Key Information


1 year


2 years

Start Date

September 2024

Typical Offer

See More


Brayford Pool

Academic Year

Course Overview

Sustainability is a cross-cutting theme relevant to a wide range of sectors including those such as food production, farming, chemical production, manufacturing, construction, service sector and retail, as well as at a policy level. The need for sustainable development is becoming increasingly important throughout the UK and globally, and organisations are now reflecting this in the decisions they make and the policies they put in place. To achieve these goals, a new generation of sustainability specialists are needed to support companies, public services, and non-profit organisations to identify and implement policies and strategies to manage the resources they use and the waste they generate.

The MSc in Sustainability programme at the University of Lincoln aims to offer a broad range of topics, which enable students to develop both the technical knowledge of the subject, as well as the leadership and business skills necessary to embed sustainable practices, develop sustainable products and services and to implement change. This programme is designed to promote a broad understanding of the topic, through real-life related assignments to develop core competencies and through a specific personal project to increase a graduate's employability across a range of sectors including housing, the built environment, food and agriculture, energy and water sector, service sector, retail, policy and manufacturing.

Why Choose Lincoln

Develop technical knowledge and leadership and business skills

Core modules focus on the fundamental principles underpinning sustainability

Optional modules themed around specialist areas of knowledge

Project and case study-based learning

Engage with businesses, charities, and non-governmental organisations

Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) approved course

Students in a lecture

How You Study

The course is based on core and elective modules, and a research project that is aligned to sector issues or problems and opportunities to address them. The core modules focus on the fundamental principles underpinning sustainability, including core eco-socio-economic issues, climate-resilient business management, policy, governance and innovation as well as evidence-based decision-making. Elective modules are themed around specialist areas of knowledge which will help enable students to develop skills aligned to specific sectors such as built environment, food and agriculture, energy and so forth.

The programme is taught through a variety of interactive student-focused activities, including lectures, seminars, workshops, research projects, business visits, work placements, independent study, and peer-to-peer and group activities. Project/case study-based and collaborative research-engaged learning is embedded throughout and will be reflected within the assessments. This will allow students to work as individuals and in groups and to produce solo and group presentations, reports, essays, projects, literature reviews, and a dissertation.

During the programme, students will have the chance to engage with businesses, charities and non-governmental organisations to understand the practical application of sustainability and sustainable development in specific sectors. Students will also have the opportunity to hear from and engage with industry and specific sector speakers and to undertake a research project to demonstrate their ability to communicate and think critically. The projects can use a range of innovative methodologies depending on the question the student seeks to answer.

IEMA University Partner

Approved Course

This course entitles students to free Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) student membership for the duration of the course and on successful completion, qualify for GradIEMA. Graduate membership can be 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 (PIEMA) following successful completion of the work-based assessment of competence.

IEMA University Partner Logo

Professional Practice

The MSc Sustainability programme is also available with the option for a 12-week paid or volunteering work placement (professional practice) during the third term. This module is aligned with the sustainability research project case study module. Students can gain hands-on experience while working in a professional environment, as well as collect real-world data to use in their final research project case study. Students will be responsible for sourcing their own placements but will be supported by academic staff and the University. Students are also responsible for their own travel, accommodation, and general living costs while undertaking placements.


† Some courses may offer optional modules. The availability of optional modules may vary from year to year and will be subject to minimum student numbers being achieved. This means that the availability of specific optional modules cannot be guaranteed. Optional module selection may also be affected by staff availability.

