Strategic Sustainable Business


98% of our postgraduate leavers are in employment or further study within six months of graduating (Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey 2015/16).


How to strategically manage and promote sustainable business is at the forefront of decision-making processes and projects of global investors, companies, the public sector and non-governmental organisations.  

This MSc in Strategic Sustainable Business provides you with the skills and knowledge for a successful career in sustainable business and corporate social responsibility. It brings together knowledge and applied skills on strategic sustainable management and its environmental, social and economic dimensions. There are three key elements covered by the course: sustainable business, strategic management, and entrepreneurship to lead sustainable change.  

The MSc is a practical one: teaching is based largely on experiences in real-life contexts with inspirational practitioners. It’s delivered by the University of Stirling Management School and the Centre for Sustainable Practice and Living (CSPL), combining academic excellence and practical knowledge in supporting leaders and organisations towards a more-sustainable society.

Key information

EU Applicants
EU students enrolling for a postgraduate taught degree in the 2017/18 and 2018/19 academic year will be admitted as Scottish/EU fee status students and will be eligible for the same tuition support as Scottish domiciled students.

  • Qualification: MSc
  • Study methods: Campus based, Full-time
  • Duration: One year
  • Start date:


  • Course Director: Professor George Burt
Download course leaflet
Download postgraduate prospectus

Professor George Burt

Centre for Advanced Management Education
Stirling Management School
University of Stirling

Sustainability means business — be empowered in sustainable business, strategic management and entrepreneurship to lead sustainable change

Sustainable management in practice — tackle environmental, social and economic sustainability issues with external partners facing real-world challenges

Endorsed by sustainability leaders — this MSc is endorsed by leading organisations in sustainability (SEPA, Natura Co.); and members of United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network

Third in the UK for employability — Stirling is third in the UK for graduate employability and among the top 25 best schools in the UK according to REF 2014

Build your sustainability network — be part of a vibrant community of current and future innovators for sustainability with over 120 nationalities represented on campus

Course objectives

The course focuses 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 and corporate social responsibility. And our partnerships with sustainably managed organisations provide you with the chance to see how these practices work in the real world.

Over the three semesters, 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 it's 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

What makes us different?

Advance your career with work experience

On this course you will have the opportunity to enhance your career opportunities by participating in work-based multi-disciplinary projects designed to prepare you for the next step on the career ladder.

We work with companies across different sectors in presenting a range of opportunities for our students.

Making the Most of Masters

Enhance your employability whilst gaining work experience with our Making the Most of Masters initiative.

Learn more

Making the Most of Masters

Business Engagement

The University of Stirling Management School equips students to flourish as effective managers in the workplace through enhanced self-awareness, critical thinking, leadership and team-working skills.

Find out more about business engagement

Business Engagement


At the University of Stirling Management School, we are committed to ensuring that every single one of our students realise their potential.

The graduate job market has never been more competitive, and greater focus is now being placed on finding graduates who can demonstrate a wide array of skills, competences and experiences.

Find out more about employability

Employability video

World-class library and teaching facilities

Studying for a degree means learning in different ways; managing your own time; conducting research; mastering new computer skills. We have the facilities and advice on hand to help you do all this - and do it well.

Learn more

Library shelves

Life at Stirling

Of the many reasons students come to Stirling, such as academic reputation and research standards, one factor is always cited: the outstanding beauty of the University's Stirling campus. View our online films to get a picture of what it's like to live and study on our beautiful campus.

Watch our videos now

Live Life

Entry requirements

Academic requirements

You’ll need a minimum of a second class honours degree or an equivalent qualification. However, you can still apply if you don’t have these formal qualifications, but bring significant and relevant work experience. 

INTO University of Stirling offers a Graduate Diploma for students who don’t 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 will be guaranteed entry onto this Master's degree. 

International students
The University of Stirling welcomes students from around the world. Find out what studying here could be like for you.

English language requirements

If English isn’t your first language, you must have one of these qualifications:

  • IELTS: 6.5 with 5.5 minimum in each skill
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): Grade C or above
  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE): Grade C or above
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic): 54 with 51 in each component
  • IBT TOEFL: 80 with no subtest less than 17

More information on English language requirements

If you don’t meet the requirements, you might be able to attend one of our English courses before your main course begins.

More on English courses and how to register


If you don’t meet the required score you may be able to register for one of our pre-sessional English courses. To register you must hold a conditional offer for your course and have an IELTS score 0.5 or 1.0 below the required standard. View our range of pre-sessional courses.

Flexible Learning

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

Fees and costs


2018/19 Overseas £15,250
2018/19 Home/EU £7,900

Fees for all new applicants to postgraduate taught courses are held at the level set upon entry.

Please note there is an additional charge should you choose to attend a graduation ceremony. View more information

Cost of Living

Find out about the cost of living for students at Stirling

Payment options

Find information on paying fees by instalments

Scholarships & funding

Stirling Management School invests 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.

More on postgraduate scholarships

Scholarship finder

Structure and teaching

Structure and content

The course focuses 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. And our partnerships with sustainably managed organisations provide you with the chance to see how these practices work in the real world.

Begin your new course in the best possible way, with our unique Flying Start Leadership programme. 

This programme is exclusively for new students about to start one of our postgraduate courses. You’ll take part in activities, workshops and information sessions to help you prepare for the year ahead, and make the most of your time at Stirling. 

