Sustainable Development BSc (Hons)

What is special about this course?

This BSc (Hons) Sustainable Development is the ideal course for you if you are interested in helping rural areas to develop  in a way that is sustainable and protects the environment on which our communities depend. 

The course is accredited by the Institute of Economic Development and has a great success rate for graduate employment.  Graduates have gone on to careers in community economic development and managing rural development initiatives as well as working with key agencies.

You will also have the opportunity to take part in residential study weekends, which provide real added value to your overall study experience.

Special features

  • This is an entirely online internationally validated course that you can study from anywhere in the world.
  • The course is accredited by the Institute of Economic Development, giving you membership to this professional body on successful completion.
  • High employability of graduates
  • Two residential weekends each year where you will meet practitioners and other students
  • You can study full time or part time to suit your personal circumstances
  • Individual modules and groups of modules have been developed specifically for continuing professional development (CPD)

(You may also be interested in our BSc (Hons) Geography course)

Entry requirements

  • 3 Scottish highers at grade C or above OR
  • 2 A levels at grade C or above
  • If you have other, relevant academic or professional qualifications, or experience your application will be welcomed and considered individually by the course team 

Year 1 - CertHE

Core modules:

  • Introduction to sustainable development
  • Introduction to global environmental issues
  • Climate, land and people
  • Economics and the state

Optional modules:

  • Introduction to social policy
  • The environment of mountain regions
  • Collecting and analysing data
  • Ecological principles: biodiversity and ID skills

Year 3 - BSc

Core modules:

  • Globalisation and sustainable development
  • Climate change
  • Sustainable tourism and the environment
  • Sustainable agriculture, fisheries and forestry in the EU

Optional modules:

  • Literature review
  • The economics of mountain regions
  • Strategic environmental monitoring
  • Research skills and project

Year 2 - DipHE

Core modules:

  • Economic development policy and theory
  • Empowering communities
  • Local economic development and sustainability
  • Urban-rural divide

Optional modules:

  • Environmental conservation
  • Society and culture in mountain regions
  • Introduction to GIS
  • Field studies

Year 4 - BSc (Hons)

Core modules:

  • Social enterprise and the big society
  • Geo-political development issues

Optional modules:

  • Engaging with external agencies
  • Sustainable energy and waste minimisation
  • Planning for community projects
  • Urban and regional planning
  • Biodiversity management

You must also complete a dissertation.

How will I study my course?

  • You will study through supported online learning using the university's virtual learning environment (VLE)
  • Full-time
  • Part-time (structured)
  • Part-time (unstructured)

You will have support from your tutors via email, Skype and online discussions.  The course is also available for international enrolment.

How long will my course last?

  • Full-time: 4 years @ 40 hours per week
  • Part-time (structured): 8 years @ 20 hours per week
  • Part-time (unstructured): variable

Number of hours per week indicates the total number of hours you should dedicate to the course, which includes time spent in lectures and your own time spent on individual study and research.

How much will my course cost?

For students normally domiciled in Scotland or the European Union/EEA (outside of the UK) and with a term time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

Degrees 2016-17 2017-18*
Full-time (120 credit modules) per year
£1,820 £1,820
Part-time (structured) (3 x 20 credit modules) per year £645 £645
Part-time (unstructured per module) (per 20 credit module) £215 £215

Rest of UK students

For students normally domiciled in the rest of the UK (England, Wales and N. Ireland) and with a term time address in Scotland studying this course full time, the following fees apply:

  2016-17 2017-18
  Level Full-time Full-time
Year 1 CertHE £9,000 p.a. £9,000 p.a.
Year 2 DipHE £9,000 p.a. £9,000 p.a.
Year 3 Degree £9,000 p.a. £9,000 p.a.
Year 4 Honours free** free**

**4th year free only for students studying full-time who have paid for the previous 3 years at the University of the Highlands and Islands.

Part-time (per 20 credit module) - £1,500 (2016-17 and 2017-18).

Fees are payable in advance each academic year unless otherwise agreed.

There are a number of funding options available to UK and EU students to help you pay for your studies and your cost of living whilst studying.

For students normally domiciled in the rest of the UK (England, Wales and N. Ireland) or EU/EEA without a term-time address in Scotland, ie studying from their home country, the following fees apply: 

  2016-17 2017-18
Full-time online per year (120 credit modules) £6,120 £6,120
Part-time online (per 20 credit module)*** £1,020 £1,020

This fee also applied to Scottish students who do not have a term-time address in Scotland

International students

For students who do not normally reside in the UK or European Union and without a term-time address in Scotland, ie studying online from their home country, the following fees apply:

  2016-17 2017-18
Full-time (120 credit modules) per year £6,120 £6,350
Part-time (structured) (3 x 20 credit modules) per year*** £3,060 £3,180
Part-time (unstructured per module) (per 20 credit module)*** £1,020 £1,060

***There is no part-time study option for Tier 4 sponsored international students.

Further information on international course fees.

What funding can I apply for?

External scholarships and financial support may be available. Contact your enrolling college for more information.

What can I do on completion of my course?

Once you have successfully completed your BSc (Hons) Sustainable Development course, you might like to consider careers in:

  • Government departments and agencies such as Scottish Natural Heritage, National Trust, and Highlands and Islands Enterprise
  • European and Economic Development departments of local authorities
  • Community enterprises and community energy groups
  • Community land initiatives
  • Natural and rural heritage organisations
  • Voluntary sector development posts

Can I progress into further study?

Is there more information available online?

You can use the above QR code to connect directly to the course details.

What our students are saying

For my current job role I work in the outdoors, however I didn’t want to complete an outdoor management course as I have other similar professional qualifications, but I did want to study a relevant subject for continuing professional development. This course is perfect, and has opened doors to some new and interesting subjects that I didn’t have prior knowledge of and have turned out to be very relevant to my job.

I have studied previously at Oxford University and through the Open University however I chose to study at the University of the Highlands and Islands because of the course content and how relevant this is to my interests and desired area of study. The fact that I could study online and remotely was a major factor too.

Isobel Oakley, 4th year BSc (Hons) Sustainable Management student enrolled at our Lews Castle College UHI campus.

Apply for Sustainable Development BSc (Hons)

I want to start in Aug/Sep 2017 or Jan/Feb 2018

International applicants should apply using the UHI International application form. Please download and print the form, complete and return using the address indicated. More information is available for international applicants at our international student page

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI). UHI operates a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of gender, age, disability, ethnicity and socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.

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