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Postgraduate Certificate in Sustainable Business

Application & Fees

The application deadline for PCSB 2015 has now closed. If you are interested in the programme, please contact us directly on +44 (0)1223 768818 or

"I loved being part of this course, it has brought me so much confidence in my personal development and insight on my role as a change agent in the organization. I am sad it is over, because despite the huge work for the assignments, it has been my highlight of this year."
Laura van Geel, Digital Brand Development Manager Europe, Unilever

Requirements of Applicants

Prospective participants must be able to demonstrate:

  • Possession of an undergraduate degree from a recognised university, or evidence of equivalent work experience/achievement and ability to read for a Master's-level programme;

  • An acceptable ability in written and spoken English language (evidence will be required of participants’ proficiency if English is not their first language);

  • A minimum of 3 years’ work experience after graduation;

  • An endorsement from their employing institution supporting their application and required time commitment for the programme, or – if independent – from an acceptable institution familiar with their work;

  • Interest in and commitment to sustainability;

  • Academic and/or professional excellence;

  • Commitment to using learning from the programme to lead or influence change within their business context;

  • Access to appropriate computer technology and internet software;

  • Ability to pay the course fees or identify a sponsoring institution.

The Selection Process

The selection process will adjudicate candidates against the above criteria. Whilst academic performance is one of the criteria that we will review in order to identify the strongest candidates, we will also consider other indicators of ability.

Places will be available until the closing date for applications, but will be allocated on a rolling basis, so prospective applicants are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.


The Postgraduate Certificate in Sustainable Business (PCSB) course fees for 2014 are £7,150.

This includes all teaching fees, learning materials and accommodation for the three Cambridge residential workshops.

Fees do not include travel costs.

Loans and Bursaries

Bursary funding has been made available for deserving candidates who are currently prevented from applying due to financial reasons. These will offer financial support of 25–30 per cent of the programme fee, and in some exceptional cases up to 50 per cent of the programme fee, to assist selected applicants.

We are also pleased to announce that three specific bursaries have become available for deserving candidates from: 

  • an ‘operational’ business role (e.g. production) who are unable to secure full financial support from their employer;
  • an emerging economy, preferably from one of the country’s key industrial sectors;
  • the not-for-profit sector who is interested to engage with sustainability in a business context

These bursaries will offer support of 30-50% of the programme fee.

Candidates should apply through the normal route and indicate on the application form their request to be considered for a bursary. Successful applicants will meet all the programme requirements and outline their case in the appropriate section on bursary requests.

Residents of the UK or EU might be eligible for a Government loan scheme for part-time students studying for higher qualifications.

How to Apply

To apply for PCSB, please complete the online application form. If you have any questions, please email The closing date for applications is 26 January 2015.

Graduate Programmes Employer Support

Designed specifically for those working in full-time employment, with a schedule that can be completed alongside day-to-day business activities, the CISL graduate programmes have been designed to offer content that is directly transferable to business.

Participants are actively encouraged to apply insights from each programme, bringing immediate value to organisations from the very first workshop, in the form of innovative thinking, improved engagement, and practical business impact.

Innovative thinking

  • Attendees engage openly with innovators from business and leading academic thinkers to critique and explore the latest thinking in strategic responses to sustainability challenges.

  • The strong emphasis on peer-based supported learning amongst the high calibre of students provides a unique space for ideas to form and take shape before implementation by the organisation.

  • Cohorts represent a diverse range of industries, geographies and operational functions, reflecting the interconnected global economy. Insight into different economies, regions and sectors provides participants with the ability to help their organisation identify new ways of responding to complex challenges and the potential for new business opportunities.

Improved engagement

  • Access to the latest knowledge from research and industry best practice allows participants to approach their work with confidence.

  • Students are equipped to become effective change agents within their organisational contexts, providing them with a language to engage with customers and investors, as well as strategies to secure internal engagement.

  • As such, the potential for wider engagement and development within the organisation is considerable, maximising the returns from the initial investment in a participant.

Business impact

  • Assignments are specifically designed to provide students with the opportunity to focus on transferable practical solutions, with the purpose of enhancing business value for their organisation, alongside increasing their value to society. 

