Online course details

Study options

Part-time: 2-3 years

UK fee

£9,495 (2023/24)

International fee

£9,495 (2023/24)

Course level




Start dates

September, January, May



The highlights

Lead organisations towards sustainability

If your ambition is to lead organisations towards a more sustainable business model - or you are already starting to do so - this online MSc Strategic Sustainability Management will provide the knowledge and skills you need.

This course has never been more relevant. Scientists believe that the action we take within the next ten years will ultimately determine whether we can meet a key goal of the Paris Climate Agreement: to stop the planet’s average surface temperature from rising beyond 1.5-2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Organisations need to act now to start shifting towards a low or zero emission economy, and to look for developments that are climate resilient. This programme can help you become one of the changemakers.

It’s a specialist masters that brings together content from our online MSc Strategic Management and online MSc Sustainability and Environmental Management. During stage one (the Postgraduate Certificate), you will follow the same programme as students on the online MSc Strategic Management, learning to be a modern strategic thinker and leader, who can bring about change in the organisations you work for. You will gain a fundamental understanding of how to plan, formulate and execute strategy through innovative and entrepreneurial approaches.

Then in stage two (the Postgraduate Diploma), you will develop more specialist knowledge and skills, around for example, international environmental policy and law, key environmental management tools and techniques, and sustainable business management.

The final stage (the Masters) then allows you to demonstrate all you have learned by conducting an in-depth research project - known as an independent study - focused on your professional interests.

Accredited by IEMA, giving you free student membership

IEMA university partner

This programme is accredited by the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA), a high-quality benchmark recognised by employers around the world.

The IEMA Accreditation gives you free IEMA student membership while studying this programme, giving you access to a wide range of resources and support to complement your studies such as free articles, webinars, events, newsfeed and downloads as well as copies of The Transform Magazine, the world’s most read environment and sustainability publication.

Upon completion of this course, you will be eligible to join the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) as a graduate member (GradIEMA) and fast track to Practitioner Member status (PIEMA) depending on your experience.

Build broad strategic management skills

Although the focus of this MSc is learning how to manage organisations in a sustainable way, the programme has two other key themes, which will also help you build broader strategic management skills. These themes represent challenges and opportunities that are important to all organisations today, wherever they are based in the world:

  1. Entrepreneurship / Intrapreneurship - We’ve been praised for our innovative approach to entrepreneurship. Although many courses teach entrepreneurship in the context of new start-ups, our MSc focuses on embedding entrepreneurial practices within more established companies (known as ‘intrapreneurship’). We encourage you to innovate and come up with new ideas, products, services, and processes that can help organisations achieve their targets or objectives. These objectives might be to create growth, find a competitive edge, or respond to specific challenges.
  2. Internationalisation - We live in a global economy, accelerated by the rise of e-commerce, which means that internationalisation affects all types of organisation - small, medium and large; public, private and non-profit. But there are many challenges and barriers between countries - institutional, cultural, geographical, environmental - and it’s vital that strategic leaders understand these so they can make good decisions.

    Through our core module, International Business Strategies, you will explore this topic in more detail and learn how to prepare organisations for inevitable challenges, such as changing political ideologies, wars and conflicts, supply chain issues and commodity price rises.

Manage a virtual company - take risks, make mistakes, learn

An exciting feature of this course is the ability to run a virtual company in a simulated business environment and manage all the key aspects of the business such as finance, marketing, strategy and operations. This enables you to practice start-up or scale up business strategy in a risk-free environment.

You can compete against the markets or choose to go head-to-head with other virtual companies. As you practice entrepreneurial leadership, you can play forward and rewind decisions whilst simulating time, money, stress, staff morale and efficiency. It provides more meaningful and deeper learning than more traditional static case studies.

A talk from our academic

Our academic for strategic management programmes, Yukari Iguchi, talks about our online Strategic Management courses.

Our course academic talks about the online Strategic Management courses

View the online Strategic Management courses video transcript

What you will study

We will advise you of your study plan - the running order and availability of the modules - when you are invited to enrol.

