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Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership

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, PG Diploma student, 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 participants will:

  • Attend two four-day workshops
  • 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 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 must apply to stage 2. During stage 2 participants will:
  • Attend three workshops  according to business relevance or area of interest. There will be six workshop opportunities to choose from. These will be either CISL’s Sustainability Leadership Laboratories, or workshops from the MSt Sustainability Leadership.
  • Attend 10 hours of interactive virtual teaching sessions
  • Engage in self-study preparatory readings, webinars and presentations, and two e-learning modules
  • Complete two individual assignments – an analytical case study and literature review


Time commitment

In addition to attending the residential workshops, it is estimated that to complete Stage 1 of the programme successfully participants 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. Participants 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 participant, and variations in individual approaches to scheduling and learning can result in weeks where the workload may be heavier or lighter.

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. The intensive workshops are kept to a minimum, 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 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 University advice. At present, we expect to deliver our Postgraduate programmes starting in 2022 as advertised. We are well equipped to deliver dynamic and engaging workshops remotely, should the situation demand. Find out more.

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





Programme overview


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emma fromberg

Emma Fromberg Programme Manager