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Sustainable Development

Duration: 1 year
Attendance mode: Full-time
Award: MSc
Suitable for international students
Start date: September
Faculty of Social Sciences
Apply Prospectus downloads


This new programme is designed to develop leaders with a deep understanding of sustainable development ideas, institutions, policies and networks - and the necessary critical thinking skills to inform policy and create long term impact.

It is designed and delivered by a team with a cutting-edge research and policy advisory track record, who are passionate about sustainable development.

Choosing this programme means joining the Division of Peace Studies and International Development at the University of Bradford - the largest university centre of its kind in the world.

Upon graduation you’ll be part of a worldwide network of alumni, many of whom have gone on to leadership roles in international organisations.

The programme offers excellent opportunities for applied policy research and work on real world issues, and developing team-working and leadership skills through curricular and extra-curricular activities in a vibrant division.

This course can be studied full-time or part-time.

Why Bradford?

Sustainable development is at the heart of the University of Bradford, from our teaching and research to our state-of-the-art sustainable campus.
This programme is closely connected to the three research themes of the University:

Research-led teaching means that the staff members delivering your teaching will be themselves engaged in research at the cutting edge of the field. This is the case in all programme modules.

Through this learning process, you will have an opportunity to appreciate how research is designed and conducted, and to engage more deeply and reflectively with the uncertainties, messy complexities and challenges of researching in the real world.

The programme team members include Fellows of the Higher Education Academy, and those who have won teaching awards at the University and externally.

The Division of Peace Studies and International Development offers many extra-curricular opportunities, such as:

Entry requirements

A typical application would include an undergraduate Degree (2.2 honours or above) UK system or comparative result if outside UK. We also give serious consideration to applicants with non-traditional backgrounds and take relevant work experience into consideration.

Applications are welcome from students with non-standard qualifications or mature students (those over 21 years of age on entry) with significant relevant experience.

If you have prior certificated learning or professional experience which may be equivalent to parts of this programme, the University has procedures to evaluate this learning in order to provide you with exemptions from specified modules contained within the curriculum.

English language requirements:

IELTS at 6.0 or the equivalent.

If you do not meet the IELTS requirement, you can take a University of Bradford pre-sessional English course. See the Language Centre for more details.


Core modules

  • Critical Perspectives on Sustainable Development (20 credits)
  • Issues in Development Theory (20 credits)
  • Natural Resource Governance, Conflict, Co-operation (20 credits)
  • Public Policy Analysis and Management (20 credits)
  • Dissertation (60 credits-)

Option modules (40 credits)

  • Gender, conflict and development
  • Project Planning and Management
  • Sustainable tourism development
  • Finance for development
  • Conflict resolution theory
  • Applied conflict resolution skills

Learning activities and assessment

As an advanced postgraduate programme, learning and teaching is based on developing critical reflection and active learning.

In addition to lectures, seminars and classroom and virtual learning tool (Blackboard) based learning, there will be small group activities, both assessed and unassessed (formative), which give you the opportunity to develop and reinforce collaborative learning skills.

Teamwork and leadership skills are developed through group work projects in many modules.

The programme is intended to:

  • develop your knowledge and comprehensive understanding of concepts, theories and frameworks of sustainable development and their application in policy and practice
  • develop your skills to analyse, synthesise and critique current and emerging research and practice and critically appraise evidence using insights at the forefront of the discipline and practice
  • advance your knowledge and understanding of skills and techniques to develop innovative ideas and originality in the application of knowledge in relation to sustainable development policy and practice for your own research and advanced scholarship
  • develop your skills to formulate and independently investigate a complex issue related to sustainable development by developing appropriate research questions and critically evaluating evidence to answer such questions and communicating your findings at an advanced level
  • develop your autonomous learning skills for lifelong learning to become even better at being an independent learner and critical and creative thinker
  • further develop your skills in communicating complex ideas and issues to different groups of stakeholders
  • equip you with the knowledge and skills to become a reflective and critical practitioner and work as an effective team member in culturally diverse groups and teams


You can take a three-month voluntary placement (extending the programme duration to 15 months) either in the UK or abroad.

