Science and Technology for Sustainability 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) in engineering, environmental science, physical science or mathematics discipline.
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
£31,000 (Total)

Course overview

Photograph of solar panels, with wind turbines in the background.

Sustainability and sustainable development are crucial topics facing almost every industry worldwide. There is a growing demand from industry and society for experts in this field to provide sustainable solutions to a multitude of interdisciplinary global challenges.

Our Science and Technology for Sustainability Masters has been developed to answer this demand by industry, bringing together science and engineering disciplines. You’ll build the extensive skill set and knowledge you’ll need to provide leadership and innovation on sustainable development in all aspects of industries and societal sectors.

You’ll be trained by leading academics and researchers from across the Schools of Chemistry, Chemical and Process Engineering and Physics and Astronomy to cover key global challenges that address UN sustainable development goals whilst gaining insight into how a sustainable low carbon future can be achieved.

Modules will cover everything from energy management, green chemistry and low carbon economics to sustainable waste management, life cycle analysis – plus many more. The broad range of topics will provide you with a holistic understanding of how future sustainable solutions are identified and developed, preparing you for a career in this field.

Here at Leeds, we’re a leading player in sustainability, with solid industrial and governmental collaborations that address and contribute to a broad range of sustainable development innovation. This means you’ll be learning from experts who are actively working in the field.

Why study at Leeds:

  • Our globally-renowned research across the School of Chemistry, School of Chemical and Process Engineering and the School of Physics and Astronomy feeds into your course, shaping your learning with the latest thinking in sustainability.
  • Advance your knowledge and skills in a variety of industry-relevant topics including renewable and clean energy, low carbon technologies, sustainable materials, green chemistry and sustainable waste management.
  • Put theory into practice by conducting an individual research project focusing on forward-looking or industrial-facing topics in sustainability, gaining hands-on experience in technology innovation.
  • Access specialist facilities to support your learning including synthetic chemistry laboratories, chemical and analytical facilities, material analysis facilities and energy and combustion research laboratories.
  • Experience expert theoretical and practical teaching delivered by a programme team who specialise in a variety of sustainable development innovations.
  • Develop a holistic skill set that will lend itself to careers in areas like industrial manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, chemical products, environmental engineering, biotechnology and policy and government, amongst others.

Course details

In semester 1, you'll learn general concepts of sustainability and relevant technologies, renewable and sustainable energy technologies, green chemistry and chemical processes and waste water management. You will also be trained in advanced research and professional skills, which include literature research, writing experimental reports, building a personal development plan, data analysis and coding and modern data science techniques.

Semester 2 covers sustainable materials (soft matter physics), solid waste management and management of sustainability. You will apply your new knowledge to a group innovation project. Through seminars and workshops, you’ll be able to understand global leading innovation on sustainable development.

The programme will provide insight into real-world challenges and innovations from different sectors such as energy, waste management, resource recovery, sustainable processes and energy management – with contributions from industry and academia.

At the end of your study, you'll be knowledgeable in the scientific and engineering aspects of key topics in sustainable technologies and development. Additionally, you'll be equipped with a wide range of transferable skills that will address diverse global challenges and benefit societies nationally and internationally. This includes working in interdisciplinary teams and communicating with non-specialists, industrial stakeholders and policymakers.

Project work

In semester 3, you'll complete an individual research project that allows you to apply what you’ve learned to a piece of research focusing on a real-world problem. The project gives you the chance to explore and develop your specific interests.

You'll also gain hands-on experience of planning, executing and reporting research work of the type you’ll undertake in an industrial or academic environment.

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 Science and Technology for Sustainability MSc in the course catalogue


Compulsory modules

MSc Research Project - 60 credits

You’ll be embedded in a world-leading research group to carry out a sustainability research project in one of the 4 schools: Chemistry, Physics, Chemical & Process Engineering and Civil Engineering. The project will be assessed through the literature report, the final report, research work (practical or computational), and a poster/presentation.

Introduction to Sustainability Science and Technology - 15 credits

Explore aspects of sustainability, how it impacts society, the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and how science and technology will have a critical role to play in achieving sustainability while still supporting the world population.

Group Innovation Project in Sustainability - 15 credits

Working in small groups modelled on an industrial project team, you’ll develop and pitch an innovative product or solution in sustainability to an investment panel of experts from UK industry, with feedback provided by the panel. This module will help develop teamwork, project management and commercial insights.

Advanced Practical, Professional and Research Skills for Scientists - 30 credits

Receive training in professional and research skills necessary for your research project, including literature research, report writing, personal development, proposal writing, data analysis, coding and data science techniques. These are highly transferable skills for any job you may take up after graduation.

Optional modules (60 credits from a selection of typical modules shown below)

Renewable Technologies - 30 credits

Learn the theoretical and practical aspects (including lab sessions) of renewable energy technologies: wind, solar, hydro, tidal and geothermal. Topics covered include energy storage, electricity networks, energy policy and economic, renewable energy trends, and critical materials for sustainable energy.

Renewable Materials for a Sustainable Future - 15 credits

Cover the fundamental theories and techniques in developing and studying a range of sustainable materials, i.e. thermoplastics, ‘green’ polymers, graphene and graphene oxides. The theories will be linked to their applications in day-to-day consumer products and advanced technologies.

Green Chemistry and Sustainable Processes - 15 credits

Discover the principles of green chemistry and how they affect sustainable chemical manufacturing. Perspectives and limitations of different chemical sectors will be explained through examples and case studies. The most modern approach to green chemistry, based on data science, will be explained and discussed. For students without a chemical degree, Foundations of Chemistry – Coursework must be taken as a prerequisite for this module.

