• First of its kind Masters Programme to equip students with knowledge, skills and mindset to affect change, quickly
  • MSc responds to Ireland’s national strategy on education for sustainable development
  • Funding ensures MSc is less than half the cost of an average Masters for qualifying applicants

DUBLIN, 24 July 2023

UCD Innovation Academy will launch in September a pathway towards its first Masters Programme, an MSc in Design Thinking for Sustainability. The Masters Programme will equip students with the knowledge, skills and mindset to create innovative, human-centric solutions to complex, real-world sustainability problems.

“The world is experiencing record high temperatures this summer as a result of climate change with drastic consequences for tourism, agriculture, industry and more” said Dr Thomas Macagno, sustainability and programme lead at UCD Innovation Academy. “Sustainability students need to have the mindset, skills and tools to act decisively, to collaborate and to take action if we are to address this crisis and that’s exactly what we’ve set out to do in this new Masters”.

Ireland’s ‘Second National Strategy on Education for Sustainable Development’ calls for learners to acquire not just knowledge but also the skills, values and dispositions needed to promote sustainable development. This new MSc in Design Thinking for Sustainability responds to that priority.

UCD Innovation Academy’s new Masters builds on the success of their nine month Graduate Diploma in Design Thinking for Sustainability that has graduated over 100 students in the past three years. Students who complete this Graduate Diploma will now have a pathway option to continue their learning for another three months and complete a final Masters module. 

Students will learn key sustainability systems, issues and tools, framed by the UN Sustainable Development Goals; how to apply the Design Thinking process, first pioneered by Stanford University and globally recognised as a powerful, human-centred problem solving methodology, to sustainability; how to adopt an entrepreneurial mindset – a way of thinking that creates value by recognising and acting on opportunities, making decisions with limited information, and remaining adaptable and resilient – in the design and implementation of sustainability solutions; and in the final Masters module, how to lead a complex and ambitious sustainability project, managing multiple stakeholders and competing needs to deliver an actionable solution.

Students can avail of the MSc in Design Thinking for Sustainability at a greatly reduced cost due to the pathway format. By first participating in the Graduate Diploma in Design Thinking for Sustainability, generously funded by the Higher Education Authority’s Human Capital Initiative Pillar I, qualifying students can access 90 – 100% funding for the first nine months of the programme saving up to €6,500. The final Masters module costs €3,250 for EU students. The total cost for the MSc in Design Thinking for Sustainability will be €3,900 maximum for qualifying EU students, less than half the average cost of a one year taught MSc.

“Our world urgently needs problem solvers equipped with the knowledge, tools and mindset to tackle sustainability at every level – in our communities, our industries, our public institutions and more; we’re delighted to build on the generous funding of the Human Capital Initiative and offer this affordable option to learners and broaden the participation opportunities for people of all backgrounds to gain a valuable and sought after qualification” said Eleanor Kelly, Head of Strategy and Partnerships at UCD Innovation Academy.

Students starting in Autumn 2023 can join the first intake for the MSc in Design Thinking for Sustainability with the first Masters capstone module to commence in Spring / Summer 2024. Students must complete the Graduate Diploma in Design Thinking for Sustainability to be eligible for the MSc module – the individual Applied Sustainability Project. Past students of the Graduate Diploma are eligible to participate in the three month MSc module within five years of beginning their Graduate Diploma with priority for the first intake given to students from the class of 2020 / 2021.

Full details are available on the UCD Innovation Academy website.

An information session for interested applicants will take place on Wednesday, September 27th at 1pm. Please register via the link above for further information.