School of Earth and Environment

Sustainability and Consultancy MSc

(Full time / Part time) 2016 start

Masters in Sustainability and Consultancy


Key facts

  • Duration/Mode:
    12 months full time
    24 months part time
  • UK/EU fees: £8,000
    International fees: £18,000
  • Entry requirements:
    A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) in a related subject.
  • Language requirements:
    IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component
  • This course has a work placement option
  • Course terms and conditions

The Sustainability and Consultancy Masters offers a grounding in the broad range of sustainability topics beyond just environmental issues (from project development to corporate sustainability strategy). It will also develop the professional skills you’ll need.

Sustainability is an integrated issue across our teaching, rather than separating the environmental, economic and social elements.

Specialist modules are delivered by academic staff, practising consultants and other practitioners, giving you exposure to real-life, international case studies with a good understanding of contemporary management techniques and solutions.

This course aligns closely with the challenges of sustainability and the skills that employers say they need to tackle those challenges, with a strong emphasis on project skills.

Alumni Profile

"The Consultancy Project was one of the most valuable experiences of my career to date - it gave me the opportunity to put my theoretical knowledge into practice and get ahead of the game."

Ed Dunn, Environmental Consultancy (now Sustainability and Consultancy) MSc

Read More

Course highlights

  • Our course was the first qualification of its kind in the UK.
  • In the first semester you can choose an optional FREE 2 day field course to East Yorkshire. Learn about issues affecting sustainable economic development and environmental management in a developed world context.
  • A major component of this masters is that you will manage a consultancy project, which is usually undertaken in the form of a placement with a professional organisation. This experience plays a key role in your personal and professional development.
  • This is an approved Institute for Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) course. This means once you graduate you are eligible for the first professional level: Graduate Member using the letters GradIEMA.

Programme team

The programme leader is Dr Alice Owen.

Alice led consultancy firm Arup’s sustainability consulting work from Leeds for five years before joining the University of Leeds. Her career has spanned private, public and voluntary sector organisations.

Teaching Fellow is Paul Abbott and Teaching Assistant is Jody Harris.


This is an approved Institute for Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) course:

  • This means once you graduate you are eligible to become an IEMA Graduate Member – GradIEMA - the first stage towards full professional chartership.
  • You are also eligible to take-up free student membership.
  • IEMA supports individuals and organisations to set, recognise and achieve global sustainability standards and practice.


Course content

When completed on a full-time basis, this 12 month Masters is split into three semesters. In the first semester you will take lectures and seminars which lay the theoretical foundation needed for you to gain an in-depth understanding of sustainability topics. In the second semester you will focus on you applying this knowledge through case studies and on practical professional skills development. Throughout the year, you can also take part in personal development workshops and activities, including networking with project hosts, helping you secure a successful research project for semester three.

In semester three, the focus switches to individual work, where you will deliver a project usually carried out on a placement of around 10 weeks. Present the progression you have made in your project around the end of June, and submit your final dissertation in late August.

When completed on a part-time basis, the programme runs for 24 months, with each year split into three semesters. You will take two taught modules in semesters 1 and 2 each year, followed by a full-time project placement in semester three of your final year.

Course structure

These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.

You’ll study modules totalling 180 credits. Each module is worth 15 credits unless otherwise stated:

Semester 1
- Introduction to Sustainability
- Business, Environment and Sustainability
- The Regulatory and Planning Context for Sustainable Projects
- Elective: Environmental Policy and Governance, Climate Change: Physical Science Basis or Introduction to Ecological Economics
Semester 2
- Standards and Tools for Business, Environment and Corporate Responsibility
- Issues and Cases in Corporate Social Responsibility
- Project Management: Developing and Managing Environmental Contracts
- Delivering Sustainability Through Projects
Semester 3
- Sustainability Consultancy Project, usually carried out on placement (60 credits)

Learning and teaching

The research-intensive environment of the School ensures that course material is both up-to-date and research led. We aim to teach the scientific and rational principles lying behind the practical approaches used in the world outside academia, so that your skills keep pace with changes in technology or the regulatory environment.

A range of learning and teaching methods used include lectures, practical workshops, computer lab sessions, research seminars, fieldtrips and project work.


The School of Earth and Environment’s £23 million building provides world class research, teaching and facilities.


To complement teaching, assessment is varied and includes both written and oral assignments and exams. It also includes both individual and group work.

Alumni Profile

"The course provided exactly what I was looking for – academic grounding and training in sustainability issues, and an opportunity to apply my skills to a practical project within a business setting."