The online Strategic Sustainability Management Masters programme comprises six core 20-credit modules with two optional 0-credit modules and a final independent study research project which is a triple module, worth 60 credits.

Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.

lady sitting at laptop with headphones

Online Discovering Online Learning webinar: June 2024

Thursday, 6 June 2024 12.00 - 13.00

During this hour long webinar, we'll take you through how online learning works and what you can expect as an online student with the University of Derby.

Book your webinarBook your webinar

How you will learn

This MSc is delivered entirely online through our user-friendly digital learning environment. You will interact with your tutors and fellow students through a mix of virtual live classrooms, tutorials and guest lectures. You will also have a go at managing a virtual company through our advanced business simulation platform.

You will use forums and community spaces for group discussions, and there are other collaborative tools for group projects and assignments, such as wikis. Digital texts, ebooks, journals, databases and more are available electronically via our library.

You will be taught by expert academics who are practising professionals too. They bring examples from the business world into their teaching, so the content is always current and topical.

There will be 1/2 virtual classrooms over the 10 week trimester and if you are unable to attend you will be able to download the session to view in your own time.

Supporting you to succeed

If you are nervous about studying online or haven’t studied for a long time, don’t worry. Many of our students are the same at the beginning of their course, so we have put in place support to enable everyone to succeed.

Firstly, our IT Service Centre provides technical support 24 hours a day, so whichever time zone you're in, there will be help on hand. Then there’s our team of online learner advisors who can answer your non-academic questions, such as those about study plans, submitting assessments, deadlines, payments, loans or fees.

Finally, if you need support with your study skills, there are lots of resources available, including guides, audio-visual tutorials and webinars. These cover topics like: research skills, critical evaluation in an academic context, literature searches, referencing, plagiarism and more.

Pace of study

The academic year is made up of three, ten-week terms, known as trimesters. We recommend doing about 20 hours of study each week to complete one 20-credit module over a trimester. If you want to complete the course faster, you can choose to take our accelerated study plan. For this, you will need to study two modules in one trimester, which would mean about 40 hours of study each week.

Think carefully before you choose the accelerated rate - it’s important that you have enough time to fully engage with your studies and produce the best work that you can. We often advise that you study one module at the standard rate before deciding whether to then increase to the accelerated rate.


This course is assessed entirely through coursework. There will be ongoing assessment (known as ‘formative assessment’) through things like self-assessment, peer review, or feedback directly from your tutor. Then there will be assessments for each module that count towards your grades (‘summative assessments’), such as:

These assessments will usually be about applying your learning to your own organisation or a case study organisation, or they may relate to your personal development.

The final assessment on the MSc is the independent study, a triple module worth 60 credits. This is a major research project applied to a workplace, or you may choose to produce an academic paper for publication. You will be supported by an academic supervisor who will guide you through this process towards your final submission.

Personal Development Planning (PDP) and employability

Personal development planning (PDP) is embedded throughout this course. During your studies, you will be encouraged to reflect on your personal brand and consider areas for personal or professional development. You will have access to reflective self-assessment and personal diagnostic tools and a wealth of resources to help you reflect on your current competencies. In addition, personal tutoring, coaching and career development workshops, delivered by the University, ILM or IEMA, will all help you to create your individualised leadership and personal development plan.

To further enhance your employability, we have embedded two support modules into the programme:

These modules are designed to help you to reflect on your personal skills, strengths and weaknesses while aiding your long-term career planning and professional development.

Student support and guidance

Whilst we encourage our students to become independent, life-long learners, we also recognise that offering the right support and guidance will help you to achieve your goals. There is a wealth of support available to you at the University, from your dedicated Personal Tutor and Online Learner Advisor, through to our:

All these services, and more, are available to you as an online student at the University of Derby.

Who will teach you

Yukari Iguchi leaning on a hand rail

Yukari Iguchi
Programme leader

Academic Lead for Hospitality and Business, Yukari Iguchi, is responsible for a range of online hospitality and business programmes. She has professional experience in the international hospitality industry and since she joined academia she performed a range of roles to support international and distance learning students and institutional partners.