Governance and Risk 2024-25ACC9704Level 72024-25This module examines corporate governance concepts and principles in both national and international contexts, developing key skills necessary to support the development of good governance, risk management, control, internal audit, and stakeholder dialogue throughout an organisation. The module provides an overview of the role of boards and directors in corporate governance and also develops an understanding of the essential role that corporate social responsibility (CSR) plays in corporate governance worldwide.CoreInnovation in a Circular Ecosystem 2024-25AGR9021Level 72024-25Sustainable Innovation leads to the creation of new markets through products and services or processes driven by the need to address social, environmental, or economic sustainability issues. This approach to innovation lets businesses grow while addressing important challenges like climate change, biodiversity loss, and a reduction in the use of natural resources. This process could also improve business restructuring, recovery and promote economic resilience as well as growth and competitiveness. The overall aim of the module is for students to gain knowledge and develop understanding that enables them to identify the role of innovation and other leading practices in developing sustainable products and services and providing sustainable solutions, and to identify issues and assess opportunities that deliver innovative and sustainable products and services by using lifecycle thinking and circular economy approaches. The module will also contribute to preparing students for their relevant dissertation project to be undertaken throughout the year. Additional aims are to enable students to develop multi-disciplinary skills in researching, organising and presenting relevant information in verbal and written form and applying that information in practiceCoreMeasuring, Reporting & Communicating Sustainability 2024-25AGR9022Level 72024-25This module enables students to use data and information sources to inform evidence-based effective sustainability strategies as well as to determine, implement, and measure methods of effective communication of these strategies. An abundance of data and analysis tools and frameworks support the measurement, calculation, or assessment of specific aspects of sustainability e.g. carbon foot printing or the development of business strategy, e.g. to support the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals. Students will have the opportunity to develop critical analysis skills and implement reflective and reflexive approaches to considering given sustainability aspects, their impact and potential business innovation, mitigation, or adaption strategies. They will also evaluate how to design and deliver an integrated communication plan related to the implementation of sustainability strategies.CoreMitigation, Adaption & Resilience in a Changing World 2024-25AGR9019Level 72024-25This module encourages students to gain knowledge and develop understanding that enables them to critically evaluate environmental sustainability challenges and solutions; their socio-economic impact and their relationship with businesses, products and services. This will include knowledge/understanding of issues related to climate change, water scarcity, biodiversity loss and ecosystem services, environmental pollution, waste and recycling, energy production and use, liveable environment, and food production; global inequalities; their impact on social systems, cultural practices, community and individuals; and the social and physical determinants of health. The module will also contribute to preparing students for the dissertation project to be undertaken throughout the year. Students can also develop multidisciplinary skills in researching, organising, and presenting relevant information in verbal and written form, and applying that information in practice.CorePrinciples of Sustainability 2024-25AGR9020Level 72024-25This module explores the concept of sustainability, sustainable systems, and processes and sustainable living in the context of global urbanisation of populations, finite resource depletion, planetary boundaries, and the significant increase of the global population from 1.6 billion in 1900 to 6 billion in 2000 and around 7.95 billion today. The development of the eight Millennium Development Goals (2000-2015) and the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (2015-2030) inform international targets for sustainable development. UN Climate Change Conferences from Kyoto in 1997, COP18 in Doha (2012), and COP26 in Glasgow (2021) sought to gain universal climate agreement between governments to reduce emissions, cut greenhouse gases, and support vulnerable nations to adapt, but global greenhouse gas emissions continue to arise. This module will consider from a wide perspective the context of sustainability, sustainable development, and sustainable living and encourage critical reflection on these themes.CoreSustainability Research Project - Case Study 2024-25AGR9023Level 72024-25Sustainability Case Study is a single 60-credit module, which will be introduced in the first term of study and continue across terms 2 and 3. It aims to provide students with the experience of developing academic and career development skills, as well as to design and deliver a relevant individual, in-depth scientific study/ investigation. In the first part, via a range of activities and through interacting with various research groups and teams across the university, students will familiarise themselves with research undertaken across the University and start thinking about their research project/case studies areas. They will also gain access to career advice/opportunities for placements/professional practice. Students will have the opportunity to develop critical academic skills related to finding, evaluating, reading, and understanding relevant sources of literature and clearly and concisely write content to make a point or defend an argument with cited sources. In the second part and through a series of seminars and group activities, students will be supported in the preliminary stages of project preparation and management. Students will also be allocated an individual project supervisor/advisor and develop a case study proposal and a literature review. In the third part, students will deliver an original in-depth scientific investigation of a specific sustainability related topic and produce a formal dissertation (sustainability case study) with the advice of an individual project supervisor/advisor. This module is aligned with an optional 12-week work placement module. It aims for students to gain hands-on experience while working in a professional environment as well as collect real-world data and use them in their final research project case study.CoreSustainable Organisations 2024-25BUS9718Level 72024-25This module will focus on sustainability from the perspectives of organisations, business and management. It will explore the underlying causes of present-day challenges with sustainability at both an organisational and societal level. The module will also address the barriers and enablers associated with bringing about the essential transition to sustainability across industrial sectors and within individual organisations. Students will consider alternative forms of organisation and create solutions for addressing societal and environmental injustice.CoreSustainability Professional Practice 2024-25AGR9024Level 72024-25The MSc Sustainability programme is also available with an option for a 12-week term 3 paid or volunteering work placement (professional practice). This module is aligned with the sustainability research project case study 60-credit module. It aims for students to gain hands-on experience while working in a professional environment as well as collect real-world data and use them in their final research project case study. Students will be responsible for sourcing their own placements but will be supported by academic staff and the University.OptionalSustainable Building Design, Construction and Performance 2024-25BTE9011MLevel 72024-25Globally, construction industries are responsible for about half of worldwide carbon emissions, and global, national, and regional legislation is a key driver in improving the energy and carbon efficiency of the built environment. This module covers the fundamental principles of, and imperatives for, sustainable and low carbon design, construction and occupation of buildings. This includes the complex, challenging, and sometimes contradictory elements of legislation that drive our collective response to climate change. The fundamental methodologies for designing, constructing, and occupying sustainable buildings starts with the site, and a thorough understanding of the impact of the environmental and physical surroundings of a building. It then considers the construction process and how to make this most efficient, lean, and sustainable by minimising impact. Finally, it considers behavioural issues relating to occupancy and use of the buildings we live and work in, in order to minimise the impact on the environment.OptionalSustainable Energy and Climate Change 2024-25EGR9014MLevel 72024-25This module deals with current and potential future energy systems, covering resources, extraction, conversion, and end-use technologies, with emphasis on meeting regional and global energy needs in the 21st century in a sustainable manner. The course includes the review of various renewable and conventional energy production technologies, energy end-use practices and alternatives, and consumption practices in different countries. Students are given the opportunity to learn a quali-quantitative framework to aid in evaluation and analysis of energy technology system proposals in the context of engineering, political, social, economic, and environmental goals.OptionalSustainable Food Production & Global Food Security 2024-25AGR9025Level 72024-25Global food security faces a number of challenges across both production and consumption. This module examines challenges and problems related to the sustainability of future food production systems such as changes in population, land use, biodiversity, climate change, and resource availability and use efficiency. This module also critically evaluates solutions proposed to deliver healthy, sustainable, and resilient food systems while meeting both the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement.Optional

