Sustainable Development and Energy (MSc) 2020 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 in St Andrews focuses on sustainable development, while the second year at the MGIMO focuses on energy.

Course withdrawn

This course has been withdrawn for the 2020-2021 academic year. See courses running for the upcoming academic year

Course type

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

Course dates

The following dates are for study at St Andrews only. Students will go on to complete an additional year at the Moscow State Institution.

  • Start date: 7 September 2020
  • End date: 30 September 2021

If you started this programme in 2019, you can find information about 2019 entry on the 2019 Sustainable Development and Energy (MSc) page. Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.

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 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.

The qualifications listed are indicative minimum requirements for entry. Some academic Schools will ask applicants to achieve significantly higher marks than the minimum. Obtaining the listed entry requirements will not guarantee you a place, as the University considers all aspects of every application including, where applicable, the writing sample, personal statement, and supporting documents.

Tuition fees

UK and EU: £9,450
Overseas: £20,780

For tuition fees for the Moscow State Institution, please see the MGIMO website.

Application deadline

Wednesday 12 August 2020. Applicants should apply as early as possible to be eligible for certain scholarships and for international visa purposes.

Application requirements

  • CV or résumé. This should include your personal details with a history of your education and employment to date
  • 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
  • evidence of English language proficiency (required if English is not your first language).

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

Course information

The MSc in Sustainable Development and Energy is a full-time taught postgraduate programme run by the School of Geography and Sustainable Development.

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.
  • Interdisciplinary teaching provides multiple perspectives. 
  • Practical experience supplements leading theory. 
  • Students are placed in internships at an energy company in their second year.
  • Field trips (at no additional costs) explore practical applications of sustainable development.

Teaching format

During the first year at St Andrews, students typically complete seven 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 a project area and produce an academic literature review, a professional policy brief and a reflective essay.

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.


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 2019-2020 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2020 entry.

Year 1 at the University of St Andrews

  • Interrogating Sustainable Development: provides an introduction to sustainable development.
  • Introduction to Global Environmental Change: provides an introduction to the science of climate change.
  • Master Class in Sustainable Development: trains students to critically reflect on the potential and limitations of sustainable development.

Year 2 at the Moscow State Institution of International Relations

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

Year 1 at the University of St Andrews

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, in accordance with staff availability. 

Recommended modules include:

  • Being a Social Scientist: explores the fundamental skills required by all social scientists and prepares you for research work and professional development.
  • Development and Environment: introduces students to key topics in development and environmental economics, including poverty, inequality and land reform.
  • Economics for the Environment: introduces the contributions that environmental economics can make to helping us understand and manage a wide range of environmental problems.
  • Introduction to Geographic Information Science: introduces students to the basic principles of Geographic Information Science including the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), mapping and spatial analysis using ArcGIS and the use of remotely sensed data.
  • Philosophy and Methodology of the Social Sciences: introduces students to the basic theoretical approaches in the social sciences, covering the methodological and epistemological issues involved in conducting social scientific research.
  • Qualitative Methods in Social Research: offers both a theoretical and practical introduction to the collection, analysis and writing of qualitative social science research.
  • Quantitative Research in Social Science: an introduction to the fundamental concepts of quantitative analysis

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

The summer project, unlike traditional research projects, offers a format that better suits students’ interests and career aspirations.

As the culmination of your degree, the Advanced Study in Sustainable Development module gives you the opportunity to explore an area of sustainable development that interests you. You will then produce an academic literature review, a professional policy brief and a reflective essay based on your research. Advised by a member of academic staff, you will work during the academic year and across the summer months on your individual project.

If students choose not to complete the advanced study project required 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.

You need a PG Diploma or pass in your Masters to advance to the second year in Moscow (subject to their approval). Completion of the second year means you receive a further Masters in Strategic Management and Sustainable Development in the Energy Sector as part of a double Masters with the University of St Andrews.

The modules listed here are indicative, and there is no guarantee they will run for 2020 entry. Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue.

Visit St Andrews

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

Upcoming postgraduate visiting days:

  • Wednesday 11 March 2020

Sign up

Virtual events

Join our Admissions team for one of our upcoming virtual events. During these events, you can find out more about studying at St Andrews and what it will do for your future.


Conferences and events

The School 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% discount in postgraduate tuition fees to students who are eligible to graduate or who have graduated from St Andrews within the last three academic years and are starting a postgraduate programme with the University of St Andrews.

Find out more about postgraduate scholarships. 

After the MSc

Research degrees

Many graduates continue their education by enrolling in further research degrees, such as a PhD. The School offers a research Masters programme in Human Geography/Sustainable Development (MRes) for students who have already been accepted on a PhD programme in the School.

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:

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

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 in building their employability skills.


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

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2894

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).