Waste Water and Fecal Sludge Management - 15 credits

Receive an overview of elements of natural wastewater, its treatment systems and wastewater reuse, as well as design approaches for waste stabilisation ponds; rock filters and constructed wetlands. Major natural wastewater treatment processes are covered in detail with the aim to deliver a comprehensive approach to public health engineering solutions in low-income countries, small communities and peri-urban areas.

Solid Waste Management - 15 credits

Gain an understanding of the characteristics of municipal solid waste and key challenges at local and global scale, specifically relating to developing and low income countries. Learn the science and engineering aspect of waste disposal and processing and how to obtain and analyse waste-related information, as well as how to produce a waste management strategy for a local authority.

Circular Economy and Resource Recovery from Waste - 15 credits

Learn the emerging theory and core practical aspects of recovering of resources and value from waste, including materials, energy and nutrients, within the context of circular economy. Learn the assessment skills and tools for circular economy in a case study. Solid Waste Management is a prerequisite for this module.

Foundations of Chemistry - Coursework - 15 credits

The module provides educational resources in specific areas of Chemistry, e.g. organic chemistry and catalysis. This is meant for students taking on Green Chemistry and Sustainable Processes whose first degree was not in Chemistry.

Learning and teaching

Our research feeds directly into teaching and you’ll have regular contact with staff who are at the forefront of their disciplines.

You'll broaden your learning experience through a combination of practice-based learning and academic theory. You'll learn through a mix of lectures, tutorials, seminars, workshops, case studies, practical classes and independent research or design projects complemented by e-learning and problem-based learning. Proactive approaches through in-class discussions, group work and team-based learning will be applied in teaching delivery to strengthen your skills in communication and teamwork. At the same time, individual assignments and projects will support your independency and creativity.

You’ll also be allocated a personal tutor who will be on hand to provide support and advice throughout the course.

The programme will be delivered face-to-face, but all lectures and tutorials will be recorded for revision. A variety of links relevant to digital reading and case studies will be shared with you to supplement your learning.

Active research environment

The University of Leeds is a leading player in the development of future sustainable solutions in clean energy, sustainable transport, green chemistry and sustainable processes, sustainable waste management and resource recovery and the development of materials for a sustainable future.

We contribute to a broad range of sustainable development innovation and have established solid industrial and governmental collaborations to address various challenges on global sustainable development goals. These include reducing energy poverty in the developing world, renewable energy and biofuels, GHG capture and negative emission technology, energy storage and energy management, green chemistry and sustainable processes, waste recycling and waste management and the development of future sustainable materials.

Specialist facilities

As this programme is multidisciplinary and practical, you’ll have access to a range of facilities throughout coursework and projects.

These include teaching laboratories such as synthetic chemistry laboratories, chemical and analytical facilities (GC/HPLC, MS, NMR, IR, robotic sample handling), material analysis facilities (XRD, XPS, SEM, TEM, SAXS, MALDI-TOF MS) and energy and combustion research laboratories (solar, wind, tidal, bioenergy, biofuel testing).

You’ll also be able to make use of our high-performance computer facilities.

Programme team

This course will be delivered by academics and researchers with broad and extensive experience across a range of chemical and process engineering, chemistry and physics disciplines.

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.


Summative and formative assessments will be used to evaluate your learning outcomes. Group discussion boards, staff feedback and student peer review will be applied for formative assessments. Summative assessments include exam, tests, coursework assignments, presentations and project dissertation.


Entry requirements

A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) in engineering, environmental science, physical science or mathematics discipline.

Applications from professionally qualified and experienced candidates will also be considered. A bachelor degree with a 2:2 (hons) will be considered for candidates with at least one year’s relevant experience.

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 Engineering (6 weeks) and Language for Science: Engineering (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

Applicants are encouraged to apply as early as possible.

31 July 2024 – International applicants

8 September 2024 – UK applicants

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 Chemistry
School of Chemical and Process Engineering
School of Physics and Astronomy

Contact us

School of Chemistry Admissions Team



UK: £13,750 (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

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 paramount in almost every industry worldwide. The demand for specialists who can address global challenges in sustainability and provide insight into achieving a sustainable, low-carbon future is only going to grow.

The broad range of skills and knowledge you’ll develop on this MSc will equip you with the industry-relevant expertise needed to provide this insight – and could give you many career opportunities in a wide range of sectors, including:

  • Industrial manufacturing
  • Pharmaceuticals and personal care industries
  • Energy
  • Biotechnology
  • Waste management
  • Chemical products and formulation
  • Transportation
  • Agriculture
  • Food technology
  • Environmental engineering
  • Consultancy
  • Policy and government

Plus, the University of Leeds is in the top 10 most targeted universities in the UK by graduate recruiters, according to High Fliers’ The Graduate Market in 2023 report.

Careers support

At Leeds, we help you to prepare for your future from day one. We have a wide range of careers resources — including our award-winning Employability team who are in contact with many employers around the country and advertise placements and jobs. They are also on hand to provide guidance and support through the whole job application process, ensuring you are prepared to take your next steps after graduation and get you where you want to be.

  • Employability events — we run a full range of events including careers fairs in specialist areas and across broader industries — all with employers who are actively recruiting for roles.
  • 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.
  • Qualified careers consultants — gain guidance, support and information to help you choose a career path. You’ll have access to 1-2-1 meetings and events to learn how to find employers to target, write your CV and cover letter, research before interviews and brush up on your interview skills.
  • 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 about career support.