Masters in Sustainable Development: What to Expect: Very Personal Review – By Müge Kayra

First, I have to warn you about this; this is a super personal review about the SD Masters Programme and if you are reading this before you come here I just want you to know that this is only one person’s point of view and we are almost 60-70 people in the course.

As an engineer from Turkey, my intentions before I got here were to learn more about the policy side of sustainability and get involved in ‘social sciences’ part of the academics.  I am highlighting the fact that I am from Turkey, a Mediterranean country with population of 80 million, because one has to understand my background to have a better understanding of my thoughts about this programme. As for my educational background, it was full of memorizing, accepting the learning outcomes and facts without discussing it that much (because usually no one is considered ‘that important’ to share their thoughts, like who are you and why should someone listen to your thoughts type of a mentality) and of course, lots of numbers and equations, experiments and linear thinking. So I was not used to brainstorming ideas, getting involved multinational group projects and of course, nothing about critical thinking. Well.. Now I have to do all of these things, everyday. This is super challenging. I love it. I just feel stupid sometimes but that’s okay. I guess?

First weeks in MSD, I was struggling to adjust myself to ‘the new life’. I was trying to attend all interesting events I could find to make friends so let’s be real, I didn’t pay any attention to the classes in the first month. The best part is, we really didn’t have that much of thing to do in the first month. Everything was easy breezy. We had bunch of MSD social events and fikas, organized by CEMUS which I have never seen any other departments doing that type of things. We had a whole week scheduled, so that we can meet each other and have fun before the classes really really start. It was really nice to get to know each other.

Then, we started to have assignments, projects and lots of readings. I was being super bored at the classes, because usually my classmates were asking questions or talk about their opinions in general while I was rolling my eyes and thinking “ugh ok, who cares let the teacher talk WHY ARE YOU WAISTING MY TIME”. Now I can see that I was just a rude person who has been educated with a strict and not-suitable-for-this-century type of style. Because I am learning lots of stuff from these discussions with my classmates with very diverse backgrounds.

So, as a summary, what to expect from Master’s in Sustainable Development:

-If you are an engineer, if you are a person who is used to memorize things and think according to what has been taught to you before; you will have hard time studying this course. If you have strong ambitions to earn too much money, if you don’t like the idea of having the responsibility on your shoulders to learn everything by yourself instead of a very hard and busy course that you have to learn, than it might not be the right choice for you. You will feel this a waste of time, you probably will find this course very philosophical and useless and easy. Especially if you are a fee paying student, if you don’t do the readings, you might feel that you are spending your money for no reason.

-If you are open for new possibilities, if you are in to discussions, exchanging ideas, thinking in different ways, trying to look at problems in a broader perspective instead of trying to solve it directly and if you can let go yourself with the flow, enjoy Uppsala, nations, enjoy your classmates and their experiences with their lives and explore their unique ideas, this is the right choice for you. If you can take what you can get the most out of this programme, you will most probably graduate as a systems thinker with full of exciting experience.

As for me, I have chosen to study MSD only for 1 year. I think it will be sufficient for me and I don’t think I can learn more than this. I choose to look for opportunities  to work in Sweden and concentrate on my work in energy sector with the help of my energy engineering combined with knowledge about sustainable development goals of UN, systems thinking and other various things I have learned from this programme.

If you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask for me!

Müge Kayra


  1. Bidyut Kumer Balo

    What is the abbreviation of CEMUS????

  2. Alex

    Great !! I have applied to this program and I’m from Ghana . I hope to gain more insight in this programme and cause a change in my society

  3. Momoh Oghenevwairhe Edsel


    thank you for shairing your esperiences. i really appreciate you maam and hoping to see you in sweden soon.

  4. Obaji Uchenna Maryrose

    Am an applying student ,your post is nice ,really want to know more about MSD.

  5. João Ferreirinha

    Hi there, International Relations student from Portugal here!
    I read your review and found it very interesting. I’m wondering if I should apply to this Master’s Programme but first I would like to have an insight from someone who has attended it.

    So, I have a few questions and if you could help me I would be deeply thankfull:
    1. Is this programme a lot of “science oriented”? I mean, I’m studying social sciences and I’m not very familiar with deep pratical scientific subjects, except the ones I learnt in high school.
    2. As far as I understood, you chose to do the entire programme in 1 year, am I correct? If so, did you managed to do it smoothly or was it overwhelming?
    3. Does the programme has a close contact to corporations with environmental oriented thought? I mean, is it likely to get some sort of internship in a good swedish company?

    Thank you very much for your time.

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