We use cookies on this website – more information

Cookies are small text files which are downloaded to your computer or mobile device when you visit a website.


Sustainable Leadership

Ambleside, The Lake District, London
1, 2 year/s
Mode of study:
Full-time, Part-time
Start date:
July 2015
Faculty URL:

Why study with us?


Through our tradition of experiential learning in and from nature, you will explore your approach to leadership for sustainability, in a highly flexible programme that involves a couple of week-long visits to our campus in the heart of the famously beautiful Lake District.

Discussions with peers striving to be sustainable leaders, triggered by remarkable guest lecturers and facilitated by world-class tutors will help you explore the future of your vocation as a sustainable leader.

In a six day residential in the Lake District, starting 10 July, you will be challenged and supported in a highly inter-disciplinary exploration of both sustainability and leadership where orthodoxies will be deconstructed so you can more clearly identify a pathway for your future as a leader of social and organisational change.

You will be guided by a relevant expert to develop and pursue a topic of inquiry as your own independent study, which will form a third of your qualification.

The course involves experts with international reputation in the fields of sustainability and leadership, including:

We believe that our use of experiential learning and nature as a venue and inspiration for postgraduate education towards sustainable leadership is a world first. It is the flagship offering of the new Institute for Leadership and Sustainability (IFLAS) which is fast growing to be a hub for critical sustainability leadership dialogue, research and education.

The first cohort included executive students from Forum for the Future, Earthwatch, Impact International and the Centre for Leadership Performance. Feedback includes:

"This course was profound and life-changing. It has informed my practice, relationships – even my way of being."

"This was the most in-depth, conscious, and profound course I have ever participated in. I was both surprised and delighted at the transformation of my own consciousness that was achieved. I was defining myself as someone out of the box. This course made me realise that there is always a further critical step still."

"This first module has been the most powerful formal education experience of my life. The range of experts, both internal and external, brought a truly inter-disciplinary approach to exploring the challenges of leadership and sustainability. We have been challenged to take action, through imaginative practical assignments that go beyond the usual reading, analysis and regurgitation of academic texts."

"This course has facilitated a great personal transformation in me. Thank you!"

"Exceptional opportunity to engage with and question the debate around leadership and sustainability as instruments for and concepts affecting social change. Prepare to question and be questioned using a wide range of learning methods and environments. Excellent balance of attention to content with process."

"An existential provocation, demanding full emotional engagement within a democratic and nurturing community."

"Be warned: you will leave this course on a path to becoming a different person and hopefully a sustainable leader"

"Challenging, fascinating course that will shake your perspective of sustainability and your role as a leader."

What can this course lead to?

Many organisations now seek senior managers with an understanding of how to lead sectors towards greater sustainability.  Find out more in this article from the Corporate Social Responsibility Newswire.

Graduates can progress to the MA in Sustainable Leadership Development.

Graduates of this PGC course could take the MBA in Leadership and Sustainability (offered online with Robert Kennedy College) without doing the residential Leadership and Sustainability module. 

Resources and facilities

The two residential modules can be taken in the famously beautiful Lake District, hosted by the growing Institute for Leadership and Sustainability.

Residentials include visits to important historical sites and outdoor locations within the Lake District.

One of the residential modules on the sharing economy and currency innovation can be taken in our campus on the edge of London’s Docklands, the financial centre.

Reading resources will be made available online, as well as in our libraries. The teaching is done in person, given the importance of interaction between students and within nature.

The Institute can be contacted at iflas@cumbria.ac.uk


For detailed summary of all course content please read our programme specification for this course (PDF).

Students on the programme complete three modules. Click the links below for more information.

Participants must take:

  • Sustainable Leadership

    The aim of this module is that you examine the nature of leadership for social change which could lead to more socially just and environmentally appropriate societies. You will critically consider your own journey as leader towards sustainable development and engage in debate on how your own values and ethics can impact on organisational change.

  • Independent Study

    The aim of this module is to enable you to select a topic which you study independently to further your personal and professional development; you will use initiative and resourcefulness to formulate problems, locate and manage data or information, interpret experiences, synthesise findings, draw conclusions and present findings in an appropriate way. You will locate and use experiences and literature appropriate to the subject area. The module encourages you to make your own choice of a subject for study to permit the development of individual knowledge and skills and thus stimulate commitment and personal responsibility for learning. It will develop oral and written communication skills as appropriate, increase ability to analyse and be appropriately critical of the work of others.

