Be part of the solution for a sustainable future! The future needs sustainable solutions to societal challenges. This programme offers holistic solutions to societal problems by crossing disciplinary boundaries. Climate change, natural resource exploitation, increasing energy demand and inequality are some examples in focus. The master’s programme allows you to explore the complexity of creating sustainable societies in alignment with the global Sustainable Development Goals.

Science for Sustainable Development, Master's programme - First and main admission round

Autumn 2024 / Full-time / Linköping

Closed for late application

Science for Sustainable Development, Master's programme - Second admission round (open only for Swedish/EU students)

Autumn 2024 / Full-time / Linköping

Closed for late application
The master’s programme allows you to explore the complexity of creating sustainable societies in alignment with the principles of sustainable development and Agenda 2030. The programme addresses global environmental changes and societal transformations. It will challenge you to undertake critical analysis of present and future environmental concerns, apply scientific knowledge across academic disciplines, and develop interdisciplinary competence. Your training will enable you to develop skills to interpret, design, communicate, and implement solutions to sustainability and environmental challenges, which will be indispensable for your future career as a sustainable development expert.      

Core courses

The core courses give you a wide perspective on societal challenges, and at the same time, provide opportunities to deepen your theoretical knowledge and practical skills on specific scientific fields. Field trips, laboratory and GIS exercises, spatial analysis in the Norrköping Decision Arena, role-play activities, study visits to authorities and businesses in the environmentally progressive Östergötland province are just some of the ways in which you will learn about sustainable solutions in practice. You will have the opportunity to undertake internships at businesses, organisations or research institutes in Sweden or abroad and develop skills in multidisciplinary research together with our teaching staff. LiU offers a unique interdisciplinary perspective on sustainability to bridge academic disciplines and acquire diverse expertise. Our teaching profile is integrated with advanced research in sustainable development and environmental sciences and researchers at our institute will guide you individually to design, plan and perform your master’s thesis project.

Syllabus and course details

The programme runs over two years and encompasses 120 credits, including a thesis.

Semester 1

The focus of this semester is on environmental challenges and how sustainability science can address them. The changing earth system and environmental policy and governance are central themes.

Semester 2

This semester focuses on novel theories and analytical approaches to climate change, sustainability transformation and sustainable resource management. The course designing environmental studies in sustainable development lays the foundation for the students’ theses as well as their future professional work.

Semester 3

This semester is devoted to specialisation courses, where we offer a range of options to deepen the students’ knowledge and skills in, for example, visualising sustainability challenges and urban sustainability. We also have courses where students work closely with senior teaching staff to train specific research skills. 

Students can also perform an internship in Sweden or abroad where they carry out a specific task which links to the activities of the chosen organisation and the students’ future professional interests. Besides these courses there are also possibilities for students to study at other universities in Sweden or abroad.

Semester 4

In the final semester students write their master’s thesis. They carry out their thesis work, including research methods and analysis, in consultation with a thesis supervisor and the programme coordinator. 

Further information

A detailed syllabus, curriculum, and information on the courses you may take can be found in our study information database via the link below. Entry requirements and tuition information can be found by selecting the drop-down ”Admission requirements” available under the Autumn 2024 tab.



This webinar covers the programme structure, the master’s thesis, examination forms, job opportunities, related research, and what it’s like to live in Sweden.

About the programme

MSc Science for Sustainable development - Laboratory work, GIS exercises, spatial analysis, interview workshops and political negotiation role-plays are just some of the ways through which you will learn how to tackle real world problems.

Meet Mary

Meet our international student Mary and hear what she has to say about the programme and life in Sweden.

Career opportunities

Sustainability issues bridge academic disciplines and require diverse expertise. Few universities offer the broad interdisciplinary perspective in environmental sciences as LiU does, with teachers from academic backgrounds ranging from the humanities and social sciences to natural sciences and engineering. 

The programme provides a strong basis for a career related to sustainable development and environmental sciences. Our graduates have positions in research institutes, universities, environmental organisations, businesses, NGOs, river basin commissions, consultancies, power companies, intergovernmental environmental agencies, and PhD programmes around the globe.

Alumni insights

Learning environment

Our programme contains the following characteristics:

  • Unique environment: We are one of few universities to offer a broad interdisciplinary perspective of environmental sciences, from humanities to social- and natural sciences. Courses are designed in close dialogue with potential employers as well as students to ensure that the contents address current environmental problems and future challenges.

  • Strong research links: The connection between the programme and research is strong, as all teachers engage in environmental and sustainability research. This ensures teaching of the latest theoretical and methodological knowledge and research findings.

  • High-quality teaching: The teachers continuously work on improving the quality of their courses according to student feedback and discussions with student representatives in the programme Council.

  • High teacher-student ratio: This high ratio ensures rapid and personal feedback from teachers, close interaction between teachers and students and student-active learning.
  • Strong professional links: Through casework and learning activities, students engage with individuals in nearby environmental authorities and research institutes and concretely work with real-world problems and societally relevant issues. 

  • Problem-based activities: Students acquire a broad set of competencies throughout the programme. They also have opportunity to specialise in social sciences, natural sciences or humanities. A vast majority of our students have an environment-relevant job or continue within academia within one year of graduation. 

  • Student-centred/active learning: Student-centred learning activities include exercises in the Norrköping Decision Arena that makes use of visualisation as a strong tool for interaction and decision-making, role-play where students represent organisations with different perspectives and interests in actual issues, and various types of communication techniques.



The Master’s degree Science for Sustainable Development provides candidates with the opportunity to broaden their academic and research experience through research collaborations at Linköping University.

The Department of Thematic Studies - Environmental Change is also known as conducts research, doctoral studies and undergraduate education on current environmental challenges and the changing nature of the environmental condition. Research and education focuses on the impact that society and the individual have on nature.

Tema M builds on the strong tradition of interdisciplinary environmental studies that have permeated the division of Water and Environmental Studies (Tema V) since 1980 and the Centre for Climate Science and Policy Research (CSPR) since 2004. Tema M further develop and profile these studies in relation to contemporary environmental science and environmental policy development. Current research is conducted within and between these interdisciplinary long-term focus areas.

Centre for Climate Science and Policy Research (CSPR) has rapidly established itself as a prominent reference point for studies related to climate science and policy research. The research is interdisciplinary and puts problems related to climate change in context with other measures for sustainable development, such as limiting environmental impact and responsible management of natural resources.

Application & admission

Contact us