Masters in Sustainability and Responsibility - FAQs

Masters in Sustainability and Responsibility


Expand Content Collapse Content

Is there a typical profile for people who apply?

There is no typical class profile for people who apply to this programme, although the programme is aimed at participants with significant work experience rather than at recent graduates. Some people join because they are looking for new ideas or a new direction, others may have jobs involving sustainability and responsibility, while some join the programme out of pure interest in the area. This programme is suitable for people at all levels of an organisation, whether their role directly involves sustainability or not.

What level of English is required?

Participants must demonstrate their ability to study in English at Masters level. All programmes are delivered in, and assessed in, English. You need English language proficiency sufficient for a Masters-level programme, for example, already having a degree which was taught and assessed in English and/or significant professional experience of using spoken and written English. Candidates may be asked to satisfy IELTS/TOEFL standards (minimum spoken and written scores of IELTS 7.0 or TOEFL IBT 100 or Pearson Test of English Academic 60).

Do I need an undergraduate degree?

Although participants usually hold a first degree or equivalent, applicants with significant professional experience and no undergraduate degree will also be considered.

Are there other requirements I should think about before applying?

The programme is anchored in practice and you will be expected to reflect on and explore your own organisational, community or professional activities between workshops. You will therefore need to demonstrate that you can provide settings in which such exploration can take place. The style of the course is also highly participative. You need to be willing to share your ideas, concerns and experiences with others, and to be open to feedback from both tutors and fellow participants.

How can I be sure the programme is right for me?

Open Days can be an excellent opportunity to find out more about the programme and if it is right for you. Alternatively, there are always opportunities for prospective participants to meet the programme director and faculty on a one-to-one basis, in person or by phone. To arrange an individual visit, please contact MSc Admissions, by calling: +44 (0)1442 841202 or email the

You can also watch participant insights and workshop diaries to help you decide whether this programme is right for you.

We often put potential applicants in touch with current and former participants, who can tell you about their experience of doing the course. If you are interested, please contact MSc Admissions for more details.


Expand Content Collapse Content

What is the deadline for the application?

It is advisable to apply at least eight weeks before your planned programme start date, although there is no official deadline for applications. Offers of admission are made on a rolling basis, i.e. for the next available start date, unless a later date has been requested. As it is not possible to admit participants to any stage of the programme once it has started, we advise you to apply early to avoid disappointment.

What is the application process?

The application process is comprised of three main parts:

  • Submission of a completed application form
  • Submission of two referees
  • An interview, where applicants are invited to come to Ashridge and meet the Programme Directors. For overseas applicants who may find it hard to come to Ashridge, we suggest attendance at a webinar and two telephone interviews with different members of the faculty team.

What is the application process?

The application form can be found here

Do I need to attend a webinar or open day before applying?

We would strongly suggest that you attend an open day or webinar if you are planning on submitting an application, or alternatively you could speak to two members of the faculty team. This will help you with a successful application, as well as ensuring that the programme is right for you.

How long before you decide on my application?

Following the receipt of your application, you will receive notification of the decision made or a request for further information within 20 working days. The receipt of your application will be acknowledged by email.

Do I need test results for the admissions process?

Candidates may be asked to submit satisfactory IELTS/TOEFL results (minimum spoken and written scores of IELTS 7.0 or TOEFL IBT 100 or Pearson Test of English Academic 60). As part of the application process, you should provide electronic or physical copies of all degree and professional certificates that you cite in your application form.


Expand Content Collapse Content

How long is the programme?

This programme is studied part-time over two years and is based around a series of eight intensive and highly participative workshops, each of five days' duration.

How much time do you recommend for self-study?

This programme is designed for people in full-time work, who often have families too, meaning the workload is manageable. On average, one evening a week and half a day at the weekend would be sufficient self-study time to pass this programme. Depending on your job, you may find that this is evenly spread out over time, or that you have some weeks with more concentrated study periods than others.

Is the reading list available?

The reading list is constantly changing to keep up to date with developments in the field and also in response to specific workshop designs. A sample of core reading is available to view here.

What are the programme workshop dates?

A full list of the workshop dates for the programme can be found here.

Do the workshops need to be taken sequentially? Would I be able to join the programme at any point after it has started?

