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Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)

Graduate studies simulation 4

The Postgraduate Diploma in Sustainable Business is delivered part-time in two stages. As an applied, practitioner-oriented programme, it comprises a blended approach to learning, with face-to-face and virtual components.


"Interacting with people from different backgrounds helps you think out of the box"

Imran Shaikh, Project Manager, Bauer Group


Key components

The Postgraduate Diploma (PG Dip) is completed in two stages, with the second stage offering flexibility in the taught aspects of the programme.

Stage 1

Stage 2

9 months (part-time)

Complete a Postgraduate Certificate (organisational or value chains stream)

2 years (part-time)

Complete PG Dip-specific components                      



Stage 1

The PG Dip Stage 1 consists of completing the Postgraduate Certificate in Sustainable Business (Organisational or Value chains stream). During PG Dip Stage 1 students will:

  • Participate in two four-day workshops (for specific dates, please see the overview table)
  • Engage in a range of reading and reflection in preparation for the workshops
  • Undertake two individual supported by a supervisor and based on applying learning in their own professional context
  • Undertake a group project with a small group of 5-8 students, supported by a supervisor. Groups work on their projects at and between workshops
  • Co-operate with fellow students, share ideas generously and contribute to the fullest extent.


Details of the PG Dip Stage 1 curriculum can be found in the Organisational stream and Value chains stream curriculum sections.




Stage 2

Stage 2 is delivered part-time over two years. The programme is structured around two assignments, supported by supervisors through virtual supervisions, and course modules, delivered through a combination of residential workshops, online learning,  and virtual sessions. During PG Dip Stage 2 students will:

Complete three modules, each comprising attendance of 2.5 days of one of the available residential workshops, pre-workshop preparatory material and virtual sessions, and online learning activities. Workshops are offered in both the first and second year of Stage 2, giving students the flexibility to choose when to complete a module. Workshops will be delivered to students on both the PG Diploma Stage 2 and the Masters in Sustainability Leadership (continuous and flexible routes)

  • Attend a half-day of teaching on leadership adjacent to one of the three residential modules
  • Undertake e-learning on corporate philanthropy, leadership for change and academic writing
  • Attend online sessions scheduled to support face-to-face, group-based learning, introduction to assignment lectures, and oral presentations delivered by peers
  • Complete two individual assignments – an analytical case study (paper and oral presentation) and literature review – supported by virtual supervisions


Time commitment

In addition to attending the residential workshops, it is estimated that to complete Stage 1 of the 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.

Stage 2 is designed to deliver content at a less intensive pace. For Stage 2 the expected time commitment outside of workshops is half that of Stage 1.

These are average time expectations across each stage 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 how to best spread the work evenly across the duration of their study.


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 journey







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 

Diploma course overview

Who should apply?

Admission requirements

Funding opportunities

Learning approach and time commitment


Assignment Supervisors

Student blogs

Employer benefits and information

Frequently asked questions


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