Sustainable Business Leadership MSc

Year of entry

Study 100% online when and where it suits you

Find out more about the benefits of studying your degree online to advance your career prospects. Learn more

Start dates
March 2024
May 2024
July 2024
Delivery type
Online exclusive
24 months part time
Entry requirements
A First or 2.1 (hons) bachelor degree in any subject.
Full entry requirements
English language requirements
IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component
Online learning fees
See fees section below

Course overview

Two students learning online.

Designed and delivered by expert academics from Leeds University Business School and the School of Earth and Environment, this inspiring, innovative online Sustainable Business Leadership MSc is one of few courses that integrates the two areas of sustainability and business.

Our Masters in sustainable business leadership features specialist modules such as Decision Making in a Complex World, Leadership for Change and Sustainability and Business, which speak directly to the skills that today’s employers are actively seeking. You’ll be able to draw on sustainability techniques, concepts and analytical skills to solve and communicate solutions to complex business issues. You’ll also learn how to develop sustainable business strategies to transition to a more sustainable economy, whilst effectively leading on change strategies, in your organisation.

You’ll use your knowledge to make a positive contribution to sustainability and make a meaningful impact in your organisation, by helping to evaluate the risks and opportunities associated with sustainability.

Six reasons to study Sustainable Leadership online.

The University of Leeds

We are one of the top 75 universities in the world and ranked in the top 15 in the UK (QS World University Rankings, 2024) with a global reputation for excellence in research and teaching.

Through links with various industry partners worldwide, we provide you with a strong combination of higher education and careers support. Our team of high-profile academics create an exceptional study experience guided by industry-leading knowledge and research.

Why choose Leeds?

Learn from academic excellence

Our online Sustainable Business Leadership MSc is delivered in collaboration between Leeds University Business School and the School of Earth and Environment. The Business School has a broad portfolio of research and is triple accredited and ranked 67th in the world for Business and Management studies (QS World University Rankings by Subject, 2023). Meanwhile, the School of Earth and Environment is a major international powerhouse for environmental research, ranked in the global Top 25 for Earth and Marine Sciences and Top 40 for Environmental Studies (QS World University Rankings by subject, 2023).

Meet Dr Laura Smith, Lecturer for Sustainable Business Leadership

Meet Dr James Van Alstine, Associate Professor for Sustainable Business Leadership

The Sustainability Research Institute is part of the School of Earth and Environment and explores a range of research areas including:

  • Climate change
  • Energy
  • Transport
  • Water
  • Resource use
  • Land use
  • Conservation
  • Cities and communities
  • Business
  • Lifestyles.

Our research collaborations

The School of Earth and Environment also has strong links with the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) to carry out world-class, interdisciplinary research into sustainable future energy systems. Through links with businesses, public organisations, and research groups worldwide, we provide students with a strong combination of higher education and careers development. Our team of high-profile academics create an exceptional study experience guided by industry-leading knowledge and research.

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Find out more about our Sustainable Business Leadership MSc

Course details

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About our Masters in Sustainable Business Leadership

Our sustainable leadership online course will begin with a two-week online induction designed to prepare you for online learning at the University of Leeds. It will introduce the study skills you will need to successfully complete your business and sustainability degree.

Delivered online, the course offers a flexible schedule of modules which are structured to be accessible to working professionals. The full course consists of nine taught modules and a research project. The modules cover a variety of subject areas such as Leadership for Change, Decision Making in a Complex World, and Sustainable Business Strategies.

On finishing studying the nine taught modules you then complete a 45-credit project module over 24 weeks. This has been designed to be flexible, enabling you to apply your newly acquired skills and knowledge to:

  • Explore a specific issue/concept in depth within or across certain settings/sectors.

  • Address a specific work-related business challenge relevant to your employer or your areas of interest.

You can take the course at your own pace and adapt your studies to fit around your work and life commitments. To give you flexibility, it is possible to pause your studies and take them up again at a later point.

Request further information

Find out more about our Sustainable Business Leadership MSc

Complusory modules

Policy, Governance and Sustainability (15 credits) - This module will provide you with an insight into the way in which human-environmental interactions are governed. You will gain an appreciation of the need for sustainability related policy and governance along with the various complexities. Key issues covered include the origins and evolution of environmental policy and governance and state and market led approaches to governance. By engaging with your classmates through the module’s discussion forums and live online webinars you will be able to share experiences and insights on the subject from an international, regional, national and local perspective.

Contemporary Economics (15 credits) - By studying this module, you will gain an insight into core economic concepts and terminology. Using this knowledge, you will have the opportunity to critically analyse established economic concepts and assess contemporary economic approaches which seek to integrate economic activity and the environment. Examples include doughnut economics, steady-state and circular economics. The module makes extensive use of case studies and organisational examples, and you will have the opportunity to apply what you have learnt through developing a strategy for an organisation to manage the interface between economic activity and sustainability.

