UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources



Introduction to Sustainable Resources: Challenges and Principles

This module introduces the principal issues surrounding sustainable resources, such as limits to growth, equity and geopolitics. There will be an overnight field trip to give first-hand experience of some of the key issues.

Introduction to Resource Economics and Policy

This module provides a comprehensive understanding of the international supply of key natural resources, and how it’s influenced by economic conditions, economic instruments, policies and governance factors.

Policies for Sustainable Resources 

This module provides a comprehensive overview of how to use policies for managing natural resources in a more sustainable way.  It teaches how to critically analyse existing policies and to develop improvements. 

Tools for Assessing Sustainable Resources

This module introduces some of the key methodological tools for understanding the flow of resources through the economy and assessing the sustainability of resource use. It also looks at the general principles of simulation and optimisation modelling, and gives an overview of modelling frameworks.

Future Resource Pathways and Visions

This module discusses future sustainable resource management strategies and critically examines future pathways and visions. You’ll learn how to use assessment tools to assess the sustainability of different options in order to improve decision-making.


The dissertation project is a key part of the programme. You’ll develop your research question with the course director, lecturers and researchers, and produce a 10,000-word dissertation on a topic related to the main themes of the programme.

International Commodity Trade

This module examines the international trade of commodities from economic, legal and governance perspectives. You’ll use a range of mathematical models in hands-on sessions for analysing international trade flows.

Metrics, Modelling and Visualisation of the Resource Nexus

This module builds on BENVGSR4 to give a more in-depth understanding of designing and building a quantitative model for research. It has a series of hands-on workshops where you’ll learn how to analyse the potential impacts of new technologies, policy changes, market changes, political changes, etc.

Resource Governance and the global south

This research-led module provides the knowledge and tools to critically assess the impacts of resource access, use and management on different social groups in the Global South.

Eco-Innovation, Business and Market Development

This module provides an overview of eco-innovation from a systems perspective. It presents knowledge and tools to assess and understand future market developments, and how businesses can take advantage of these opportunities.

Climate Risks to Hydro-ecological Systems (with UCL Geography)

This module examines how climate change impacts hydrological systems. It considers a range of aquatic ecosystems, including lakes and wetlands, as well as groundwater and glacial environments around the world.

Earth Resources and Sustainability (with UCL Earth Sciences)

This module explores the nature and critical issues of major types of Earth resources – energy, metallic, non-metallic, water, soil – and the impacts that resource usage has on the Earth environment. It covers the same methods as are practised by resource industries.

Additional activities

Throughout the programme you’ll have the chance to develop key employment skills, including:

  • communication skills (written and oral)
  • teamwork
  • breaking down complex problems
  • decision-making under uncertainties
  • intercultural communication
  • working in interdisciplinary environments
  • awareness of the business context