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Delivery format

The Postgraduate Diploma in Sustainable Business is delivered part time over 1.5 to 3 years. 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, PG Diploma student, Project Manager, Bauer Group


Key components

The Postgraduate Diploma (PG Dip)  is completed in two stages, with the second stages offering considerable flexibility and choice.

Stage 1

Stage 2

9 months (part-time)

Complete a Postgraduate Certificate (organisational or value chains stream)

1.5 to 3 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 participants will:

  • Attend two four-day residential workshops in Cambridge
  • Engage in a range of reading and reflection in preparation for the residential workshops
  • Undertake two individual practical assignments based on applying learning in their own organisational context
  • Complete a group project with a small group of 5-8 participants, supported by a programme tutor. Groups work on their projects 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.

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


Stage 2

Having successfully completed Stage 1 at the required level, participants will move to the Stage 2, during which they will:

  • Attend three Sustainability Leadership Laboratories (Labs) of their choice, according to business relevance or area of interest. The Labs are two day events held up to four times per year in Cambridge
  • Attend two half-day supervisions with their Director of Studies and assignment supervisors. These take place in Cambridge on days adjacent to the Labs
  • Engage in self-study preparatory readings, webinars and an e-learning module
  • Complete two individual assignments – an analytical case study and a thought leadership essay
  • Host an interactive webinar on a theme of relevance to sustainability leadership.


Time commitment

In addition to attending the residential elements, it is estimated that participants will need to undertake an average of around 4–6 hours of work a week to complete Stage 1 of the PG Dip successfully. This is an average across the duration of the programme for a typical participant, and variations in individual approaches to scheduling and learning can result in weeks where the workload may be heavier or lighter. The average number of hours per week for Stage 2 will depend on the pace at which the participant progresses.    

Participants 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 duration of their study.


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 our distinctive approach to learning:

  • Flexibility – The programme is designed for an internationally diverse cohort, working full time. Residential time is kept to a minimum, blended with with a reading, a flexible e-learning programme and dedicated tutor support for assignments.
  • Peer-learning – Participants come from a wide range of functions, sectors, and locations. 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 and research, into practical relevance. 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.


"The PG Dip format is very attractive because of its practical emphasis which will enable me to acquire skills directly applicable to my work as well as the opportunity to learn from and network with professional peers."

Michelle Witton, Senior Compliance Lawyer, Eurasian Natural

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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emma fromberg

Emma Fromberg Programme Manager