Sustainability and Consultancy MSc

Year of entry

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Start date
September 2024
Delivery type
On campus
12 months full time
Entry requirements
A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) or above natural, environmental, physical, geographical, management or social science subject.
Full entry requirements
English language requirements
IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component
UK fees
£14,500 (Total)
International fees
£31,000 (Total)

Course overview

Masters in Sustainability and Consultancy

Prepare yourself for a career in the increasingly relevant field of sustainability consultancy, through our industry-led Sustainability and Consultancy MSc.

Sustainability is a hot topic. We know that we are facing issues such as climate change, problems caused by the production of waste, the loss of biodiversity and many of these can be caused by our industrial and commercial activities.

To meet the challenges of the future, we must address these issues. That’s why businesses and organisations across the world are looking for sustainability experts to help them reduce and mitigate their environmental and social impact.

This course aligns closely with the challenges of sustainability and the skills that businesses and organisations need to tackle those challenges, with a strong emphasis on project skills. You'll be taught the principles of the field and have the opportunity to choose sustainability topics, which align to your specific interests, as you build up to a focused professional consultancy project in which you'll carry out discrete analysis with one of our industry partners.

Specialist modules are delivered by academic staff, practicing consultants and other practitioners, giving you exposure to real-life, international case studies with a good understanding of the contemporary project and sustainability management techniques and solutions you'll need to become a leader in the field.

Why study at Leeds:

  • This Masters degree is accredited by The Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment.
  • Our School’s globally-renowned research – along with our excellent industry links – help inform the course’s curriculum, ensuring you’re learning the latest innovations in industry.
  • Manage your own consultancy project, usually in the form of an engagement with a professional organisation and build industry experience that’ll play a key role in your personal and professional development.
  • Develop your own links in industry, utilising our network of external partners including consultancy providers such as AECOM, ARUP, Buro Happold, JBA Consulting, Jacobs, ERM, Mott MacDonald and WSP and undertake personal development workshops.
  • Experience expert practical and theoretical teaching, delivered by a programme team made up of industrial partners and academics from the Sustainability Research Institute – one of the largest academic groups of sustainability experts in the world.
  • Enhance your career prospects and join our successful alumni who have pursued careers in related positions, working for reputable corporations such as AECOM, ARUP, WSP Global and Bulb Energy.


Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment (IEMA)

Accreditation is the assurance that a university course meets the quality standards established by the profession for which it prepares its students.

This course is accredited by The Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment (IEMA), the professional body for everyone working in environment and sustainability.

This Masters degree guarantees your eligibility for free student membership of IEMA for the duration of the course and on successful completion, you qualify for GradIEMA.

Graduate membership is a launchpad for future leaders within environment and sustainability and offers a range of benefits to support you throughout your career. You can then “Fast track” to Practitioner Membership.

Join our online taster courses

Find out if this course is right for you by trying our five-part series of free online courses that will show you how environmental management policies are developed and help you understand the challenges surrounding their formulation.

Course details

You'll take nine months of taught classes, followed by approximately three months of independent project work in association with an industry partner.

Semester 1

You'll take lectures and seminars, which lay the theoretical foundation needed for you to gain an in-depth understanding of sustainability topics, beginning with project management. Through lectures and seminars, you'll learn how to manage both projects and contracts in a sustainability context and will be taught essential skills for a consultant such as managing budgets, dealing with changes in the scope of a project, managing activities and developing tasks to successfully deliver a consultancy project.

During semester 1, you'll also have the opportunity to choose modules which focus on a broad range of consultancy theoretical topics. These topics may include issues associated with corporate social responsibility, corporate governance, alternative economic models such as ecological economics or challenges faced by climate change in a sustainability setting.

Semester 2

During semester 2 you'll apply the knowledge gained in semester 1 in a more practical way, beginning to think about how these things will work in practice.

The focus of the modules you'll study will be on embedding sustainability within both projects and a wider organisation. You'll approach this idea from two different angles; delivering sustainability on discrete projects and embedding sustainability at an organisational level.

