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MSc Strategic Sustainable Business

This cutting-edge Masters course provides you with the academic foundations and practical knowledge to lead organisations and society towards a more sustainable future.

Strategic Sustainable Business

Key facts

  • Award Masters / MSc, Postgraduate Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate
  • Start date September
  • Duration MSc full-time: 12 months, MSc part-time: 24 months
  • Mode of study Part-time, Full-time, Campus based, Stand-alone modules

In our course you’ll explore strategic sustainable management and its environmental, social and economic dimensions. Learning from real-life situations and inspirational practitioners, your studies will focus on three key areas:

  • Sustainability in business
  • Strategic management and consulting
  • Entrepreneurship to lead sustainable change
Unique, practical learning

We focus on the challenges and opportunities of transformative and practical management for sustainability. There’s a balance of theory and practice to help you to prepare for jobs in sustainable management, sustainability consulting, and corporate social responsibility. Our partnerships with sustainably managed organisations provide you with the chance to see how these practices work in the real world.

You’ll be immersed in the practical aspects of sustainable business, acquiring skills, knowledge and expertise on sustainability management by working with real-world organisations. These include large companies, small and medium enterprises, the public sector and NGOs. You’ll learn from experienced sustainable managers, innovators, entrepreneurs and policymakers during the teaching modules.

By the end of the course, you’ll have an in-depth understanding of sustainable management and its opportunities and challenges.

Learn from the experts

Throughout the course, you'll engage with academics who have conducted outstanding research in the field of sustainable management. This research has been published in first-tier journals, such as:

  • Journal of Cleaner Production
  • Clean Technologies and Environmental Policy
  • Business and Society
  • Technological Forecasting and Social Change.
Real-world experience

We emphasise building your practical experience, with consultancy-style projects for external clients and engagement with Environment influential networks. These networks include the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA), Zero Waste Scotland, Keep Scotland Beautiful, Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, along with firms that have won the VIBES Award – Vision in Business for the Environment of Scotland.

The University of Stirling Management School

At the University of Stirling Management School, the principle of responsible business, policy and practice is central to everything we do. This vision helps us to equip our students effectively with the skills to act as global citizens, capable of addressing the needs of society.

As a member of the Chartered Association for Business Schools, we have strong links with industry and were recently awarded the Small Business Charter for engagement with local and regional enterprise. The school is also an advanced signatory to the UN Principles for Responsible Management Education, realising the Sustainable Development Goals through responsible management education.

The course is run in collaboration with the Centre for Sustainable Practice and Living (CSPL), combining academic excellence and practical knowledge in supporting leaders and organisations towards a more-sustainable society. The CSPL is pioneering a Climate Solutions programme with support from the Royal Scottish Geographical Societey and the Scottish Government. 

  • Top reasons to study with us
  • Course objectives

    Throughout the course you’ll:

    • acquire the latest perspectives, knowledge, skills, best practices and experience for a successful career in a variety of emerging sustainability-related jobs
    • engage with cutting-edge frameworks, best practices and tools, including the UN framework for sustainability leadership
    • develop an in-depth understanding of sustainable management and its opportunities and challenges
    • enhance your ability to lead sustainable projects and initiatives across different sectors
    • engage in real-world situations in private organisations, the public sector and NGOs
    • enhance and develop critical, analytical, interpersonal and other transferable skills for strategic sustainable business
    Developing Business Leaders of the Future

    Postgraduate education at the University of Stirling Management School goes beyond text books and lecture rooms, we also focus on your personal and professional development.

    Our unique Flying Start Leadership programme equips you with the awareness, knowledge and techniques essential for building a successful career. These range from practical skills, like effective public speaking, to developing ways to work under pressure in difficult situations such as conflict management. Find out more about Flying Start.

  • Flexible learning

    If you’re interested in studying a module from this course, the Postgraduate Certificate or the Postgraduate Diploma then please email Graduate Admissions to discuss your course of study.

  • Research

    The University of Stirling Management School is rated among the top 25 in the UK for research impact, according to REF 2014. In Scotland, the School was ranked in the top five.

    64% of our research outputs were classified as world-leading and internationally excellent in terms of their originality, significance and rigour. We were ranked 14th in the UK in terms of research impact with over 60% of our research impact judged to have outstanding reach and wide-ranging impact on the policies of public, private and governmental organisations.