View full staff profileView full staff profile

Get a taste of the course content

Our Strategic Sustainability Management MSc course taster will give you an idea of how online learning works. It includes a selection of content from a course module so you can see what some of our learning material looks like.

You will need to complete a short form to access the course taster.

Try our course tasterTry our course taster

Entry requirements

You should normally have a UK undergraduate degree (at least a 2:2) with honours in any business-related subject discipline, or an equivalent international qualification. Equivalent professional qualifications will also be considered for entry.

If you do not have the above required academic or professional qualifications but do have significant management experience and a substantial record of achievement, then we will also consider your application.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

RPL may be available for you based upon past study and experience.

English language qualifications

If English is not your first language or you have not completed your undergraduate degree at a UK University, you will need an English language qualification. For this course you will need at least one of the following: 

Find out more about our English language requirements

Fees and funding

2023/24 for new entrants

Starting between September 2023 and August 2024.

 Per 20 creditsModulesCost
UK/EU/International £1,055 7 (six 20-credit modules and one 60-credit module) £9,495

2024/25 for new entrants

Starting between September 2024 and August 2025.

 Per 20 creditsModulesCost
UK/EU/International £1,050 7 (six 20-credit modules and one 60-credit module) £9,450

About your fees

This figure would be the total cost of this course based on the fee in the current academic year. However, please note that fees normally increase in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees, which is reviewed on an annual basis. The total fee you pay may therefore increase if your course lasts longer than one year.

If you are required to undertake any associate study or additional study as a condition of your offer for the programme, please be aware that the cost for this will be in addition to the programme cost stated above.

Flexible payment plans available

Choose from two payment plan options:

*Please note: the discount for paying your fees up front will only be available to students enrolling for eligible online studies between August 2023 and July 2024 and will not be available for the September 2024 intake onwards.

Masters funding options

Depending on where you are from in the UK or EU, and on your pace of study, you may be eligible for a postgraduate student loan. Accessible through Student Finance, this is a non-income based loan to help with living costs and tuition fees whilst studying your masters programme.

If you are considering applying for a student loan, please also see our additional guidance on Loans for Online Students.

Alumni discount for Derby graduates

We offer a discount on postgraduate course fees for all Derby alumni.

Find out more about the Alumni discount

How to apply

Please look at our application deadlines before you apply.

Apply directly to the University.

Apply now

For support with completing your application, view our guide to the application process.

Documents to support your application

In order for your application to be assessed, you will need to provide the following documents when you apply:

*Documents not in English or Welsh must be accompanied by a certified translation by a professional translator/translation company. Each translation must contain:

A list of approved translators can be found on the UK Government website.

Please note: failure to submit any documentation when requested, may result in your application being withdrawn.

Application deadlines

All of our online courses have set start dates throughout the year. We require time to review your application and get back to you with a response before your course starts. Take a look at information regarding applying for an online course to see full details of deadlines and term dates.


During this MSc in Strategic Sustainability Management, you will become a skilled and thoroughly modern strategic leader and manager, who puts sustainability at the heart of every decision you make. You will gain a deep understanding of corporate sustainability and environmental impact, and be able to formulate, manage and execute sustainable business strategies in innovative and creative ways. You will have also developed sought-after expertise in internationalisation and entrepreneurship / intrapreneurship.

This combination of knowledge and skills prepares you for strategic management roles in any size of organisation and within any sector.

If you are already in work, you will be able to apply knowledge learned on the programme directly into your workplace throughout the course, helping you to make a positive impact quickly. This will be rewarding on a personal level and will be of great value to your employer or to your own business.

If you want to continue studying after this MSc, you could progress onto a PhD, DBA or other research degree in the area of business management and leadership, or corporate sustainability and environmental management.

Utilise our Careers and Employment Service​

Whilst you are a student at the University of Derby, and for 3 years after you graduate, our Careers and Employment Service can assist you with job search advice, CV creation, workshops and events, as well as one-to-one appointments with employment advisers to help with career planning and interview preparation.

Contact us

Contact the University of Derby Online Learning:

Contact usContact usFrequently asked questionsFrequently asked questions

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