Master's Programme in Science for Sustainable Development, 120 credits

Master's Programme in Science for Sustainable Development, 120 hp


Teaching language





Degree of Master of Science (120 credits) with a major in Environmental Science

Pace of study



The master`s programme in Science for Sustainable Development is a two year, second cycle study program that leads to a master`s degree in Environmental Science. This full-time programme provides a strong basis for a professional career related to issues regarding sustainable development and environmental change at international and national agencies, universities, municipalities, orgainsations and corporations. The master`s programme is designed to provide students with knowledge on environmental change and the challenges of creating a sustainable society. On completion of the program the students will have developed an independent and critical approach to environmental science and sustainability studies and have acquired skills and knowledge that will enable them to actively work in and contribute to developments in these fields, either as practioners or researchers. The programme also fulfils the students` eligibility for doctoral education in related fields.


National Qualifications according to the Swedish Higher Education Act

Knowledge and understanding

For a Degree of Master (120 credits) the student shall

  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding in environmental science, including both broad knowledge of the field and a considerable degree of specialised knowledge in certain areas of the field as well as insight into current research and development work, and
  • demonstrate specialised methodological knowledge in environmental science.

Competence and skills

For a Degree of Master (120 credits) the student shall:

  • demonstrate the ability to critically and systematically integrate knowledge and analyse, assess and deal with complex phenomena, issues and situations even with limited information
  • demonstrate the ability to identify and formulate issues critically, autonomously and creatively as well as to plan and, using appropiate methods, undertake advanced tasks within predetermined time frames and so contribute to the formation of knowledge as well as the ability to evaluate this work
  • demonstrate the ability in speech and writing both nationally and internationally to clearly report and discuss his or her conclusions and the knowledge and arguments on which they are based in dialogue with different audiences and
  • demonstrate the skills required for participation in research and development work or autonomous emplyment in some other qualified capacity.

Judgement and approach

For a Degree of Master (120 credits) the student shall:

  • demonstrate the ability to make assessments in environmental science informed by relevant disciplinary, social and ethical issues and also to demonstrate awareness of ethical aspects of research and development work
  • demonstrate insight into the possibilities and limitations of research, its role in society and the responsibililty of the individual for how it is used, and
  • demonstrate the ability to identify the personal need for further knowledge and take responsibility for his or her ongoing learning.


Environmental issues are inherently complex and constantly changing. Core courses in the programme are designed to provide the students with interdisciplinary knowledge on questions and challenges related to sustainable development. 

We offer courses that introduce sustainable development as a political idea and an analytical concept. The courses  examine current and future challenges of sustainable resource use and management for assessing and analyzing environmental change. The topics of earth system and climate sciences, environmental policy and governance, sustainability transformation, sustainable resource management – including social, political, and biogeochemical aspects – are central themes in the programme. Students learn to critically evaluate common concepts and scientific approaches as well as assess and implement common theories and methods within social and natural science and humanities. The programme provides opportunities to choose specialization courses within the fields of environmental science and sustainable development during the third semester with possibilities to study abroad and carry out internship in Sweden or abroad. The final semester of the programme consists of an independent study (thesis project) where students deepen their knowledge and skills within a selected area of specialization.

The heading “Curriculum” contains a list of courses included in the programme. The course syllabuses for these describe in more detail the contents, teaching and working methods, and examination.

Teaching and working methods

Problem-oriented and real-life environmental and sustainability issues, established concepts, novel strategies and established research models are incorporated in lectures, self-studies, seminars, workshops, experimental studies, computer laboratories, roleplay exercises and field visits.

Interdisciplinarity perspectives are incorporated in courses, which entails understanding the interplay between natural and social sciences and how it contributes to sustainable development. 

Examination forms vary between courses, but in general, written assignments, active participation in group work and seminars, and oral presentations are required. A description of the examination of each course can be found in the respective syllabus and study guide. 

In the master’s thesis, students should demonstrate independent and analytical thinking, logical reasoning about the obtained results and an ability to critically discuss these results in relation to relevant scientific theories and empirical studies. 

The course syllabuses describe in more detail the contents, teaching and working methods, and examination.

Entry requirements

  • Bachelor's degree equivalent to a Swedish Kandidatexamen in one of the following areas: 
    - natural sciences, 
    - social sciences, 
    - humanities or
    - engineering
  • 15 ECTS credits passed in Environmental Sciences, Sustainable Development or equivalent
  • English corresponding to the level of English in Swedish upper secondary education (Engelska 6)
    Exemption from Swedish

    Threshold requirements

    For admission to courses within the programme, see the respective syllabus for specific entry requirements

    Degree requirements

    The student will be awarded the degree of Master of Science (120 credits) with a major in Environmental Science, provided all course requirements are completed and that the student fulfils the general and specific eligibility requirements, including proof of holding a Bachelor’s (kandidat) or a corresponding degree.

    Completed courses will be listed in the degree certificate.

    Course requirements to achieve a degree can be found in Appendix 2 to the Higher Education Ordinance (1993:100). Precise requirements for general degrees at first-cycle and second-cycle level can be found in LiU's current regulations.

    A degree certificate will be issued by the faculty board on application by the student. A diploma supplement will be included as an appendix to the degree certificate.

    Degree in Swedish

    Filosofie masterexamen i huvudområde Miljövetenskap

    Degree in English

    Degree of Master of Science (120 credits) with a major in Environmental Science

    Specific information

    Teaching language

    The teaching language is English.

    Transferred credits

    Decisions about transferring credit are taken by the faculty board, or by a person designated by the board, after application from the student.

    Other information

    If special circumstances prevail, the vice-chancellor may in a special decision specify the preconditions for temporary deviations from this programme syllabus, and delegate the right to take such decisions.

    Semester 1 Autumn 2024

    Course code Course name Credits Level Weeks ECV
    746A80 Critical Perspectives on Sustainable Development 7.5 A1N v202434-202438 C
    746A61 Environmental and Resource Use Challenges 7.5 A1N v202439-202443 C
    746A89 Our Changing Planet 7.5 A1N v202444-202448 C
    746A90 Environmental Politics and Governance 7.5 A1N v202449-202503 C

    Semester 2 Spring 2025

    Course code Course name Credits Level Weeks ECV
    746A91 Climate Science and Climate Change 7.5 A1N v202504-202508 C
    746A92 Societal Transformations towards Sustainability 7.5 A1N v202509-202513 C
    746A93 Sustainable Resources Management 7.5 A1N v202514-202518 C
    746A71 Designing Environmental Studies in Sustainable Development 7.5 A1N v202519-202523 C

    Semester 3 Autumn 2025

    Course code Course name Credits Level Weeks ECV
    709A03 Strategic Planning of Urban Climate Transitions 7.5 A1N v202549-202603 E

    Semester 4 Spring 2026

    Preliminary courses
    Course code Course name Credits Level Weeks ECV
    746A96 Master Thesis in Science for Sustainable Development 30 A2E