Creative Sustainability Master’s Degree Programme

The international Master’s Degree Programme in Creative Sustainability (CS) is a joint master’s degree programme of the School of Arts, Design and Architecture, the School of Business and the School of Engineering. The Creative Sustainability programme provides a multidisciplinary learning platform in the fields of architecture, built environment, business and design

In a nutshell

Who can apply? Anyone with a suitable bachelor’s degree or the equivalent experience in architecture, urban planning, real estate, land management, civil engineering, business administration, economics, social sciences, law, or design.
How long do I study? It takes two years to complete the master’s degree.
How many credits are required? You are expected to complete 120 ECTS credits according to the degree requirements of your school at Aalto. See the structure of studies for your particular background here.
Which degree will I receive? You will graduate with a Master of Arts, a Master of Science in Architecture or Landscape Planning, a Master of Science in Technology or a Master of Science in Economics degree, depending on the route you take.
Language English

Why Study Sustainability?

The major development challenges of sustainability include climate change, global poverty, social and economic inequality, population growth and demographic changes. The global and local challenges and the complexity of future scenarios increasingly require a multidisciplinary approach as well as education that can address the linkages between the environmental, the economic and the socio-cultural. Higher education and research have thus become essential to the search for sustainable solutions in society.

Multidisciplinary Approaches to Sustainability

The Master´s Degree Programme in Creative Sustainability brings together students from different fields to study in multidisciplinary teams, increasing their understanding of different disciplines and enabling holistic approaches. This activates students to create new sustainable solutions for the human, urban, industrial and business environment. The pedagogical approach is based on integrating teaching and research, problem-based and blended learning and a strong connection to practical outcomes.

Beyond multidisciplinarity, a response to the environmental, social and economic challenges also requires cross-cultural understanding and cooperation on a global level. The Creative Sustainability programme is a learning environment that is genuinely international: to date it has been the programme of choice for students of 54 different countries from all over the world. Thanks to this fact, the CS learning experience takes place in a diverse, while like-minded supportive group of highly-motivated students and faculty.

The nationalities of CS students between the years 2010-2017 (orange)

Career Prospects

Creative Sustainability studies prepare students to work as sustainability experts in organisations that have a strategic view of the transformation towards sustainability. These include the private and public sectors as well as a wide range of NGOs.

CS graduates work as experts for leading consultancy companies, they are involved in planning, developing and maintaining the infrastructure of cities and municipalities, they participate in sustainability research development supported by governmental innovation funds, advance solutions for societal problems through working at NGOs and think-tanks, and aspire to change the world by establishing their own sustainability-oriented enterprises.

Some of the positions of recent CS graduates include: Designer for Social Innovation, Architect, Sustainability Consultant, Designer, CEO, Entrepreneur, Analyst and Developer of Circular Waste Services, Designer for Government, Research Assistant, Project Coordinator.

Professional orientation – Where do you want to work?
CS Professional Orientation
Learning outcomes

Multidisciplinary approach: Students learn to adapt knowledge, skills and new approaches to reach collaborative solutions based on ecological, economic and socio-cultural sustainability.
Systems approach: Students learn to use systemic thinking to problem-solve and create new holistic understandings of complex situations and the critical infrastructures of society. The emphasis is on global awareness within the context of local communities and having a combined influence on different aspects of sustainability simultaneously.
Design thinking: Students learn to apply creative problem-solving tools and methods to facilitate dialogue, define problems, generate ideas and attain solutions.
Sustainability management: Students learn to develop, support and manage sustainability initiatives for society at large, for business purposes and the needs of other organisations. Students also gain an understanding of the way different organisational forms and work practices can support the pursuit of sustainability.
Project management: Students learn to manage multidisciplinary teamwork, and to promote sustainability in culturally diverse organisational environments.

The studies include

  • Compulsory joint CS studies: the compulsory core studies that all CS master’s students of the four departments study together
  • Compulsory departmental studies: the compulsory studies within the student’s own department
  • Alternative CS studies: studies available to CS master’s students from any of the four departments
  • Elective studies: minor studies or courses in other programmes at Aalto University or other Finnish universities, international student exchange programme, internship, or courses from Alternative CS course list

Why Study Sustainability in Finland?

The high quality of Finnish education has been recognised worldwide on numerous occasions. Thanks to the non-hierarchical culture and liberal values of Finnish education, students in Finland get to work with governmental officials, dynamic non-profits and fast-developing companies on projects related to sustainability, development and innovation. Such experiences provide future graduates with valuable training, skills and a winning CV work history.

Why Study Sustainability at Aalto?

Aalto is a dynamic Finnish university that takes pride in its innovative and multidisciplinary approach to education and research. It offers a unique opportunity to not only earn a degree in a single field, but to also acquire learning enriched with multidisciplinarity at the intersection of science, design and business. Aalto is committed to identifying and solving societal challenges, while building an innovative future through its strong start-up community.