Yes, this programme’s workshops do need to be taken sequentially. Unfortunately, it is not possible to join the programme at any point in the two years after it has begun. Therefore, we advise you to apply early for your preferred programme to avoid disappointment.

Can any of the workshops be attended virtually?

Currently, the workshops for this programme are not available to be attended virtually. In exceptional circumstances, and with the approval of the Programme Directors, it may be possible to attend some sessions remotely if you are unable to attend a particular workshop.


Expand Content Collapse Content

How will I be assessed?

At the end of the first year, you will submit a portfolio of the work you have done during the year, consisting of three learning papers and a review of your learning during the first year. One learning paper draft will be written after each workshop, and you will submit your draft papers to your learning group and tutor to gain feedback and comments on them before the final submission of your portfolio. In your second year, you will complete three short papers and a Learning Review. These papers will be focused around your second year project, and will consist of a project proposal paper, a literature review, and a learning paper which focuses on an aspect of your enquiry and current approach to Action Research. Your second year project is a chance for you to have a sustained period of reading, trying things out and reflecting around an area that is of personal interest. There are no set titles or prescribed templates, and we work closely with participants throughout the programme to refine what their project is about. It will be assessed through a Project Report submitted at the end of the year.

Are there any exams?

There are no exams or set essay titles: each participant devises the topic of the required assignments to suit their interests and context, in discussion with their tutor and learning group.

Who awards my degree?

In 2008, Ashridge obtained degree-awarding powers, enabling us to award our own academic qualifications similar to universities.

After the programme

Expand Content Collapse Content

What jobs do people have after this programme?

Most people who start this programme are in full-time employment, but some may change jobs or use their knowledge from the programme to change the way they work. Past participants have used what the programme gives them in different ways, and you can choose how to use your new knowledge in the way that best suits you. For examples of what some graduates are doing, please see Marshall, Coleman and Reason (2011) Leadership for Sustainability, Greenleaf Publishing.

What is offered for the alumni of this programme?

There is a very strong and active network of Alumni for this programme, which you become part of as soon as you join the programme. This network has frequent discussions online on topical areas, and is a place where you can ask for help and advice, examples of best practice etc., both during or after the programme. Ashridge Alumni also benefit from:

  • Invitations to networking, research and social events – held at Ashridge, London, various international locations and virtually through webinars
  • Access to the various Ashridge Alumni LinkedIn groups
  • The Ashridge e-newsletter containing our latest news, research and events
  • An electronic copy of 360º - the Ashridge Learning and Development journal, twice a year
  • Discounted offers from selected third party organisations

Full details can be found on our Alumni Network page.


Expand Content Collapse Content

How much will the masters in Sustainability and Responsibility cost?

The programme fee for the Masters in Sustainability and Responsibility is £16,000. This is exclusive of VAT and accommodation costs.

Are there any bursaries available?

A limited number of partial bursaries are available, up to a maximum of 50% of programme fees, to applicants who are unable to meet the full costs independently and whose participation will increase the overall diversity of the group.

How do I apply for a bursary?

Anyone wishing to apply for a bursary should first apply for the programme and come for an open day and interview. Once accepted on the programme you can then complete a bursary application.

How can I convince my employer to sponsor me for this programme? What benefits will there be for my employer?

If you wish to seek employer sponsorship, we provide a downloadable business case to give your employer insight into how the programme can be beneficial to the development of yourself and the organisation you work for. Some of the key benefits of the programme are outlined below:

  • This high quality programme is run by the triple-accredited, top ranked Ashridge Business School
  • Assessments are based on learning papers, in which participants explore and test aspects of the modules that have particular relevance or interest for them. The organisation will benefit from these papers* as they are linked back to their current practice and ideas that they could present in their work. These committed ‘internal consultants’, can help improve processes, save money, increase efficiency or highlight and tackle organisational problems.
  • Participants will emerge from the programme being able to embrace the sustainability challenge in their organisation. With an expanded view of leadership, they will be able to adapt to continually changing dynamics of business and help generate solutions for a more sustainable future
  • Investment in staff increases their loyalty, retention rates and motivation, as well as helping the business to remain competitive
  • Participants will learn and share knowledge and experiences with fellow international programme participants from a diverse range of industry sectors.

* Organisational information is treated in the strictest confidence. Participants can request that all their assignments and dissertations are treated as confidential and have the option of changing all significant details to make the organisational unidentifiable