  • Academic requirements

    A minimum of a second class Honours degree or equivalent. Applicants without these formal qualifications but with significant appropriate/relevant work/life experience are encouraged to apply.

    Other routes of entry

    INTO University of Stirling offers a Graduate Diploma for those students who do not meet the required criteria for this course. If you successfully complete the Graduate Diploma in Business, Finance and Sport and meet the required progression grades, you'll be guaranteed entry onto this Masters degree.

  • English language requirements

    If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:

    • IELTS 6.0 with 5.5 in each skill
    • Cambridge C1 Advanced (CAE) 169 overall with a minimum of 162 in each sub-skill
    • Cambridge C2 Proficiency (CPE) 180 overall with a minimum of 162 in each sub-skill
    • Pearson Test of English (Academic) 54 overall with a minimum of 51 in each sub-skill
    • IBT TOEFL 78 overall with a minimum of 17 in listening, 18 in reading, 20 in speaking and 17 in writing
    • Trinity ISE II Pass overall with a Pass in each sub-skill, ISE III Pass overall and in all sub-skills, ISE IV Pass overall and in all sub-skills

    Last updated: 5 December 2019

    For more information on ways that you can meet our English language requirements, including options to waive the requirement, please read our information on English language requirements.

  • Pre-sessional English language courses

    If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this course, our partner INTO University of Stirling offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for entry to this degree.

    Find out more about our pre-sessional English language courses.

The full-time MSc Strategic Sustainable Business consists of two 15-week semesters of taught modules and a three-month dissertation period.



The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery in the next academic intake of this course. These may be subject to change as the University regularly revises and refreshes the curriculum of our taught programmes.

Course Details

  • Teaching

    Teaching is carried out a series of lectures, tutorials, case studies, role playing, computer simulations, guest speakers and company projects.

  • Assessment

    Assessment includes reports, essays, briefings, case analyses, debates, literature reviews, marketing communication plans, poster sessions and presentations. Assessed work is often conducted in groups, which helps to develop your teamwork and communication skills.

  • Course director
  • Fees and costs

    Fees shown are per year (fees are different for each course)


    Home/EU Students

    Fees shown are for full-time, one-year Masters course*

    If you’re domiciled in Scotland, you may be eligible to apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) for a loan of up to £10,000 to cover your tuition fees and associated living costs. Students domiciled in the EU can also apply for tuition fee support, although may not be eligible to receive funding to support living costs.

    If you're domiciled in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, you should be eligible to apply for a loan from your regional body.

    English students apply for a loan of up to £10,609 per year as part of the UK Postgraduate Loan Scheme, Welsh students can apply for a non-means tested loan of up to £13,000 from the Welsh Government and Northern Irish students are eligible to apply for support of up to £5,500.

    *Fees for students who apply for a Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate will be paid on a pro-rata basis.

    If the course is taken over two years then the fee will be split evenly over the two years. Fees are not pro-rated for students who enrol on a Masters course and decide to exit with a Postgraduate Diploma - the full fee is charged.


    Overseas (Non-EU) Students

    Fees shown are for full-time, one-year Masters course. Fees for students who apply for a Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate will be paid on a pro-rata basis.

    If the course is taken over two years then the fee will be split evenly over the two years. Fees are not pro-rated for students who enrol on a Masters course and decide to exit with a Postgraduate Diploma - the full fee is charged.


    Please note: You will be liable to pay tuition fees for every year you’re in attendance, and your fees will be held level upon entry. If you need to extend your period of study, you may be liable for an additional fee.

  • Scholarships and funding
    Stirling Management School postgraduate scholarships

    Stirling Management School is committed to investing in academically talented students, helping them to further their education with one of our degree courses. There are various categories of funding available to support the cost of your studies.

    If you have the talent, ability and drive to study with us, we want to make sure you make the most of the opportunity – regardless of your financial circumstances.

    Learn more about available funding opportunities or use our scholarship finder to explore our range of scholarships.

  • Additional costs

    There are some instances where additional fees may apply. Depending on your chosen course, you may need to pay additional costs, for example for field trips. Learn more about additional fees.

  • Cost of living

    If you’re domiciled in the UK, you can typically apply to your relevant funding body for help with living costs. This usually takes the form of student loans, grants or bursaries, and the amount awarded depends upon your personal circumstances and household income.

