About this course
The MSc Sustainability gives you a chance to explore sustainability issues in different societies. It addresses critical global challenges including food delivery, water and energy. You’ll graduate ready for a range of careers, including national and international agencies such as the United Nations and the Department for International Development.
Become an expert in sustainability on this master’s degree at the University of Southampton. You’ll study your chosen specialism on this flexible course to meet your career or further study goals.
You could choose to focus on consultancy, population and geographical information systems (GIS) or to gain a broader experience across the disciplines.
A focus on applied research and field-based methods will leave you well equipped to tackle sustainability challenges in the real world after your studies.
Dr Patrick E. Osborne is a data scientist and spatial analyst. His research focuses on the impact of environmental patterns on biodiversity and human wellbeing. Visit Dr Osborne's profile page to learn more about his work.
This course is based at Highfield.
This qualification is awarded by the University of Southampton.
Download the programme specification
The programme specification sets out the learning outcomes of this course and details how the course is taught and assessed.
In light of COVID-19, we’ve made changes to some elements of course delivery for 2020-21. For details as to how this has changed delivery for this course, please view the Addendum to the Programme Specification PDF.
You’ll need a 2:1 degree in a relevant subject.
We assess all applications on an individual basis.
Recognition of professional experience
If you don't have the exact entry requirements, but you have significant work experience in this sector we’ll assess your relevant professional experience, your subject knowledge and your aptitude for learning.
Your application will be considered on individual merit and you may be asked to attend an interview.
Got a question?
If you're not sure that you have the right experience or qualifications to get onto this course please contact our enquiries team; we're very happy to help.Email: email@example.com
Tel: +44(0)23 8059 5000
COVID-19: we've made some changes to the structure of the course for this academic year. Download the programme specification addendum in 'About this course' to learn more.
This is a full-time master’s course. You’ll study for 12 months, from September to the following September.
In the first 8 months (semesters 1 and 2) you'll study the taught part of your course. This is made up of modules that everyone on the course takes and modules we’ll ask you to choose from a list of options, allowing you to fit the course to your interests and career aspirations.
You’ll also begin preparing for your research project during semester 1, and continue this work in semester 2.
For the last 4 months, over the summer, you’ll work independently on your research project. You’ll have one-to-one meetings with your supervisor during this time to discuss your progress.
Want more detail? See all the modules in the course.
COVID-19: we've made some changes to our modules for this academic year. Download the programme specification addendum in 'About this course' to learn more.
For entry in Academic Year 2020-21
You must study the following modules in year 1:
You must also choose from the following modules in year 1:
Learning and assessment
COVID-19: we've made some changes to our learning and assessment methods for this academic year. Download the programme specification addendum in 'About this course' to learn more.
On the master’s in sustainability we adopt a teaching approach that enables you to relate your learning to real-life problems and situations. You’ll learn about resource management, community relationships and local and global economic impacts.
A number of teaching and learning methods that are particularly effective in supporting more traditional methods include:
- case studies
- computer-based workshops and simulations
- experiential project work
- problem-based learning
- field work
Assessment will involve:
- tasks that enable the development of critical thinking and problem-solving
- problem-solving of real-world scenarios
- activities covering values, attitudes and behaviours towards sustainability
In the final part of the year, you’ll focus on your individual research work. You’ll complete an advanced research project and we’ll encourage you to work with industry and potential employers to apply your newly developed knowledge.
You don’t have to submit a dissertation but will instead write a research article of up to 7,000 words in the style of a peer-reviewed journal, for submission in September. This article contributes one-third of the marks towards your MSc degree.
You’ll have access to:
- introductory sessions for your programme
- research seminars and invited lectures from external speakers
- a personal academic tutor to help you with any personal problems and advise on academic issues
- module leaders to discuss your current modules
- module handbooks and outlines including information about learning outcomes, assessment methods, relevant background material and reading lists
- admin support from your Student Office, which deals with student records and general queries about your degree
With this degree you’ll have great career potential in local government, the private sector, national and international organisations, and public and private research institutions.
Our graduates have the skills to manage complex problems, work with diverse stakeholders and understand the challenges of interdisciplinary working. They are sought after for roles in:
- environmental monitoring
- water resource management and pollution control
- carbon management
- sustainable waste management
- sustainable energy
- wildlife conservation and ecological management
You’ll also be in demand in wider sectors such as the food, buildings, energy, telecoms and water industries.
All these sectors need to think about environmental sustainability either through choice or legislation. Employers look for graduates with skills in communication, problem-solving, leadership, and team-working, which is why they form a core part of our assessment process.
You’ll also be in a great position to continue your studies at PhD level.
Careers services at Southampton
We're a top 20 UK university for employability (QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2019). Our Careers and Employability Service will support you throughout your time as a student and for up to 5 years after graduation. This support includes:
- work experience schemes
- CV/resume and interview skills workshops
- networking events
- careers fairs attended by top employers
- a wealth of volunteering opportunities
- study abroad and summer school opportunities
We have a vibrant entrepreneurship culture. You'll be able to take advantage of:
Fees, costs and funding
Fees for a year's study:
- UK/EU students pay £9,250.
- International students pay £21,800.
What your fees pay for
Your tuition fee covers the full cost of tuition and all examinations.
10% alumni discount
If you’re a graduate of the University of Southampton you get a 10% discount on your postgraduate tuition fees.
Postgraduate Master’s Loans (UK and EU nationals only)
This can help with course fees and living costs while you study a postgraduate master's course. Find out if you're eligible.
Funding your postgraduate studies
A variety of additional scholarships, grants and bursaries may be available to help you fund your master’s study, both from the University and from other organisations.
How to apply
You can apply directly through our online form by using the apply button on this page.
Applications must be received no later than 4 weeks before the start of the course. You must supply all supporting documentation at least two weeks before starting your course.
We recommend you apply at least 6 weeks before the start of the course to ensure you're able to meet our requirements and apply for a visa in time.
We cannot guarantee students who do not meet these deadlines will be able to begin their course.
When you apply you’ll need to submit a personal statement explaining why you want to take the course.
You’ll need to include information about:
- your knowledge of the subject area
- why you want to study a postgraduate qualification in this course
- how you intend to use your qualification
You'll also need to send 2 academic references.
Please include the required paperwork showing your first degree and your IELTS English language test score (if you are a non-native English speaker) with your application. Without these, your application may be delayed.
Learn more about how to apply with our postgraduate application guide.
What happens after you apply
You'll be able to track your application through our online Applicant Record System.
We will assess your application on the strength of your:
- academic achievements
- relevant professional experience
- personal statement
- academic references
We'll get back to you within 6 weeks with a decision about your application.
We may invite you to an interview, which will take place by phone if you live abroad. You'll get an email from the admissions tutor if we'd like to talk to you before offering you a place.
Equality and diversity
We treat and select everyone in line with our Equality and Diversity Statement.
Got a question?
Please contact us if you're not sure you have the right experience or qualifications to get onto this course.
Tel: +44(0)23 8059 5000