Master's Programme in Creative Sustainability - Master of Arts


Master of Arts.
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120 ECTS

Field of Study:

Art and Design


2 years, full-time


An appropriate Bachelor´s degree or an equivalent qualification.
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Tuition fees & scholarships:

Yes, for non-EU citizens.
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Language of Instruction:

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Organising school/s:

School of Arts, Design and Architecture

Organising department/s:

Department of Design

Application period:

2017-12-15 - 2018-01-24

The Master's Programme in Creative Sustainability combines business, architecture, built environment, design, and real estate to help you learn how to create new sustainable solutions.

The Master's Programme in Creative Sustainability combines business, architecture, built environment, design, and real estate to help you learn how to create new sustainable solutions.

Programme overview

Creative Sustainability programme (CS) provides a multidisciplinary learning platform in the fields of architecture, built environment, business and design. It allows students to study and develop solutions to global sustainability concerns such as climate change, resource scarcity, global poverty as well as social and economic inequality.

Global and local challenges call for multidisciplinary approaches and the inter-linkage of environmental, economic, socio-cultural aspects in education. CS programme brings together students who are devoted to develop systemic solutions, work in multidisciplinary teams and challenge themselves with practical learning tasks. The studies offer students opportunities to collaborate with research projects, companies, organisations and students from other disciplines.

The International Master’s Programme in Creative Sustainability is a joint master’s degree programme at the School of Arts, Design and Architecture, School of Business and School of Engineering. CS students who entre the programme via department of Design will graduate with degrees of Master of Arts.

Students who enter the CS programme through the department of Design gain knowledge of leading design methods and learn to practice design in new, thriving contexts. They are expected to provide creative input into problem solving in multidisciplinary teams and challenge others with insights which draw on strategic design, co-design and systems thinking.


Learning outcomes

Multidisciplinary approach: Students learn to adapt knowledge, skills and new approaches to reach collaborative solutions based on ecological, economical and socio-cultural sustainability.

Systems approach: Students learn to use systemic thinking into problem solving and create new holistic understandings of complex situations and critical infrastructures in society. The emphasis is on global awareness within the context of local communities and simultaneous modification of different aspects of sustainability.

Design thinking: Students learn to apply creative problem solving methods and tools in facilitating dialogs, defining problems, generating ideas and obtaining solutions.

Sustainability management: Students learn to develop, support and manage sustainability initiatives for the society at large, for business purposes and for the needs of other organizations. Students also gain understanding of the way that different organizational forms and work practices support the pursuits in sustainability.

Project management: Students learn to manage multidisciplinary teamwork, and to promote sustainability in culturally versatile organizational environments.

After completing the degree in CS in the department of Design students are able to
• practice transparent and responsible design in different political, societal and business contexts
• use design thinking, systems thinking and participatory approaches to analyse sustainability problems and develop creative solutions
• facilitate teamwork across different disciplines and profession
• participate in and lead debates on design and sustainability
• carry out design research to support their practical work


Education content

The Creative Sustainability programme comprises classroom lessons, group assignments workshops, practical projects and a thesis. Courses deepen the basis for professional skills in sustainable product and service design. Contents of the projects vary from material innovation to enhancement of social sustainability. Courses and projects are carried out within topics of interest for partner organizations that can be e.g. private companies, NGOs or other associations or public organizations.

The two-year major consists of 120 ECTS composed of compulsory studies in the Department of Design, compulsory Creative Sustainability design studies and optional studies. The curriculum is based on personal study plans, in which the students can also include studies completed at other universities or other modules from Aalto University. The pedagogical approach is based on integrating teaching and research, problem-based learning, and strong connection to practical outcomes. You can find more information about course offerings at the programme website.

For further details on the education content, see the study guide for the academic year of 2017-2018.


Career prospects

CS studies prepare the students to work as sustainability experts in organizations that have a strategic view on transformation towards sustainability. These include the private and public sectors as well as a wide range of NGO´s. The student can develop expertise in different professional profiles which vary from research skills to the practical skills of management, leadership and design in different environments.

Design confronts new challenges in innovating for sustainable development. The CS programme teaches skills to meet these challenges through specialization and interdisciplinary work, while students simultaneously fulfill criteria for professional design. Graduates from CS programme are attractive targets for progressive local and international employers as well as prepared for independent entrepreneurial activity.


Admission procedure

Students are granted admission to the programme through a two-phase process. In the first phase students are evaluated based on the application as a whole, including portfolio, previous studies, CV and letter of motivation. In the second phase, the most suitable applicants are invited for an interview, from which a smaller subset of applicants is offered a study place.

Applicants accepted to the programme may be required to take supplementary studies.


Page content by: | Last updated: 20.12.2017.