Master in Sustainability Transformations: Shaping the change for desirable futures

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Multiple crises such as global warming, biodiversity loss, dwindling resources, and increasing poverty are stark realities today – and a consequence of how wealthy countries have structured the global economy and societal systems. The pivotal question is: how can we successfully organize a comprehensive and targeted transformation that tackles all three dimensions of sustainability: social, environmental, and economic?

Cutting-edge research meets local and international application

Addressing this question is the focus of CDE’s new Master’s in Sustainability Transformations. This innovative MSc seeks to train students to become sustainability specialists. Upon completion of the programme, they will be equipped to critically analyse sustainability issues in interconnected dimensions and develop comprehensive practical solutions at local, national, and international levels. Students will identify solutions that address the causes – and not just the symptoms – of sustainability problems. The programme thus seeks to achieve genuine, far-reaching transformation rather than simply increasing efficiency or improving existing systems.

The Master’s combines cutting-edge research in sustainability sciences with practical applications. The programme actively collaborates with leading global networks in which CDE is active, such as the Land Matrix and WOCAT, as well as with local stakeholders from the city and canton of Bern.

Programme objective

Students will acquire competences to help shape desirable futures: They will learn to initiate, design, and implement innovative processes to help shape a sustainable world. This Master’s will prepare them for important roles in business, political consultancy, international organizations, NGOs, and science.

Learning environment

The study programme is inter- and transdisciplinary and focuses on Education for Sustainable Development and transformative science:

  • Methodological mastery: Rigorous training in research methodologies ensures that the graduates are well-equipped to approach complex sustainability problems with a robust and critical scientific mindset.
  • Innovative teaching methods: From serious games to interactive modules with practice partners, the teaching methods are designed to inspire creative problem-solving and dynamic project management.
  • Transformative learning: The study programme nurtures the students as whole persons – cultivating resilience, cultural competency, and an ethic of self-care to sustain the passion for long-term impact.

Key information

The study programme, taught in English, comprises 120 ECTS and is international in outlook, with a diverse student body and team of lecturers. The annual intake is limited to 30 students. The programme starts in the autumn semester of 2024 and interested applicants must apply by 30 April. The application process consists of:

  • an online assessment
  • submission of the application documents including your assessment score
  • a possible interview

Interviews usually take place within one to three months of the application deadline. Once the complete application has been received and processed, applicants will be contacted and informed of the date and time of the interview by email. Applicants are expected to be available on the specified date and time. Interviews will be conducted via video conference.

Key dates

Admission requirements

Applicants with a Bachelor’s degree from a Swiss university with 60 ECTS in Sustainable Development or equivalent academic achievements may be admitted to the study programme. Applicants from abroad must have a Bachelor's degree from a recognized university plus the equivalent knowledge of a Minor in Sustainable Development (60 ECTS). If the requirement of 60 ECTS in Sustainable Development or equivalent study achievements is not fulfilled, students can catch up on the necessary knowledge by completing an additional 30 ECTS during the programme.

Internships / Study visits abroad

Internships and study visits abroad (e.g. for the Master’s thesis) are possible after consultation with the director of studies

Duration of study

The standard period of study is 4 semesters. It is only possible to start in the autumn semester.


Degree awarded upon successful completion of the programme: Master of Science (MSc) in Sustainability Transformations, University of Bern.

Tuition fees

In accordance with the regulations of the University of Bern.