Master's Programme in Sustainable Development 2021/2022

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The Master's Programme in Sustainable Development is interdisciplinary, with students and tutors representing different subject areas, geographical locations and experiences, but who also share a strong 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 essential conceptual aspects to very concrete sustainable solutions to socioeconomic and environmental challenges.

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's Programme in Sustainable Development to meet the growing sustainability demands from societal sectors.

As a student of the Master's programme, 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.


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

During your 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 semester with an essay.

In semester three 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 fourth and final semester is spent writing your degree project. You may pursue this project within the academic world, industry or the public sector, both abroad and in Sweden.

Courses within the programme

See the outline for courses within the programme.

Learning experience

The Master's Programme in Sustainable Development is interdisciplinary, which implies that your classmates will have completely different previous 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 (SLU), 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. On seminars, 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. The more you participate in discussions and other classroom activities, the more you will learn.

Group work is often carried out in interdisciplinary teams. You will need to complete your tasks together with your classmates outside of the classroom. This way, you learn from each other and you train to be a team player.

Studying in one of the world's most sustainable countries like Sweden will also allow you to learn from outside the campus.

The language of instruction is English.


One of the Swedish Government's long-term objectives is to make sure that sustainable development is a feature of 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, etc. 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.

Career support
During your whole time as a student UU Careers offers you support and guidance. You have the opportunity to partake in a variety of career activities and events, as well as receive individual career counselling. This service is free of charge for all students at Uppsala University. Read more about UU Careers.


Below you will find the details about eligibility requirements, selection criteria, and tuition fee. For information on how to apply and what documents you need to submit, check the application guide. For this programme, besides the general supporting documents, you also need to submit two programme-specific documents: 1. a summary of a Bachelor's essay or project; 2. a statement of purpose.

Master's Programme in Sustainable Development

120 credits

Autumn 2021 - 100 % - Campus

Location: Uppsala

Application deadline: 2021-01-15

Application code: UU-M1610 Application

Language of instruction: English

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

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 summary (maximum 350 words) of a Bachelor's thesis or project, alternatively a summary of previous studies; and
  • a statement of purpose (maximum 600 words) explaining why you want to study this programme at Uppsala University.
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


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

+46 18 471 71 54

Programme Director, Uppsala University: Magdalena Kuchler

+46 18 471 68 85

Programme Director, SLU: Örjan Östman

+46 10 478 41 53

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

Department of Earth Sciences

Geo Centre, Villavägen 16, Uppsala

Villavägen 16, SE-752 36 Uppsala, Sweden

Student portal

Student portal

The Student Portal provides logged-on students access to course and programme pages, study results, e-transcripts, information from the student unions, file area, webmail, and more. In order to log on, you must have applied for a student account. The course and programme pages in the Student Portal can be seen without being logged on here. The pages contain basic information plus those features that the department has chosen to make accessible.