Optional modules in this semester will allow you to choose which topic appeals most to you; regulation and planning or issues and cases in corporate responsibility. The former tackles an area in which many consultants often end up, working with developers working on planning big infrastructure projects such as power stations and railways, whereas the latter will allow you to focus more on CSR and in-company sustainability.

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 3.

Project work

The focus now switches to your individual work, in which you'll apply the knowledge and skills that you have developed in both semester 1 and 2 in a real-world scenario. Over ten weeks you'll work with one of our industry partners to deliver a sustainability consultancy project, in which you'll carry out some discrete analysis and produce tangible outputs to the client/host organisation.

The School will help you to find a partner company through our industry contacts, though you are free to develop your own project with a company of choice should you already have connections or links within industry. For many of our students, the links formed through this project work have led to a job after graduating.

You'll then present the progression you have made in your project around the end of June, submitting your final dissertation in late August.

Course structure

The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.

For more information and a full list of typical modules available on this course, please read Sustainability and Consultancy MSc in the course catalogue

Year 1 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Business, Environment and Sustainability 30
Sustainability Consultancy Project 90
Developing and managing environmental projects 15
Managing and Delivering Sustainability through Projects and Organisations 30

Year 1 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
The Regulatory and Planning Context for Sustainable Projects 15
Issues and Cases in Corporate Social Responsibility 15

Learning and teaching

You'll learn through a variety of methods including lectures, practical workshops, computer lab sessions, research seminars, field trips and project work.

The research-intensive environment of the School ensures that your course material is both up-to-date and research led. Our strong links with industry ensures that course content is relevant to needs of the sustainability industry.

You'll also learn the scientific and rational principles lying behind the practical approaches used in the world outside of academia, so that your skills keep pace with changes in technology or the regulatory environment.

You'll be assigned a personal tutor, who will maintain contact with you throughout the year and offer pastoral guidance. They will help you to settle into the university and clarify any procedures, as well as helping you prepare for employment on graduation.

Industry links

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

External partners include consultancy providers such as AECOM, ARUP, Buro Happold, JBA Consulting, Jacobs, ERM, Mott MacDonald and WSP in the multidisciplinary and environmental consulting fields, as well as other consultancy providers with management and wider sustainability portfolios such as Sodexo, retail bank small business services and Business in the Community.

We also work closely on both research projects and teaching, with consultancy clients from the private sector (e.g. Yorkshire Water, Burberry), non-profits (Opera North, UnLtd) and public sector (e.g. Leeds City Council, Environment Agency, NHS).

Our industrial partners consistently report that the combination of academic rigour, professional skills development and project management experience inherent in this degree ensure that graduates have the combination of skills and knowledge to be effective straight away.

As a result, you'll be seen as ‘work ready’, with fresh ideas and innovative ways of working in your chosen career area.

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

Programme team

The Programme Leader, Paul Abbott, is an experienced sustainability consultant who has spent over 30 years delivering high-quality projects and services to large companies, SMEs, government departments, professional institutes, awarding and validating bodies and institutes of further and higher education.

Leading in the field for over 10 years, academics from the Sustainability Research Institute – one of the largest academic groups of sustainability experts in the world – will form part of the wider programme team.

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.


You'll be assessed through a variety of ways, including both written and oral assignments and exams, through individual and group work.

Your final project work will involve you presenting your findings, before completing your project and dissertation. You'll also complete assessments, which help you develop your knowledge of the consultancy sector and how to present yourself for consultancy roles, as well as gaining experience in the essential practical processes of health and safety and ethical risk assessment.


Entry requirements

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

This course is ideal if you have enthusiasm for environmental debate and concern over the future sustainability of human and environmental systems. You are also likely to benefit from this course if you have a background in other disciplines, with relevant work experience in the fields of environment and/or development.

Applicants with a 2:2, or equivalent, will be considered on a case-by-case basis where applicants can demonstrate relevant work experience or aptitude in a relevant specialist field. Graduates from other disciplines and those with professional experience in the sector will also be considered.

We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. For more information, please contact the 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

International students who do not meet the English language requirements for this programme may be able to study our postgraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.

