UCC Postgraduate courses

Sustainability and Climate Action for Enterprise (HCI Pillar 1)

Course Fact File
Duration9 Months
Teaching ModeFull-time. See Additional Teaching Mode Information for more info.
NFQ LevelLevel 8
EU FeesFree or 90% funded
See Fees and Costs for full details.
Closing DateRolling deadline. Open until all places have been filled. Early application is advised.
Start Date9 September 2024

Course Outline

2023 HCI Pillar 1 Logos


Are you concerned about environmental sustainability? Are you someone who is interested in achieving real systems change across enterprise and industry? Do you want to know how business can play a part in the transition to a sustainable society? If so, then the Higher Diploma in Sustainability and Climate Action for Enterprise may be just right for you!

The world faces unprecedented environmental challenges. Growing public awareness and concerns over climate change and environmental sustainability are pushing businesses to place sustainability at the heart of business strategy, operations, and decision-making.

The transition towards a sustainable and zero carbon business presents a tremendous opportunity for companies to drive innovation, increase competitiveness, manage risk and stimulate growth and you can play a role in it. Radical technological innovations, different business models, and new competences and skills are needed. The transition will require interdisciplinary approaches, combining and considering technological, economic, social, managerial and environmental aspects.

Through a blend of academic coursework, interdisciplinary insights, business case studies and application, peer learning and individual reflection, you will become part of a community of business leaders that will lead the transition to sustainable business practices. During this course you will also develop a deep reconsideration of skills and competences needed to deliver such a transition. These include the ability to combine and consider engineering, economic, social, managerial, legal, and environmental constraints by embracing interdisciplinarity, complexity, and systems thinking.

The inter-disciplinary approach of the Higher Diploma in Sustainability in Enterprise is particularly suited to address the complex challenges of the transition to a low carbon economy. The course also draws on the interdisciplinary strengths and capabilities within the Environmental Research Institute. It builds on the strength of UCC’s ongoing commitment and success in their Green Campus initiative, which embeds sustainability in all university strategies while also delivering sustainability on the ground. The strong links between learning, research and teaching have been key to UCC’s success in sustainability and this approach will underpin the successful delivery of the programme. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the sustainability challenge, the Higher Diploma benefits from its  reach across a number of Colleges and Schools

The Higher Diploma will produce a community of leaders equipped to lead the transition to sustainable enterprise practices through decarbonisation. Participants will gain a comprehensive insight into the key principles and theories associated with business, management and the circular economy, while developing transferable leadership skills and identifying business opportunities through innovative frameworks. 

Apply and become a future leader in sustainability in enterprise

Core Modules (50 credits)  

  • CE5010 Progressing toward Sustainable Industry (5 credits)  
  • CE5011 Environmental Engineering - Wet (5 credits)  
  • PE3011 Sustainability and Environmental Protection I (5 credits)  
  • CE5009 Circular Economy Energy & Environmental Systems (5 Credits) 
  • FE2012 Sustainability in Modern Business (5 credits)   
  • MG5005 Marketing Ethics and Sustainability (5 credits)  
  • EC3156 Environmental Economics: The Problem of Climate Change (5 credits)  
  • UW0005 Sustainability (5 credits)  
  • CE4025 Leadership in Sustainability in Enterprise (5 credits) 
  • NE5003 Sustainable Energy (5 credits)  

Elective Modules (choose 10 credits)  

  • FE5001 Marketing and Communications for Sustainable Food Production and Consumption (5 credits)  
  • EV4012 Environmental Impact Assessments (5 credits) 
  • SC3029 Sociology of the Environment (5 credits)  
  • MG5006 Management in Practice (5 credits)  
  • MG2003 Consumer Behaviour & Sustainable Consumption (5 credits)
  • EV4002 Environmental Monitoring and Assessment (10 credits)

Additional Teaching Mode Information

The teaching delivery is mainly face-to-face. Some elements of the teaching will be delivered using a hybrid model, including synchronous online lectures and pre-recorded material. 

Course Practicalities

This is a full-time programme requiring a significant time commitment. Lectures will be scheduled on weekdays. This will include a mix of daytime and evening lectures.  

