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Master's Programme in Creative Sustainability - MSc in Economics and Business Administration

The Creative Sustainability (CS) programme provides students with the skills and knowledge to foster sustainable development through business. To overcome major societal and environmental challenges, 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).
School of Business Creative Sustainability


Master of Science (Economics and Business Administration)

Application period:

1.12.2021 – 3.1.2022

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)

The application period will open 1.12.2021 09:00 (UTC+2)

Applying to master’s programmes

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

Minna Halme, Professor

Objectives of studies

Sustainability challenges require multi-level solutions that involve a wide range of stakeholders who often have competing interests. The Creative Sustainability programme prepares you to respond to these challenges through its international and multidisciplinary learning platform that combines business, design, and material science. Upon graduation from the Creative Sustainability programme, graduates have:

  • Ability to reach Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Graduates can solve global environmental and societal problems by adopting a business mindset.
  • System-based view of the world. Graduates widen their perspectives to create new holistic understandings of complex situations both in global and local contexts.
  • State-of-the-art knowledge. Graduates have expertise about the interlinked environmental, economic and socio-cultural aspects of sustainability.
  • Multidisciplinary competence. Graduates are able to work in multidisciplinary teams and understand the role of different stakeholders when developing sustainability in business.
  • Creative problem-solving skills. Graduates have the ability to utilise design-thinking and participatory design methods to define problems, generate ideas and arrive at sustainable solutions.
  • Business management skills. Graduates are equipped to create sustainable business models and to work proactively in organisations to develop responsible business practices.

Upon graduating from the Creative Sustainability-programme, graduates will have unique and competitive professional profiles that combine focused knowledge of sustainability with widely applicable general skills in management, design, and communications.

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.

Scholarships and Tuition fees

The tuition fee is €15 000 per academic year for non-EU/EEA citizens.
Prospective students subject to tuition fees are eligible to apply for Aalto University Scholarship.

Study language

The language of instruction is English.

Structure of studies

The Creative Sustainability programme is organized jointly by the School of Business, the School of Arts, Design and Architecture, and the School of Chemical Engineering. Students who enter the programme via the School of Business will graduate with the degree Master of Science in Economics and Business Administration. Sustainability is at the core of the programme, while it is addressed with a business mindset and approached from multidisciplinary angles.

The two-year programme comprises a total of 120 ECTS credits, divided between:

  • Compulsory joint Creative Sustainability studies (84 ECTS), includes Master’s thesis (30 ECTS)
  • Minor studies (24 ECTS)
  • Elective studies (12 ETCS)

You can also include studies to your degree that have been completed at another school of Aalto University or at other universities in Finland or abroad.

At the beginning of their studies, students define their Personal Study Plans (PSP) together with an academic advisor. The primary purpose of PSP is to ensure that the studies support the student’s interests and are completed in a logical order.

Personal Study Plan (PSP)

Personal Study Plan (PSP) is a practical tool to define a student’s own study path, i.e. compiling an optimal selection of courses, aligned with the student's interests and programme requirements. PSP is also a useful tool for keeping up with studies. At best, it shows the stage at which students are with their studies and sets concrete milestones for them to follow.

Post-graduate study options

The degree grants eligibility for doctoral studies.

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

Capstone in Creative Sustainability course student

Content of studies

The pedagogical approach in the CS programme emphasises challenge-based learning, the integration of teaching and research, 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.

Examples of the wide course selection:

  • Design Approaches to Sustainable Consumption (5 ECTS)
  • Sustainability Politics  (5 ECTS)
  • State of the World and Development (2 ECTS)
  • Accounting for Sustainability (6 ECTS)
  • Sustainability in Business (6 ECTS)

See all courses

School of Business Creative Sustainability word cloud
Why did current students choose Creative Sustainability?


International opportunities

More than half of the students in Creative Sustainability come from abroad, making it one of the most international and diverse programmes at Aalto University. Active CS students from different backgrounds form a tight-knit community and network.

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 multiple free time events, activities and celebrations around the campus. Programme administrators, active student tutors and student support services work rigorously to help international students integrate into Nordic culture and welcome them at home in Finland.

Multidisciplinary opportunities

As reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) requires multidisciplinary competence, Creative Sustainability students come from different study fields and cultural backgrounds. For example, linkages can be found between the built environment and business, chemical engineering and design, and material solutions and arts. In addition to the multidisciplinary programme studies, students can freely select their minors from other Aalto schools or universities.

Aalto University is well-known for bridging disciplines of business, arts, technology and science. The lively campus and freedom to choose elective courses across the university bring students from different fields under one roof. This spontaneous multidisciplinary environment sparks new ideas, gathers enthusiasts around them and gives birth to friendships, networks, and every so often, startups.

Career opportunities

As the linkages between business and sustainability are highly important in contemporary organisations, there are several possible career options for someone with relevant expertise. Creative Sustainability graduates can work as sustainability specialists, consultants or entrepreneurs in multinational companies, local organisations, NGOs, the public sector, smaller initiatives and startups.

Several projects are conducted already during studies together with business enterprises and other partner organisations. This paves the way for the future by creating valuable networks and kick-starting careers.

Aalto University has well-established career services that support in finding you employment opportunities in Finland and abroad. Aalto students often find respected positions with ease upon graduation. An active entrepreneurship community is also present at Aalto, which can help as a springboard for founding your company. Finally, if an academic career is of interest, the Master’s programme in Creative Sustainability is a great foundation for doctoral studies and post-doc positions.

Possible professional identities and corresponding potential employment types of Creative Sustainability students

CS - possbile work positions

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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 2022 is from 1 December 2021 to 3 January 2022.

Here are the most important dates to remember:

  • 1 December 2021 – Application period begins and online application system opens
  • 3 January 2022 – Application period ends and the online application system closes
  • 29 March 2022 – Admission results are published at the earliest
  • 20 April 2022 – 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


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

Contact information

In case of programme-specific questions and inquiries, please contact the Planning Officer of the programme at [email protected]. Please note that the programme does not evaluate documents or previous studies of applicants in advance.

If you have open questions about the admissions and applying instructions, you can reach out to [email protected].

You can read more about the programme on the programme’s website.

Get to know us

Ekonominaukio 1 staircase to 1st floor. Photo by Unto Rautio.

School of Business

At the School of Business we strive for better business and better society. We excel in education and research with a multidisciplinary approach and in collaboration with our partners.

Aalto-yliopisto Oppismiskeskus / Tuomas Uusheimo

Otaniemi, a crown jewel of Finnish architecture

A parkland-style campus established in the 1950s forms the core of Otaniemi. The overall vision of the campus was that of Alvar Aalto, and its individual buildings were designed by Aalto and other celebrated Finnish architects such as Reima and Raili Pietilä and Heikki and Kaija Sirén.

Aalto University students in Otaniemi campus

This is Finland

Finland’s excellent reputation in education, combined with a wide range of courses offered in English, makes Finland an attractive study destination for international students. Boasting the largest technology hub of the Nordic countries, Finland is a world leader in information technology, business, design and many other academically centred fields.

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The application period will open 1.12.2021 09:00 (UTC+2)

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