Sustainable Development

Sustainable Development is widely regarded as the most promising framework for addressing environmental and developmental challenges in the 21st century, including: the provision of clean water and adequate sanitation, energy generation and supply, human health, food production and distribution, and the continuing threat to biodiversity.

A Sustainable Development degree at St Andrews will enable you to understand developmental challenges from multiple perspectives and to utilise the knowledge you gain to tackle these challenges and realise the opportunities they create.



Sustainable Development BSc (Hons)
Sustainable Development MA (Hons)

Joint degree options

You can take Sustainable Development BSc (Hons) and Sustainable Development MA (Hons) with another subject as part of a joint degree.



Sustainable Development MSc
Sustainable Development and Energy MSc
Sustainable Development and Environmental Economics MSc



Please contact a supervisor in your research area to inquire about PhD opportunities.

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Sustainable Development research areas

The School of Geography and Sustainable Development aims to be world-leading in all aspects of research. The School hosts a number of externally funded research centres and also organises an extensive programme of external events including colloquia, seminars and conferences.

Research is organised around five main themes, with many members of the School often carrying out research in more than one theme.

Careers for graduates in Sustainable Development

At a time when sustainable development is rising higher up the national and international agenda, and as businesses and organisations accept the need to adopt more sustainable practices, graduates with a degree in Sustainable Development are in strong demand.

Sustainable Development students are able to critically interrogate the principles, practice and plurality of sustainable development and to contribute to the evolution of innovative, interdisciplinary thinking and action in this area.

Career pathways for graduates include:

  • central and local government
  • non-governmental organisations (NGOs)
  • teaching
  • conservation
  • impact assessment
  • management
  • strategic planning
  • consultancy.

See recent graduate employment case studies.

Work experience

Work experience is invaluable when it comes to securing graduate-level employment. There are a number of specific opportunities for Sustainable Development students to gain work experience:

Find out more about sustainability at St Andrews.

Funding opportunities

There is a range of funding opportunities available at all levels of study.


Find out about undergraduate funding opportunities offered by the University of St Andrews.

Undergraduate scholarships


There are a number of scholarships and awards available for postgraduate students.

Postgraduate taught scholarships

PhD students

Geography PhD applicants may apply for the Economic and Social Research Council, which covers tuition and some maintenance fees.

Funding for PhD students

Awards and accreditations

REF 2014

Research in Geography and Sustainable Development at St Andrews was ranked top in Scotland and fifth in the UK by the 2014 Research Excellence Framework.

University league tables

Geography at St Andrews was ranked first in Scotland in the Guardian University Guide 2019 and second in Scotland in the Complete University Guide 2019 for teaching and research quality, student experience, and graduate prospects.


School of Geography and Sustainable Development
University of St Andrews
Irvine Building
North Street
St Andrews
KY16 9AL

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2894

Sustainable Development website

Sustainable Development research portal