Study options

Creative Sustainability, Master of Science (Economics and Business Administration)

The Creative Sustainability (CS) programme provides students with the skills and knowledge to address pressing global sustainability challenges through business. Students with different backgrounds are united by the creative solutions, hands-on methodologies and shared values that characterise the programme. Graduates are well-prepared for leadership positions that require harnessing business understanding to reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Aalto Business students browsing course books around a table


Master of Science (Economics and Business Administration)

Application period:

1.12.2022 – 2.1.2023

Language of instruction:



2 years, full-time


Relevant Bachelor's degree

Field of study:

Business and Economics


120 ECTS

Organising school:

School of Business

Tuition fees:

For non-EU/EEA citizens, €15000/y (Master’s studies)

Applying to master’s programmes


Sustainability is a systemic challenge that requires collaboration across disciplines. The Master’s Programme in Creative Sustainability (CS) was founded in 2010 to address the lack of a truly multidisciplinary learning environment – one that calls students to bring their differing perspectives and best ideas to the challenges at hand. The programme provides an international and collaborative platform in the fields of business, design, and materials and chemical engineering.

The major development challenges of sustainability include the climate crisis, biodiversity loss, as well as global poverty and social and economic inequality. The global and local challenges, and the complexity of future scenarios, increasingly require multidisciplinary competencies. That calls for education that can address the systemic linkages between the environmental, the economic, and the socio-cultural aspects of sustainability. With regard to business and management, the linkages between business and sustainability are highly important in contemporary organisations, whether one wishes to be a sustainability specialist in business, or a management professional operating in some other field.

The MSc will equip current and future change-makers with the rigorous academic knowledge and applied skills to foster sustainable development through business. The learning goals of the programme are:

Systems thinking: Students are able to use systems thinking to create new holistic and critical understandings of complex sustainability challenges and socio-ecological relations.

Multidisciplinary competences: Students are able to work in teams with different experts and stakeholders, combine knowledge and skills from different disciplines, and co-create innovative solutions for real-life challenges.

Change-making: Students develop a change-maker mindset, and are able to generate action-oriented strategies, make effective interventions and promote transformations towards ecologically, economically and socially sustainable futures.

Sustainability in materials use: Students understand the constraints on the use of natural resources, the principles of resource-efficiency, circular economy and innovation for new sustainable materials, and are able to use analytical tools for sustainable materials use.

Design thinking: Students are able to use tools and methods to support creativity and imagination and to facilitate dialogue, empathy and collaboration in creative processes.

Sustainability management: Students are able to develop, speak for and manage sustainability initiatives in businesses and other organizations. In addition to that, they’re also able to proactively promote sustainable development through responsible business in their work, and recognise the capacities of public policy in promoting sustainability innovation.

Business can be harnessed for sustainability - students learn to build profitable businesses that drive environmental and social improvement

Minna Halme, Professor

Tuition fees and scholarships

Aalto University’s tuition fee for master’s programmes taught in English is 15 000 euros per academic year. Tuition fees apply to citizens of countries other than those of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.

Aalto University has a scholarship programme to support non-EU/EEA citizens who study in a fee-charging degree programme. The scholarship may cover 100% or 50% of the tuition fee.

More information on tuition fees and scholarships at Aalto University is available at the Scholarships and Tuition Fees webpage.

Structure of studies

The two-year CS programme at the School of Business comprises a total of 120 ECTS credits, divided between compulsory joint Creative Sustainability studies, Management studies, elective studies which may include a freely chosen minor subject, and a Master’s thesis.

The pedagogical approach is based on integrating teaching and research, challenge-based learning, and a strong connection to practical outcomes. Teaching methods range from interactive classroom lessons to group assignments and practical projects carried out for partner organisations.

Learn more about the study structure.

The picture shows a world cloud
Nykyisten opiskelijoiden syitä valita Creative Sustainability -maisteriohjelma


Creative Sustainability contains three tracks that are organised through the separate intake processes in the School of Business, School of Arts, Design and Architecture, and School of Chemical Engineering.

Within their track, students can tailor the degree in directions that are most interesting to them. They have the freedom to choose courses from elsewhere at Aalto University or at other universities in Finland or abroad. More information about the course offerings is available on the programme website.

Examples of the wide course selection:

● Materials for a World in Transition (5 ECTS)

● How to Change the World: Innovating toward Sustainability (6 ECTS)

● Sustainable Entrepreneurship, Markets, and Systems Change (6 ECTS)

● Business Ethics (6 ECTS)

● Sustainable Supply Chains (6 ECTS)

Learn more about the structure and content of the studies.


