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Master of Studies in Sustainability Leadership

Develop the skills and knowledge to lead change, embed sustainability and make a real impact.

Applications for the Master’s in Sustainability Leadership starting in 2021 are open now. Apply here or download the graduate study brochure to receive further information on both our Master’s and Postgraduate Certificate programmes.

About the Master's

The Master's helps to develop leaders who can respond effectively to the economic, social and environmental challenges facing the world and lead others to achieve positive change.


The Master of Studies (MSt) in Sustainability Leadership is a full Master’s degree, delivered part time over two years for working professionals. It is part of the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership's (CISL) mission to empower individuals and organisations to take leadership to tackle critical global challenges.

It is fully accredited by the University of Cambridge, and is delivered as an interdisciplinary programme by CISL, drawing on academic expertise from, among others Departments of EngineeringGeographyLand Economy and the Cambridge Judge Business School.

Both academic excellence and practical application in a business context are prioritised in the competitive selection process, and in the design and delivery of the programme. Assessment is through short practical assignments and an extended research dissertation.

The programme celebrates its 12th cohort in 2021, and attracts an exceptional calibre of senior and mid-career leaders from all across the world, and a range of business sectors. Applicants may wish to formalise their credentials as sustainability professionals, or gain a better understanding of how sustainability risks and opportunities apply to mainstream business functions. We likewise appeal to leaders from the not-for-profit or public sectors who wish to work together with the private sector to address sustainability challenges.

Read about the impact of our graduate programmes from our students.


Aims and curriculum

Through a combination of interdisciplinary insights, academic analysis, practical business application, peer learning and personal reflection, the Master's aims to develop a community of leaders who have:

  • a wide awareness and deep understanding of the social, environmental, ethical and economic challenges and opportunities facing the world
  • the vision and ambition to drive business leadership to achieve real systems change
  • the knowledge, experience and ability to critically evaluate a range of strategic levers for change
  • the leadership capacity and confidence at a personal and organisational level to best use these levers to effect transformation

The Master's helps to develop leaders who can respond effectively to the economic, social and environmental challenges facing the world and lead others to achieve positive change.

The following course modules are delivered via a combination of residential workshop teaching, self-paced E-modules, and thematic E-units as part of an interactive E-learning programme over the two years.

Introductory and Crosscutting Themes

• Complex Systems and Future States
• Rewiring the Economy
• The Business Case for Leadership
• Leadership and Change for Sustainability
• Academic Skills (Writing and Research).

Specific Leadership Responses/ Levers for Change

• Sustainable Production and Consumption
• Organisational Strategy and Business Models
• Organisational Culture and Practices
• Governance (Corporate and International)
• Cooperation, Collaboration & Partnerships
• Sustainable Design & Technology
• Government Policy & Regulation
• Sustainable Finance & Investment
• Communication and Education
• Corporate Philanthropy.

CISL is monitoring the Covid-19 situation and responding accordingly to UK Government and WHO advice. At present, we expect to deliver our Graduate programmes in 2021 as advertised. We are well equipped to deliver workshops remotely should the situation demand. Find out more.

Blog: First-class graduate education in a Covid-19 world

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