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Sustainability and Management (MSc)

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Course overview

This innovative and highly-respected course will provide you with an important commodity for today’s employer; an interdisciplinary education. The MSc Sustainability and Management is taught jointly by the Department of Geography, which is recognised for expertise in the research and teaching of environmental and social sustainability and the School of Management, which has a long tradition of research into sustainable businesses and corporate social responsibility.

The course will enable you to understand connectivities beyond the borders of just one discipline and you will develop the skills to communicate with experts across a variety of backgrounds. By the end of the year you will have acquired the knowledge and skills to help you become an expert in sustainability for leading companies, governmental agencies and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs). 

Key facts

Key facts about the course
Qualification Master of Science
Duration 1 year full-time
Department and Faculty Geography, Faculty of Science
Partner institution(s) --
Course director Dr. Mike Dolton
+44 (0)1784 443575
Contact for more information Liz Hamilton and Karen Oliver
Postgraduate Administrators
+44 (0)1784 443563

Fees / funding

Please visit the Fees and funding pages for the latest information about tuition fees and the different sources of funding which may be available to you.

How to apply

Applications for entry to all our full-time postgraduate degrees can be made online.

Further information on making an application, including the documentation that you will need to submit with the application is available in the How to apply section of this site.

If you are interested in applying to Royal Holloway, why not arrange a visit to our campus to see for yourself what academic and student life is like here. More information on arranging visits is available on our Open days pages.


Entry requirements

Entry criteria:

UK Upper Second Class Honours degree (2:1) or equivalent, in business studies, management, geography, geology, biology or a related subject. If your first degree result is close to this but does not quite meet this requirement, please contact us to discuss your case.

Consideration will also be given to relevant professional qualifications relating to the above mentioned areas.

English language requirements:

IELTS 6.5 overall with 6.5 in writing and a minimum of 5.5 in all other subscores. For equivalencies please see here

This is a research-focused course and is appropriate for those who have prior knowledge or experience in management or geography, geology, biology or other sustainability-related subjects.

Students from overseas should visit the International pages for information on the entry requirements from their country and further information on English language requirements. Royal Holloway offers a Pre-Master’s Diploma for International Students and English language pre-sessional courses, allowing students the opportunity to develop their study skills and English language before starting their postgraduate degree.


Why choose this course?

  • This course is unique as it is taught jointly by experts in the Department of Geography and the School of Management. You will benefit from cutting-edge teaching across the two subject areas. 
  • The course brings together two perspectives and will develop your understanding of how business and sustainability work together. 
  • You will benefit from innovative teaching including real-life case studies, mock debates, field work and volunteering units. 
  • You will have the opportunity to attend lectures by a wide-range of highly respected guest speakers on current sustainability and business issues. 
  • The course is truly multi-cultural with students from all over the world studying and working together.

Department research and industry highlights

Centre for Research into Sustainability (CRIS)The Centre for Research Into Sustainability (CRIS) makes an impact at various levels:

  • Research focuses on the problem of creating sustainable societies, in particular sustainable organizations and sustainable eco-systems.  
  • We collaborate with companies, governmental and non-governmental organizations in order to transform organizational practices towards the goal of greater sustainability

Course content and structure


Core course units:

Sustainability, Development and Governance

This course will equip students with a detailed understanding of the development of sustainable development as a discourse. Students will explore key sustainability issues such as climate change, globalisation, and human responses with an emphasis on the emergence of environmental governance as a means to pursue sustainability.

Sustainability, Development and Society

You will develop a detailed understanding of key social / environmental relationships incorporating contemporary issues in the geographies of sustainability. These will include \'risk society\', sustainable cities, and the impacts of corporate sector activities on the environment. You will also understand the challenges to sustainable development at household and community levels, with a focus on community-based approaches to sustainable development. 

Business Ethics and Enterprise

The aim of the course is to equip students with the moral frameworks and critical abilities necessary to understand the role of business in society from an ethical perspective. The course will cover different types of business including large publicly traded multinationals, small and medium sized enterprises, social enterprises and family firms. Students will be expected to understand the different issues in these organizational types and to articulate moral arguments from a range of different perspectives.

International Strategy

This course provides the student with an understanding of how international business strategy fits into the organisation and running of a company or multi-company corporation. The lectures are used to illustrate the key points under each topic as well as real business examples.  Workshops will be used for case studies and applications of the material covered in the lectures. The aim of the module is to introduce the student to the way in which a firm can achieve sustainable competitive advantage through strategy.

Community Volunteer Project

You will undertake an independent volunteer project which will give you practical experience in gaining sustainability related work experience in a non-for profit organisation. The project will enhance your employability whilst and provide an opportunity to gain practical experience of third sector organisational objectives, cultures and practices.

Dissertation Preparation and Research Methods

The Research methods unit will help prepare you for your dissertation. You will recognise and critically evaluate approaches to management research and the assumptions upon which they are based. This will equip you to make justified choices as to appropriate quantitative/qualitative research methods for data collection and subsequent analysis. You will then be able to conduct research, and evaluate primary and secondary data sources in a systematic and critically reflective manner.

You will also evaluate potential limitations to research investigation and applications and develop a coherent and appropriate research proposal, recognising the ethical implications of research investigations and their impact upon findings.


You will analyse a sustainability or CSR issue in depth. By the end of the dissertation, you will be able to plan and manage a project, define aims and objectives, identify appropriate data sources and collection methods, be aware of and deal with potential pitfalls, execute a dissertation plan, and construct an effective argument.

Elective course units:

International Sustainability Management

This course provides participants with an understanding of how Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) informs sustainability management issues in large, transnational organisations. It will focus on issues such as consumption and sustainability as dichotomised between the apparently incompatible tensions of economic and environmental interests.

Technology and Development

This course provides you with an introduction to the role of technology in development, focusing particularly on mobile phone and computer technologies. The course combines an understanding of key theoretical debates and how technologies have been applied in diverse sectors such as health and education. The course also includes training in the use of GIS (geographical information systems) within a development context.

Participatory research

This course combines detailed understanding of the theoretical underpinnings of participatory research and methods with practical experience of using different participatory research techniques. These include participatory diagramming, participatory video and participatory environmental monitoring.

On completion of the course graduates will have:

  • Gained insight and experience in the fields of sustainability and management and be well prepared to work in a number of related areas.
  • Developed a thorough understanding of graduate research, enabling them to pursue further study at postgraduate level.

View the full course specification for Sustainability and Management (MSc) in the Programme Specification Repository


Assessment is carried out by a variety of methods including coursework, examinations and a dissertation.

Employability & career opportunities

Our graduates are highly employable and, in recent years, have entered many different sustainability-related areas, including:

  • Director at Sustainable Travel International
  • Consolidations and Reporting Analyst at Tetra Pak International
  • Researcher at the Institute of Business Ethics
  • Carbon Consultant at DHL

For more information about where our graduates have gone onto, check out our Alumni Profiles here.

Related courses

No related courses have been found.

Graduate Profile

Farrah Adam

MSc Sustainability & Management, 2014

Banana Industry

>>> View Farrah's Profile

Farrah Adam


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