And choose one from:
  • Experiential Learning

    This module will explore the ideas, theories and models that contribute to and interpret the practices of Experiential Learning. The contribution of leading thinkers, practitioners and organisations will be reviewed. This will develop understanding and application of the psychological and social processes involved and the outcomes to which they contribute. New applications that address emerging issues to which an experiential learning response may be helpful will be explored.

  • The Reflective Practitioner

    The aims of the module are to examine the concept of ‘world views’ and explore their impact upon professional practice. This will include an opportunity to gain a reflexive understanding of your own ‘world views’ and develop of your critical understanding of how this affects practice. Investigations will introduce issues relating to cultural and historical influences on the field and the current environmental, social and economic factors affecting it.

  • Leadership and Democracy

    The aims of the module are to explore the history of leadership theory and current approaches with special reference to the relationship between the idea and practices of leadership and the idea and practices of democracy; also to examine critically and practice methods of group dialogue and decision-making. You will examine your own experience in order to describe and understand the patterns of leadership and democratic process. An important aim is to develop your capacity to reflect upon the ways in which your practice is formed by habits and assumptions that mirror broader patterns of exclusion and to adapt your practice, thus extending your range of options as a group leader.

  • Sustainable Exchange

    The aim of this module is for you to understand why and how to create, scale and evaluate digitally-enabled systems of sustainable exchange. Sustainable exchange includes systems for giving, sharing, renting, exchanging, and funding, with or without official money.

Module dates for 2015/16

Sustainable Leadership (compulsory) Ambleside July 2015
Experiential Learning (optional) Ambleside Oct 2015
Independent Study (compulsory)   Dec 2015
The Reflective Practitioner (optional) Ambleside Jan 2016
Leadership & Democracy (optional) Ambleside Feb 2016
Sustainable Exchange (optional) London April 2016

Entry requirements

See course specific entry requirements listed below.

More information about levels and credits.

Credit and UCAS requirements

Credit: 60 credits

Selection criteria

  • The course is intended for people with professional experience in fields related to sustainable development who seek to develop their leadership capabilities. Therefore, you must be able to demonstrate an interest in taking leadership for sustainable development and may be required to undertake an interview as places are limited.  
  • In line with the University Admissions Policy, it is usual that entrants to this postgraduate award will provide evidence of study to level 6 undergraduate level and have at least two years’ work experience in a management or supervisory category.
  • The University actively encourages applications from of all ages, of any gender, ethnic and/or social background and from students with disabilities.
  • You will be required to evidence English language proficiency standards where UK GCSE examinations in English (or their equivalent) have not been passed. These standards are normally represented by a minimum overall band of 6.0 on the International English Language Testing Service (IELTS) test, with no sub-test band below 5.5, or Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) Internet-based test score of 90/paper-based test score of 575.
  • If studying the part-time option and you need a visa, then you cannot be in the UK on a Student Visa under the Tier 4 regulations.


Home/EU students

The tuition fee for the course is £3,333. This fee is due at the start of the course and may be paid by the student or a sponsor. Find out more about paying your tuition fees.

Alumni discount

Graduates from the University of Cumbria or any of its legacy institutions may be eligible for a 20% fee discount on postgraduate taught courses. This applies to your first postgraduate award to a maximum of 180 credits.

To be eligible, you must be a UK or EU graduate who studied at the University of Cumbria or a legacy institution for more than six months.

Please note that APL charges are not included in the discount.

For more information, please contact the Enquiry Centre.

International students

The tuition fee for the course is £4,000. This fee is due at the start of the course and may be paid by the student or a sponsor.

Find out more about postgraduate fees and funding.

Pay your course fees with Bitcoin

As well as receiving payments for this course in GBP/Sterling, the University is delighted to be able to offer students the chance to pay their tuition fees in Bitcoin.

If you wish to make a payment via this method and your place has been confirmed on this course, click the button below to begin the process. 

If you have any questions, please email andrew.heron@cumbria.ac.uk

Additional contact information

For more information, contact Philippa Chapman, Manager of IFLAS: iflas@cumbria.ac.uk

Course Leader: Dr David F. Murphy

Next steps