The Creative Sustainability (CS) programme is genuinely international with the CS learning experience taking place in a diverse group of like-minded, supportive and highly motivated students and faculty.

As part of their studies, CS students have the chance to complete an exchange semester at one of Aalto University’s many top-tier partner universities worldwide. Course-specific real-life cases often involve field project opportunities, e.g. in Africa and Asia for students interested in sustainability solutions in developing countries.

Aalto University is international by nature, welcoming thousands of degree and exchange students from abroad each year. These students join the diverse Aalto community not only through studies, but also through multiple free time events, celebrations, and extracurricular activities around the campus. Programme administrators, active student tutors and student support services work rigorously to help international students integrate into the Nordic culture and feel at home in Finland.

This course confirmed that I can put my business knowledge at the service of a better world.

Capstone in Creative Sustainability course student

Further study opportunities

The degree grants eligibility for doctoral studies.

Career opportunities

Sustainability represents a great environmental and humanitarian challenge, while also holding enormous potential for businesses and organisations. You get to work in a fast-growing job sector, while making a difference in social and environmental issues. Depending on your personal interests, you may orient yourself towards different professional profiles. Do you want to change the corporate world toward sustainability? Then starting a career as a sustainability specialist in a company is the right next step for you. Do you want to initiate change and connect people around sustainability? Then you might find your calling as an entrepreneur in a startup, or as part of a grass-root movement or a social enterprise. Do you want to provide advice for sustainability and create sustainable solutions? Then working in a management consultancy or launching your own sustainability consultancy business is the perfect option for you. Do you want to influence sustainability-related policies and their implementation? Then you could find yourself working in public administration in a city or at the national level. Or, if communication is your strong suit, you could help sustainability issues gain momentum in media and publishing – the choices are plenty.

Generally speaking, graduates from the Creative Sustainability programme at the School of Business can work in multinational companies and other large organisations, as consultants, in start-ups and as entrepreneurs, or they may deal with sustainability issues in business from positions in NGOs or the public sector. They are also prepared for academic careers.

Aalto University has well-established career services to support students’ and graduates’ employment in Finland and abroad. Thanks to the flexible curriculum, many Aalto students work already during their studies and guarantee themselves entry positions before graduation. There is also a very active entrepreneurship community at Aalto, working as a springboard for founding a company.

Creative sustainability - possible work positions
CS-opiskelijoiden mahdollisia ammatti-identiteettejä ja niitä vastaavia työtehtäviä

Research focus

Creative Sustainability studies draw from research in the fields of design for sustainability, sustainable consumption, sustainability innovation and management, as well as on research on new materials and circular economy.

Read more on the latest research.

Co-operation with other parties

The Creative Sustainability programme is organised jointly by the School of Arts, Design and Architecture, the School of Business, and the School of Chemical Engineering.

The programme brings together students who are devoted to developing systemic solutions, working in multidisciplinary teams and challenging themselves with practical learning tasks. Active CS students from different backgrounds form a tight-knit community and network, and relations with the faculty are friendly and informal.

Creativity in the programme denotes a focus on fresh, holistic and emerging innovations and far-reaching alternative solutions. The studies include state-of-the-art knowledge about the interlinked environmental, economic and socio-cultural aspects of sustainability coupled with learning in practical projects conducted together with partner organisations.

Rankings & listings

    Financial times_ranking

    Creative Sustainability is on the Financial Times' list of best practices in responsible business education. Creative Sustainability made to the list of best practices in teaching, and the Capstone was highlighted in the "Student Projects" section. 

    Eduniversal ranking_CS

    Creative Sustainability is ranked 4th in TOP 100 Best Masters in Sustainable Development and Environmental Management.

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    Admission dates

    The admissions to Master's programmes at Aalto University in the field of Business and Economics are organised once a year. The application period for studies starting in autumn 2023 is from 1 December 2022 to 2 January 2023.

    Here are the most important dates to remember:

    • 1 December 2022 – Application period begins and online application system opens
    • 2 January 2023 – Application period ends and the online application system closes
    • 29 March 2023 – Admission results are published at the earliest
    • 20 April 2023 – Deadline for accepting the offered study place

    Programme-specific Admission Requirements

    In addition to these programme-specific admission requirements, applicants must also fulfill the general admission requirements.

    Admission group 1

    Bachelor’s degree from a university in Finland

    Phase 1

    PHASE 2

    Admission group 2

    Bachelor’s degree from a university of applied science in Finland or from a higher education institution abroad

    Phase 1

    Phase 2

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