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MSc Corporate Sustainability and Environmental Management

Gain a multi-dimensional perspective on how businesses can address the sustainability challenge

Year of entry: 2024 (September)


1 year full-time

Start date

September 2024 (semester dates)

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We live in a time of intertwined social and environmental crises. Addressing these crises requires transformative change at all levels of society. What role can corporations and other businesses play in addressing these crises?

Meeting this challenge requires a fresh mindset and a toolkit of professional and research-inspired knowledge and skills. This specialist Masters will equip you with essential theoretical and evidential foundations and help you to develop relevant practical and professional skills from which you can build or accelerate a career in the field of corporate sustainability.

Our unique course draws on the academic expertise and professional experience of the Department of Environment and Geography and School of Business & Society, alongside industry-leading guest speakers working in the corporate sustainability sphere. You will have the opportunity to combine the study of sustainability-driven business models, techniques and tools with legal, ethical, financial, governance, accountability, marketing and organisational aspects.

You'll have the opportunity to combine the study of theories and tools from sustainability and environmental management. These include life cycle thinking, doughnut economics, circular economy and sustainable finance. You'll also use key approaches from business and management such as political economy, governance, sustainability reporting, and marketing.

You'll learn about the challenges of creating and putting sustainability plans into action for both small and large organizations. You'll talk to experts in the field and do various activities on your own or with a group to develop skills that will be useful in future jobs like environmental management, sustainability consulting, think tanks, government work, or research.

Our postgraduate teaching is informed by our research as well as top-level national and international experience in consultancy, industry and professional practice. Our management research includes areas as diverse as the circular economy, sustainability and resilience, ethical marketing, social enterprise, sustainability in supply chains, corporate governance, global business and risk management. Our environmental sustainability research focuses on understanding the causes and consequences of environmental change and developing innovative solutions to environmental challenges, ranging from climate change to biodiversity conservation. Our researchers influence policy and advise on high-profile environmental issues.

Course content

Corporate sustainability takes its cue from the convergence of environmental management and corporate social responsibility disciplines, examining connections between businesses, society and the natural world as we move from responsibility to resilience and to regeneration.

Through core modules, you'll receive a solid grounding in corporate sustainability principles and practices, alongside an employability-skills focused corporate environmental management training. Financial, marketing and accountability option modules enable you to tailor a degree to your interests. 

You'll be trained in research methods and relevant ethical issues, while practising these skills through a variety of team and individual projects. In particular, as an alternative to a University-based dissertation, you can opt for a placement-based dissertation which you can carry out with a suitable organisation of your choice (eg a consultancy, industry or business, governmental body, civil society organisation), enabling you to gain valuable workplace experience while conducting research with a practical focus.


You will complete an 8,000-word dissertation as part of this MSc. This dissertation can either be York based (in the Department of Environment and Geography), or as a placement with an external partner.

For the former, staff in the Department can suggest a range of possible subjects and titles, but you can also devise your own title. For the latter, the dissertation topic will be of relevance to the external partner.

In previous years, partner organisations have included:

  • Fera Science Ltd
  • Arcus Consulting
  • ERM South Africa
  • Marstons
  • Stockbridge Technology Centre
  • Harewood House

For both types of dissertation, you will have a departmental supervisor who will provide guidance and who can comment on drafts of your dissertation. If you are undertaking a placement for your dissertation, you will also be allocated a project supervisor within your placement company.

The York approach

Every course at York is built on a distinctive set of learning outcomes. These will give you a clear understanding of what you will be able to accomplish at the end of the course and help you explain what you can offer employers. Our academics identify the knowledge, skills, and experiences you'll need upon graduation and then design the course to get you there.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • Critically assess and explain the sustainability performance of an organisation and develop programmes of improvement (Knowledgeable and Critical)
  • Identify, synthesise and critically evaluate information from a wide range of reliable sources, and collate this information to establish current understanding and independently identify key research questions in specialised areas of corporate responsibility and environmental management (Independent Researcher)
  • Work across disciplinary boundaries to link knowledge and experience from a wide range of research areas to understand the complex interactions between humans and natural environments, and the management of economic, business and social pressures on the health and sustainability of our complex global environment (Interdisciplinary Thinker)
  • Design and critique corporate sustainability policies using the techniques and tools necessary for analysing, deploying and monitoring environmental and corporate responsibility policies and issues in real world situations (Creator of New Perspectives)
  • Competently gather, synthesise and analyse data from various sources in using both quantitative and qualitative methods (Analytical)
  • Effectively and professionally communicate knowledge, complex ideas and persuasive arguments to professional audiences using oral, written, visual and digital media (Effective Communicator)
  • Recommend sustainable solutions to environment and development problems that consider broader social, political, economic and environmental contexts, and the ethical implications of their application by applying knowledge, theories and approaches from management and environmental sciences (Innovative Problem Solver)

Working together

Our staff collaborate with a broad range of private and public organisations including UNEP, DEFRA, Forestry Commission, Natural England, Overseas Development Institute and Willis Global Insurance Broker

Choosing this course was an excellent decision for my professional career. I could gain knowledge of how businesses can boost practices to connect with investors, structure their governance and reach stakeholders. The Corporate Sustainability and International Political Economy and Business modules were essential to get in-depth knowledge and experience in the field. The supervisor's class approaches were necessary to strengthen my soft skills, and they gave me much support throughout the course.

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2024/25

Study modeUK (home)International and EU
Full-time (1 year) £10,590£23,900

Students on a Student Visa are not currently permitted to study part-time at York.

Fees information

UK (home) or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK (home) or international student. Check your fee status.

Find out more information about tuition fees and how to pay them.