What You Need to Know

We want you to have all the information you need to make an informed decision on where and what you want to study. In addition to the information provided on this course page, our What You Need to Know page offers explanations on key topics including programme validation/revalidation, additional costs, contact hours, and our return to face-to-face teaching.

How you are assessed

Assessment is through a blend of assignments, presentations, team projects, time-controlled assessments, and a final project/dissertation.

The Queens Anniversary Prize logo


The Queen's Anniversary Prize

In November 2023, the University was one of just 22 institutions to be awarded the Queen's Anniversary Prize. This award recognises the excellent work of the University's Lincoln Institute for Agri-food Technology in supporting the success and sustainability of the UK's food and farming industries.

How to Apply

Postgraduate Application Support

Applying for a postgraduate programme at Lincoln is easy. Find out more about the application process and what you'll need to complete on our How to Apply page. Here, you'll also be able to find out more about the entry requirements we accept and how to contact us for dedicated support during the process.

How to Apply
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Entry Requirements 2024-25

Entry Requirements

This is a multidisciplinary MSc so applicants with a BSc (2:1 or above) degree in Environmental, Agrifood or Biological sciences, Planning, Engineering, Business, Law, Geography, Politics, and Sociology will be considered. Applicants with other academic backgrounds who clearly explain their sustainability-related motivation and any relevant work experience may also be considered.

If you have studied outside of the UK, and are unsure whether your qualification meets the above requirements, please visit our country pages for information on equivalent qualifications.

Overseas students will be required to demonstrate English language proficiency equivalent to IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.5 in writing and 6 in listening, reading, and speaking. For further information regarding other English language qualifications we accept, please visit the English Requirements page.

If you do not meet the above IELTS requirements, you may be able to take part in one of our Pre-session English and Academic Study Skills courses. These specialist courses are designed to help students meet the English language requirements for their intended program of study.

Funding Your Study

Postgraduate Funding Options

Find out more about the optional available to support your postgraduate study, from Master's Loans to scholarship opportunities. You can also find out more about how to pay your fees and access support from our helpful advisors.

Explore Funding Options
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Career Development

Postgraduate study is an investment in yourself and your future. It can help you to further or completely change your career, develop your knowledge, enhance your salary, or even prepare you to start your own business. Postgraduate students at the University of Lincoln benefit from inspirational teaching combined with high-quality facilities and learning spaces, great industry links, and unique research opportunities, all of which are designed to help you stand out from the crowd and make the most of your time with us. 

Why Postgraduate Study?

Academic Contact

For more information about this course, please contact the Programme Leader.

Dr Leonidas Rempelos

Postgraduate Events

To get a real feel for what it is like to study at the University of Lincoln, we hold a number of dedicated postgraduate events and activities throughout the year for you to take part in.

Upcoming Postgraduate Events
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The University intends to provide its courses as outlined in these pages, although the University may make changes in accordance with the Student Admissions Terms and Conditions.