Creative Sustainability

Programme description


The International Master`s Degree Programme Creative Sustainability (CS) is a joint programme at School of Arts, Design and Architecture, School of Business and School of Engineering. The CS programme is a multidisciplinary learning platform in the fields of business, design, architecture, built environment and real estate. The students will graduate with degrees of Master of Arts, Master of Science in Architecture, Master of Science in Real Estate or Master of Science in Economics. The CS Programme is also offered as minor subject studies.

Future Challenges

The most significant development challenges of sustainability are associated with climate change, global poverty, social and economic inequality as well as demographic changes and adaptation to rapid global economic changes. Global and local challenges and the complexity of future scenarios require strengthening the multidisciplinary approach and the inter-linkage of environmental, economic, socio-cultural aspects in education.

Multidisciplinary approach to sustainability

CS programme brings together students from different fields to study in multidisciplinary teams. This aims to activate students to create new sustainable solutions for human, urban, industrial and business environments.

Masters students of School of Business will gain knowledge on the management of organizations and work, and on the role of different actors of sustainability in promoting and bringing about more sustainable and fair societies. Sustainability concerns are introduced in this programme as an increasingly relevant context of both business and corporate social and environmental responsibility. For a School of Business student, Master’s Degree in CS will enhance the problem-solving skills, contribute to reflexive work practice and increase capabilities to promote business renewal and innovation.

Pedagogically the programme is built on interactive class work in small groups, guided reading and writing tasks, practical design and business development tasks in groups as well as problem-based co-operation with the non-academic actors of business, public administration and civic society.

Competence areas covered in CS programme:
  • Multidisciplinary approach: developing capabilities in adapting knowledge, skills and new approaches to reach collaborative solutions aiming at ecological, economical and socio-cultural sustainability.
  • Systems thinking: integrating systemic thinking into critical problem solving that creates new holistic understanding about complex situations in society. The emphasis is on global awareness within the context of local communities.
  • Business management: developing sustainable business models and building up and maintaining responsible organizations and practices.
  • Design thinking: applying creative problem solving methods and tools in defining the problem, generating ideas and obtaining solutions.
  • Project management: enhancing capabilities in multidisciplinary team leadership and communication in versatile industrial, urban and business environments that promotes sustainability in various cultural contexts.
Learning outcomes

Masters students of School of Business will learn to analyse sustainability problems and engage with them in a constructive way. This requires understanding of different stakeholders, good communication skills and ability to use participatory design methods. Equally important, the students will learn how different business models and organizational forms are being used to support sustainability. Specifically, students learn to:

  • Recognise societal transformations and position business activities therein;
  • work proactively in organisations to develop responsible business practices;
  • analyse stakeholder interests and communicate effectively;
  • create legitimacy for sustainability in business and in the wider society; and
  • distinguish different scholarly approaches towards sustainability.
Career prospects

The general skills of design, management and communication developed in the programme are widely applicable in different work environments. Focused knowledge of sustainability creates a unique professional identity that is suited for working in organizations that have a strategic view on transformation towards sustainability. These include the private and public sectors as well as a wide range of NGOs.

Programme directors

Senior university lecturer Mikko Jalas, Director of the Creative Sustainability Programme (ARTS)
Professor Armi Temmes, Creative Sustainability Programme Director at the School of Business

Programme coordinator

Emilia Karlén, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Additional information

Creative Sustainability programme website

Degree requirements 120 cr

Programme studies 84 cr

Compulsory joint studies of CS 18 cr 


Creative Teamwork

2 cr



State of the World and Development

2 cr



Sustainable Product and Service Design, Theory

5 cr



Systems Thinking for Sustainable Living Environment

5 cr



Knowledge-making for Sustainability

2 cr



 Eco-auditing   2 cr II, III

 Compulsory research methods in BIZ 6 cr 


Doing Qualitative Research

6 cr

I, IV 





 Doing Quantitative Research

 6 cr


Choose 3 courses from the following CS-course list from BIZ 18 ECTS:


How to Change the World: Innovating toward Sustainability

6 cr



Dialogues on Corporate Responsibility in Global Economy

6 cr





Sustainability Politics


Sustainability science and politics and business

5 cr


1 cr





Sustainable Entrepreneurship

6 cr 



Accounting for Sustainability

6 cr



Sustainable Business and Consumption 6 cr


Compulsory CS-Capstone course from BIZ 6 ECTS:

21E12002 CAPSTONE in Creative Sustainability 6 cr III-IV 

Master's thesis 36 ECTS

21E99910 Master's Thesis 30 cr I-V 
26E99905 Master's Thesis Seminar 6 cr I, IV 
21E99903 Maturity test 0 cr I-V 

 Minor studies 24 ECTS

Minor Studies are chosen from relevant business school disciplines, from other study modules at Aalto University or other available minor studies programmes, for instance, based on studies in a foreign university as an exchange student.   Students must complete the minor studies module to complete the degree. The following options are available:

1. minor studies offered by the Aalto University School of Business

2. minor studies offered by one of the official partner universities of the Aalto University School of Business student exchange programme, or an equivalent foreign university

3. minor studies from other schools of the Aalto University

4. minor studies at another Finnish university, as a JOO student. The JOO agreement allows a degree student at a Finnish University to apply for a temporary study right at another Finnish university

Electives 12 ECTS

Master's degree includes 12 ECTS credits of Electives. This can consist of for example

  • additional studies in the degree programme,
  • additional studies in the minor study module,
  • language and communication studies,
  • studies at another Aalto University School,
  • studies at another university through the flexible study right agreement (JOO studies), or
  • internship (6 cr).

More information is provided under the titles Language and communication studies and Internship.

Elective studies can include basic, intermediate or advanced level courses.

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