Sustainable Resources: Economics, Policy and Transitions MSc

London, Bloomsbury

In the face of global environmental challenges, societies, businesses and policymakers alike need to rethink how we can use our natural resources sustainably. UCL's Sustainable Resources: Economics, Policy and Transitions MSc investigates the circular economy, resource efficiency and sustainable resource management. You will be equipped with the skills and knowledge to drive change and become the sustainability leaders of tomorrow.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2024/25)
Programme also available on a modular (flexible) basis.
Overseas tuition fees (2024/25)
Programme also available on a modular (flexible) basis.
1 academic year
2 academic years
5 academic years
Programme starts
September 2024
Applications accepted
Applicants who require a visa: 16 Oct 2023 – 31 May 2024
Applications close at 5pm UK time

Applications open

Applicants who do not require a visa: 16 Oct 2023 – 31 May 2024
Applications close at 5pm UK time

Applications open

Entry requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard in an appropriate subject (earth science, economics, political sciences, geography, physical sciences, law, engineering or related subject. These requirements may be relaxed for students who can demonstrate considerable and relevant aptitude and experience, for example, in business or government. Please clearly state in your personal statement how your educational or employment background (including any internships or projects) relates to the programme and what you aim to achieve through your studies.

The English language level for this programme is: Level 2

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level.

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

Equivalent qualifications

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

About this degree

Dramatically rising and unsustainable resource use is one of the key challenges of the 21st century, with potential negative consequences such as ecosystem collapses, resource scarcities and political instability. The Sustainable Resources MSc will give you the tools to work towards more efficient, circular, equitable and sustainable resource use.

Our curriculum reflects the global, multi-dimensional nature of understanding resources. You will gain in-depth knowledge on the environmental, social and economic aspects of resource management and governance from both public policy and business perspectives learning from leading experts in the field. 

You will study a combination of innovative approaches about the sustainable management of resources, including: 

  • Resource efficiency
  • Circular economy
  • The resource nexus 
  • Sustainable supply chain management

Who this course is for

You should have a minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard in a comparatively quantitative subject (for example economics, engineering, natural sciences physical sciences, geography). Alternatively, you may have non-quantitative background such as law, business studies or other related subjects. If so, you will need to demonstrate an aptitude for quantitative methods and be prepared to work on this prior to the start of the programme. Some advance reading will be provided.

What this course will give you

We offer a novel interdisciplinary understanding of resources with contributions spanning economics, political science, engineering, natural sciences, business studies, and sociology.

You will study important aspects of sustainability such as resource efficiency, renewable energy but also non-renewable fuels, societal transitions (particularly in the Global South), international relations and international political economy, and eco-innovation, with discussions on environmental justice and ethics recurring throughout. All these aspects form the basis for a systemic approach to the complex elements that shape resource consumption and patterns of use. You will also gain an understanding of planetary boundaries, the role of people and governments and new approaches such as the resource nexus and the circular economy.

Students become members of the Sustainable Resources: Economics, Policy and Transitions MSc alumni network and benefit from networking opportunities with students across cohorts

As you student benefit from:

  • A world leading, multidisciplinary learning environment
  • Our long-standing established relationships with key figures in industry, policy makers and academia
  • Extra-curricular events with key thinkers in the field
  • Our extensive alumni network, now within many significant organisations across the globe
  • Studying in London - a city full of culture, at the heart of the UK's government and industry
  • An inclusive environment that promotes global citizenship, and an ethos of equality and diversity

The foundation of your career

Our alumni work in a broad range of sustainability-related career roles; some examples include ESG Consultant, Strategy Consultant, EV Consultant, Research Analyst, Innovation Officer, Environmental Economist, Environmental Scientist, Specialist in Environmental Law, Business Development Lead, and Policy & Public Affairs Officer. 

Notable organisations where our graduates work include Apple, PwC, SMBC, Deloitte, Veolia, Natural Capital, The Carbon Trust, Shell, and Oxford City Council. Some of our graduates also go on to pursue further study and PhD research, for example in the areas of circular economy or critical minerals, using the academic networks from the MSc course. 

Alumni views

“The Sustainable Resources MSc was helpful in developing a systems thinking approach to different sustainability challenges, a crucial skill for any professional in the field to find impactful solutions to the complex and interconnected reality of climate change."  Gregorio Giorgi, Sustainable Resources: Economics Policy and Transitions MSc Alumnus, Associate at the Carbon Trust

Read more student and alumni views ►


On graduation you should possess a sound understanding of the key challenges surrounding sustainable resource use, supply and demand drivers and future strategies for global resource management.

You should be knowledgeable about a range of methods, models and concepts including the Resource Nexus, material flow analysis, life cycle analysis, footprints, macro-economics, policy mixes, foresight and scenario techniques and – depending on the choice of optional modules – water-energy-food modelling and behavioural economics.

