Master’s studies

Master Programme in Sustainable Development 2018/2019

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The Master Programme in Sustainable Development is truly i­nterdisciplinary, with students and tutors from many different subject areas who share an interest in sustainable development. As a graduate of the programme you will be fully versed in issues that concern sustainable development from a variety of perspectives – from basic economic to very concrete aspects, such as how sufficient drinking water can be made available to everyone on our planet.

Why this programme?

The term “sustainable development” has many definitions and applications. A common denominator is that living standards for human beings must improve – but without jeopardising the possibility for future generations to enjoy equally good conditions. Uppsala University and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) have jointly created the Master Programme in Sustainable Development to meet the growing sustainability demands from societal sectors.

As a student of the Master Programme in Sustainable Development, you will use comprehensive work methods where the sum is greater than the individual parts. In addition to the content of your specialisation, you will gain holistic interdisciplinary competence in the field of sustainable development.

This interdisciplinary programme improves your understanding of other subject areas and your knowledge of opportunities and challenges with sustainable development. Students from 20-30 countries are represented in the programme and this gives you insights in the complexity of sustainability challenges as well as the variety of available solutions. During your studies you will also develop an extensive and valuable network in the area of sustainable development.

The objective of this Master’s programme is to enable you to utilise aspects of sustainable development in your future professional career, irrespective of what you work with. This could be social planning, education, research, communication, natural resource management, policy and decision making, and much more.


The programme leads to a Master of Science (120 credits) with Sustainable Development as the main field of study.


First semester
You will devote the first semester to subject areas both within and outside your specialisation. However, natural and social sciences will dominate. You will also take part in interdisciplinary seminars where current issues concerning sustainable development are explored.

Second semester
You will study how society’s structure influences our ability to achieve sustainable development. The studies embrace global issues, decision-making processes and interdisciplinary methods. You will use your knowledge in a case study that you pursue together with the other students. If you wish to obtain a one-year Master’s degree, you must conclude the second term with an essay.

Third and fourth semester
You may choose from a wide range of advanced courses in your specialisation to deepen and broaden the knowledge obtained during your Bachelor’s programme. You may also choose to gain practical experience or take courses at a lower level outside your special field. During this time, you may apply for one of the departmental student exchange agreements or other exchange agreements at the faculty and university. The final term is oriented towards a degree project.

See detailed outline for courses within the programme.

Learning experience

The Master Programme in Sustainable Development is interdisciplinary, which implies that your classmates will have completely different experiences from your own. We see the diversity of the student body and the differences of perspectives as a great benefit to our students.

Teaching takes place both at Uppsala University and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, which is also located in Uppsala. Normally, you will take two courses in parallel.

Teaching is usually composed of lectures, computer and field exercises, as well as seminars where you discuss both your own written work and that of others.

The more you choose to participate in discussions and other classroom activities, the more you will learn. Group work is often carried out in interdisciplinary teams. The language of instruction is English.

The Master Programme in Sustainable Development concludes with a degree project that proceeds during the entire final term. You may pursue this project within the academic world, industry or the public sector, both abroad and in Sweden.


The Swedish Government’s objective is that sustainable development should permeate all future education. This can occur only if, for example, future decision-makers, leaders and educators possess requisite knowledge of these issues.
After you obtain your degree, career prospects include: Teacher, Researcher, Engineer, Economist, Product Developer, Urban Planner, Natural Resource Manager, Policy and Decision Maker. The programme can lead to work in bodies such as national Environmental Protection Agencies, International Development Cooperation Agencies, UNESCO, the United Nations, as well as local authorities and county governments. You could also work for non-governmental organisations.

Business and industry has an increasing demand for employees with knowledge of issues related to sustainable development together with specialisations in social sciences, natural sciences, jurisprudence and humanities. Sectors concerned include, for example, construction, transportation, energy or forestry industries.

You will also be prepared for research studies and an academic career.


Master Programme in Sustainable Development

120 credits

Autumn 2018 - 100 % - Campus

Location: Uppsala

Application Deadline: 2018-01-15

Enrolment Code: UU-M1610 Application

Language of Instruction: English

Academic requirements
A Bachelor's degree, equivalent to a Swedish Kandidatexamen, from an internationally recognised university. The main field of study must be within the natural sciences, technology, medicine, the social sciences, law or the humanities.

Language requirements
All applicants need to verify English language proficiency that corresponds to English studies at upper secondary (high school) level in Sweden ("English 6"). This can be done in a number of ways, including through an internationally recognised test such as TOEFL or IELTS, or through previous upper secondary (high school) or university studies.
The minimum test scores are:

  • IELTS: an overall mark of 6.5 and no section below 5.5
  • TOEFL: Paper-based: Score of 4.5 (scale 1–6) in written test and a total score of 575. Internet-based: Score of 20 (scale 0–30) in written test and a total score of 90
  • Cambridge: CAE, CPE
More information about English language requirements

Selection: Students are selected based on:

  • a total appraisal of quantity and quality of previous university studies; and
  • a statement of purpose (1 page).
Tuition fee-paying students and non-paying students are admitted on the same grounds but in different selection groups.


If you are not a citizen of a European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) country, or Switzerland, you are required to pay application and tuition fees. Fees cover application and tuition only and do not cover accommodation, academic literature or the general cost of living. Read more about fees.

Application Fee: SEK 900

Tuition fee, first semester: SEK 72500

Tuition fee, total: SEK 290000

Contact and further resources

Department of Earth Sciences

Geo Centre, Villavägen 16, Uppsala

Villavägen 16, SE-752 36 Uppsala, Sweden

For programme-specific information, please contact the study counsellor:

Telephone: +46 18 471 71 54

For general information about Master's studies at Uppsala University, please send an email to: