UCL Graduate degrees


Sustainable Resources: Economics, Policy and Transitions MSc

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. Students are equipped with the skills and knowledge to drive change and become the sustainability leaders of tomorrow.

Key information

Programme starts

September 2021

Modes and duration

Full time: 1 year
Flexible: 2-5 years

Full-time students study for 37.5 hours per week during term time. Flexible students normally attend half this amount. Typically, lectures and seminars occur on two days per week.

Application dates

Full-time applicants
Open: 9 November 2020
Close: 31 May 2021
Close: 31 May 2021
Applications may close earlier if all places on the programme are filled.

Tuition fees (2021/22)

£14,300 (FT)
£28,500 (FT)

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

Location: London, Bloomsbury

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).

English language requirements

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.

The English language level for this programme is: Standard

Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English

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. International Preparation Courses

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

International students

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.

Select your country:

About this degree

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. 


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

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of five core modules (75 credits), three optional modules (45 credits) and a dissertation project (60 credits).

Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded a MSc in Sustainable Resources: Economics, Policy and Transitions.

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 is subject to change.

Compulsory modules

  • Introduction to Sustainable Resources: Challenges and Principles (15 credits)
  • Introduction to Resource Economics and Policy (15 credits)
  • Policies for Sustainable Resources (15 credits)
  • Tools for Assessing Sustainable Resources (15 credits)
  • Future Resource Pathways and Visions (15 credits)

Optional modules

  • UK Energy and Environment Policy and Law (15 credits)
  • Energy, Technology and Innovation (15 credits)
  • Energy, People and Behaviour (15 credits)
  • Industrial Symbiosis (15 credits)
  • International Commodity Trade (15 credits)
  • Metrics, Modelling and Visualisation of the Resource Nexus (15 credits)
  • Resource Governance and the Global South (15 credits)
  • Environmental and Social Sustainability Risk Management in Natural Resource Projects (15 credits)
  • Life Cycle Assessment (15 credits)
  • Climate Change Impacts to Hydro-Ecological Systems (15 credits)
  • Earth Resources and Sustainability (15 credits)

All optional modules are offered subject to availability.


All students undertake an independent original research project, which culminates in a dissertation of 10,000 words (60 credits).


A residential field trip and visits to companies offer valuable first-hand experience of some of the issues surrounding sustainable resources and circular economy. There will be no additional costs to students for this trip.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, project group work and presentations from visiting speakers from a range of businesses and other organisations. Hands-on workshops will provide opportunities for practical development and the implementation of programme content. Assessment is through examination, assessed coursework, group work and a dissertation.

Additional costs

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 bseer-studentqueries@ucl.ac.uk.

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


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble accessable.co.uk. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.


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

Additional funding available from our Faculty is advertised on The Bartlett’s scholarships page.

Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed below.

Bartlett Promise Scholarship - Master's

Deadline: 31 May 2021
Tuition fees plus £15,364 maintenance/yr (Duration of programme)
Based on financial need

Lamport Hall Preservation Trust Scholarship

Deadline: 16 July 2021
Up to £10,000 (Duration of programme)
Based on both academic merit and financial need

GREAT Scholarships for a Sustainable Future

Deadline: 5pm (BST), Thursday 21 April 2021
£10,000 (1 year)
Based on both academic merit and financial need

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


This Master’s equips you for challenging, rewarding and socially beneficial employment in a wide range of sectors concerned with economy-resource-environment interactions. This includes business, national and local government, NGOs and global organisations. We hold a careers event where you will hear from potential employers from a variety of organisations, showing the breadth of opportunities available.


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 technically competent in the application of a range of methods, models and concepts including the Resource Nexus, material flow analysis, life cycle analysis, footprints, econometrics, macro-economics, water-energy-food modelling, behavioural economics, foresight and scenario techniques.

You will 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.

Why study this degree at UCL?

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. Discussions on environmental justice and ethics recur 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.  

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

The programme also offers excellent opportunities for networking with key figures of academia, government and industry. The residential field trip offers a valuable experience and interesting visits to companies and a unique opportunity to strengthen student-staff interaction. Regular seminars are held across UCL including monthly lecture put on by the Institute for Sustainable Resources.

Students become members of the Sustainable Resources: Economics, Policy and Transitions MSc alumni network and will be invited to attend alumni events and benefit from additional networking opportunities with fellow students.

As you student benefit from:

  • A world leading, multidisciplinary learning environment
  • A residential field trip and site visits that give a valuable experience of your studies in practice
  • Our long-standing established relationships with industry, policy makers and academia
  • Extra-curricular seminars and events with key thinkers in the field
  • Our extensive alumni network, now within many significant organisations across the globe, who attend networking events in our Institute
  • 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

Department: Bartlett School of Environment, Energy & Resources

Application and 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.

This programme requires two references. Further information regarding references can be found in our How to apply section.

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: ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/taught/application.

Who can apply?

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

Application deadlines

Full-time applicants
31 May 2021
31 May 2021

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now

What are we looking for?

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.

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.

Page last modified on 28 August 2021