Sustainable Development MSc (online)

Key Information

Key Information

Taught 100% online, study Sussex’s world-renowned MSc Sustainable Development at a time and place that suits you.

Course start dates:
There are six start dates every academic year, providing maximum flexibility for our students;

July 2019 | September 2019 | November 2019| January 2020 | March 2020 | May 2020  

Course fee:  £11,450 *

*Course fee is subject to change during the course validation period.


Course overview

In September 2015, the United Nations adopted 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Aiming to end poverty and hunger while achieving gender equality, peace, responsible production and consumption, urgent climate action, as well as caring for life on land and below water, the Goals are challenging and ambitious.

Meeting the SDGS requires extensive transformations in the way markets, civil society and states work in much of the world. These sustainability transformations will need to be impassioned and practical, bridging different socio-economic sectors, knowledge disciplines and policy silos. They will need knowledgeable social entrepreneurs, engaged scholars and committed political activists, equipped to work across silos and sectors, with suitable interdisciplinary skills.

It is such entrepreneurs, scholars and activists that this distinct Masters aims to empower. Delivered by three of the most proficient research units in this area, the Science Policy Research Unit, School of Global Studies and Institute of Development Studies, this interdisciplinary Masters will help develop conceptual and constructive skills based on interrogating knowledges across multiple disciplines. It will enable you to contribute effectively to the realisation of the SDGs through widespread sustainability transformations.

This course is part-time and can be completed in a minimum of two years and maximum of four. Students have the opportunity to step on and off the course, pausing their studies if their work or life commitments require*.

*Maximum study break times apply to this course

N.B. This course is currently going through university validation with details of the course, such as module titles, subject to change. 

Why choose this course

Ranked 1st in the world for Development Studies*, the University of Sussex is at the forefront of teaching and research in sustainable development.

Studying the Sustainable Development MSc (online), you’ll learn to analyse the politics of sustainable development policies and practices, using different conceptual perspectives and methodological approaches, cutting across a wide range of social science disciplines. You’ll focus on real-world issues such as transforming energy production and consumption, climate-related disasters, agricultural intensification, waste and pollution. You’ll learn how social power and inequalities are implicated in processes of technological development and environmental change. And you’ll explore the conditions under which sustainability transformations are achieved, to tackle social inequalities and environmental degradation.

Teaching is interdisciplinary, incorporating perspectives from economics, political science, science technology and society studies, international relations, anthropology, economics, innovation studies and human geography. Engaging with Sussex lecturers and with fellow students from around the world, you will critically and constructively analyse the work of government, business and civil society actors in sustainable development.

With employability firmly in mind, you’ll take part in both independent and group work, studying sustainable development policies and strategies for international agencies, NGOs, public and private organisations.

*(QS World University Rankings by Subject 2018)


  • Sustainable development politics and policies
  • Innovation and economic development
  • Policy analysis
  • Understanding the policy process
  • Key perspectives in international development
  • Democratising science and technology
  • Global political economy of the environment
  • Perspectives, methods and skills
  • Innovation for sustainability
  • Critical issues in sustainability
  • Market-based solutions for sustainable development: pitfalls and possibilities
  • Decolonising knowledge for sustainable development.

Further module details 

This course is currently subject to validation, in line with our procedures for assuring the quality of our degrees, some course detail may change. The validation process will be concluded before the course starts.

Typical entry requirements

A lower second-class (2.2) undergraduate honours degree* or above from any UK university or international equivalent.

*This course is currently going through university validation; entry requirements are subject to change

Further information on applying for online Masters courses. 

English Language requirements

Applicants whose first language is not English (and whose first degree was not taught in English) need to supply evidence of IELTS (Academic) Standard level (6.5 overall, including at least 6.0 in each component).

Fees, funding and scholarships

Course fee: £11,450 
Cost per module: £955 

Course fees will remain fixed for 24 months from the student’s first enrolment. Thereafter, the course fee will rise at a rate of 2.5% per calendar year (subject to rounding for administration purposes). 

Please visit our fees and funding page for more information on funding for master’s students.

Science, Policy and Research Unit (SPRU)

University of Sussex, Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) – Masters courses

Study online with the University of Sussex from anywhere in the world

Contact us

To speak directly with a dedicated online Admissions Advisor call

+44 (0) 1273 019311