Darren Holman, Environmental Consultancy (now Sustainability and Consultancy) MSc

Read More

Entry requirements

A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) or above in a natural, environmental, physical, management or social science subject.

Mature applicants without a first degree or with a lower degree classification may be considered on the basis of their relevant industry experience and their potential for benefiting from the programme.

This programme is especially well-suited to students with an enthusiasm for environmental debate and concern over the future sustainability of human and environmental systems. We welcome applications from graduates with environmental studies, geography or biology backgrounds. Graduates from other disciplines with relevant work experience in the fields of environment and/or development are also likely to benefit from this programme.

International qualifications

We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. For information contact the School of Earth and Environment admissions team.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English

If English is not your first language, you may be able to take a pre-sessional course before you begin your studies. This can help if you:

  • don't meet the English language requirements for your course or
  • want to improve your understanding of academic language and practices in your area of study.

Our pre-sessional courses are designed with a progression route to the degree programme and are tailored to the subject area. For information and entry requirements, read Language for Science and Engineering B (6 weeks) and Language for Science and Engineering A (10 weeks).

How to apply

This link takes you to information on applying for taught programmes and to the University's online application system.
If you're unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Or read their advice on how to apply.

Visas and Immigration

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy

Link to admissions policy document


UK/EU fees: £8,000
International fees: £18,000

For fees information for international taught postgraduate students read Masters fees.

Part-time fees are normally calculated based on the number of credits you study in a year compared to the equivalent full-time course. For example, if you study half the course credits in a year, you will pay half the full-time course fees for that year.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There is help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government.  Find out more at Masters funding overview.

School scholarships

Four full-fee scholarships are available to UK/EU applicants with an offer on this programme. Applications must be received by Wednesday 1st June 2016.

Two full-fee scholarships are available to International applicants with an offer on this programme. Applications must be received by Sunday 1st May 2016.

Find out more about our School scholarships

Other funding sources

Past students have secured funding through a career development loan, for details visit UK Government website.

Career opportunities

Graduate careers in Sustainability

  • environmental consultancy and planning
  • corporate sustainability and corporate social responsibility
  • sustainability strategy
  • environmental and social impact assessments and project financing
  • environmental management
  • carbon reduction and energy management
  • stakeholder management and engagement
  • policy development
  • project management
  • sustainability assessment.

Graduates from the programme in recent years have taken up roles with organisations in the public, private and NGO sectors:

  • Consultants: CH2M Hill, ERM, KPMG, Jacobs, JBA Consulting, Mott MacDonald, RPS, URS, WYG
  • Other private sector: Arla, E.ON UK, FIRA International, Sodexo, Total
  • NGOs: 2degrees, Carbon Trust, CIWEM.

Our alumni are currently working in many parts of the world including Canada, Germany, India, Sweden, Trinidad and Tobago, UAE, UK and USA.


Careers support

We offer extra support and activities to help you stand out in your chosen field and achieve your career goals. The School of Earth and Environment has a strong commitment to enhancing student employability and has its own dedicated Employability Officer. Read more about our careers and employability.

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.

Alumni Profile

"Being taught by practising consultants means you have the tools required to ‘hit the ground running’, and graduates are appealing to a wide range of organisations."

Danielle Jackson, Environmental Consultancy (now Sustainability and Consultancy) MSc

Read More

Industry links

We have successful and productive links with many partners with different perspectives on sustainability and consultancy. During your studies, you will come in contact with our network of industrial partners through teaching, personal development workshops and while undertaking your final consultancy project.

External partners include consultancy providers such as ADAS, Aecom, ERM, Jacobs, Mott MacDonald and URS in the multidisciplinary and environmental consulting fields, as well as other consultancy providers with management and wider sustainability portfolios such as Sodexo, Business in the Community and BDO. We also work closely, on both research projects and teaching, with consultancy clients from the private sector (e.g. Arla, Hallmark, Marks & Spencer) and public sector (e.g. Leeds City Council, Environment Agency).

Our industrial partners consistently report that the combination of academic rigour, professional skills development and project management experience inherent in this degree, ensures that you will have the combination of skills and knowledge to be effective straight away. As a result, you will be seen as ‘work ready’, with fresh ideas and innovative ways of working in their chosen careers.

The strong relationship with businesses and other influential organisations in the field of sustainability means that, through your consultancy project, you will be able to contribute to transforming business to prepare for a more sustainable future.

"Being seconded has given me a great opportunity to work with lots of other consultancies (other than my placement host) and I can see how much value placements like these bring."


"The graduates from this course are two to three years ahead of the other graduates we have been interviewing."

Leading UK Consultancy

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