MA Sustainable Leadership Development

Course details

Online application

April 2017 (Ambleside)

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Want to get started as a leader in sustainability? Then you need a course that offers world-class tutors and outstanding learning facilities to help you get the best start. Our tradition of experiential learning in and from nature will help you explore and develop your own leadership for sustainability, as well as design and deliver leadership development experiences for others.

We offer a series of week-long visits to our Ambleside campus, located in the heart of the Lake District, providing an outstanding location to enhance your studies further. You'll engage in discussions with peers striving to be better leaders, and benefit from remarkable guest lecturers who will share their expertise with you. Our highly-flexible course will fit around your working life, allowing you to study at your own pace towards becoming a first rate sustainability leader!

You'll begin with a six day residential in the Lake District, where 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. From there you will choose a range of online and residential modules, which include access to fells, lakes and woodlands.

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

Our internationally renowned team of facilitators and guest speakers offer a wealth of knowledge and experience, which will help you focus on personal, organisational and systemic change. Members of our team include:

  • Professor Jem Bendell
  • Dr David F. Murphy
  • Richard Little (from Impact International)
  • Dr Kate Rawles (from Impact International)
  • Sue Cox
  • Leander Bindewald

Year One

Compulsory modules

  • Sustainable Leadership
  • Independent Study
  • Leadership Development
  • Researching Leadership, Progress and Change
  • Sustainable Leadership Development Dissertation

Optional modules (subject to availability and demand)

  • Sustainable Exchange
  • Theoretical Perspectives of Outdoor and Experiential Learning
  • The Reflective Practitioner
  • Facilitation and Dialogue
  • Leadership and Democracy

Programme specification

For a detailed summary of all course content please read our programme specification for this course.

Download the programme specification (PDF)

Selection criteria

The Institute for Leadership and Sustainability (IFLAS) of the University of Cumbria Business School (UCBS), to which your programme of study 'belongs', aims to challenge and stretch you whilst simultaneously developing your leadership skills and ability to effectively challenge ethical, cultural and value norms. We will support, guide and encourage you through a successful learner journey that will start even before you arrive on campus and continues long after you graduate. For your award:

  • Each module will require pre-reading and engagement with course materials. These will be sent to you a month before the residential block delivery week.
  • The block programme will engage in peer to peer student interaction as well as lectures, seminars and workshops led by experts in their field
  • Each module will require you to prepare and present materials to a wide audience that includes employers, academics, fellow students and tutors
  • Experiential learning will be encouraged and challenged through engagement with the cultural history and environs of the Lake District
  • Group and team work will be mandatory for some modules in order to ensure the opportunity to practice team and leaderships skills, however this will be limited to contributions on the residential blocks only
  • Post block study will include engagement with blogs and wikis via the university's virtual online learning environment, 'BlackBoard'

Making your application

Applications should be made online directly to the university - visit our website or contact for details and guidance. There is no official closing date but we would encourage you to apply as early as possible, as many courses are competitive.

What makes a good application?

We consider all aspects of your application, not simply your qualifications and grades. We look at your academic background and performance, relevant experience (particularly for professional courses where some voluntary or paid experience is required) and your reference. Above all, we look for motivation, commitment and potential - evidence that you can benefit from study at higher education level.

Make sure you include:

  • Relevant qualifications/evidence of ability: check our website for the specific entry requirements required for each course. Tell us your previous academic results and your projected grades.
  • A supportive reference, from an employer or your school or college.
  • A good personal statement.

Explain clearly what attracts you to the course and tell us about your wider interests and experience. If you are applying for a course that incorporates professional training and placements, you should include any relevant experience or visits you have made in the workplace. Highlight your individual strengths and qualities, personal skills, capacity for teamwork, contribution to the community and your enterprise, originality and determination. Select some activities which bring out these qualities.

What next?

When we receive your application, we will send you an acknowledgement and if you are successful at this stage you will get either an offer (with an invitation to visit the campus to which you have applied), or an invitation to interview on a particular date. If we are not able to offer you a place on your chosen course we will usually try to offer you a place on a similar course and will contact you to discuss this. Alternatively, if we think you are suitable, but cannot offer you a place on your preferred campus because of the level of competition, we will offer you a place at another campus if one is available.

And if I accept?

The admissions team will contact you and send further information from February onwards about accommodation, and from May/June onwards about preparing to join the university. If you have any other queries, please telephone the admissions offices for information and advice on 0845 6061144.

Deferred entry

We welcome applications for deferred entry on some courses. If you have specific plans during your year out, indicate these on your personal statement as they may be relevant to your course and could enhance your application.

International students

Please see the international pages of our website for full details of our entry requirements (including English-language skills) as well as contacts for advice and support.

From 2009 the UK Border Agency introduced a Points-Based Immigration System (PBS) for students coming to the UK from outside the European Economic Area (EEA).

Students entering higher education will need to obtain a Confirmation of Acceptance (CAS) plus finance confirmation to obtain a Tier 4 student visa.

UK education providers are licensed by the UK Border Agency. When students apply for their visa (or entry clearance) they will need a valid Certificate of Acceptance of Studies from the university. Please note that a CAS is not a guarantee that a visa will be issued.

See the following websites for further details:

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

Management and leadership development is a major international industry, which can lead to working within large organisations, consulting firms or as a freelancer.

The two residential modules can be taken within the beautiful landscapes of the Lake District, with visits to important historical sites and outdoor locations inside England's largest national park. You may also choose to visit our campus on the edge of London's Docklands, the financial centre, for the residential module on the sharing economy and currency innovation.

Online reading resources, as well as library facilities, will support the in-person teaching methods. You will interact with your tutors and fellow students to enhance your education.

For more information, contact the Institute for Leadership and Sustainability at