Take part in the Flying Start Leadership programme and you will:

  • Discover more about the exciting period of learning ahead
  • Understand what is expected of you in your course
  • Get to know the teaching and support staff
  • Learn more about a diverse range of approaches to learning
  • Work as part of a successful team

Activities range from practical skills – like effective public speaking – to developing ways to work under pressure in difficult situations and manage conflict. It’s also a chance to discover all that the University and the vibrant city of Stirling have to offer, and to make new friends.

Other learning activities to prepare you for study in the UK Prepare for Success is an interactive web learning tool for international students who are coming to the UK to study.

Delivery and assessment

The course consists of two semesters of taught courses and a three-month dissertation period.

You’ll be taught through a series of lectures, tutorials, case studies, role playing, computer simulations, guest speakers and company projects.

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. 



Semester 1

In semester 1 you will study the following modules:

Semester 2

In semester 2 you will study the following modules

Plus 2 Electives modules from:

Semester 3

In semester 3 students will undertake a Dissertation or Consultancy Project

Recommended reading

A comprehensive reading list will be available in the near future.

Modes of study

Full time

Why Stirling?


In REF2014 Stirling was placed 6th in Scotland and 45th in the UK with almost three quarters of research activity rated either world-leading or internationally excellent.

International Students

The University of Stirling welcomes students from around the world. Find out what studying here could be like for you .


Our global reputation
We are ranked among the best universities in the world. Stirling is listed in the Times Higher Education’s ‘Top 200 most international universities in the world’ (2016 Edition), ‘150-under-50’ (2016 Edition), ‘Top 3 Universities for Graduate Employment in the UK’ (HESA, 2016 Edition), and Top 25 UK institutions for Business and Management in the last national audit (REF 2014). 

Leading scholars in strategic sustainable business
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 the Journal of Cleaner Production, Clean Technologies & Environmental Policy, Business & Society and Technological Forecasting & Social Change.

Leading research and knowledge exchange centre
The partnership between the University of Stirling Management School and the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership regularly delivers the internationally recognised ‘Sustainability Leadership Executive Development Programme’ in Scotland. CSPL is an official member of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UNSDSN).

Unique, practical learning
Students will be immersed in the practical aspects of sustainable business, acquiring skills, knowledge and expertise on sustainability management by engaging 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 policy makers during the teaching modules. 

Real-world experience
You’ll work on consultancy-style projects with external clients and engage with Environment influential networks, such as the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA), Scotland 2020 and 2050 Climate Groups and firms that have won the VIBES Award – Vision in Business for the Environment of Scotland. 

Ideal atmosphere for a sustainable experience
The University of Stirling has one of the most beautiful and green campuses in the world and aims to reduce its carbon emissions by 38% by 2020. It’s also, ‘one of the safest in Britain’, according to The Complete University Ranking, 2017. 

Networking opportunities
Many of our postgraduate students come from overseas. Studying at Stirling offers an excellent opportunity to establish your own global network of contacts at the outset of your career.

Our staff

Professor George Burt brings practical experience and theoretical knowledge to his teaching, having designed and facilitated many private and public sector strategy, scenario and futures projects. He has worked for organisations such as World Bank, Shell, ProRail NV Holland, PETRONAS, de Beers, PayPal, Doosan Babcock, Lloyds Registry Quality Assurance, Caledonian Paper plc, the Edrington Group, Stirling Council, Dumfries & Galloway Council, and City of Glasgow Council. His research has been published in leading journals in organisational strategy and sustainable scenarios. 

Careers and employability

Career opportunities

The University of Stirling is regarded as the best university in Scotland for graduate employability, and in the top three in the UK. This course prepares you for a career in strategic sustainable management across a range of large global organisations, small-medium enterprises and third and public sector.

As the job market for sustainability professionals continues to boom, there will be a wide range of opportunities in the private sector, public and non-governmental sectors. For example, at the Paris Climate Conference (COP21) in December 2015, developed countries pledged to inject USD 100 billion per year by 2020 and extend this until 2025 to support greener growth. This, in turn, will generate many job opportunities in sustainable business.

Employability video

employability video promotion

Business engagement video

industry promotional video


98% of our postgraduate leavers are in employment or further study withing six months of graduating - Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey 2015/16

The MSc will prepare students for a broad range of roles, including:

  • Manager of sustainable strategy
  • Sustainable management consultant
  • Sustainable investments analyst
  • Sustainability manager
  • Sustainable supply chain analyst
  • Sustainable innovation and projects manager
  • Social responsibility and stakeholder relations manager
  • Entrepreneur in sustainable technologies
  • Policy advisor for sustainability issues
  • Local or central government sustainability-related jobs
  • Environmental manager
  • Eco-efficiency analyst
  • Sustainable fund 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 and NGOs and foundations supporting sustainability have been growing in numbers and relevance. Worldwide agreements, such as the COP21, will boost sustainable growth and business. This magnificent change towards a more-sustainable society needs managers with a strategic perspective for sustainable management.

Industry testimonials

"Strategic sustainable business is vital for emerging economies that search for sustainable and inclusive growth. The MSc explores knowledge and skills towards more sustainable organisations and public agendas".

Mrs. Raquel Breda dos Santos, Director, DPCS, Ministry of the Environment, Brazil

"Research, Development and Innovation are promising ways to deal with contemporary environmental and social challenges.  At Natura, we have 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 (an United Nations "Champions of the Earth" awarded company; listed as one of the world's 100 most sustainable corporations)

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