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MPhil Engineering for Sustainable Development

 Course Level
Masters / PG
Full Time

11 Months
 Start month

 Tuition fee

24309 GBP
9468 GBP
9468 GBP

Application fee

International 50 GBP
National 50 GBP
Department of Engineering
Scores accepted
IELTS (min)7.5
TOEFL-IBT (min)100

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About this course

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.

Learning Outcomes
Graduates of the MPhil programme will be equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to meet the challenges of engineering work in a sustainable development context.  By the end of the programme, they will have:

  • the ability to work with complex or ill-defined problems both systematically and creatively, including being equipped for dialogue with stakeholder groups;
  • a knowledge of current and potential engineering responses and specific technologies for moving to sustainable development, of both the technical and non-technical barriers to change, and of both good and bad sustainability practice in a range of engineering sectors;
  • well-developed team-work and two-way communication skills;
  • the ability to evaluate, using a range of methodologies, the merits and demerits of options, taking into account environmental, economic, financial and political as well as technical factors;
  • a thorough understanding of the role of value-judgements in defining problems and implementing engineering solutions;
  • an understanding of the pathways by which new technologies reach the marketplace and how management structures shape the evolution of technologies, and how institutions, NGOs, public policy and regulation influence the rate of progress towards sustainable development;
  • the ability to act as a change-agent and to manage change effectively in an organisation, equipped with theories about and examples of organisational structure and change;
  • experience of planning, executing and critically evaluating an original and investigative piece of work.

The MPhil is a professional practice programme and is not specifically designed to lead on to doctoral research. Nevertheless, students wishing to apply for continuation to a PhD in Engineering at Cambridge would normally be expected to attain an overall mark of at least 70%.

Check further details on University website

Eligibility Criteria

Expected Academic Standard

  • Applicants for this course should have achieved a UK II.i Honours Degree.
  • If your degree is not from the UK, please check International Qualifications to find the equivalent in your country.
  • The course is a Professional Practice Programme designed for students preferably from an engineering background, and with some postgraduate work experience in the engineering industry.  Students on the programme will have well-developed technical skills in engineering, science or other quantitative disciplines.

IELTS: 7.5 (Listening 7.0,Writing 7.0,Reading 6.5,Speaking 7.0 )

TOEFL: 100 (25 in each element.)

Score: Grade A or B (with at least 193 in each individual element) plus a language centre assessment.

Score: Grade A, B, or C (with at least 200 in each individual element)

Check further details on University website

Course Modules

The course is divided into three components, which students must pass independently: 

The first of these is a core programme of lectures which all students take, and this focuses on developing a breadth of skills and understanding which complement the technical background of participants.

The second component comprises four elective modules from a list of around 30 topics offered by the Centre for Sustainable Development, the Engineering Department and other Departments within the University. All students also study the Management of Technology and Innovation course led by the Judge Business School; this course comprises both evening lectures, and a group in-company consultancy project working on a real area of concern for the client.

The final component is undertaken  between April and August when students complete an individual piece of research for their Master’s Dissertation.

Additionally, students participate in a number of residential field trips and site visits through the year, attend a distinguished lecture series, and will engage in role plays, weekly seminars, and a practitioner viewpoint course.

Research for dissertations may take place in industry, NGOs, charities, or in other relevant bodies.

Students can expect to receive reports at least termly on the Cambridge Graduate Supervision Reporting System. They will receive comments on items of coursework, and will have access to a University supervisor for their dissertation. All students will also have personal access to the Course Director and the other staff delivering the course.

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.

Written examination
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.

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.

Check further details on University website

How to Apply

You should thoroughly research your prospective course, its requirements, deadlines and course costs before you think about completing and submitting the online application form.

Having fully researched the course you are interested in, make sure you now have the relevant information you need to apply:

  • Course name
  • Application and funding deadlines
  • The relevant required supporting documents (e.g. transcripts, CV, etc.) in pdf format to upload.
  • Email addresses for your academic referees. You should ensure you have theirconsent before you apply.
  • A choice of up to two colleges to consider your application.
  • Apply Online using the GRADSAF

When you have completed the necessary preparation, and you are ready to begin your online application, you should take note of the following important information.

  • There is an application charge of (GBP Sterling) £50 per application. You can make the payment by providing your credit card details to our secure server when you submit the online application.
  • Your application is not complete without the required supporting documentationwhich can be uploaded via your self service account after you submit the online application form.
  • You will need to submit a separate application, with separate supporting documents, for each course you wish you to apply for.


Upload Supporting Documentation
Once you have submitted your application, you will be given access to your Self-Service Account. You will have 14 days from submission of your application to upload all mandatory documents.

Please check your course's entry to see what supporting documents you will be required to submit. These will also be listed on your self-service account once you have submitted your application. For more information on what the specific requirements of each document are, and how to submit them, please see the section on Supporting Documentation

Check further details on University website

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