Creative Sustainability

Creative Sustainability Master's Programme

The international Master’s Programme in Creative Sustainability (CS) is a joint Master’s degree programme of the School of Arts, Design and Architecture, the School of Business and the School of Chemical Engineering. Creative Sustainability provides a multidisciplinary learning platform in the fields of design, business and chemical engineering. Students also have possibilities to take selected courses from architecture and built environment.
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In a nutshell

Who can apply? Anyone with a suitable Bachelor’s degree in design, business administration, economics or chemical engineering.
How long do I study? It takes two years to complete the master’s degree.
How many credits are required? You are expected to complete 120 ECTS credits according to the degree requirements of your school at Aalto. See the structure of studies for your particular background here.
Which degree will I receive? You will graduate with a Master of Arts, Master of Science in Technology or Master of Science in Economics and Business Administration degree, depending on the route you take.
Language English

Why Study Sustainability?

The major development challenges of sustainability include the climate crisis, biodiversity loss and other ecological issues as well as global poverty, social and economic inequality, population growth and demographic changes. The global and local challenges and the complexity of future scenarios increasingly require a multidisciplinary approach as well as education that can address the linkages between the environmental, the economic and the socio-cultural aspects. Higher education and research have thus become essential to the search for sustainable solutions in society.

Multidisciplinary Approaches to Sustainability

The Master´s Degree Programme in Creative Sustainability brings together students from different fields to study in multidisciplinary teams, increasing their understanding of different disciplines, design thinking and enabling holistic, systems thinking approaches to solving wicked problems. This activates students to create new sustainable solutions for the human, urban, industrial and business environments. The pedagogical approach is based on integrating teaching and research, problem-based and blended learning as well as strong connections to practical outcomes.

Beyond multidisciplinarity, a response to the environmental, social and economic challenges also requires cross-cultural understanding and cooperation on a global level. The Creative Sustainability programme is a learning environment that is genuinely international: to date it has been the programme of choice for students of 54 different countries from all over the world. Thanks to this fact, the CS learning experience takes place in a diverse, like-minded supportive group of highly motivated students and faculty.

Career Prospects

Creative Sustainability studies prepare students to work as sustainability experts in organisations with a strategic view of the transformation towards sustainability. These include the private and public sectors as well as a wide range of NGOs.

Studies in Creative Sustainability develop capabilities to embed systemic sustainability and design thinking into a variety of careers and positions. These skills are increasingly appreciated in the current job markets.

CS graduates work as experts for leading consultancy companies, they are involved in planning, developing and maintaining the infrastructure of cities and municipalities, they participate in sustainability research development supported by governmental innovation funds, advance solutions for societal problems through working at NGOs and think-tanks, and aspire to change the world by establishing their own sustainability-oriented enterprises.

Some of the positions of recent CS graduates include: Designer for Social Innovation, Architect, Sustainability Consultant, Designer, CEO, Entrepreneur, Analyst and Developer of Circular Waste Services, Designer for Government, Research Assistant, Project Coordinator.

CS Professional Orientation
Professional orientation – Where do you want to work?

Learning outcomes

  • Multidisciplinary approach: Students learn to combine knowledge and skills from different disciplines to co-create innovative solutions for real-life challenges and to promote transformations towards ecologically, economically and socially sustainable futures. 
  • Systems thinking: Students learn to use systems thinking to create new holistic understandings of complex situations and to problem-solve.
  • Sustainable use of materials: Students understand basic scientific principles and processes of bio-economy and circular economy, and are able to use analytical tools and develop solutions for sustainable resource use.
  • Design thinking: Students learn to use tools and methods to support creativity and imagination and to facilitate dialogue and collaboration in design processes.
  • Sustainability management: Students learn to develop, support and manage sustainability initiatives in businesses and other organizations and to work proactively to promote sustainable development through business.

The studies include

  • Compulsory joint CS studies: the compulsory core studies that all CS Master’s students of the three departments study together
  • Compulsory departmental studies: the compulsory studies within the student’s own department
  • Creative Sustainability electives: studies available from five departments for CS master’s students
  • Elective studies: minor studies or courses in other programmes at Aalto University or other Finnish universities, international student exchange programme, internship, or courses from Alternative CS course list

Why Study Sustainability in Finland?

The high quality of Finnish education has been recognised worldwide on numerous occasions. Thanks to the non-hierarchical culture and liberal values of Finnish education, students in Finland get to work with governmental officials, dynamic non-profits and fast-developing companies on projects related to sustainability, development and innovation. Such experiences provide future graduates with valuable training, skills and a winning CV work history. Furthermore, Finland as a country has one of the world's most ambitious national climate targets, which is creating exciting sustainability-related career opportunities for our graduates both locally and globally.

Why Study Sustainability at Aalto?

Aalto is a dynamic Finnish university that takes pride in its innovative and multidisciplinary approach to education and research. It offers a unique opportunity to not only earn a degree in a single field, but to also acquire learning enriched with multidisciplinarity at the intersection of science, design and business. Aalto University is committed to building a sustainable society driven by innovation and entrepreneurship.

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