MSc Sustainability and Adaptation (MSc)

the United Kingdom

For more information about MSc Sustainability and Adaptation at Centre for Alternative Technology, please visit the webpage using the button above.

The award

How long you will study
18 Months

Domestic course fees
GBP 6980 per total

How you will study

Course starts

International course fees
GBP 8330 per total

All study options

About MSc Sustainability and Adaptation at Centre for Alternative Technology

Immerse yourself in examining the causes, seriousness and urgency of climate change and – crucially – what changes are needed at international, national, local and individual level to help turn things around.

“Rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” are required if humanity is to prevent really dangerous levels of climate change.”

UN IPCC 2018 Report on Global Warming of 1.5 ºC

This course uses the concepts of sustainability and adaptation transformation to frame an analysis of environmental and climate change policy and its implications for society.

Key areas of study

This is a wide ranging course, covering a huge variety of topics related to sustainability. Some of the topics you’ll study include: acute resilience pathways for cities and communities; environmental politics; environmentally responsive materials and resources; transport; social and economic systems; transformational change; risk and vulnerability assessment; adaptive capacity; sustainability thinking and adaptation transformation planning; land use; ecosystem

services; waste; water and food security; sustainable design of buildings; energy provision; energy flows in buildings; and environmental assessment.

Studying this course will help you to develop and hone your ability to:

  • Identify and appraise the complex influences that environmental change has on sustainability and adaptation practice.
  • Evaluate complex issues, and become a self-reflective practitioner or researcher who can communicate evidence and conclusions clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences.
  • Decision making within the limits of uncertainty and incomplete data, using systematic, iterative, imaginative and creative skills that you’ll develop throughout the course.
  • Integrate your understanding of the various legal, institutional and ethical considerations and developments associated with sustainability and adaptation.


When studying this course as an MSc you will need to study the 30 credit Sustainability and Adaptation: Concepts and Planning module plus choose 6 optional modules before undertaking a dissertation. Please click on the module descriptions below for information about each module.

Core modules

  • Sustainability and Adaptation: Concepts and Planning
  • MSc Dissertation

Optional modules

  • Environmental Politics and Economics
  • Energy Flows in Buildings – Part A
  • Energy Flows in Buildings – Part B
  • Cities and Communities
  • Energy Provision
  • Ecosystem Services: Land Use, Water and Waste Management
  • Sustainable Materials in the Built Environment
  • Applied Project
  • Work-based Project

This course is created and delivered by CAT and is offered subject to revalidation by the University of East London. The course is due to be reviewed in early 2022 so this description of the course is as its currently delivered. Some aspects may change before the start of the 2022 academic year.

Why study at CAT?

Benefit from over 40 years’ sustainability experience

CAT is a world-leading eco-centre and a pioneer in researching and teaching practical solutions for sustainability, with over 40 years’ experience in low-impact building, energy efficiency, renewable energy, sustainable food production, natural resources management and more.

Immersive learning

The taught eight-week modules offer an immersive learning experience through lectures, talks, seminars and workshops delivered by our expert in-house staff, with specialist insights from visiting lecturers from industry and academia.

Practical sessions are part of the programme of module teaching weeks at CAT, allowing you to get hands-on with sustainable building materials and energy efficiency.

Many modules are shared with our other postgraduate courses, providing you with a rich learning experience with your peers.

Distance and blended learning

Students can decide on a module-by-module basis whether they want to study on-site or via distance. Allowing you more flexibility to fit study around your life and existing commitments.

Our distance learning resources are also available to students studying on-site. Students studying on-site or via distance will be able to interact and share ideas and expertise via the online learning environment and discussion apps, helping to create a richer learning environment.

Flexible study options

Courses can be studied full or part time and our courses structure allows you to choose the mode and level of study that suits you, helping you fit your studies around other commitments.

Full-time study at MSc level will allow you to complete the course in 18 months. Part-time study at MSc level will allow you to complete the course over a recommended 3 years.

Interested in studying this course? Join us for our next open day, contact us for more information or apply today.

Visit the Sustainability and Adaptation MSc page on the Centre for Alternative Technology website for more details!

Study options for this course

  • The award How you will study How long you will study Course starts Domestic course fees International course fees
  • The awardMScHow you will studyFull-timeHow long you will study18 months
    Course startsSeptemberDomestic course feesGBP 6980 per totalInternational course feesGBP 8330 per total
  • The awardMScHow you will studyPart-time, Distance, Mixed-mode, ModularHow long you will study30 months
    Course startsSeptemberDomestic course feesGBP 6980 per totalInternational course feesGBP 8330 per total

Entry requirements

The Sustainability and Adaptation courses are intended to cater for a broad range of interests. For acceptance onto the programme the following requirements apply:-

  • Bachelor's degree.
  • Students who do not possess formal qualifications but who can demonstrate that they have gained appropriate knowledge and skills equivalent to degree standard and that they will benefit from and contribute to the programme, may be accepted. Students may be admitted with advanced standing through the recognition of credit or the accreditation of experiential or certificated learning according to the University of East London Accreditation of (Experiential) Learning (A(E)L) policy.
  • A student may gain admission to a programme, with advanced standing, with up to half of the credits associated with the award being achieved through accredited experiential learning, or up two thirds through accredited masters certificated learning. (Where a combination of experiential and certificated learning is involved up to one half of the credits for the award may be achieved through accredited experiential learning with further credits being achieved through accredited certificated learning up to a maximum of two thirds of the credits for the award).
  • Students that apply to enter stages of the programme may be admitted through normal Accreditation of Experiential Learning (AEL) or Accreditation of Certificated Learning (ACL) processes, or through an approved articulation agreement. Therefore such applicants must be able to demonstrate and evidence that they have the required learning outcomes as listed in the modules for which they are seeking exemption.
  • The University and CAT are strongly committed to widening participation and equal opportunity for all.
  • In the case of applicants whose first language is not English, then IELTS 6.5 (or equivalent) is required.

Application to this programme can only be made on line.

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