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Delivery format for Cohort 12 starting 2021

“The programme has been invaluable in so many ways – developing a baseline of sustainability knowledge, the international network of likeminded sustainability professionals, the unforgettable experience – all with the view of all with the view of helping me transition my career towards sustainability and responsible investing.”

Michael van Niekerk, Peakview Strategy

Key components

The course is delivered part-time over two years. The programme is structured around course modules, delivered through a combination of residential workshops, online learning, and remote working:

  • Four residential workshops* (each 7 days long) in Cambridge**, in August/September and March/April of each academic year. Each workshop examines three of the course modules through face-to-face learning opportunities
  • A programme of online learning combining thematic E-units and interactive activities via a virtual learning environment (VLE) between the residential workshops to support the face-to-face learning
  • Four longer self-paced E-modules
  • Two individual work-based assignments
  • A group project around an area of mutual relevance
  • An individual research dissertation.

*Alumni of the Postgraduate Certificate in Sustainable Business are able to choose whether they attend the first residential workshop

**Circumstances permitting, following Government and University guidance. CISL is well equipped to deliver dynamic and engaging workshops remotely, should the situation demand.


Time commitment

In addition to attending the residential workshops, it is estimated that the Master's students will need to undertake an average of around 4-6 hours of work a week to complete the programme successfully. This is an average across the two years of the programme for a typical student, and variations in individual approaches to scheduling and learning can result in weeks where the workload may be heavier or lighter.   

Students are provided with all substantive tasks and deadlines at the start of the programme, so they can plan in advance in order to help spread the work evenly across the two years.


Learning approach

mst learning journey

As an applied, practitioner-oriented Master's, the programme is designed to support personal and professional development. This is reflected in the content, which includes developing a robust business case for sustainability, a focus on sustainability leadership aims and responses, and change management.

The learning approach is highly interactive, collaborative and designed to encourage reflection and debate. The programme facilitates shared learning between peers, benchmarking against other organisations, and networking with the extensive range of contributors, together providing a rich learning environment.

The learning journey also supports extensive feedback and assignments that are focused on professional or institutional contexts. Participants are supported by a team of expert tutors and supervisors. The speakers, lecturers and facilitators are leading experts and practitioners from academia, business government and civil society. 


Virtual learning

Virtual learning is an important part of the programme experience, providing opportunities for students to learn from each other as they engage with the latest sustainability thinking, applied to critical business issues.

Between the residential workshops, students participate in a regular e-learning programme and other non-residential learning activities, designed to complement the workshop themes and support students’ learning journey. This includes:

  • Virtual tutorials and supervisions to support the assignments and dissertation process
  • Four self-paced E-modules
  • Working through monthly thematic E-units addressing the course modules, including preparatory readings/ videos/ audios in advance of the workshops.
  • Participating in online forum discussions and webinars, approximately every month between the workshops
  • Contributing to a personal blog about a sustainability-related personal leadership opportunity.

The e-learning programme is supported by a dedicated online tutor.

Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)

A Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) is the main platform through which these activities are facilitated. The VLE also provides an avenue for communications between the participants and the Programme team, and to make available supplementary material, such as slides used by presenters and links to useful websites, articles, and other resources. The VLE has been developed using Moodle. This robust and user-friendly open-source software is widely used by providers of online learning, including the UK’s Open University.

The Master's in Sustainability Leadership VLE can be accessed via the internet using a standard internet browser. (A username and password is required to enter the site.)

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

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

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