Sustainable Development

MSc Sustainable Development
Graduate Taught (level 9 nfq, credits 90) (Online Programme)

In September 2015, the United Nations adopted Agenda 2030, an ambitious agenda to promote people, planet, and prosperity. Seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted as part of Agenda 2030, setting forth an ambitious framework of action for countries around the world.

UCD has worked with the SDG Academy since its foundation. Prof Patrick Paul Walsh has served on her Academic Oversight Committee since 2012. UCD and the SDG Academy have identified a clear need and demand to offer a formal online Masters in Sustainable Development. The SDG Academy is the online education platform of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), a global initiative for the United Nations. UCD is ranked 14 in the Times Higher World Impact Ranking 2020 for SDG Partnerships (SDG 17) with clear focus on sustainability in the new strategic plan, rising to the future.

The recent Covid-19 crisis has also brought to UCD’s attention, the clear need to offer a formal online Masters in Sustainable Development that brings together the best of online resources in the SDG Academy, UN SDSN academic “stars” and experts, with her partner UCD, a leading University in the area of Sustainable Development.

This MSc programme will be the first online, affordable, global programme of its kind, drawing on the expertise, credibility and network of its host institution to offer cutting edge, global, multi-disciplinary learning for the SDGs.

The course has the unique ability to address the large range of issues covered by the SDG agenda that will equip students to solve some of the most pressing issues of our times. Both organizations, with mandates to support the UN system through consultative status , are well-suited to establish and administer such a programme and provide students with a unique experience in access to global taught leaders, opportunities for excellent placements and careers in Sustainable Development.

Subjects taught

The MSc Sustainable Development is a 90-credit programme. Full time students must take two 10-credit core modules and 30 credit SDG Research Project along with four 10-credit option modules.

Core and Option Modules for MSc Sustainable Development

These are the current modules for 2022/23 but are subject to change. Each of the following modules carries 10 credits unless otherwise specified.

Core Modules

POL42080 Global Classroom (Autumn)
PLAN40390 Sustainable Cities (Spring)
Option Modules

ECON42690 The Market for Labor, Land & SDGs
EDUC42940 Development & Societal Transition in complex, post-conflict situations
DEV40010 One Planet, One Ocean (SDG 14) (5 credits)
ENVB30130 Ecology & its Application (5 credits)

BMOL40370 Environment Sustainability
BSEN40790 Carbon & Sustainability
ECON42680 Competition & Industrial Policy for Sustainable Development
LAW41090 Climate Change Law and Policy
MEDN40080 Global Health
PHTY41040 Health in a Global Society

Note: ENVB30130 and DEV40010 MUST be taken together.

Summer Trimester Core Module
POL42370 SDG Research Project (30 credits)

Entry requirements

A primary degree with at least Second Class Honours Grade 1 (2H1) in a relevant subject such as environmental science, architecture, planning and environmental policy, education, business, public health, physiotherapy, law, medicine , political science, international relations, social science, sociology, history, geography, economics, global studies, public policy, development studies, EU studies, law. 2H1 is equivalent to 60 per cent, B minus or 3.08 GPA - in American system: B or 3.00 GPA.

English language requirements: applicants whose first language is not English should have met TOEFL, IELTs, or computer-based TOEFL requirements (600, 6.5, or 250 respectively), or the Cambridge English Test (Certificate in Advanced English at a minimum of Grade B, or Certificate of Proficiency in English at Grade C). Applicants who obtained a previous degree from an English-speaking university may be exempted from this requirement.

Your application will be considered on its individual merits and relevant professional experience will also be taken into account.

Students meeting the programme’s academic entry requirements but not the English language requirements, may enter the programme upon successful completion of UCD’s International Pre-Master’s Pathway programmes. Please see the following link for further information:

These are the minimum entry requirements – additional criteria may be requested for some programmes.

Application dates

How to apply?
The following entry routes are available:

MSc Sustainable Development Jan PT (W490)
2 Years
Part Time

MSc Sustainable Development FT (W485)
1 Years
Full Time

MSc Sustainable Development PT (W486)
2 Years
Part Time
* Courses will remain open until such time as all places have been filled, therefore early application is advised


1 year full-time, 2 years part-time online. Mode of Delivery: Online.

Enrolment dates

Next Intake: 2024/2025 September.

Post Course Info

Careers & Employability
Transforming our World, the UN 2030Agenda for Sustainable Development has defined stakeholders to implement the agenda in the following : Paragraph 52. "We the Peoples" are the celebrated opening words of the UN Charter. It is "We the Peoples" who are embarking today on the road to 2030. Our journey will involve Governments as well as Parliaments, the UN system and other international institutions, local authorities, indigenous peoples, civil society, business and the private sector, the scientific and academic community – and all people. Millions have already engaged with, and will own, this Agenda. It is an Agenda of the people, by the people, and for the people – and this, we believe, will ensure its success.

Graduates can expect careers pathways in the academy, governments, state agencies, non-governmental organisations and in the private sector.

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Degree - Masters (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Full time,Part time,Daytime

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