Sustainability and Business (15 credits) - This module provides you with essential information on the relationship between organisations and sustainability. You will examine the origins and evolution of sustainability and gain skills and knowledge that will enable you to critically analyse the business case for sustainability. Throughout the module you will have the opportunity to engage with your classmates and learn from each other through analysing a series of case studies and discussing your views and experiences in the module’s live online webinars.

Leadership for Change (15 credits) - Organisations operate in a dynamic environment that reshapes itself continuously. This situation underlines the importance of change management and the ability to lead organisational change. By studying this module, you will learn about the issues and controversies relating to the management of change and the capabilities that leaders need to affect change in their organisations. You will learn about leadership models, the change management process and critical factors for leading change strategies with particular emphasis on sustainability related initiatives.

Sustainable Business Strategies (15 credits) - This module introduces topics at the intersection of strategic management and sustainability strategies. You will consider what are sustainability related business strategies why are they important and how can sustainability be incorporated into an organisation’s strategy. Throughout the module you will have the opportunity to explore the practicalities of implementing and managing sustainability related strategies whilst also analysing case studies and real-world examples along with your module tutor and classmates.

Decision Making in a Complex World (15 credits) - Decision making is a key management function, particularly in complex contexts with competing demands. By studying this module, you will gain an understanding of the thinking processes that underlie your own and others’ judgement and decision making activities. You will learn to recognise the judgmental errors and decision biases that commonly arise, and strategies for improving your decision making, risk communication and negotiation skills. You will also gain an initial insight into designing decision making contexts which have been shown to influence the behaviours of others.

Enterprise, Innovation and Sustainability (15 credits) - This module provides you with a foundation for exploring the core themes around entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, within the context of sustainable development. You will examine various debates around entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship along with key theoretical perspectives, frameworks and models. From this you will be able apply the models and frameworks when developing a business or engaging in entrepreneurial activities within a conventional business setting and in relation to sustainable development.

Delivering Sustainable Solutions (15 credits) - Through studying this module, you will gain a critical insight into select tools and frameworks relating to sustainable operations and supply chains. The module will also provide you with insights into the key factors promoting and impeding sustainable operations and supply chains/networks. As a result of the insights gained you will be able to apply the tools and frameworks and contribute to the attainment of sustainable solutions in business operations and supply chains.

Business Analytics (15 credits) - Data is an invaluable resource in the 21st century, but to gain the full benefit from the information available, managers need to be able to transform data into insights through data analytics. In this module you will gain an insight into business analytics and the application of key elements within the analytical process (with a special emphasis on common areas of application in sustainability). You will gain theoretical knowledge, technical aptitude, and also further your analytical thinking with an ability to transform quantitative and qualitative data into insights which support informed decision making. The module focuses on interpreting results rather than a deep understanding of the algorithm and/or techniques upon which the calculations are based. As such no prior knowledge of business analytics is required.

Sustainability Leadership Research Project (45 credits) - The project is your opportunity to conduct an in-depth and critical investigation of an issue(s) relating to business and sustainability. You can tailor the investigation, to meet your own interests and career aspirations. In practical terms this may mean a project has a strong academic focus or equally your project could be practitioner related and investigate a specific issue facing an organisation of your choice. During the project you will be supported by comprehensive online Business Research resources, live online webinars and discussion forums. You will also be allocated an academic supervisor who will advise you throughout the project.

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

Learning and teaching

Studying online

Each week on our masters in leadership and sustainability, you will study through live face-to-face sessions with our module tutors in a mixture of structured and open-ended learning techniques.

We recognise that professionals have busy lives, so with a 100% online delivery model, you can manage your learning around your busy personal and full-time employment, without the need to disrupt your life. You will study with a world-leading UK institution without the additional overseas cost of living. We will also provide many tools, including study planners, to help you track your progress and better manage your time.


Your learning will be delivered online via our award-winning virtual learning environment, Minerva. Minerva can be accessed on different devices, whenever and wherever it suits you. The platform has been designed by a team of experts to ensure your online learning experience is of the highest quality and prepares you for success, both academically and professionally.

Watch our preview of Minerva.

You’ll have access to:

  • The Pathways to Success induction course designed for online learning students.
  • In-course communication tools, such as discussion forums and announcements, to facilitate collaboration with peers and module tutors across the globe with ease.
  • Webinars to engage in real time with module tutors and peers to learn about a range of contemporary subject areas.
  • Online advice and support services for Minerva.
  • Tools to help self-monitor progress.
  • You will also be able to submit assessments and receive feedback from module tutors during their office working hours.

We recommend a high-speed broadband internet connection with a minimum speed of 1.5 Mbps. You will need regular access to a desktop computer, tablet, or laptop, with a webcam. You will also need the ability to view PDF documents and work in Microsoft Office (software provided).

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.


Assessment methods for this online Masters in leadership and sustainability will emphasise not just knowledge, but essential skills development too. Assessments will vary from module to module, with examples including:

  • Individual and group projects.
  • Assignments to build real-world experience.
  • Live and pre-recorded student presentations.
  • Literature reviews, using extensive online resources via the library.
  • Reflective logs.
  • Essays/Written reports.
  • Multiple choice exams for formative learning feedback (no more than 5% of summative assessment of the taught modules but are often used as formative feedback to check on your learning). We do not use traditional exams as our experience has indicated that these are not suitable for online learning students).


