Master's Programme in Sustainable Development

Academic year 2023/2024

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Do you want to gain the knowledge and skills required to deal with complex challenges to sustainable development? Are you interested in conducting your studies with a diverse group of international students? Do you aspire to co-create sustainable futures? The Master's Programme in Sustainable Development is built on the three pillars - interdisciplinarity, systems-thinking and future orientation - that are addressed in our courses.

Why this programme?

Uppsala University and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) have jointly created the Master's Programme in Sustainable Development to offer higher education on complex problems facing humanity and the planet, and challenges concerned with sustainable futures.

The programme has an interdisciplinary character and combines advanced courses on a range of topics concerned with sustainable development, including theoretical and practical courses on natural resource use, society and the environment, and energy-water-food.

During the programme, you can expect to

  • Use systems thinking to analyse complex challenges to sustainable development, such as resource extraction and use, biodiversity loss and protection, or economic growth and social inequalities.
  • Apply analytical approaches from different research fields and improve your understanding of subjects outside your academic background.
  • Enhance your critical and reflective thinking on the opportunities of and challenges to achieving sustainable development by learning about alternative visions and building future scenarios.
  • Co-create sustainable futures in a highly diverse group of international students with different academic backgrounds.
  • Gain practical experience through in-depth method courses and internships.


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 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 the third semester, you may choose from a wide range of advanced courses in your specialisation to deepen the knowledge obtained from your Bachelor's degree. You may also choose to gain practical experience or broaden your knowledge from courses at a lower level outside your field of expertise. 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 dedicated to writing your degree project. You may pursue this project within the academic world, industry or the public sector, abroad or 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 might have completely different previous experiences from your own. We see the diversity of the student body and the differences in perspectives as a great benefit to our students and the programme.

Teaching takes place at Uppsala University and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), located in Uppsala. Usually, you will take two courses in parallel.

Teaching is usually composed of lectures, computer and field exercises, and seminars where you discuss your written work and others. In 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.

The language of instruction is English.


Addressing challenges associated with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) require both global measures and local actions. These efforts include, for example, managing sustainable transitions, and restructuring local economies, industries and communities. It also involves developing sustainable production and consumption patterns or introducing sustainable policies, norms and practices concerned with resource use and environmental protection.

The knowledge and skills in sustainable development are required in jobs across different sectors worldwide. Employers representing various industries, businesses, governments and organisations search for employees that can address complex challenges associated with the SDGs, solve interdisciplinary problems and co-create sustainable futures.

After obtaining the Master's degree in Sustainable Development, our students find their way out into the labour market in various jobs in, for example, planning, construction and technology, consultancy, private and public management, as well as research and development. Specific examples of job positions that our students acquire include energy and climate advisors, sustainable project managers, environmental coordinators, sustainability analysts, environmental communications officers, and doctoral students. Examples of companies include RISE, SwedBio, Sweco, IKEA, WSP, Ecorys, and Enact Sustainable Strategies.

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: an Application Summary Sheet (including your statement of purpose).

Master's Programme in Sustainable Development

120 credits

Autumn 2023, 100%, Campus

Location: Uppsala

Application deadline: 16 January 2023

Application code: UU-M1860 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 a summary of a Bachelor's thesis or project, alternatively a summary of previous studies, and a statement of purpose.

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 72,500

Tuition fee, total: SEK 290,000

Contact and further resources


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

+46 18 471 25 12

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

Last modified: 2022-10-27