Master’s Studies

Master Programme in Sustainable Development 2016/2017

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

About the programme

The term ”sustainable development” has several definitions. 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 have jointly created the Master Programme in Sustainable Development to meet the environmental demands from the market and government authorities.

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. Students who have studied sustainable development have learned to listen to the opinions of others, and to defend their own.

An interdisciplinary programme improves your understanding of other subject areas and the fact that not everything is as simple as one may first believe.

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, organisation of supranational agencies, natural resource management and much more.


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


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.

Instructions take 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.

The most common parts of the instruction are 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, although in certain cases reports and minor assignments may be written in Swedish.

The 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.


First semester
You will devote the first semester to subject areas both within and outside your specialisation. Natural and social sciences will dominate, however. 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.

Courses within the programme

The courses are spread over two years as follows:

Year 1
Introduction to Interdisciplinary Science, 5 credits
Sustainable Development – worldviews and visions – a seminar series, 5 credits
Our natural resources, 10 credits
Man, society and the environment, 10 credits
Sustainable Development – worldviews and discourses – a seminar series, 5 credits
Systems analysis for sustainable development, 5 credits
Environmental Assessment, 5 credits
Interdisciplinary practice, 15 credits

Year 2
Advanced courses in special fields, 15–30 credits
Courses at lower level outside your special field, 15–30 credits
Practical experience for sustainable development, 15–30 credits
Degree project, 30 credits


The Swedish Government’s objective is that sustainable development should permeate all future education. This can occur only if future decision-makers and educators possess requisite knowledge of these issues. After you obtain your degree, career prospects include: Teacher, Engineer, Economist, Product Developer, Logistician, Designer, Lawyer, Decision-Maker, Educator and Researcher. The programme can also lead to work in bodies such as the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, UNESCO, the United Nations, as well as local authorities and county councils or in the transport sector. You could also work for non-profit organisations.

Demand is expected to increase in industry for employees with knowledge of issues related to sustainable development together with solid specialist knowledge in social sciences, natural sciences, jurisprudence and the humanities. Sectors concerned include, for example, electronic, construction, automotive, energy or forestry industries.

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

Application and requirements

Master Programme in Sustainable Development

120 credits

Autumn 2016 100% Campus

Location: Uppsala

Application Deadline: 2016-01-15

Enrolment Code: UU-M1610 Application

Language of Instruction: English

Requirements: A Bachelor's degree, equivalent to a Swedish degree of at least 180 credits (i.e. three years of full-time study), within the natural sciences, technology, the social sciences, jurisprudence or the historical/philosophical subject areas.

Proof of skills in English to a level corresponding to English B in the Swedish secondary school. This is normally attested by means of an internationally recognised test with the following minimum scores:

  • 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

Selection: Selection will be based on previous academic studies and degrees, and a statement of intent.


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. Read more about fees.

Application Fee: SEK 900

Tuition fee, first semester: SEK 72500

Tuition fee, total: SEK 290000

Contact & More Info

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: