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MSt simulation

“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.”

Michael van Niekerk, Peakview Strategy


Key components

The programme is structured around modules, delivered through a combination of residential workshops, online learning, and remote working. Key components include: 

  • Residential workshops exploring course modules through face-to-face learning opportunities 
  • A programme of online learning between the residential workshops complementing the face-to-face learning 
  • Assignments centred around work and developing strong research skills:
    • Individual assignments
    • A group project around an area of mutual relevance
    • An extended piece of research based on a topic of personal interest.


Time commitment

In addition to attending the residential workshops, it is estimated that to complete the 2-year continuous route programme successfully students will need to spend the equivalent of 1 day per week (8 hours) on directed learning, independent study, reading, accessing one-to-one support, and completing work for assessment. In addition, students admitted to the programme are also expected to be in a position to undertake personal reflection, apply the learning in practice and/or gain relevant practical experience related to the themes of the programme for at least 1 day per week. 

The flexible route is designed to deliver content at an overall less intensive pace. Stage 1 will require a commitment as above. For Stages 2 and 3 the expected time commitment outside of workshops is half that of Stage 1. 

These are averages across the duration of the programmes 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. 


Learning approach

Our applied, practitioner-oriented postgraduate programmes are designed to support personal and professional development. The following are key features that underpin CISL’s distinctive approach to learning: 

Flexible: Programmes are designed for professionals working full time; hence the intensive workshops are blended with remote working on assignments and other course-related activities. 

Thought leadership: The speakers, lecturers and facilitators are leading experts and practitioners from academia, business, government and civil society. 

Practical relevance: Business case studies and hearing from leading industry figures are an integral part of the taught content, and assignments are focused on organisational contexts; thereby developing skills needed to translate cutting-edge insights into practice. 

Topical: The content includes developing a robust ‘business case’ for sustainability, a focus on sustainability leadership aims and responses, and change management, covering both established and emergent experience. 

Interactive: The learning approach is highly interactive, collaborative, interdisciplinary, and designed to encourage reflection and debate. 

Diversity of perspectives: Students come from a wide range of functions, sectors, and geographies; hence provide a wide spectrum of insights and opportunities to benchmark against how other organisations are responding to sustainability. 

Peer-learning: Shared learning and networking between peers and the extensive range of contributors together provide a rich co-learning environment. 

Support and mentorship: A dedicated CISL team and expert supervisors support the learning journey, including by providing feedback on assignments that are focused on organisational contexts. 

Personal application:  Students are encouraged to identify personal opportunities for leadership and engage in reflective practice throughout the programme, supported by peers and supervisors. 

mst learning journeyRead more about the Cambridge approach to learning.


Non-residential learning

Remote learning is an important part of the programme experience. Between the residential workshops, students participate in regular non-residential learning activities, designed to complement the workshop themes and support students’ learning journey. This includes: 

  • Remote working on assignments with virtual supervisions to support the assignments 

  • Online learning comprising preparatory materials for the course modules, including readings/ videos/ audios in advance of the workshops 

  • Participating in online forum discussions and webinars 

Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)

A Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) is the main platform through which remote learning is facilitated. The VLE also provides an avenue for communications between the students 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. 

The VLEs can be accessed via the internet using a standard internet browser. (A username and password are required to enter the site.) 


Meet the Directors Webinars

Join a live webinar session hosted by the Directors of our part-time postgraduate courses as they give you an overview of our programmes and admissions process and answer your questions.


More information 

Master's course overview

Who should apply?

Admission requirements

Funding opportunities

Learning approach and time commitment


Assignment Supervisors

Dissertation Supervisors

Flexible Route Supervisors

College Membership

Student blogs

Employer benefits and information

What's the difference between an MSc and an MSt?

Programme governance

Frequently asked questions


Email the team

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