Skip to content
Open menu Close menu

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?

The University of Bradford has been pioneering and teaching Peace Studies and International Development for over 40 years: we have excellent library collections and our academic staff are experts in their field. We don’t sit in an Ivory Tower – we make knowledge work by collaborating with governments and organisations around the world such as the United Nations, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, the Africa and the China Development Banks, the Aga Khan Foundation, the UK Ministry of Defence, Saferworld, and the Oxford Research Group, to name but a few.

Our research in politics and international relations was ranked 7th out of 56 universities in the UK in terms of its impact on society and public policy (Research Excellence Framework, December 2014). Our International Development programme has been ranked in the top 100 in the world according to the latest QS World University Rankings. Since 2002 the Division has also hosted one of only six prestigious Rotary Peace Centres worldwide.

So, the content of our brand-new degree programmes is informed by the up-to-date expertise of our lecturers and enriched by the experience of practitioners in our field, including our many alumni, with whom we partner inside and outside the classroom. Our students can also engage with detailed policy work by attending our research groups and extracurricular talks, conferences, and training events, on and off campus. Our interdisciplinary degrees reflect the key research theme of Sustainable Societies at the University of Bradford.

Our teaching is interactive and focussed on professionalism and employability. You will have the opportunity to study in groups and teams, develop your own research projects, go on field trips in the UK and abroad, engage in extended simulation games, do ‘immersion days’ on key topics, and develop a wide range of tangible skills directly applicable to careers in politics, international relations, peace and conflict and international development.

You will also learn from your fellow students and from the city. The Division is diverse – on our Master’s programmes you will meet the world in your classroom and learn a huge amount from your peers, many of whom already have significant practical experience in the fields of peacebuilding, humanitarian assistance and development. Bradford itself is a fascinating and very multicultural city, as well as being one of the cheapest cities to live and study in the UK, and we make the most of all the city and its beautiful surroundings have to offer by working with community groups.

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.


The modules for this course can be found in the latest programme specification.

Semester 1

  • Sustainable development. Core
  • Issues in Development Theory. Core
  • Elective

Semester 2

  • International Environmental Governance. Core
  • Assessing Development Needs and Outcomes. Optional
  • Natural Resource Governance. Optional
  • Gender Peace and Development. Optional
  • African Study Visit. Optional

Note: African Political and Security Dynamics is offered as an option in S1 and it is advised that students going on the Africa Study Visit either take or audit this course.

Reading lists

All reading lists can be found here.

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.


The teaching and learning in Peace Studies and International Development happens in a variety of spaces: lecture theatres, seminar rooms, flexible spaces with moveable furniture where students can work in groups.

We reach outside the classroom – for example, inviting guest speakers from around the world to debate via Skype to debate, and organising study sessions that make use of our innovative eco-friendly campus, and the diverse city of Bradford. We also take students on field trips, in the UK and abroad (for example, around Yorkshire, to Northern Ireland, to The Hague, and to a different African country each year), and extended role plays (in a youth hostel somewhere picturesque).

We have a lot of extra-curricular activity, guest speakers, seminars and training sessions. Our Student Liaison Officer also organises lots of social activity - our central, cosy common room is a great place to meet and learn from fellow students and host to quiz nights, international potluck suppers, free breakfasts, coffee breaks. And don’t let’s forget the annual Peace and Development Ball, and our very own Peace football team…

The JB Priestley Library has excellent resources, especially for Peace, Politics and Social Change, and International Development, in which the university specialises - see details of our Special Collections.

The library is open 24/7, as are other safe, welcoming and interactive spaces around campus designed for students’ to meet and study together.

The University and the Division are very global in outlook, and so are the students we attract. For that reason we offer free Modern Foreign Language classes for beginners in Arabic, French, German and Spanish. These two-hour weekly classes are led by experienced language teachers and result in a certificate of attendance. A much wider range of languages, such as Brazilian Portuguese or Korean, is taught – also for free – under a peer-to-peer scheme. Often PSID students get involved both as teachers and learners.

Fees, Finance and Scholarships

Tuition fees


  • Home / EU: £6,680
  • International: £15,650

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 to put towards your fees and living costs. Find out more on our Fees and Financial Support website.

Every year the University of Bradford awards numerous non-repayable scholarships to UK, EU and international students on the basis of academic excellence, personal circumstances or economic hardship. These include:

  • Postgraduate bursary
  • Alumni discount scheme (for current students moving onto a higher degree)
  • Country specific scholarships
  • Chevening Scholarships
  • Commonwealth Scholarships
  • Half Fee Academic Excellence Scholarships for International Students
  • Sanctuary scholarships to enable forced migrants seeking asylum, or those already granted refugee status who cannot access student finance

Rotary Peace Fellowships

Since 2002 the Division has also hosted one of six prestigious Rotary Peace Centres worldwide, set up to develop leaders who become catalysts for peace and conflict prevention and resolution. All Rotary Fellows take our extended MAs lasting 15 months, which includes Applied Field experience.

Rotary fellowships cover tuition and fees, room and board, round-trip transportation, and all internship and field-study expenses. There is a separate application and selection process.

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.