The Creative Sustainability Master’s Programme (CS) provides students with the skills and knowledge to promote sustainable development through engineering and material science. Sustainability is pertaining to all fields of engineering. Engineers are increasingly expected to develop solutions for managing critical material flows, production processes and infrastructures but also to participate in multidisciplinary and multi-stakeholder innovation processes for enhancing sustainability.
Complex sustainability challenges, such as climate change, loss of biodiversity, or poverty and inequality, call for new mindsets and skills. These mindsets should incorporate a systems-based view of the world and the ability to work with professionals from different fields and cultures. Sustainability challenges require multi-level solutions that involve a wide range of stakeholders with often competing interests. The CS programme prepares students to respond to these challenges through its international and multidisciplinary learning platform in the fields business, design and chemical engineering and material science.
The CS programme brings together students who are devoted to developing systemic solutions, working in multidisciplinary teams and challenging themselves with practical learning tasks. 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.
The CS programme is organized jointly by the School of Business, the School of Arts, Design and Architecture and the School of Chemical Engineering. CS students who enter the programme via the School of Chemical Engineering graduate with a degree of Master of Science in Technology.
The two-year CS programme comprises a total of 120 ECTS credits, divided between compulsory joint Creative Sustainability studies, compulsory Design studies, elective studies, and a Master’s thesis. Students can also include in their degree studies conducted elsewhere at Aalto University or at other universities in Finland or abroad. More information about the course offerings is available on the programme website.
Language of instruction
Post-graduate study options
Eligibility for doctoral studies
Tuition fees and scholarships
Non-EU/EEA students selected to the study option will be charged a tuition fee of €15000 per academic year. They are eligible to apply for scholarships awarded from the Aalto University Scholarship programme. Further information is available on Scholarships and Tuition Fees page (aalto.fi).
Content of Studies
Learning Outcomes of the Master`s Programme in Creative Sustainability:
• Multidisciplinary approach: Students learn to adapt knowledge, skills and new approaches to reach collaborative solutions based on ecological, economic and socio-cultural sustainability.
• Systems approach: Students learn to use systemic thinking to problem-solve and create new holistic understandings of complex situations and the critical infrastructures of society. The emphasis is on multiple layers of sustainability from global awareness to local action and having a combined influence on different aspects of sustainability simultaneously.
- Material embedding: Students understand basic scientific principles and industrial processes of circular economy and are able to develop solutions for sustainable resource use.
- Design thinking: Students learn to apply creative problem-solving tools and methods to facilitate dialogue, define problems, generate ideas and attain solutions.
- Analytical skills: Students learn to use analytical tools for sustainability assessment
- Sustainability management: Students learn to develop, support and manage sustainability initiatives for society at large, for business purposes and the needs of other organisations. Students also gain an understanding of the way different organisational forms and work practices can support the pursuit of sustainability.
- Project management: Students learn to manage multidisciplinary teamwork, and to promote sustainability in culturally diverse organisational environments
Specific learning outcomes for students in Creative Sustainability in the School of Chemical Engineering
Building on previous studies in science and/or technology, the students will deepen their understanding and skills to become experts in the application of materials in a sustainable development context. After graduation, the student is able to:
- Understand the limits to resource use and the impact of materials in sustainable development
- Adopt a systems thinking approach (to avoid taking well-intentioned decisions that have negative un-intended consequences)
- Work as part of a transdisciplinary team towards solution-based outcomes
- Engage in dialogue with both materials specialists as well as sustainability experts
- Utilize suitable tools and analyses in sustainability impact assessment
- Apply their materials engineering knowledge to the development of new materials and processes that have a quantifiably positive sustainability impact
Structure of studies
CS CHEM programme comprises a total of 120 ECTS credits. The two-year programme consists of:
- Compulsory studies in Creative Sustainability (60 ECTS cr)
- Minor (20 ECTS cr)
- Electives (10 ECTS cr)
- Master’s Thesis (30 ECTS cr)
Students are required to complete a Master’s thesis, which is a research assignment with a workload corresponding to 30 ECTS credits. Master’s theses are typically performed in cooperation with the industry or in the research project(s) of the department(s).
