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Graduate Program in Sustainable Development

The graduate program in sustainable development aims to educate innovative and visionary leaders with a holistic understanding of the developmental challenges in today’s world. It offers a comprehensive and in-depth study of sustainability, covering the three dimensions of economy, environment and society. In addition to the theoretical and analytical components of the program, students are encouraged to carry out community-based activities. Concentrations in engineering, business studies, public policy or social sciences may be pursued, depending on the student’s interests and background. In order to ensure an interdisciplinary perspective on the complexities of sustainable development, attending courses in the non-concentration modules is obligatory.


The program is coordinated and offered by the CSD in collaboration with the School of Business, School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, School of Humanities and Social Sciences and the School of Sciences and Engineering.

Since fall 2014, students have the opportunity to receive double master’s degrees from AUC and Politecnico di Milano in Italy. They will spend the first year at the AUC and the second year in Italy, before preparing their master's thesis under supervision from both universities.

For more information, please visit the program webpages on Master of Science in Sustainable Development, Graduate Diploma in Sustainable Development, and Sustainable Development M.Sc. (Dual Degree).

Why Study Sustainable Development?

The world is in urgent need for sustainable development, not for activities that lead to deterioration of the environment, exhaustion of natural resources and the triggering of diseases. Sustainable development meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It is about thinking and working in a profoundly different way.

Engineers, economists, ecologists, as well as political and social scientists cannot continue working on isolated islands. People with new skills who understand and are able to bring these disciplines together to develop their environments in a sustainable manner are needed more than ever before. A graduate program in sustainable development will enable participants to actively contribute to upgrading slums, reducing the use of fossil fuels, meeting renewable energy targets, conserving local resources, solving water problems, managing waste, reducing pressure on the local environment and supporting the creation of sustainable communities.

Participants who join the program will be:

  • Among the first group studying sustainable development in the region
  • One of few green entrepreneurs in the Middle East and Africa
  • Desired in the local and international job market
  • Taught by international professors from four different schools at AUC
  • Active in helping the community while studying
  • Taking classes with students from different backgrounds

The Degrees

The program offers two degrees in sustainable development: a Master of Science and a graduate diploma. These two interdisciplinary programs aim to equip social entrepreneurs with comprehensive skills that will allow them to start up green businesses, launch innovative ventures and products, and implement public policy and social entrepreneurship innovations. This, in turn, will help address society’s most pressing environmental and natural resource challenges while balancing social concerns and economic feasibility. Students will acquire a sound theoretical and practical understanding of sustainable development in all three sectors – private, governmental and nonprofit – in preparation for careers as entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs in a large range of organizations.

View the brochure for the graduate program in sustainable development.

Dual Degree

Students interested in a double degree can enroll in the Dual Degree Master's Program in Sustainable Development in partnership with the Politecnico di Milano, the largest technical university in Italy and one of the top technical universities worldwide. Students complete the first year at AUC and the second in Italy, which enables them to earn their dual degree in their area of concentration.


Admission Requirements

The design of the program is flexible, giving the opportunity for graduates of engineering, science, business, political science and social science to apply. Applicants might be asked to acquire additional zero-credit courses to bring them to the knowledge level necessary for this program. A grade point average of 3.0 and English-language proficiency (as demonstrated through the TOEFL and IELTS exams) are the minimum requirements for full admission to the program. Provisional admission may be granted in certain circumstances, with a noncredit program prescribed by the program coordinators.

The program is offered by faculty members from four schools at AUC: School of Sciences and Engineering, School of Business, School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, and School of Humanities and Social Sciences. The Center for Sustainable Development is the body coordinating the program, in collaboration with the four schools. The Master of Science program is enhanced by the advanced facilities and state-of-the-art equipment available at the University. 

Career Opportunities

A graduate qualification and community-based experience in sustainable development may lead to career opportunities in national and international organizations. Graduates typically seek career advancement in:

  • Start-up business in the areas of green technologies and business
  • International organizations that are active in fields related to sustainable development (United Nations Development Programme, United Nations Environment Programme, UN-HABITAT, African Development Bank and the World Bank)
  • Local or regional nongovernmental organizations that work closely with the communities
  • Governmental institutions on the policy level
  • Corporate social responsibility departments of major corporations
  • Consultancy firms working in the area of environmental services or social development
  • Bilateral donor agencies (GIZ, USAID, JICA, etc.)

Financial Opportunities

The University Fellowships and Al Alfi Foundation Sustainable Development Fellowship are open for sustainable development students applicants. See the requirements and other available financial opportunities at the website for financial opportunities.

To mention a few, a range of financial opportunities exists once admission to the program is granted:

  • Financial Aid: After being accepted in the program students are eligible to apply for financial aid.
  • Work-Study Program: This program grants around 15 percent off tuition fees for those registered in three courses and can be applied for as soon as enrollment is completed. For more information, please check the Office of Student Financial Affairs website.
  • Assistantships: These are handled by each department and provide a monthly stipend, but no reduction in fees. Students may apply for assistantships after enrolling to attend AUC.

The program is seeking further financial opportunities for its students and will announce them as soon as they have been acquired.


Supported by

Within the implementation of the EU-funded Green Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program (GIEP), the MSc in sustainable development is collaborating with European and Egyptian partner universities to establish complementary "green degrees." Our students will benefit from the opportunities created by this partnership. Visit the GIEP website for further details.

Contact Us
For questions regarding the application procedure and required documents:

The American University in Cairo
Office of Recruitment and Student Service Center
AUC Avenue, Gate 1
New Cairo 11835, Egypt
tel 20.2.2615.3072

For questions regarding the admission criteria, content and structure of the program:

Hani Sewilam
Program Director

The American University in Cairo
Center for Sustainable Development
AUC Avenue, P.O. Box 74
Gate 1, Portal Gate
Research Centers Building, Room 2006
New Cairo 11835, Egypt
tel 20.2.2615.3072