Entry requirements

  • A First or 2.1 (hons) bachelor degree in any subject.
  • If you hold a 2.2 (hons) bachelor degree in any subject, or professional qualifications equivalent to Bachelor with Honours/Masters we will consider your application for the MSc course if you have at least three years of relevant work experience in a professional environment.
  • If you hold professional qualifications or Higher education qualifications equivalent to Level 5, we will consider your application for the MSc course if you have at least five years of relevant work experience in a professional environment.
  • Professionally qualified candidates who do not meet the formal qualifications will also be considered but assessed individually. We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. For information, please contact our Enrolment Advisors via email.

Mathematics entry requirements / numerical competence

Applicants will need to demonstrate:

  • the successful completion of a university degree, or
  • the successful completion of a recognised professional qualification with a clear numerical component (e.g., ACCA, CFA), or
  • GCSE or A level Maths (or recognised international equivalent) or other forms of evidence outlining mathematical abilities will also be considered by the Programme Leader.

English Language entry requirements

  • GCSE English language at grade C or above, or
  • IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component, or
  • An appropriate equivalent English language qualification (read more).

Other forms of evidence may be considered but will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

In certain circumstances applicants can provide alternative proof of English language proficiency rather than a standard English test. This will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. You should discuss the criteria with your Enrolment Advisor to see if this can be considered. 

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.

How to apply

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Register to apply

Begin your application today

Applications for this degree programme are handled by our Enrolment Advisors. Please contact them to find out more about the programme, to start the online application process or to change your start date after applying. Email

All suitably qualified candidates will be contacted by telephone as part of the selection process.


The Digital Education Service requires all applicants to provide proof of their identity at the point of application. Accepted forms of ID are: 

  • Passport photo page, or
  • Driving license, or
  • National identity card


  • March 2024 start: 13 February 2024
  • May 2024 start: 16 April 2024
  • July 2024 start: 11 June 2024


Admissions policy

Digital Education Service admissions policy

This course is taught by

School of Earth and Environment
Leeds University Business School

Contact us

Enrolment Advisor team

Telephone: +44 (0)113 341 1262


Person looks at a computer screen showing a dashboard of different charts

Associated fees for Sustainable Business Leadership

The following fees apply to those starting their course between July 2023 and August 2024.

UK/EU and International: £17,500

The fee is composed of (which can be paid on a module-by-module basis*):

  • nine taught modules (15 credits each): £1,650 per module
  • project module fee (45 credits): £2,650

*If you are receiving a student loan or your fees are being paid directly to the University by your employer or sponsor you will not be able to pay on a module-by-module basis. Please check with our Enrolment Advisors.

Additional cost information

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

People standing around looking at an object.

Graduates of the University of Leeds (or an affiliated institution) are entitled to a 10% bursary towards tuition fees. Find out more about eligibility and how to apply.

UK students may be able to apply for a UK government-backed loan and there may be specific terms and conditions for online courses. Applications should be made through the Student Loans Company.

Career opportunities

Person standing in front of a whiteboard.

Careers in sustainability management

Sustainability jobs are varied and contribute to the development of sustainable practices within a broad range of industries. Upon completion of the course, you’ll be well placed to enter a range of sustainability careers including:

  • Sustainability /ESG Managers
  • Sustainability Analyst
  • Sustainability Project Manager
  • Sustainability Compliance Manager
  • Sustainability Marketing Manager
  • Sustainability Consultant or Senior Sustainability Consultant
  • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Manager
  • Net Zero Consultant

Learn more about the top careers in sustainability management.

Employability support

As an online student you’ll benefit from:  

  • A range of events on careers and employability run throughout the year that include CV preparation and sustainability job application support.  
  • Alumni focused events with recent and past graduates talking about their career journeys.
  • Career networking opportunities through industry related events such as:
    • Live online career workshops such as ‘Going Global: The Evolution of Employment’, ‘Postgraduate Careers Support’ and ‘The Journey of a Successful Entrepreneur’.
    • Online professional development webinars and guest lectures delivered by academics and expert practitioners. Examples of previous sessions include ‘Incorporating Sustainability into Your Business Practice’, ‘Leadership in Difficult Times’ and ‘The ESG Agenda: What Do You Need to Know for Your Company Clients and Investors?’

We are committed to supporting you to get the most out of your postgraduate study so that you graduate with excellent career prospects in sustainability management. Our career support will help you in both approaching companies and throughout the application process.

The University of Leeds Careers Service

As a Leeds student, you will also have access to extensive online resources from the University of Leeds Careers Service’s including:

  • Access to a database of employer events.
  • Career planning guidance.
  • CV writing tips.
  • Sustainability job application support.
  • Key interview skills advice.
  • Tailored one-to-one support via an e-Guidance service which can provide advice by appointment via Microsoft Teams.