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Delivery format

The Postgraduate Diploma in Sustainable Business (PG Dip) 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.


Key components

The Postgraduate Diploma in Sustainable Business is completed in two parts, with the second part offering considerable flexibility and choice.

Part 1

Part 2

10 months (part-time)

Complete a Postgraduate Certificate (PCSB or PCSVC)

0.5 to 3 years (part-time)

Complete PG Dip-specific components                      


PG Dip Part 1

The PG Dip Part 1 consists of completing one of the Postgraduate Certificates in Sustainable Business (PCSB) or Sustainable Value Chains (PCSVC). During PG Dip Part 1 participants will:

  • Attend two four-day residential workshops in Cambridge
  • Engage in a range of structured e-learning, 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 Part 1 curriculum can be found in the PCSB and PCSVC curriculum sections.


PG Dip Part 2

Having successfully completed the PG Dip Part1, participants will move to the PG Dip Part 2, during which they will:

  • Attend three two-day Sustainability Leadership Laboratories of their choice, according to business relevance or area of interest. The Sustainability Leadership Laboratories take place in Cambridge at least four times per year and are currently delivered under the following four broad themes: Operationalising Sustainability, Sustainability Leadership, Sustainable Innovation and Sustainable Finance.
  • Attend two half-day supervisions to meet their Director of Studies and assignment Supervisors. These take place in Cambridge on days adjacent to the Sustainability Leadership Laboratories.
  • 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 Part 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 Part 2 will depend on the pace at which the participant progresses, but amounts to a total of approximately 120 hours.    

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.

For the PG Dip Part 1, primary approaches to teaching and learning are:

  • taught plenary and small group sessions by academics and practitioners, who are thought-leaders and/or case study contributors
  • group work, involving dialogue, debate and presentations throughout the taught modules, as well as a group research assignment
  • experiential techniques including role plays, simulations, debates and field trips
  • individual work, involving structured reading and reflection, research, and written presentation of findings on selected topics
  • support and facilitation by a CISL-led team of faculty, tutors and supervisors from within the University
  • e-learning programme, including an online module, structured reading/preparation, and informal discussion.

For the PG Dip Part 2, the same approaches are used, with a stronger emphasis on:

  • co-creating solutions in a collaborative working environment
  • participants taking a lead in the learning, reflecting the seniority/expertise of participants.


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 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

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Workshop dates for PCSB and PCSVC (Part 1 of the Diploma)

Workshop 1: 2–5 July 2018
Workshop 2: 12–15 November 2018