Sustainability and Business 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 in a natural, environmental, physical, 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
£13,750 (Total)
International fees
£30,500 (Total)

Course overview

Students working together in a seminar at the business school

Never before has there been more pressure on businesses to rethink their processes and drive their organisations forward both sustainably and holistically. That’s why worldwide corporations, large and small, are seeking forward-thinking specialists who can understand the challenges faced in both sustainability and business — and help provide the solutions.

Our Sustainability and Business MSc prepares you, the next generation of innovators, to create, develop and reinvent sustainable enterprises. You’ll learn what shapes the relationships between business, environment and society, and how individuals and organisations can address social and environmental problems effectively.

You’ll build a specialist yet practical skill set — in everything from developing ideas and plans for new sustainable ventures, to pitching to investors — which will give you the industry experience employers in this field are looking for and the crucial components you’ll need if you want to start your own business.

This course is co-delivered by the Sustainability Research Institute, within the School of Earth and Environment, and the Leeds University Business School’s Centre for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Studies, providing you with expert teaching delivered by industry specialists from across a broad range of disciplines.

If you’re a forward-thinker, with a positive vision of the future, and keen to lead innovation in business — whether that be across a large organisation or through your own startup — our Sustainability and Business MSc is ideal for you.

Why study at Leeds:

  • You'll be taught by academics who have led the field for over ten years from the Sustainability Research Institute – one of the largest academic groups of sustainability experts in the world – and members of Business and Organisations for Sustainable Societies (BOSS) – a leading research group in business and sustainability.
  • Learn the latest, most pressing environmental challenges from the impactful research conducted across five world-leading research institutes within our School of Earth and Environment, as well as innovations in sustainable business — all of which feed directly into the course.
  • Advance your knowledge and skills in key areas, such as how sustainability leads business practice, plus practice interdisciplinary research methods and approaches that relate to environmental management and corporate social responsibility.
  • Tailor your degree to suit your interests, with a range of optional modules that could help support your career path and aspirations.
  • Take advantage of our strong industry links, with the chance to learn directly from award-winning academics, professionals in government, large corporations, stakeholders and entrepreneurs.
  • Enhance your career prospects and join our successful alumni who have pursued careers in related positions, working for reputable corporations worldwide such as ARUP, Highways England, Eco Tree France, JBA Consulting, Deloitte, and Natura.

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

The course is split into three semesters. In the first two terms, you'll take lectures and seminars, followed by approximately four months of individual work leading to the submission of a dissertation in late August.

You'll consider different aspects of sustainability, while a wide range of optional modules allow you tailor your study to fit your interests and career plans.

Semester 1

Through lectures and seminars, you'll be introduced to the foundational concepts and theory, both in sustainability and business. You'll also begin to understand how to bridge the gap between the two through a specialist module.

Studying research methodologies will provide the building blocks of key skills, techniques and tools, which you'll then go on to apply to real-world examples in semester 2 and in your own dissertation project.

Semester 2

In semester 2, you'll begin to apply the theoretical and foundational knowledge that you were taught in semester 1. You'll learn through case studies and real-world experiences, studying themes such as sustainable business models, theories of responsible business and organisational change.

Semester 3

Everything you have learnt over the course of semesters 1 and 2 will be brought together in an individual dissertation research project.

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 Business MSc in the course catalogue

Year 1 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
New Venture Creation 15
Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Creation 15
Research Methods 15
Research Project 60
Business, Environment and Sustainability 30
Issues and Cases in Corporate Social Responsibility 15

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

Module Name Credits
Enterprise & Society 15
Critical Entrepreneurship Studies 15
Introduction to Ecological Economics 15
Managing and Delivering Sustainability through Projects and Organisations 30
Climate and Environmental Policy and Governance 15
Critical Perspectives in Environment and Development 15

Learning and teaching

You'll learn through a variety of teaching methods, to help you develop both generic and subject-specific skills. This includes lectures, real case studies, practical workshops, computer lab sessions, project work (individual and group work) and a written dissertation. There may also be research seminars from external speakers.

Practical exercises focus on real-world scenarios and case studies to produce optimal solutions, including familiarisation with state-of-the-art technical approaches, software and the regulatory regimes that companies and public sector organisations operate within.

The research-intensive environment of our School ensures that your course material is both up-to-date and research led.

You'll also learn 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.

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 upon graduation.

Active research environment

The School of Earth and Environment is home to five world-leading research institutes, which are at the heart of our active research environment –and working to tackle the planet’s most pressing environmental challenges. Throughout your degree, you'll be taught by experts who are leaders in their fields, becoming directly engaged with their cutting-edge research.

The Business and Organisations for Sustainable Societies (BOSS) group is a transdisciplinary team of researchers, who are focused on critically evaluating the role of businesses and organisations and how they can incorporate sustainability in their systems, including their activities and throughout their supply chains.

Business and organisational networks

We have strong links within a range of local and international businesses and organisations. During your studies you may have the chance to learn directly from leading academics, professionals in government, large corporations, stakeholders and entrepreneurs.

Programme team

The Programme Leader, Dr Rory Padfield, is an interdisciplinary social scientist whose research focuses on themes such as supply chain and natural resource governance, sustainable consumption and production, and corporate sustainability across and between different scales of business organisations. He is also co-leader of the Business and Organisations for Sustainable Societies research group.

The wider programme team is made up of researchers and academics who work within the Business and Organisations for Sustainable Societies (BOSS) research group in the Sustainability Research Institute, as well as members of staff from the Leeds University Business School’s Centre for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Studies. This allows you to learn about the same themes, but from two unique perspectives.

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 methods, including both written and oral assignments and exams.


Entry requirements

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

Applicants with a 2.2 will be considered on a case-by-case basis, where applicants can demonstrate relevant work experience or aptitude in a related 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: £13,750 (Total)

International: £30,500 (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

This course combines some of the most sought after and relevant topics in today’s society. Not only will you learn the skills to pursue careers in business and in other sectors of the economy, such as government or non-governmental organisations, but you’ll also enhance your current sustainability credentials too.

It’s this combination of sustainability knowledge, business acumen and an extensive professional skill set which could be crucial to organisations worldwide, as well as highly transferable across a wide range of industries.

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.

Here’s a snapshot of our previous sustainability graduates’ job roles and organisations after they left Leeds:

  • Sustainability Project Manager, City of York Council
  • Japan Analyst, Argus Media Limited
  • Business Unit Assistant, Ernst and Young
  • Sustainability Consultant, Gleeds
  • Sustainability and Wellbeing Manager, Workman LLP
  • Environment Specialist, Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A.
  • Research Assistant, University of Leeds
  • Sustainability Manager, Nando’s
  • Sustainable Fashion Footprint Coordinator, Arcadia Group

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.