You will also develop key skills valuable for future employment, including communication skills, teamwork, breaking down complex problems, decision-making under uncertainty, intercultural communication, working in interdisciplinary environments and awareness of the business context.


We offer an array of networking opportunities that foster invaluable connections for our students. Most of the modules on this programme work with industry guest speakers, leaders and experts, with whom students can build connections. During the dissertation module, students will have the opportunity to work with members of the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources, and benefit from their industry contacts and network. Our Institute’s strong connections to industry ensure that students gain real-world insights, and potential career pathways.

We also run alumni events where current and past students can connect and develop potential collaborations. Your peers also represent an international and interdisciplinary network of like-minded professionals interested in sustainability and resource efficiency. Studying in London further enhances networking prospects as the city serves as a hub for numerous industry events, conferences and seminars. This multifaceted approach to networking equips our students with the skills and connections needed to thrive in the field of sustainable resources.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of techniques: Lectures provide foundational knowledge and expert insights including presentations from visiting speakers, whilst seminars and tutorials encourage active participation and critical discussion among peers, enhancing analytical skills and deepening understanding. These contexts also include collaborative group projects promoting team work and practical application, case study analysis and workshops to analyse complex issues and develop problem-solving abilities. We use an online platform for sharing resources for preparation and revision, and recording lectures where possible.

Assessment is through written examination, assessed written coursework, group work including class presentations, and a dissertation.

In terms 1 and 2 full time students can typically expect between 8 and 15 contact hours per teaching week. The remainder of the 37.5 full time hours should be dedicated towards self-directed study. In term 3 students should be in regular contact with their dissertation supervisors and otherwise work independently on their dissertations.


Full-time students study for 37.5 hours per week during term time.
They take four core modules in term 1, followed by one core module and three optional modules in term 2. The dissertation module runs across terms 1 and 2. In term 3 students work on their dissertation.

In their first-year part time students take two modules in terms 1 and 2. In their second year they take two modules in term 1, two modules in term 2, and complete their dissertation research in term 3.

Flexible students can spread out their studies over two to five years.

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability are subject to change. Modules that are in use for the current academic year are linked for further information. Where no link is present, further information is not yet available.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded an MSc in Sustainable Resources: Economics, Policy and Transitions.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support and Wellbeing team.

Online - Open day

Graduate Open Events: UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources

Whether your ambition is to design better buildings, plan better cities, build sustainable communities or help meet the challenge of climate change, The Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment could be a big step towards it. Join this session to learn about the master's courses offered by the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources: Sustainable Resources: Economics, Policy and Transitions MSc, Economics and Policy of Energy and the Environment MSc and Business and Sustainability MSc.

Online - Open day

Graduate Open Events: Environmental Design and Engineering

Whether your ambition is to design better buildings, plan better cities, build sustainable communities or help meet the challenge of climate change, The Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment could be a big step towards it. Find out more about our courses within the Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering: Health Wellbeing and Sustainable Buildings MSc, Light and Lighting MSc, Environmental Design and Engineering MSc, Smart Buildings and Digital Engineering MSc.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2024/25) £19,300 £9,650
Tuition fees (2024/25) £34,400 £17,200

Programme also available on a modular (flexible) basis.

The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Where the programme is offered on a flexible/modular basis, fees are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website:

Additional costs

Students will be expected to pay their travel costs for any site visits in London. There won’t be a charge for any other field trips or site visits which may be offered as optional activities.

If you are concerned by potential additional costs for books, equipment, etc. on this programme, please get in touch with the programme administration team by e-mailing

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Funding your studies

UCL offers a range of financial awards aimed at assisting both prospective and current students with their studies.

In our faculty, The Bartlett Promise Scholarship aims to enable students from underrepresented backgrounds to pursue Master's studies. Please see the UK Master's scholarship and Sub-Saharan Africa Master's scholarship pages for more information on eligibility criteria, selection process and FAQs.

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

Bartlett Promise Sub-Saharan Africa Masters Scholarship

Deadline: 3 April 2024
Value: Fees, stipend and other allowances (Duration of programme)
Criteria Based on financial need
Eligibility: EU, Overseas

Bartlett Promise UK Master's Scholarship

Deadline: 31 May 2024
Value: Tuition fees plus £15,364 maintenance/yr (Duration of programme)
Criteria Based on financial need
Eligibility: UK

Brown Family Bursary

Deadline: 20 June 2024
Value: £15,000 (1 year)
Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial need
Eligibility: UK

Next steps

Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

There is an application processing fee for this programme of £90 for online applications and £115 for paper applications. Further information can be found at Application fees.

When we access your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Sustainable Resources: Economics, Policy and Transitions at graduate level
  • why you want to study Sustainable Resources: Economics, Policy and Transitions at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to the chosen programme
  • how your academic and professional background meets the demands of this challenging programme
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree

Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes (or one application for the Law LLM) in any application cycle.

Choose your programme

Please read the Application Guidance before proceeding with your application.

Year of entry: 2024-2025

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.