New master’s degree in Sustainability Management

Young woman looking in camera - others in background
(Photo: iStock-PeopleImages)

USN has launched a new management programme focused on sustainability.


Master of Sustainability Management is now open for applications, starting in the autumn of 2021.

— Management is the core of this new master’s degree, but with an added focus on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, says Professor Gudrun Helgadottir, Programme Coordinator for the new master’s degree.

She emphasizes that this is an interdisciplinary study programme, and that leaders are needed in all sectors. Managers may have very different background, but management is also its own discipline.

Business Studies at the forefront

Helgadottir says the Master of Sustainability Management is there to enable students to plan, implement, and lead processes for sustainable operations and development.

— The UN Sustainable Development Goals already form a basis for broad value creation in companies, institutions, and organizations. Business Studies must be at the forefront in the work of bringing visions and goals for sustainable solutions into society and the market, says Professor Helgadottir.

She stresses that we already have much knowledge of the environmental challenges, and some wonderful technical solutions.

— But without a focus on the society and the economy we will not achieve sustainable value creation. There are much better chances for success when we have leaders with knowledge of the important, complex, and exciting field of sustainability. 

Professor Gudrun Helgadottir - photo - private

Exciting job opportunities

She refers to how the financial sector and insurance industry has systematized the work for sustainability.

Helgadottir thinks those who choose to take the new master’s degree in Sustainability Management will have the chance to choose between many exciting job opportunities, as more and more companies and organizations are looking to hire their own sustainability managers.

— I think these will be in high demand in the labour market nationally and internationally. We stand in the midst of a global crisis that requires innovative and creative solutions, and we need leaders who have a broad understanding of the situation in which we find ourselves.

Helgadottir says the master’s degree also makes students qualified for doctoral studies and research careers.

Demand in the market

Sustainability has long been one of the core values at the furniture company Flokk. They are Norway's largest manufacturer of furniture and have for many decades been pioneers in sustainable product development. Already at the beginning of the 1990s they hired their first sustainability manager (environmental director).— I am focused on making sure that sustainability is not just a communication concept, but rather something that has to be deeply grounded in the business operations at every level. In order to get real effects and proven results, sustainability has to be on the agenda in every part of the organization. It is positive that many now are wanting to develop their competence in this area, says Marianne Otterdahl Møller, Vice President of Marketing & Brand Communication in Flokk.

She has been a guest lecturer for the bachelor students in «Sustainability Marketing and Circular Economy» at USN, and the students have also been able to work on a case study from the company.

This is the study model

The study programme page for Master of Sustainability Management has recently been published. There students will get a good overview of the structure of the study. The subject titles give a good indication of what students will be immersing themselves in.

The first year is made up of the following obligatory courses:

  • Organization & Leadership - Change Management
  • Green IT & GIS
  • Sustainable Development: politics, law and institutions
  • Process, product and people
  • Methodology and research method
  • Sustainability Finance
  • Strategy and Innovation for Sustainability
  • Sustainability Marketing 

During the autumn semester of the second year, students learn about research methods and can choose between the course below before they write their master thesis during the following spring semester:

  • Alternative economies and local resilience
  • Corporate entrepreneurship
  • Nature, culture and experience
  • Spatial analyses
  • Digital business entrepreneurship

Master of Sustainability Management

  • Start up: Autumn 2021
  • Teaching Language:  English
  • Semesters:  4
  • Progression: Full time
  • Campus: Bø
  • Teaching model: On Campus
  • Credits: 120
  • Closing dates: Outside EU/EEA Dec. 1st. EU/EEA: March 1st.