  • Participants determine the focus of their individual assignments, receiving personalised support from expert industry and academic tutors. Employer involvement in the assignment process ensures that relevant projects are being addressed, enhancing the transfer of expertise into the organisation and effectively receiving bespoke consultancy. 

  • Decision-making is enhanced, as participants’ awareness of critical issues and risks is improved, and innovative thinking applied to ensure future business activity is resilient and responsible.

Building a business case

If you are seeking support from your employer it may be helpful to prepare the following:

  • Undertake a skills gap analysis – think through where you currently fit in your organisation and how the course will enhance the contribution you make.

  • Match your objectives in undertaking the programme to those of your organisation by using the curriculum content listed on our webpages.

  • Demonstrate how attendance at the course and the increased knowledge gained could benefit your organisation. 

  • Share the detailed alumni testimonials as past students illustrate how the programmes have bought value for them and their organisations. 

  • Consider a strategic issue facing the organisation that you could research in more detail for the assignments – this ensures a project of direct relevance to you and results in a valuable piece of internal consultancy work for your organisation.

Recent organisations represented include:

AkzoNobel Johnson Matthey plc
Asian Development Bank Jones Lang LaSalle
BAE Systems Lloyds Banking Group
Birmingham City Council Mars
BNP Paribas NHS National Services Scotland
BP International Panasonic Europe
BSkyB Pret a Manger
BT Group Pick 'n' Pay
Cafédirect Rand Merchant Bank
Commonwealth Bank of Australia Sir Robert McAlpine
Diageo Tesco plc
EDF Energy Unilever
Fairtrade International W.K. Kellogg Foundation
GlaxoSmithKline Zurich International Life
Jaguar Land Rover


Bursary funding has been made available for deserving candidates who are currently prevented from applying due to financial reasons. These will offer financial support of 25–30 per cent of the programme fee, and in some exceptional cases up to 50 per cent of the programme fee, to assist selected applicants.

In addition to this we have compiled a list of resources, which might be helpful in identifying potential sources of funding. Generally, funding for part-time study is limited, since the format is considered to be geared towards employee-supported and/or self-funded students.

Terms and Conditions  

Acceptance on to a Programme

Acceptance on to a programme is by application and selection only. All applications are reviewed by the Selection Committee. Participants will be accepted on the basis of their ability to meet the selection criteria.

Delegate Participation

The CISL seminar/workshop process involves group work which can be disrupted by the absence of a delegate from any part of the event. Participants are therefore required to be in residence on-site throughout the programme and be able to attend all sessions.

Membership of the Cambridge Sustainability Network is also conditional upon full attendance.

Applying for a Visa for Entering or Studying in the United Kingdom

Please note that all programme participants are responsible for arranging their own visa for entry into the UK, should one be required. The residential components of the programme are of short duration and this influences the type of visa that will be granted. CISL can provide an official invitation letter for the programme in order to facilitate the obtaining of a visa specifically for the dates on which the residential components of the programme takes place. If you will require this, please contact us no less than four weeks prior to the programme date. 


Programme places are to be guaranteed with a purchase order number or credit card details. Invoices are payable within 30 days of invoice date.


There is a limited fund for bursaries to assist deserving candidates who are currently prevented from applying due to financial reasons. Bursaries will only part-contribute to course fees rather than covering the whole amount, and participants must demonstrate that they have exhausted all other opportunities in covering as much of the cost as possible before requesting use of the bursary fund.


Cancellations are usually non-refundable; however a discount (up to 25%) may be offered on a future or alternative programme, subject to a place being secured via the standard admissions process. A request to transfer or defer will be subject to approval and is not granted automatically.

Programme places are not transferable.

Accompanying Spouses/Wider Participation

Unfortunately it is not possible to cater for accompanying spouses or other guests. The seminars are very intensive, and numbers of participants restricted, thus only delegates and speakers may attend the sessions.


In the event of non-payment, we reserve the right to refuse admittance to programme events. Within accredited programmes, submitted assignments will not be assessed and the candidate will not be recommended for an award of credit.

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Key dates

COHORT 18 2015

Workshop 1: 16–18 Mar 2015
Workshop 2: 27–29 Jul 2015
Workshop 3: 28–30 Oct 2015

Contact Us

Bethany Knights–Prince
Project Co-ordinator

T: +44 (0)1223 768818