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Delivery format

The Postgraduate Certificate in Sustainable Business (PCSB)  is delivered part time over nine months. As an applied, practitioner-oriented programme, it is based on a blended approach to learning, offering face-to-face and virtual components.


Participants will:

  • Participate in two four-day workshops (for specific dates, please see the details in the right-hand column of this page). The first workshop in July 2021 will be held virtually. The second workshop in November will be offered as a residential workshop, accommodating online participation for candidates unable to travel to Cambridge as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The two streams are delivered separately over the same dates, with some selected opportunities for cross-participation between the two groups
  • Engage in a range of reading and reflection, in preparation for the workshops
  • Undertake two individual practical assignments based on applying learning in their own organisational or value chain context
  • Undertake a group project with a small group of 5–8 participants, supported by a programme tutor. Groups work on their projects both at and between workshops, and an online platform is provided to aid collaboration
  • Co-operate with fellow participants, share ideas generously and contribute to the fullest extent.


Changes for 2021 delivery

In light of on-going recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and the likely timescales for rolling out a vaccination programme, the decision has been taken to deliver the first workshop (5 - 8 July 2021) as a completely online experience. Based on our experiences of delivering these workshops during 2020, we believe offering this early confirmation of the delivery format will enable candidates to make an informed decision about the programme they are joining and the plans they are required to make to engage with the learning at the outset.

Our hope and expectation is that it will be possible for all/most students to attend the second workshop (22 - 25 Nov 2021) in-person in Cambridge; however arrangements to enable remote participation will be made to accommodate students who are still unable to travel to Cambridge. It may also still be necessary to maintain social distancing, face coverings and/or other safety restrictions for in-person attendees, depending on the prevailing circumstances. In the, hopefully, unlikely event that there is another lockdown in England or deterioration in the global situation, then this workshop could also be offered as a completely online experience, as was the case this year. At all times, CISL will follow governments and university guidance regarding appropriate delivery formats.

Please note that during the virtual workshop(s) live attendance would be mandatory for all sessions between 09.30 – 16.00 (UK time). Other sessions outside of these times will be recorded and made available to review later and/or duplicated to accommodate a range of time zones. Participants attending workshops should plan in advance to take appropriate time away from work and other commitments in order to engage fully during workshop core hours.


Time commitment

In addition to the workshops, it is estimated that participants 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 all nine months 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 nine months. 


Learning approach

As practitioner-oriented programmes, the learning approach is highly interactive, collaborative, interdisciplinary, 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.

mst learning journey

Four key principles underpin CISL’s distinctive approach to learning:

  • Flexibility – the programme is designed for an internationally diverse cohort, working full time. The intensive workshops are blended with a flexible e-learning programme and dedicated tutor support for assignments.
  • Peer-learning – participants come from a wide range of functions, sectors, and geographies. Sharing experiences and insights builds a deeper understanding of how the business world can respond to the challenges of sustainability.
  • Practical relevance – the programme equips participants with the skills to translate cutting edge academic insight into practical relevance. Business case studies are an integral part of the learning approach, alongside hearing from leading industry figures. Assignments are focused on professional or institutional contexts.
  • Personal application – participants are encouraged to identify personal opportunities for leadership and engage in reflective practice throughout the programme, supported by peers and tutors.

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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emma fromberg

Emma Fromberg Programme Manager