Study Abroad

Study visits and fieldwork abroad are available, at extra cost.

You can also take a three-month voluntary placement (extending the programme duration to 15 months) either in the UK or abroad.

Career support and prospects

Career support

The University is committed to helping students develop and enhance employability and this is an integral part of many programmes. Specialist support is available throughout the course from Career and Employability Services including help to find part-time work while studying, placements, vacation work and graduate vacancies. Students are encouraged to access this support at an early stage and to use the extensive resources on the Careers website.

Discussing options with specialist advisers helps to clarify plans through exploring options and refining skills of job-hunting. In most of our programmes there is direct input by Career Development Advisers into the curriculum or through specially arranged workshops.

Study Support

You will be allocated a Personal Academic Tutor (PAT) at the start of your studies.

Students with disabilities or special educational needs or requiring adjustments complete a Learner Support Profile (LSP) and these form the basis for support on a case to case basis.

PATs and module lecturers will be able to access the LSP and use this information to tailor support to individual students.

The programme leader and the programme team will arrange small group and one-to-one meetings as per the needs of individual students.

Module lecturers welcome formal as well as informal feedback, and will be able to offer appointments for specific module related or assessment related discussions.


All the modules are research-led.

The Division of Peace Studies and International Development has a long established reputation for advanced international policy research, diplomacy and engagement.

Several members of the Division have built research track records in aspects of economic inequality, natural resource governance, peace-building, conflict analysis and project and strategic planning and capacity building and are often involved in advocacy and policy analysis work for international, governmental and non-governmental organisations on these issues.

We currently collaborate with:

  • national and local government agencies in the UK
  • EU institutions and European governments
  • UN agencies, the African Development Bank, and the Caribbean Development Bank
  • bilateral lenders and donors such as AusAid, DFID and the China Development Bank
  • international NGOs such as the Aga Khan Foundation

Staff members have current research and knowledge transfer projects in many countries including North and South Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, India, China, Nigeria, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Tanzania, Sierra Leone, Brazil, and Colombia.

Several staff members work closely with the City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council, and the programme leader is currently involved in developing a global network of inclusive, smart and sustainable cities.

Fees, Finance and Scholarships

Tuition fees


  • Home / EU: £6,500
  • International: £14,900

Tuition fees are subject to review for students starting their course in subsequent years. See our Fees and Financial Support website for more details.

Financial support

You may be eligible to apply for the government's new Postgraduate Loan of up to £10,000 to put towards your fees and living costs. Find out more on our Fees and Financial Support website.

The Division of Peace Studies and International Development has an outstanding record in attracting holders of Chevening scholarships. The Division is also part of the Rotary International Scholarships scheme.

For any study visits, students requiring financial assistance may be able to apply to the Division for partial support from the Quaker Peace Studies Trust funds.

For placements, students may be able to apply for international student exchange grants.

How do I find out more?

Steps to Postgraduate Study

Find out more about studying at a postgraduate level on the official, independent website Steps to Postgraduate Study (link opens in new window).

How to apply

The easiest way to apply is online.

This will help us process your application more quickly and allow you to submit your supporting documents electronically.

If you are unable to apply online, please email to request a paper application form.

We will also need the following supporting documents, along with any other information specified on the course page:

  • Degree certificates/transcripts
  • Research proposal (if required)
  • Two references (including one academic reference)
  • Evidence of English language level (if required)
  • A copy of your passport

Once you have applied you will have access to the University's Applicant Portal, where you can track the status of your application.

You should also start thinking about how you plan to fund your postgraduate study — you may need to apply for loans or grants at this stage.

International students

If you applying from outside the UK and require additional support you may apply through your country representative.

They can help you at every stage and communicate with the University on your behalf. They often provide additional services to ensure your smooth arrival to the UK such as visa application support and assistance with your travel arrangements.

Further information is available on our International Office website.

This is the current course information. Modules and course details may change, subject to the University's programme approval, monitoring and review procedures. The University reserves the right to alter or withdraw courses, services and facilities as described on our website without notice and to amend Ordinances, Regulations, fees and charges at any time. Students should enquire as to the up-to-date position when applying for their course of study.