This pre-sessional course is designed with a progression route to your degree programme and you’ll learn academic English in the context of your subject area. To find out more, read Language for Science (6 weeks) and Language for Science: General Science (10 weeks)

We also offer online pre-sessionals alongside our on-campus pre-sessionals. Find out more about our six week online pre-sessional.

You can also study pre-sessionals for longer periods – read about our postgraduate pre-sessional English courses.

How to apply

Application deadlines

We operate a staged admissions process for this course with selection deadlines throughout the year.

Please read our How to Apply page for full details, including application deadlines and what to include with your application.

Click below to access the University’s online application system and find out more about the application process.

If you're still unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

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

University of Leeds Admissions Policy 2025

This course is taught by

School of Earth and Environment

Contact us

School of Earth and Environment Postgraduate Admissions Team



UK: £14,500 (Total)

International: £31,000 (Total)

Read more about paying fees and charges.

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

Additional cost information

Travel, accommodation and subsistence costs associated with compulsory field trips are covered by the university.

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more on our living costs and budgeting page.

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 may be 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.

Career opportunities

Sustainability has become a fundamental part of protecting the world we live in and, as such, the career opportunities for qualified specialists are far-reaching and highly rewarding.

Sustainability consultants can be found all across the globe, in a number of different organisations. Many work in the big engineering consultancy firms which build big pieces of infrastructure, such as power stations, tunnels, roads and railways, where they assess the environmental and social impact of these developments and come up with plans to mitigate the effects.

Other consultants may work at business level, helping companies to reduce their own environmental and social impact caused by the execution of their business activities, whilst many find themselves working in the public sector such as with local authorities.

Regardless of where in the world you want to live and work, there is a need for sustainability expertise worldwide and, with increasing legislation from governments and industry’s own desire to remain competitive, this need is only going to become more prominent.

Plus, University of Leeds students are among the top 5 most targeted by top employers according to The Graduate Market 2024, High Fliers Research, meaning our graduates are highly sought after by some of the most reputable companies in the field.

Graduates have gone on to a wide variety of careers in sustainability, including:

  • Environmental Consultant, Jacobs Foundation
  • Development Manager, Citu Group Developments Ltd
  • Energy and Sustainability Specialist, Bulb Energy
  • Sustainability Consultant, ARUP
  • Sustainability and Climate Change Consultant, WSP Global
  • Environment and Sustainability Analyst, JBA Consulting
  • Supply Chain Consultant, Anthesis
  • Sustainability Director, Proud to be Green
  • Geologist, AECOM
  • Graduate Analyst, Hewlett Packard
  • Policy Advisor — EU Negotiations, CBI Conference Centre
  • Sustainable Fashion Footprint Coordinator, Arcadia Group
  • Produce Legislation and Environment Trainee, Next

Careers support

At Leeds, we help you to prepare for your future from day one — that’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers. The University's Careers Service is one of the largest in the country, providing a wide range of resources to ensure you are prepared to take your next steps after graduation and get you where you want to be.

  • Dedicated Employability Officer — gain quality advice, guidance and information to help you choose a career path. From CV and cover letter writing to supporting you with job applications, our School’s dedicated Employability Officer is on hand to help maximise your capabilities through a process of personal development and career planning.
  • Employability and networking events — we run a full range of events, including careers fairs and industry talks in specialist areas and across broader industries, with employers who are actively recruiting for roles, giving you the opportunity to network and engage with industry sponsors. 
  • Employability skills training – to support your transition to the workplace, we embed training in a range of key transferable skills valued by employers such as research and data analysis in all our programmes.
  • MyCareer system — on your course and after you graduate you’ll have access to a dedicated careers portal where you can book appointments with our team, get information on careers and see job vacancies and upcoming events.
  • Opportunities at Leeds — there are plenty of exciting opportunities offered by our Leeds University Union, including volunteering and over 300 clubs and societies to get involved in.

Find out more at the Careers website.

Alumni profile: Maria Jose Castillo Conde

Studying Sustainability and Consultancy at the University of Leeds has been the best experience. It has the possibility to become a milestone for your future professional and personal career.
Find out more about Maria Jose Castillo Conde's time at Leeds