Sustainable Development MSc - 2020/1

Awarding body

University of Surrey

Teaching institute

University of Surrey


FHEQ Level 7

Final award and programme/pathway title

MSc Sustainable Development

Subsidiary award(s)

Award Title
PGCert Environment and Sustainability
PGDip Sustainable Development

Professional recognition

Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA)
Accredited by the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) for the purpose of eligibility to apply for associate membership.

Modes of study

Route code Credits and ECTS Credits
Full-time PFG61003 180 credits and 90 ECTS credits
Part-time PFG61004 180 credits and 90 ECTS credits

QAA Subject benchmark statement (if applicable)

Other internal and / or external reference points


Faculty and Department / School

Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences - Centre for Environment & Sustainability

Programme Leader


Date of production/revision of spec


Educational aims of the programme

  • To provide participants with a thorough conceptual framework and the skills necessary to understand the concept of Sustainable Development, and make judgements about Sustainable Development policies and their implementation.
  • To equip participants to evaluate existing political, socio-economic, ethical, cultural and regulatory frameworks to inform decisions regarding Sustainable Development.
  • To encourage participants to develop a sensitive appreciation of the significance of the contextual settings of sustainable development, especially as they relate to developing countries.
  • To develop and enhance participants' research and data handling skills.

Programme learning outcomes

Attributes Developed Awards Ref.
Concept of Sustainable Development, and awareness of current debates K PGCert, PGDip, MSc
Ecological principles and processes and how they are affected by human activities K PGCert, PGDip, MSc
How to integrate Sustainable Development into the day-to-day management and functioning of organisations, and on-going performance monitoring K PGCert, PGDip, MSc
Accessing and using environmental data K PGCert, PGDip, MSc
Absorb complex information and communicate them effectively through logically constructed arguments C PGCert, PGDip, MSc
Critical reading and analysis of sustainable development principles C PGCert, PGDip, MSc
Learn the value of teamwork to solve problems that require multi-disciplinary engagement C PGCert, PGDip, MSc
Independent learning and study through self-directed assignments and dissertation C PGCert, PGDip, MSc
Inductive reasoning: using specific examples/observations and forming a more general principal C PGCert, PGDip, MSc
Deductive reasoning: use stated general premise to reason about specific examples C PGCert, PGDip, MSc
Evaluate technical, social, environmental, economic and political aspects of Sustainable Development P PGCert, PGDip, MSc
Adapt economic and social assessment tools to support decision-making P PGCert, PGDip, MSc
Incorporate ethical dimensions to project design and implementation P PGCert, PGDip, MSc
Give coherent presentations P PGCert, PGDip, MSc
Lead discussions on complex subject areas P PGCert, PGDip, MSc
Competently handle environment information P PGCert, PGDip, MSc
Self-motivation, self-regulation and self-assurance P PGCert, PGDip, MSc
Independent learning capacity T PGCert, PGDip, MSc
Deliver a structured and successful presentation T PGCert, PGDip, MSc
Working within a team (group) T PGCert, PGDip, MSc
Use analytical approaches appropriately in different decision-making situations T PGCert, PGDip, MSc
Write effectively as a means of communicating important ideas T PGCert, PGDip, MSc
Communication of findings and presentation of research to a non-specialist audience T PGCert, PGDip, MSc
Lead discussion of small/large groups T PGCert, PGDip, MSc
Organise and manage a research project T PGCert, PGDip, MSc
Basic to advanced IT skills T PGCert, PGDip, MSc

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Programme structure


This Master's Degree programme is studied full-time over one academic year, consisting of 180 credits at FHEQ level 7. All modules are semester based and worth 15 credits with the exception of project, practice based and dissertation modules.
Possible exit awards include:
- Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits)
- Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits)


This Master's Degree programme is studied part-time over three to five years, consisting of 180 credits at FHEQ level 7. All modules are worth 15 credits with the exception of project, practice based and dissertation modules.
Possible exit awards include:
- Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits)
- Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits)

Programme Adjustments (if applicable)



Opportunities for placements / work related learning / collaborative activity

Associate Tutor(s) / Guest Speakers / Visiting Academics Y
Professional Training Year (PTY) N
Placement(s) (study or work that are not part of PTY) Y Yes
Clinical Placement(s) (that are not part of the PTY scheme) N
Study exchange (Level 5) N
Dual degree N

Other information

Each module on this programme is taught on an intensive modular basis. There is pre-reading to do for each module and on occasion a pre-module assessment, followed by the intensive taught week where classes run from approximately 9 - 5, Monday - Friday for one week. Post-module coursework is to be completed over the four week period after the intensive week.

Quality assurance

The Regulations and Codes of Practice for taught programmes can be found at:

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2020/1 academic year.