You can find more information about studies from the programme website.
Aalto University offers diverse possibilities for developing one’s global competence by
- choosing courses with intercultural approach, learning foreign languages and/or becoming a student tutor for international students
- completing part of the degree abroad in an international partner university as an exchange student
- conducting practical training or Master’s thesis abroad
- taking a summer course abroad
Corporate and other collaboration
Within Aalto University, students may apply for a right to study at another Aalto school through internal mobility. In addition, there are Aalto courses which are open to all Aalto University students. Within The Flexible Study Right Agreement (JOO), students can also take courses from other Finnish universities.
Sustainability considerations arise in all business and industrial context and thus there are several possible career options for someone with expertise on sustainability and material science. Graduates of Creative Sustainability from Chemical Engineering can work as sustainability and business development managers in industries facing and dealing with major ecological challenges (e.g. bioproducts) as well as in the development of new material solutions for sustainability and circular economy. The studies provide a good basis for managing stakeholder relations in different business and social contexts.
General admission requirements
The general eligibility requirements are the same for all Master’s programmes in the field of science and technology. Please see also the requirements concerning language skills.
Eligible applications are then sent to the academic evaluation described in more detail below.
Programme-specific admission requirements
The student selection process is competitive. The applicant’s suitability for the programme is evaluated. The best applicants are granted admission to the programme. The selection of students is primarily based on the application documents. Not all eligible applicants will necessarily be admitted, CHEM Master’s programmes do not have a minimum quota to be fulfilled.
The programmes reserve the right to interview the applicants if it is necessary to clarify the applicant’s motivation or other information in the application.
1. Content of the previous degree
B.Sc or equivalent degree of a relevant field in the natural sciences or engineering. Relevant degrees are e.g. in the fields of natural sciences, chemical engineering, materials engineering, materials science, metallurgy, forest sciences, wood science.
This Master’s programme should provide genuinely new knowledge and enhance the career prospects of the applicant. Thus, applicants who already have a Master’s degree in the closely related field will only be accepted onto the programme for very specific reasons. These reasons must be stated in the application.
2. Study success
The applicant’s success in previous studies (those that give basis for applying into the programme)will be evaluated based on the grade point average (GPA) and results in key courses. Preference isgiven to students with a GPA average equivalent to minimum of 3.0 (on a scale 5.0 max).
The time taken to complete previous studies will also be taken into account. Applicants, who have previously studied at Aalto University, e.g. as exchange students, will also be evaluated according to the grades in those studies and the number of credits obtained in comparison to the time taken for completion.
3. Recognition and quality of the home university
The applicant’s previous degree will be evaluated based on the recognition and quality of the university.
4. Motivation and commitment
The applicant must demonstrate genuine motivation (motivation letter, max. 1 page) to study the chosen field and be committed to full-time studies with a plan to complete the Master’s degree in two years’ time. The applicant is asked to inform if applicant has a study right to another master or doctoral programme.
5. Language proficiency
The studies are conducted fully in English. The applicant must meet the mandatory language requirements of Aalto University. Student must be able to demonstrate that he/she is able to effectively use English as a working language.
6. Recommendation letter
Max. two recommendation letters can be attached to the application. Recommendation letter should be in English written by professor. It can be original letter or certified copy of it.
7. Other relevant achievements
The applicant’s other relevant achievements may be considered if documented in the application (CV, max, 2 pages).
These can be, for example:
– experience of work in the field of the programme
– participation in scientific research which has led to publications, posters
– for applicants whose Bachelor’s degree is from a Finnish university of applied sciences, prior completion of required complementary studies with good grades (transcript required)
– other previous studies (transcript required)
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