Additional costs

Most of your reading will be available from the University library, though you may wish to purchase your own equipment, for example your own copy of core textbooks, your own safety shoes. You will be responsible for the costs associated with your dissertation. These can include printing, binding, telephone calls, travel and accommodation.

Funding information

Discover your funding options to help with tuition fees and living costs.

We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2024/25 throughout the year.

If you've successfully completed an undergraduate degree at York you could be eligible for a 10% Masters fee discount.

Funding opportunities

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace.

Teaching format

We aim to provide a broad range of intellectually rigorous and practically challenging learning activities in a stimulating, supportive and enjoyable environment. Employability skills training is a key element of our programme.

This Masters combines formal lectures, practical workshops, seminars and a variety of group and individual projects. Examples include:

  • guest lectures from corporate sustainability professionals providing insights into the challenges of developing and implementing practical solutions to real-world problems (businesses involved in the Corporate Sustainability programme in the last couple of years include: Portakabin, Asda-Walmart, BP-Acetyls Europe, Croda International, Federated Hermes, Innocent Drinks, Nestlé, British Sugar and Quorn Foods)
  • a variety of contemporary environmental sustainability consultancy project
  • exercises embodying tools for futures thinking and strategising
  • a climate-change related workshop based on a case study with real-world practical exercises
  • a student-organised conference with poster presentations on topical corporate sustainability issues to a keynote guest speaker

Examples of corporate partners that students on this programme have undertaken their dissertation projects within recent years include: Croda Europe, Lendlease, Arcadis, DS Smith, Proxima, CooperKing Distillery and the York and North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

You will use the University's Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) to supplement lectures, workshops and other learning activities with additional material. Subject to annual agreement with corporate partners, the programme includes one or more industrial site visits.

As part of our teaching process we have also embedded a range of employability principles, as well as real world solutions and real-world oriented approaches, to help prepare our students for a range of careers after finishing their degree.

The learning activities are constantly under review and development to ensure they remain contemporary and appropriate to programme learning outcomes, and as such they may vary from those listed.


Our state-of-the-art building contains purpose-built labs, lecture theatre and seminar rooms.

Teaching location

You will be based in the Department of Environment and Geography on Campus West. As a joint programme, teaching will also be provided by School for Business and Society in their facilities on Campus West.

About our campus

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

Assessments provide the opportunity for you to work on tasks with practical relevance as well as practise research skills, critical analysis and structuring an argument. Types of assessment in this course therefore include:

  • essays and project reports of around 3,000 words
  • developing and drafting practical management tools
  • professional presentations and posters
  • examinations
  • an 8,000-word dissertation

Formative assessment as you study will allow you to receive feedback on your progress and understanding.

The Environment Building with living wall on Campus West
Management's Church Lane building on Campus West.

Church Lane building on Campus West

Church Lane YouTube video
Video tour of the new Management building on Campus West.

Careers and skills

This course is suitable if you are aiming for a corporate sustainability related role in the for-profit or not-for-profit sectors. This role is central to industrial and business activities of all kinds, with many employing dedicated specialists, or teams of specialists, or allocating tasks across a range of job functions. The banking, finance and insurance sectors in particular are showing growing leadership on climate-change risks and responsible investment. As such, the range of opportunities for developing a career in this area of practice is growing.

Career opportunities

  • Environmental consultant
  • Business relationship officer
  • Environmental compliance engineer
  • Environmental analyst
  • Sustainability and ESG communications officer
  • Clean energy specialist

Transferable skills

You'll develop a range of transferable skills during the course, including:

  • Team leadership and team working
  • Drafting skills
  • Analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Time management and organisational skills
  • Ethical decision making
  • Experience identifying, evaluating and prioritising 'triple bottom line' issues

Entry requirements

Typical offer
Undergraduate degree 2:2 degree or equivalent in a relevant subject such as Management, Finance, Environmental Science or Geography, although students are drawn to this course from a broad range of academic and professional backgrounds. If you have additional experience, such as work in environmental management, then we will also welcome your application. You'll need a good level of mathematical or statistical ability in order to follow the quantitative and financial modules: you can demonstrate this with, for example, an element of economics, accounting or finance in your degree.
International pre-masters programme Pre-masters from our International Pathway College
Other international qualifications Equivalent qualifications from your country

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:

Minimum requirement
IELTS (Academic and Indicator) 6.5, minimum of 6.5 in Writing and 6.0 in all other components
Cambridge CEFR B2 First: 176, with a minimum of 176 in Writing and no less than 169 in all other components
Oxford ELLT 7, minimum of 7 in writing and no less than 6 in all other components
Duolingo 120, minimum 120 in production and 105 in all other components
LanguageCert SELT B2 with 33/50 in each component
LanguageCert Academic 70 with a minimum of 70 in Writing and no less than 65 in all other components
KITE 459-494, with 459-494 in writing and 426-458 in all other components
Skills for English B2: Merit overall, with Merit in writing and Pass with Merit in all other components
PTE Academic 61, minimum 61 in Writing and 55 in all other components
TOEFL 87, minimum 23 in Writing and 21 in all other components
Trinity ISE III Merit in all components

For more information see our postgraduate English language requirements.

If you haven't met our English language requirements

You may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language courses. These courses will provide you with the level of English needed to meet the conditions of your offer.

The length of course you need to take depends on your current English language test scores and how much you need to improve to reach our English language requirements.

After you've accepted your offer to study at York, we'll confirm which pre-sessional course you should apply to via You@York.


You can apply and send all your documentation online. You don’t need to complete your application all at once: you can start it, save it and finish it later.

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Contact us

Get in touch if you have any questions

Dr Simon Mair, Programme Lead

Learn more

Department of Environment and Geography

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