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MA / BSc in Sustainable Development

The University's inter-disciplinary undergraduate degree programme in Sustainable Development is coordinated by the School of Geography & Geosciences. Full details of the degree can be found on their website

Students who have taken or are currently undertaking the undergraduate Sustainable Development degree have hugely varied backgrounds, interests and ambitions.

Here are some comments from students who have taken or are taking the degree.

Studying Sustainable Development at the University of St Andrews has proved to be a challenging but fulfilling learning experience. Undertaking a curriculum jam packed full of interdisciplinary elements requires students to master a wide range of academic skills, from anthropology to writing policy documents for the government. But the course couldn’t be more rewarding – I guarantee that after studying Sustainable Development you will be prepared for anything that the world of work throws at you, and the participatory nature of the course means that you will make
many a good friend along the way!

Kirsten Jenkins, Current Undergraduate 


I chose to study Sustainable Development in second year after studying it in first year and realising it's relevance to some of the most important aspects of my life. I appreciated it's interdisciplinarity that allows me to study interesting sections of a wide range of subjects, from international relations and anthropology, to chemistry and economics, and I believe it will open the door to a huge range of newly developed positions in all types of careers. To compliment my other modules: geography and social anthropology, I was looking for a module that would cater to my desire for a scientific, technical, ethical and humanitarian understanding of environmental problems and solutions, that we must realise and act upon with the unprecedented and undeniable climate change issues that we face. I found Sustainable Development to offer exactly that and so much more. The interdisciplinarity of Sustainable Development proves it's relevance to all parts of life- social, economic and environmental.

Sadhbh Moore, Current Undergraduate


I applied to the University of St Andrews to do Sustainable Development because I saw it as a unique opportunity to be taught by a range of departments about something I was interested in. Rather than being taught how to think in one specific way, as you are normally due to the location of each university subject within its own disciplinary area, I would get to look at the social, economic and environmental problems facing the world from a range of perspectives. The interdisciplinary of the SD degree at St Andrews was completely unique, and I was instantly drawn to it.

The programme was very flexible, allowing me to still undertake around half of my credits in other departments within the university. I focused on Management, with a little Economics, giving me a specialism in the area of Business and Corporate Social Responsibility. While within the programme I also appreciated the variety in the assessments we were required to do. Rather than just essays and exams, we did educational displays, posters, policy briefs, company analyses, whole-class projects and a large dissertation - among others. I think this range of assessments has led me to graduate far more prepared for the 'real world' - and also made studying far more interesting!

Rebecca Petford, 2010 Graduate


I found the interdisciplinary nature of the Sustainable Development programme to be extremely engaging, providing the perfect atmosphere in which to develop critical and well-rounded perspectives on combined social, economic and environmental issues.  Coupled with a broad diversity of study topics, freedom in module selection and emphasis on studying applied theoretical concepts in real-world, industry settings, the programme provided the perfect starting point for pursuing a career in sustainability.

Philip Russell, 2009 Graduate


As well as Sustainable Development my second subject was International Relations, but I was also able to select modules from a range of schools such as Management to fit my interests. I particularly enjoyed the practicality of the degree programme, we were not just studying SD in the abstract, but incorporating the practice and participating in changes towards sustainability within the University itself. The degree programme offered  a unique opportunity to study such an incredibly relevant and crucial issue.

Alice Ward, 2008 Graduate

After graduating from the St Andrews SD undergraduate programme in 2008, I was awarded a scholarship to pursue a PhD at the Centre for Sustainable Development, University of Central Lancashire, where I am now researching the effects of the carbon reduction agenda on nuclear energy policy. With its significant focus on an independent research dissertation, the undergraduate programme prepared me well for life as a PhD student. The top quality lecturing over a broad range of topics related to sustainable development also gave me a good knowledge base to draw on for an interdisciplinary research project.

Jonathan C. Cooper, 2008 Graduate