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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 has closed

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


The Master’s Programme in Creative Sustainability (CS) provides an international and multidisciplinary learning platform in the fields of business, design, and materials and chemical engineering. The Creative Sustainability programme at the School of Business provides students with the skills and knowledge to foster sustainable development through business. To overcome major societal and environmental challenges, students with different backgrounds and study tracks are united by creative, hands-on methodologies and shared values that characterize the programme.

The major development challenges of sustainability include the climate crisis, biodiversity loss, and other environmental issues, as well as global poverty and social and economic inequality. The global and local challenges and the complexity of future scenarios increasingly require multidisciplinary competences, together with 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 organizations, whether one wishes to be a sustainability specialist in business, or a management professional operating in some other field.

The CS 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 organizations.

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


Intended learning outcomes

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, are able to work proactively to promote sustainable development through responsible business, and recognise the capacities of public policy in promoting sustainability innovation.

Upon graduating from the Creative Sustainability programme at the School of Business, 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.

Study language

The language of instruction is English.

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.

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 Creative Sustainability programme is organized jointly by the School of Arts, Design and Architecture, the School of Business, and the School of Chemical Engineering. Students who enter the programme via the School of Business graduate with the degree of 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 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. There is room for choice in the programme so that students can tailor the degree in directions that are most interesting for them.

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 organizations.

Students can also include in their degree studies completed 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:

  • 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

Tracks within the programme

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.



The Creative Sustainability programme is genuinely international, and the CS learning experience takes place in a diverse, while like-minded and supportive group of 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.

Post-graduate study options

The degree grants eligibility for doctoral studies.

Career opportunities

Creative Sustainability studies prepare the students to work as sustainability experts in a wide range of organizations, also including those with a strategic view on transformation towards sustainability. According to their interests, the students can orient themselves towards different professional profiles which vary in their emphasis from research skills to the practical skills of management, leadership, design, and engineering in different environments.

Sustainability considerations arise in every organization and thus there are several possible career options for someone with expertise on sustainability in business. Graduates from the Creative Sustainability programme at the School of Business can work in multinational companies and other large organizations, 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.

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

CS - possbile work positions


Focus areas of research

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.


The programme is specifically planned to support collaboration between disciplines. Moreover, Aalto University is well-known for bridging the disciplines of business, arts, technology and science. The lively campus and the freedom of choosing 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 fosters new friendships, networks, and every so often, startups. The pedagogy emphasizes real life challenges, and the studies present many opportunities to interact and network with other stakeholders and organizations involved in sustainability.

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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.

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