Master's Programme in Sustainable Destination Development

Academic year 2023/2024

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How can destination development contribute to sustainability? This is what you will explore in the Master's Programme in Sustainable Destination Development. During your studies you will work together with researchers and lecturers on a wide range of subjects which will open the doors for your career in sustainable destination development.

The programme is held at Uppsala University's Campus Gotland, in the World Heritage City of Visby. The island of Gotland is located in the Baltic Sea between the mainland of Sweden and the Baltic States.

Why this programme?

Tourist destinations across the world face major challenges. With fewer visitors, their economies will be threatened; with more visitors, their social, cultural and ecological sustainability will be threatened. The programme will explore key questions such as, how can visits become sustainable? What is required to achieve sustainable visitor locations, and how can we ensure they will remain this way?

In close collaboration with the tourist industry, regional authorities and the community, you will be requested to perform theoretical, strategic and practical work, including all the challenges visitor-intensive regions across the world will be facing in the future. The aim of the programme is to familiarise yourself with issues relating to sustainable regional and destination development from many different perspectives for use in your future occupation, encompassing supervision, community planning, education, research, communication, management of natural resources, entrepreneurship or decision-making.

Sustainable Destination Development is aimed at those who want to develop cross-border, international key competencies in this field. You choose two of three specialisations - entrepreneurship, cultural heritage policies and nature-based tourism - to develop your desired academic profile.

During the programme you can expect to:

  • specialise in areas of your interest,
  • develop your own projects within the scope of the programme themes,
  • study in a truly unique academic environment.

You will be studying themes such as ecological and cultural sustainability, the shape and importance of locations, management of natural and cultural resources, the principles of environmental assessment, entrepreneurship and strategic leadership. At Campus Gotland, you will find dedicated researchers and lecturers who work with sustainability from a broad, critical and cross-border perspective, and in close proximity to all the players who in one way or another work with tourist visits.

The programme will prepare you for a career focusing on sustainability issues in tourist-intensive regions anywhere in the world, in public administration, at a national, regional and local level, in destination companies, in private tourist enterprises or as an independent entrepreneur. The interdisciplinary design of this programme will promote the understanding of different subject areas and will strengthen knowledge of the opportunities and limitations of sustainable development.


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

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Read the interview
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Name: Aida Alonso
From: Mexico
Programme: Master’s Programme in Sustainable Destination Development

How did you choose your programme?
I always knew that I wanted to study a Master’s degree related to sustainability somewhere in Europe, so I started to ask my friends and people in my network which programmes were good. I had my options narrowed down to universities in the Netherlands and Scandinavia. Then, one of my Swedish friends told me to check Uppsala University’s website to see if there was something that would interest me and once I did it I was completely hooked with the programme in Sustainable Destination Development as it was everything that I was looking for – a Master’s that combines sustainability and tourism. I knew that I had to apply immediately. Now that I’m here I think it is the best decision I’ve ever made.

What is it like to be an international student?
It is a mixture of excitement and stress. It is quite rewarding being a foreigner in a new country because I get to know and learn new things not only at the university and in the classes, but also about the culture, language, and the people I get to interact with. On the other side of the coin, it can also be very stressful, especially when it comes to administrative processes, such as enrolling in classes, getting student housing and so on. When I first arrived in Sweden, I didn’t quite understand what I needed to do and how and it was frustrating. However, when I look back I think of all of those experiences as part of my learning and adjustment to Swedish society.

What is the best thing about studying at Uppsala University?
Studying on Campus Gotland has been quite rewarding, especially since it’s a smaller campus, you get to feel a sense of community and togetherness. I get to interact with my fellow students very often and that makes working with them much easier, also teachers are much more accessible and that means I can ask questions and talk to them in a more relaxed environment. I like how open the education system is at Uppsala University, there are no strict demarcations between students and teachers. I feel my opinion matters and I can work together with my teachers to get the best out of my programme.

How did you experience your first few days in Sweden?
It was a mixture of all kinds of feelings. When I made the decision of studying a Master’s programme I had already been working in Mexico for more than eight years and I had a stable life. Therefore it was quite nerve-racking having to quit my job to move along with my dog (yes, I brought my dog all the way from Mexico) to a new country to study. As soon as I arrived in Sweden, I felt a sense of relief and happiness of finally being here after more than a year of planning. That sense of calm lasted a few days until I had to worry about applying for my personal number, opening a bank account and registering for classes. Luckily for me, since I already had Swedish friends, I was able to accomplish all my tasks fairly easily with their help.

What’s unique about your programme?
One of the things I like about the programme is that we are a very heterogeneous group of mostly international students. We all have varied backgrounds and ages. It is very rewarding to have discussions and talk about our classes with people who have different perspectives from mine. I think I have learned a lot by just listening to what other people have to say. Also, there’s a big emphasis on working in groups and that makes the learning outcomes much more fruitful.

How would you describe the relationship between you and your teachers at the University?
As I mentioned earlier, it’s nice that teachers on Campus Gotland are very accessible since it is a smaller campus and thus communication is easier. I like the opportunity that I can talk to them not only about my classes but also about my plans and expectations. I have been my class representative, so I act as a liaison between the students and the teachers. This has given me the possibility to interact directly with them in my programme and understand how they plan things and execute them. Being part of this type of interaction has made me feel like my ideas and those of my fellow classmates matter in the development of our courses.

