

For more guidance, see supporting documents and references for postgraduate taught programmes. 

Apply for this course

Course information

The MSc in Sustainable Development and Energy is full-time taught postgraduate programme run by the School of Geography and Geosciences. 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, taking a wide range of energy modules, and being a part of the Arctic Research Centre.
  • Interdisciplinary teaching provides multiple perspectives. Students are taught by experts from disciplines across the University and beyond. 
  • Practical experience supplements leading theory. Many lecturers and visiting speakers have practical experience of advising government, business and communities on aspects of sustainable development, and are all leaders in their academic fields. 
  • Students are placed in internships at an energy company in Moscow during their second year.

Teaching format

During the first year at St Andrews, students complete four to five 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 and write an extended review dissertation that is the culmination of their first degree.

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.

Further particulars regarding curriculum development at St Andrews.


The modules at St Andrews have varying methods of delivery and assessment. For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the latest module catalogue which is for the 2016-2017 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2017 entry.

Year 1 - University of St Andrews

Compulsory modules

Optional modules
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 with a focus on management, economics or business.

Optional modules are subject to change each year and require a minimum number of participants to be offered (see the University’s position on curriculum development), but currently recommended modules include:

  • Economics for the Environment: introduces the contributions that environemental economics can make to helping us understand and manage a wide range of environmental problems. 
  • Development and the Environment: introduces students to key topics in development and environmental economics, including poverty, inequality and land reform.
  • Public Policy and the Environment: introduces students to advanced topics in development and environmental economics through weekly seminar reading groups.
  • Being a Social Scientist: explores the fundamental skills required by all social scientists and prepares you for the research dissertation and professional development.
  • 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.
  • Environmental History: Nature and the Western World (1800–2000): examines attitudes to nature and animals, species history, national parks and nature reserves, as well as the history of environmentalism and nature conservation, countryside recreation and tourism, and current problems such as pollution and pesticide use.
  • Ten Global Health Problems: considers a range of health problems that represent the diversity of the issues that affect most of the world’s population. 

Year 2 - Moscow State Institution of International Relations

Compulsory modules (please note that these modules are indicative of the themes to be covered, but individual modules are subject to change)

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

The modules listed were offered in the academic year 2016–2017 and are indicative of this course. There is no guarantee that these modules will run for 2017 entry. Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue.


The dissertation gives students the chance to fully engage with the area of sustainable energy about which you are most passionate, by researching and writing an extended review dissertation which is the culmination of your degree. Advised by a member of academic staff, you will work during the academic year and across the summer months on your individual dissertation.

If students choose not to complete the dissertation requirement 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.

Visit St Andrews

If you are interested in studying at St Andrews, join us at an open day to explore the town, find out about our courses and meet current students.

Next visiting day
Wednesday 16 November 2016

Sign up

Conferences and events

The Department of Geography and Sustainable Development's vibrant research culture is reflected in an extensive programme of events including seminars and conferences, in addition to the regular meetings organised by the research clusters and centres.


Recent Graduate Discount
The University of St Andrews offers a 10% reduction in tuition fees for students who have graduated during the last three years and are now starting a postgraduate programme.

Find out more about postgraduate scholarships. 

After the MSc

Research degrees

Many of our graduates continue their education by enrolling in further research degrees, either a PhD or the shorter two-year Master of Philosophy (MPhil) research degree at St Andrews or elsewhere.

PhD funding opportunities are available from the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science

PhD in Sustainable Development


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

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

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

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 to build their employability skills. 


Department of Geography and Sustainable Development
Irvine Building
University of St Andrews
North Street
St Andrews
KY16 9AL
Scotland, UK

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 3904

Geography and Sustainable Development website

Admission to the University of St Andrews is governed by our Admissions policy.

Curriculum development

As a research intensive institution, the University ensures that its teaching references the research interests of its staff, which may change from time to time. As a result, programmes are regularly reviewed with the aim of enhancing students' learning experience. Our approach to course revision is described online. (PDF, 72 KB).

Tuition fees

The University will clarify compulsory fees and charges it requires any student to pay at the time of offer. The offer will also clarify conditions for any variation of fees. The University’s approach to fee setting is described online. (PDF, 84 KB)