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Master's Programme in Creative Sustainability - MSc in Economics and Business Administration
Language of instruction:
Field of study:
Minna Halme, Professor
Business can be harnessed for sustainability - students learn to build profitable businesses that drive environmental and social improvement
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 the built environment. 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.
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.
The language of instruction is English.
Structure of studies
The Creative Sustainability programme is organised jointly by the School of Business and the School of Arts, Design and Architecture. 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)
- Compulsory Management studies (18 ECTS)
- Elective studies which include a freely chosen minor subject (18 ECTS)
- Master’s thesis (30 ECTS)
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.
The CS programme has been awarded the EIT Climate-KIC programme label, and if you want to specialise in issues relating to climate innovation and receive an additional certificate of this, you can apply for Climate-KIC studies once accepted to the CS programme.
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.
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:
- Sustainable Product and Service Design (6 ECTS)
- Sustainability Politics (5 ECTS)
- State of the World and Development (2 ECTS)
- Accounting for Sustainability (6 ECTS)
- Energy Business and Innovation (6 ECTS)
Sustainable development is the definition of global by nature. 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. The active CS student association brings people together from different backgrounds, forming 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.
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.
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.
Possible professional identities and corresponding potential employment types of Creative Sustainability students
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.
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 2020 is from 2 December 2019 to 3 January 2020.
Here are the most important dates to remember:
- 2 December 2019 – Application period begins and online application system opens
- 3 January 2020 – Application period ends and the online application system closes
- 30 March 2020 – Admission results are published
- 28 April 2020 – 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.
Required previous studies
To be considered for admission the applicant must have completed at least 18 ECTS of courses covering the domains of business and sustainability or subjects that support those domains (for example sociology, educational sciences, environmental policy, consumer economics or communications). Internships cannot be included in the credits. The previous studies are assessed by a representative of the programme.
Applicants who fulfill the above requirement of previous studies are ranked according to the following criteria.
Admission group 1
Admission group 2
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
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.
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.