Download the prospectus for the PGDip in Sustainable Development here.

The Postgraduate Diploma in Sustainable Development is offered by the Centre for Sustainability Transitions at Stellenbosch University. It is an honours-level qualification comprised of 8 modules that can be completed over 1 or 2 years. The programme offers transdisciplinary training in the fields of social-ecological systems and sustainability transitions. In-person learning takes place at the Sustainability Institute practice hub in the Lynedoch Ecovillage in Stellenbosch for the block contact period for all modules.

The Postgraduate Diploma in Sustainable Development is the foundation of the CST’s postgraduate training offering, which comprises the PGDip (NQF level 8), MPhil (NQF level 9) and PhD (NQF level 10) in Sustainable Development. The PGDip provides the entry point into this wider research and postgraduate training environment. Students who graduate from the PGDip and are eager to continue their academic research training can apply for the MPhil programme, and thereafter the PhD programme.

Participants in the PGDip complete 8 modules, over either one or two years, and attend the 5.5. day block contact period for each module in-person at the Sustainability Institute practice hub situated in the Lynedoch Ecovillage in Stellenbosch, South Africa.

The PGDip gives participants the tools to understand and analyse the global and local challenges facing our world. The learning offers ways to navigate complex concepts that are interconnected across a range of issues from food to energy, cities, and governance. While grappling within the problem space is critical, the focus is on solutions and avenues for transformative change.

Students gain perspective on how transitions, transformations, and alternative paradigms create momentum for promising change. While there are no neat or complete answers, this programme describes vital initiatives that are underway, reshaping how we think about nature, cities, the state, politics, communities, corporations, and the economic system. There is a desire to interrogate the structures of power and ignite a sense of considered agency – to apply our hearts and minds to what is possible and doable guided by principles of complexity, relational ethics, and sustainability. This focus on agency helps students and staff find ways forward, cultivating the capability to respond to increasingly uncertain and troubling times.

This qualification is an excellent choice for participants interested in a diversity of perspectives on how to bring about transformations to just, equitable and sustainable futures. The PGDip is a rigorous academic degree that allows for a diversity of modes of learning, opportunities for practical experience, and group work collaboration.

On completion of the required compulsory and elective modules, participants will exit the programme with an honours-level qualification (NQF level 8).

Click here for the PGDip in Sustainable Development module offering for 2022. Please note that not all elective modules listed in the Prospectus are presented every year due to the Centre’s resources and student numbers.

How to apply for the PGDip (Sustainable Development) programme

Closing dates: 30 September 2023



Programme leader: Dr Megan Davies,

Programme administrator: Monique Beukes,, 021 808 9607