Taught course

Engineering for Sustainable Development

University of Cambridge · Department of Engineering

Entry requirements

Applicants for this course should have achieved a UK II.i Honours Degree or its international equivalent. Applications are considered on a rolling basis (as they are received), and it is possible that all places will be filled before the advertised deadline. If this occurs, the course entry in the online prospectus will be labelled as 'closed'.

Months of entry


Course content


The MPhil course in Engineering for Sustainable Development is designed for graduates who want to help tackle pressing  global problems by developing practical engineering solutions. The course is about recognising that engineers have to operate within an increasingly complex set of constraints, and therefore must be capable of dealing with a range of challenges. The subject  is based on some very  straightforward  principles:  it is about living within Earth’s finite limits and resources, helping everyone on the planet to achieve an acceptable quality of life; acting as stewards of the environment for future generations;  dealing with complexity and handling the many trade-offs which have to be made.

The programme aims to:

  • produce engineers who are equipped to lead change with the understanding and skills necessary to conceive and deliver fitting solutions to society’s needs and to address global challenges within a sustainability framework;
  • explore value frameworks for engineers which are based on the concepts behind sustainable development and which can guide the design and management of engineering artefacts and schemes, so that their impacts are addressed at every stage of planning, implementation and disposal;
  • develop strong business awareness in engineering graduates and foster an understanding of the foundations of management theory in the areas of strategy, organisation, marketing and finance, the connections between technology and management, and the introduction of change within organisations;
  • encourage an appreciation of the trade-offs and conflicts inherent in decision making and the need to seek wider and alternative solutions to engineering problems so that graduates of the course can engage in strategic thinking during their future employment within industry, business or government.

Fees and funding

Fee Home: GBP9468, EU: GBP9468, Overseas: GBP24309

Qualification and course duration


full time
11 months



All students must submit a dissertation of between 12,000 and 15,000 words. Planning for the dissertation begins in January, and students will work full-time on research betwen April and August. 5% of the dissertation marks will be assigned through a plan submitted in January; 15% will be assigned through an oral presentation given at a Dissertation Conference in July; 10% will be assigned through the preparation of a research poster which will also be displayed in July.


Students take two compulsory 'inner core' modules, at least two 'outer core' modules, and four elective modules chosen from a broad list (this list includes the remaining outer core modules).

All core modules, and most of the elective modules, are assessed exclusively by coursework.


A minority of the elective modules are assessed solely through written examination, or through a combination of written examination and coursework. Some students will take no written examinations, but others may take up to four, depending upon module choice.

Other Assessment

Students are expected to attend two residential field courses. These are important elements of the programme, but no numerical mark will be given.

At end of the project element of the Management of Technology and Innovation module, students are required to give a 20 minute presentation to the project client, followed by a 30 minute question-and-answer session.

At the discretion of the Examiners, candidates may be required to take an additional oral examination on the work submitted during the course, and on the general field of knowledge within which it falls.

Course contact details

+44 1223 337733