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Graduate Diploma and Master of Science in Sustainable Development                               
Open to students from different academic backgrounds                                                  Follow us on   

Fellowships are available for Fall 2018 applicants, check out the financial opportunities below.


See the testimonies of our students about the community projects on Facebook.


Click here for admission requirements and application process


“I am fascinated with the idea of the new sustainable development program and its interdisciplinary structure, which is one-of-a-kind. The unique nature of the program offers me the opportunity to work directly on developmental projects targeting the environmental problems in Egypt, with an emphasis on a holistic approach that incorporates sociocultural and political aspects, which are rarely emphasized in purely environmental science studies.”

Rania Hamza
MSc Sustainable Development Candidate (Fall 2013)

“As a pioneer, I consider myself lucky that I made the right choice at the right time for a well-recognized University in an area that is close to my heart as well to my field of studies, and which will benefit my country and society.”

Heba Karmany
MSc Sustainable Development Candidate (Fall 2013)

   Why Study Sustainable Development?  
   Program Structure
   Program Modules
   Admission Requirements
   Participating Schools
   Financial Opportunities
   International Partners
   TEMPUS Support
   Career Opportunities
   Contact Us

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.


“After an extensive search for a program that could offer unique, rigorous content that meets my passion for business, community development and harmony between human and nature, only one program met my aspirations — the master's in sustainable development. Upon completion of the program, I will start a social enterprise that meets a community need while retaining economic benefits for both the owner and community.”

Ahmed Abbas
MSc Sustainable Development Candidate (Fall 2013)
  “What I love the most about this unique program is its emphasis on youth empowerment. It is about marking your own footprint, the green one. It is about leaving a legacy of hope to reach for others and to evolve together.”

Riham Kabbani

MSc Sustainable Development Candidate (Fall 2013)

Program Structure

Master of Science: 33 credit hours
Graduate Diploma: 18 credit hours

The graduate diploma program may be completed in one year, and the Master of Science degree takes, on average, two years to complete. Different study opportunities may be selected based on the student’s background and interest.

Students registered for the diploma and the MSc must acquire a minimum of nine credit hours of core courses (Module M1). Students pursuing the graduate diploma have to earn an additional nine credit hours of electives from two of the four sustainable development modules (M3-A, M3-B, M3-C and M3-D) to reach a minimum of 18 credit hours. Students pursuing the Master of Science program are expected to acquire 15 credit hours of electives from three of the four sustainable development sub-modules. A maximum of three credits hours may be taken as independent study (GREN 000/5910 - Independent Study in Sustainable Development) with prior approval of the program director. Students might be asked to take additional noncredit courses from the balance module to qualify them for this program. MSc students earn nine credit hours for the graduate thesis to complete the required 33 credits. 

Students might be asked to take one or more courses from a list approved by the program committee (Module M2) and selected with their adviser in order to upgrade their knowledge and qualify them for this program.

Program Modules

Core Module – M1
Diploma: 9 credits; MSc: 9 credits (1 mandatory, 2 electives)

Balance Module – M2
  • A range of courses from the four schools will be selected by the program committee and be assigned on the basis of individual needs of the students

Sustainable Development Modules – M3

Diploma: 9 credits; MSc: 15 credits (electives)
Green Technologies Module (M3-A)
Entrepreneurship Module (M3-B)
Sustainable Cities Module (M3-C)
Sustainable Communities Module (M3-D)
MSc: 9 credits


  “Social responsibility...this is my main motivator for the program. My aim is to be empowered by the science that can enable me to really make a difference and help this planet.”

Somaya El Badry
MSc Sustainable Development Candidate (Fall 2013)

“Today, if you are short of wheat or oil, you can buy them, but in a decade or two, there might not be wheat or oil out there to buy. As a country, what is our plan? Or should I ask: Do we have a plan? That’s why I joined AUC’s sustainable development graduate program.”

Aly Kheireldin
MSc Sustainable Development Candidate (Fall 2013)


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.

 Master of Science in Sustainable Development
   Graduate Diploma in Sustainable Development
   Apply Now / Admission Process

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.

Financial Opportunities

The University Fellowships and Al Alfi Foundation Sustainable Development Fellowship are open for applications in Fall 2016. See the requirements and follow the instructions on the website for financial opportunities.

Apart from fellowships, 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. They can fill out the application form in hard copy from the Student Service Center, or fill in the online form and print it. Then proceed to submit the application (in hard copy) with the required documents to the Student Service Center prior to the deadline. A list of supporting documents can be seen on the back of application form. For more information clicke here.
  • 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 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.
  • Outside Funding: The graduate student services office lists a number of other sources under their section of Outside Funding of their website.
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.

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.)
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
fax 20.2.2794.4728

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