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Study sustainability abroad

An in-depth guide to studying sustainability as an international student.

Sustainability degrees abroad

Now, more than ever, countries around the world must protect and preserve their natural environments and resources. As a sustainability student, you’ll consider the threats faced by our planet and explore potential solutions and strategies for a more sustainable future.

Sustainability is a subject that involves branches of science, geography, economics, and anthropology. You’ll be tasked with applying the theoretical principles and practices of sustainability to real-life scenarios and challenges. You’ll evaluate government policies and the economic, human, and environmental consequences of any proposed plans.

By studying abroad, you’ll see how issues of sustainability vary across the globe. You’ll encounter new environments, landscapes, and ecosystems that will broaden your horizons and give you a global perspective of the field. You’ll be part of projects that make a real difference to local communities, including those relating to clean water, renewable energy, and waste management.

Sustainability program structure

The majority of sustainability programs are offered as either a BA or a BSc. These courses cover similar ground, but a BSc will involve more independent research and scientific analysis. Bachelor’s programs are usually studied over three or four years, depending on the university. Most undergraduate sustainability courses around the world will be accredited by a professional body, like the Institute for Environmental Management and Assessment (IEAMA).

In the US, a sustainability major will last for a minimum of four years. In line with the liberal arts model, you’ll first complete two years of general education studies before specializing in sustainability-specific modules in your final two years.

Most universities will strongly encourage you to participate in a placement year or a year abroad. These experiences will support you to grow both professionally and personally.

After finishing your bachelor’s degree, you can go on to study a postgraduate qualification. A master’s in sustainability usually takes one or two years of work. Following this, a PhD takes an average of five years to complete.

Teaching will mainly be made up of lectures, seminars, workshops, hands-on laboratories, field trips, and tutorials. This mixture will provide you will a sound theoretical and practical comprehension of the field. Assessment typically takes the form of exams, coursework, presentations, and practical projects.

What’s covered in sustainability programs will vary slightly from one university to another. You’ll have plenty of elective modules to choose from, but you’ll probably study these core topic areas too:

  • Sustainable practices and principles
  • Sustainable futures
  • Studying the environment
  • Sustainable development
  • Environmental policy, politics, and governance
  • Ecology and ecosystems
  • Managing biodiversity
  • Climate change

Alternative biodiversity & conservation degrees

How to study sustainability abroad

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Sustainability study abroad programs

Sustainability undergraduate programs

Bachelor's in sustainability

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    Sustainability (Polytechnic Campus) - BA/BSc Arizona State University, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Annual tuition fee
    29,834 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 29,834 USD

    Start date
    January, May, August
    Show program overview about Sustainability (Polytechnic Campus)
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    Business Management with Sustainability - BA (Hons) University of Hull, UK

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    3 years
    Annual tuition fee
    19,141 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 14,000 GBP

    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Business Management with Sustainability
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    Environmental Sustainability - BEd/BES (Hons) Lakehead University, Canada

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Annual tuition fee
    18,636 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 23,604 CAD

    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Environmental Sustainability
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    Environmental & Sustainability Studies (Economics) - BA University of Kentucky, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Annual tuition fee
    29,050 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 29,050 USD

    Start date
    January, August
    Show program overview about Environmental & Sustainability Studies (Economics)
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    International Studies: Environmental Sustainability and Global Health - BA American University, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Annual tuition fee
    50,542 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 50,542 USD

    Start date
    January, August
    Show program overview about International Studies: Environmental Sustainability and Global Health
See all bachelor's degrees in sustainability

Sustainability graduate programs

Master's in sustainability

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    Agriculture for Sustainable Development - MSc University of Greenwich, UK

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    1 year
    Annual tuition fee
    19,141 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 14,000 GBP

    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Agriculture for Sustainable Development
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    Business and Management: Institutional Strategy and Sustainability - MA Hanken School of Economics, Finland

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    2 years
    Annual tuition fee
    15,177 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 12,500 EUR

    Start date
    August
    Show program overview about Business and Management: Institutional Strategy and Sustainability
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    International Business and Environmental Sustainability - MA (Hons) University of Dundee, UK

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    4 years
    Annual tuition fee
    22,491 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 16,450 GBP

    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about International Business and Environmental Sustainability
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    Environmental Sustainability and Green Technology - MSc Keele University, UK

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    1 year
    Annual tuition fee
    21,192 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 15,500 GBP

    Start date
    January, September
    Show program overview about Environmental Sustainability and Green Technology
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    Outdoor and Sustainability Education - MDid Linköping University, Sweden

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    2 years
    Annual tuition fee
    19,000 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 19,000 USD

    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Outdoor and Sustainability Education
See all master's degrees in sustainability

Doctorate in sustainability

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    Professional Doctorate in Education with special focus on sustainability, equality and diversity - PhD London South Bank University, UK

    Program type
    Doctorate
    Duration
    2 years
    Annual tuition fee
    9,420 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 6,890 GBP

    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Professional Doctorate in Education with special focus on sustainability, equality and diversity
See all doctorates in sustainability

Diploma in sustainability

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    Business Administration: Green Business Management and Sustainability - GDip Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Canada

    Program type
    Postgraduate diploma
    Duration
    2 years
    Annual tuition fee
    10,148 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 12,853 CAD

    Start date
    September, January, May
    Show program overview about Business Administration: Green Business Management and Sustainability
See all postgraduate diplomas in sustainability

Certificate in sustainability

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    Environmental Management and Sustainability - PGCert University of Newcastle, Australia

    Program type
    Postgraduate certificate
    Duration
    6 months
    Annual tuition fee
    14,610 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 18,845 AUD

    Start date
    February, July, September
    Show program overview about Environmental Management and Sustainability
See all postgraduate certificates in sustainability

Future sustainability careers

Governments, organizations, and businesses are always looking for ways to reduce their negative impact on the environment and improve sustainability. As such, your skills, knowledge, and expertise will be in high demand across both public and private sectors. Here are some of the most common career paths pursued by sustainability graduates:

  • Sustainability consultant
  • Sustainability specialist
  • Climate change analyst
  • Energy consultant
  • Corporate social responsibility manager
  • Lecturer
  • Researcher
  • International aid/development worker

If you’re struggling to work out what your dream role is, it’s a good idea to undertake some work experience or an internship. Not only will you narrow down your interests and strengths, but you’ll also make useful professional connections and take your employability to the next level.