    EU and overseas students won’t normally be able to claim living support through SAAS or other UK public funding bodies. You should contact the relevant authority in your country to find out if you’re eligible to receive support.

    Find out about the cost of living for students at Stirling

  • Payment options

    We aim to be as flexible as possible, and offer a wide range of payment methods - including the option to pay fees by instalments. Learn more about how to pay

With sustainability professionals in high demand, you'll have access to a wide range of opportunities in the private, public and non-governmental organisation sectors.

Students from this MSc are uniquely equipped to take on both business and environmental roles. Specific roles open to you include:

  • Manager of Sustainability Strategy
  • Environmental Management or Policy Consultant
  • Sustainable Investments Analyst
  • Social Responsibility and Stakeholder Relations Manager

There is a ‘sustainable business revolution’ on the way. Investors and consumers will avoid firms with poor and non-strategic sustainable performance. The public sector and government have agreed to pursue sustainability and a lower-carbon economy. NGOs and foundations supporting sustainability have been growing in numbers and relevance. Worldwide agreements, such as the COP21 and the Sustainable Development Goals, will boost sustainable growth and business. This magnificent change towards a more-sustainable society needs managers with a strategic perspective for sustainable management.

We help you develop the skills needed for your future career:

  • Our unique Flying Start Leadership programme equips you with the awareness, knowledge and techniques essential for building a successful career
  • 96% of our postgraduate leavers are in employment or further study within six months of graduating (Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education survey 2016/17)
HigherEd Global Talent Portal

As a Management School student, you have access to the HigherEd Global Talent Portal where you’ll find internship, trainee positions, apprenticeships and graduate positions from companies around the world. It helps international students looking for placements back at home and local students that want to explore an international experience.

The global talent portal is in addition to all other existing initiatives and resources available for you through the Careers and Employability Service, and the Target Connect vacancy and events system.

  • Testimonial quotes

    Research, Development and Innovation are promising ways to deal with contemporary environmental and social challenges. At Natura, we’ve been facing the challenge of integrating innovation and sustainability in order to strategically deliver new concepts, technologies, products and services. It is timely and welcomed that this MSc is launched as the challenges and opportunities to contribute to sustainability are immense.

    Mr Leonardo Garnica, Manager, R&D, Natura Company (a United Nations 'Champions of the Earth' awarded company; listed as one of the world's 100 most sustainable corporations)

  • Employability skills

    You’ll have the opportunity to gain first-hand practical experience by working on consultancy style projects with external clients.

    Consultancy projects allow you to work with an organisation to investigate a ‘real-world’ issue, enhance your transferable business skills and make professional connections that may lead to a job offer in the future. Current clients range from start-up businesses to international organisations in public, private and not-for-profit sectors.

    Watch our video to find out more about how taking part in a project with a local business can help increase your employability skills.

  • Companies we work with

    You will have opportunities to practice your skills in real-world situations by working with organisations in the local community. Our students have previousy worked with organisations including Zero Waste Scotland, Keep Scotland Beautiful, Go Forth Stirling Business Improvement District and Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park.

    “The Go Forth Stirling business improvement district was established to deliver projects and services targeted at improving Stirling’s city centre. One of the themes of our business plan looks to the city centre environment, with waste management being a key consideration. As a first step in developing a waste management plan we decided to audit the current levels of waste generation and means of collection including provision for recycling. The Strategic Sustainable Business MSc at University of Stirling gave us the opportunity to draw on the experience and expertise of students in both developing and carrying out the audit.” 

    Mags Fenner, Project Manager at Go Forth Stirling
    Photo Credited to Janie Meikle Bland

    Stirling student working with staff from Go Forth Stirling

Lalita Tejavibulya
What I liked most about studying at the University of Stirling was the mix of students from different cultures and backgrounds and living with them was great. I learned about how businesses work and where sustainability can be integrated into the core of businesses.
Lalita Tejavibulya
MSc Strategic Sustainable Business
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Harriet Talbot
I chose the University of Stirling because the course was one of the few that offered a business-led approach to sustainability. I really enjoyed the practical elements such as strategy development, consulting, project management and communication. I now work at Unilever in the Global Sustainability Department strategy team.
Harriet Talbot
MSc Strategic Sustainable Business
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