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NBS8660: Advanced Sustainability Management Project

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Cristina Neesham
  • Owning School: Newcastle University Business School
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
  • Capacity limit: 999 student places

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 3 Credit Value: 60
ECTS Credits: 30.0


This capstone module is designed to allow students, drawing on their learning across their MSc Sustainability Management programme, to individually undertake a large-scale project in relation to a chosen element of sustainability practice.

The individual project can take the form of one of the three routes:

(i) A theory-based research project. In the case of individual research project, the identification of the topic and the development of the research question are carried out by the student, subject to approval by the workshop tutor. The student will identify the research question from strong theoretical foundations, and design and execute an appropriate research approach.

(ii) A practice-based project on a live case. For practice-based projects (consultancy project), the topic is usually established by the client but the precise scope and research questions will be developed by the student, in consultation with the client and subject to approval by the Module Leader. A limited number of practice-based projects may be available, and acceptance of any student to undertake a such a project will be at the discretion of the Degree Programme Director in conjunction with the Module Leader. Students will work collaboratively on the live case but will each submit an individual written report.

(iii) An applied policy brief (aimed at a non-academic/practitioner audience). For the applied policy brief project (applied research project), the topic is identified by the student and agreed with the workshop tutor. The project will provide an independent analysis of contemporary organisational issues related to sustainability, present an overview of existing research, and formulate recommendations for a non-academic/practitioner audience in the form of a research briefing report.

The module aims to:

  1. provide the opportunity for students to undertake independent applied research in which they apply appropriate tools of analysis.
  2. enable students to sharpen critical and analytical skills in gathering and interpreting data and identifying significant issues.
  3. enable students to further enhance and develop subject-specific knowledge through conducting research.
  4. enable students to relate academic theory and concepts to real-world problems including an appreciation of ethical considerations in the business context.
  5. further enhance interpersonal and transferable skills through oral/written communication, problem solving, time management, self-motivation, and creativity.

Outline Of Syllabus

This is a capstone project module that provides the opportunity for students to undertake independent research and analysis of a sustainability issue (or issues). Students will select one of the three project routes described above and will be allocated to a workshop based on that choice. Guidance will be given in that workshop through formative Gateway Tasks and feedback to support independent study and to complete their project.

Research into sustainability requires students to appreciate the messiness and complexity of issues and their evolution. For this reason, the module provides a series of lectures that introduce students to methodological perspectives that are prevalent in sustainability research (e.g. systems theory, complexity theory).

Students can utilise these perspectives as they design their individual project, drawing extensively on theory and skills developed in the prior modules in the programme to complete this project.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
CategoryActivityNumberLengthStudent HoursComment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching Activities Lecture 8 1:00 8:00

Introduction to the module and domain-specific methods lectures (Feb-Mar) prior to project selection.

Scheduled Learning And Teaching Activities Workshops 5 2:00 10:00 Students will be supported via 5x2hr workshops where two or more staff can work with them in a structured way in May-Jul.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching Activities Scheduled online contact time 5 1:00 5:00 Provide drop-in/surgery support to the students in developing their work.
Guided Independent Study Independent study 577 1:00 577:00 n/a
Total 600:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The capstone project is an independent individual piece of work supported through key lectures, workshops and drop-in/ surgery sessions that provide relevant guidance and appropriate support through the whole process (from issue identification and analysis to developing recommendations).

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
DescriptionSemesterWhen SetPercentageComment
Report 1 3 M 100 Maximum 10,000 word max.
Formative Assessments
ComponentSemesterWhen SetComment
Written exercise 3 M Workshop preparation Gateway Tasks with feedback provided
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The capstone project is an independent individual piece of work supported through formative feedback and guidance in workshops and drop-in/surgery sessions.