How is your student life?
Being able to be part of an active community of students that care about environmental and social causes is the best part of my student life. As part of my class, I have the chance to interact with a varied group of people and form strong relationships with them. I was able to organise a trip to Denmark with some of my classmates, where we attended a conference related to sustainable tourism. We also participated in the BUP (Baltic University Programme) symposium in August as presenters and now we’re looking for the opportunity to publish an article we wrote together.

What is your reason for studying and your ultimate goal?
I believe I’ve always had this curiosity to keep learning new things and to be capable of contributing in a positive manner in my environment. That’s the main reason why I decided to quit my previous job and go back to my studies. I reached a point where I asked myself where I saw myself in five or ten years and I knew that I wanted to do more with my life than just having a corporate job. I want to be able to work as a project manager or consultant in the tourism industry and develop projects that are aimed at improving environmental sustainability and social responsibility. I like living in Sweden, so I wouldn’t mind developing my future career path in this lovely country.

Autumn 2020

Register your interest


The first semester starts with an introductory course on Sustainable Destination Development. You will then take courses with one of your chosen specialisations: applied heritage politics; sustainability, assessment and management of nature-based destinations; or entrepreneurship for sustainable destination development.

The second semester starts with a hands-on project course for multidisciplinary teams. You will use a so-called design thinking methodology to work with a sustainability challenge. A methods course follows this. During the second part of the semester, you will choose a course at Uppsala University or do an internship or project course. You might also choose to obtain a master's degree after one year on the program if you study the course "Degree Project in Sustainable Destination Developmement". The course is then counted as a degree project.

The third semester begins with an advanced course in Sustainable Destination Development. After this, you will study one of the other two specialisations.

The fourth semester is dedicated to your degree thesis, which should be based on your two chosen specialisations.

Courses within the programme

See the outline for courses within the programme.

Learning experience

In the classroom, we use lectures, seminars, and group and individual work, with both theory and practice. In a seminar, you present your ideas and discuss with your classmates a course book or other study material that you are required to read before the seminar; while the teacher usually only moderates the discussion. The aim is to develop critical thinking and collaborative skills. All the students are expected to be active participants in all forms of discussions. You will complete group work together with your classmates outside the classroom. This way, you learn from each other and you train to be a team player.

Important parts of the education take place outside the classroom, in the real world, with excursions and working together with public and private actors on Gotland.

Teaching is closely related to the large, multidisciplinary research programme "Sustainable Visits", in which 30 researchers from 9 disciplines are studying and developing sustainable destination development on Gotland. During your studies, you will both meet many of these researchers, and get the opportunity to contribute to their research projects.

Interaction with students from different countries will also stimulate the understanding of the complexity of sustainability challenges as well as boost the knowledge of possible solutions to the issues, while it will provide you with an invaluable network of like-minded people in this field.

Examination varies from written exams, oral presentations and independent writing.

The language of instruction and literature in English. The teaching takes place on Campus Gotland.


The tourism sector contributes 9% to the world's GDP and is continuously growing. As such, the tourism sector is becoming increasingly important outside the industrial world and hence it is increasingly crucial to the development of the world as a whole. The tourism sector, however, is also increasingly facing even more sustainability challenges, socially, ecologically and financially. There is thus a great need for the competencies you will acquire by completing this programme.

This programme prepares you to work on sustainability issues in the tourism sector in regions across the world: within public administration locally, regionally and nationally, at destination companies, within the private tourism sector or as an entrepreneur. You can choose a career related to development, strategy and management, particularly regarding natural and cultural resources, or in public and private destination companies.

Your work could cover business development, sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to push innovation both in the private and public sectors. You will acquire skills covering supervision, community planning, education, research, communication, management of natural resources and decision-making related to sustainability issues.

This is also an opportunity to prepare for research and doctoral studies. Campus Gotland offers an interdisciplinary research environment with a strong focus on sustainability, as is the case in Gotland. You can choose to perform research in industrial engineering and management, ethnology, geology, history, heritage studies or business.

Career support

During your time as a student, UU Careers offers support and guidance. You have the opportunity to take part in a variety of activities and events that will prepare you for your future career. Learn more about UU Careers.


Below you will find details about eligibility requirements, selection criteria and tuition fees. For information on how to apply and what general documents you need to submit, check the application guide. Besides the general supporting documents, you also need to submit one programme-specific document: a statement of purpose (1 page).

Master's Programme in Sustainable Destination Development

120 credits

Autumn 2023, 100%, Campus

Location: Visby

Application deadline: 16 January 2023

Application code: UU-M1470 Application

Language of instruction: English


Academic requirements

A Bachelor's degree, equivalent to a Swedish Kandidatexamen, from an internationally recognised university.

Language requirements

Proficiency in English equivalent to the Swedish upper secondary course English 6. This requirement can be met either by achieving the required score on an internationally recognised test, or by previous upper secondary or university studies in some countries. Detailed instructions on how to provide evidence of your English proficiency are available at

Selection: Students are selected based on:

  • an overall appraisal of previous university studies; and
  • a statement of purpose.


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 72,500

Tuition fee, total: SEK 290,000

Contact and further resources

Is this programme right for you?

Read more about programmes at Campus Gotland at the Department of civil and industrial engineering.


For programme-specific information:

For admissions-related or general information, please contact our applicant support team:

Department of Civil and Industrial Engineering

Campus Gotland, Cramérgatan 3, 621 57 Visby

Last modified: 2022-10-27