2023/2024 Sample Timetables:

Please note these are subject to change. Students must check the live web timetables ahead of the start of each semester. 

Why Choose This Course

Why study Sustainability and Climate Action for Enterprise?
Growing public awareness and concerns over climate change and environmental sustainability are pushing enterprises to place sustainability at the heart of business strategy, operations, and decision-making. Accordingly, there are a growing number of enterprises, across multiple sectors, which require a skilled and knowledgeable workforce in sustainability and decarbonisation. The Higher Diploma in Sustainability in Enterprise aims to produce graduates with these competencies.

Who should apply?
This higher diploma is ideal for high achieving graduates from a range of backgrounds who have an interest in upskilling and diversifying into the area of environmental sustainability in business and enterprise. In addition, this programme would also be suitable for candidates who have considerable professional experience in business, industry, or enterprise and wish to become leaders in environmental sustainability and decarbonisation within their organisation.

Why study Sustainability and Climate Action for Enterprise?
UCC is a global leader in sustainability. The Higher Diploma in Sustainability and Climate Action for Enterprise leverages UCC’s Sustainability Strategy and the interdisciplinary strengths and capacity developed over 20 years within UCC’s Environmental Research Institute. This higher diploma will draw on the strength of UCC’s Green Campus initiative, which has successfully delivered institutional transformation by embedding sustainability in all university strategies and activities. It builds on this success to support the transformation to a low-carbon economy across a range of sectors.

Skills and Careers Information

What sort of jobs would this course prepare me for?

This programme would ideally prepare candidates for leadership roles in environmental sustainability and decarbonisation within business and enterprise. However, the skills acquired as part of this programme would also be highly applicable to other roles within enterprise.

Are there any career workshops included as part of this course?

Students will have access to the UCC career services. Main activities will include:

  1. Career coaching to formulate individual career action plans leading to employment, reflecting on: 
    1. Where are they now in their careers?
    2. Where do they want to be?
    3. Strategies for gaining employment on completion of the programme.
  2. Job readiness workshops will be built into the programme as outlined below:
    1. Positioning oneself for job readiness: Setting realistic career objectives; Understanding strengths and skills; Learning from successful role models; Developing a career management strategy.
    2. Moving forward into a job: Taking action by developing career goals and implementing them;
    3. Creative job-hunting both on-line and off-line; Written applications, CVs and interview preparation and implementing career plans.
  3. Participants will be given the opportunity to meet employers by attending UCC organised recruitment fairs, jobs roadshows and other events where employers will be invited on campus to meet students.

Will I get exposure to business, industry and enterprise in this course?

This course will have direct input from a number of enterprises, via guest lectures, industrial-based projects and site tours.


Applicants must have a primary degree (NFQ Level 8), or equivalent, in any of the following:

  • Science
  • Engineering
  • Medicine and Health
  • Business
  • Management
  • Law
  • Sociology
  • Geography or
  • A related discipline.

Under Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) applicants who do not meet the above academic entry requirements may be considered for admission and will be assessed on a number of factors including: 

  • Academic Achievement 
  • Prior Work Experience 
  • Personal Statement 
  • References may also be required

All applicants whose first language is not English must provide evidence of English language proficiency: See our English language proficiency requirements.

Fees and Costs

Places will be subsidised under the Human Capital Initiative (HCI) Pillar 1 as follows:

  • Standard EU Fee: €6,200
  • 90% Subsidised Fee: €620 payable by the applicant
  • 100% Subsidised Fee: No course fees payable by the applicant

For full details on subsidies available please see 'What will it cost?' on the main HCI Pillar 1 webpage.

How To Apply

 Applications must be made on Springboard+.  

  • If you already have a Springboard+ account, please apply here
  • If you are new to Springboard+, please create an account here to apply
  • When you log into your existing account or register for a new account, go to the search courses tab and search for the course you are interested in applying for. Further instructions can be found in the 'How to Apply' section of the Springboard+ webpage. 

Applicants are advised to apply early as high demand is anticipated and places are limited. Applications cannot be assessed until all supporting documentation has been received.   

Documentation that you will need for your application:

1. Applicants who meet the Academic Entry Requirements will need:

  • Copies of transcripts from all previous relevant educational qualifications. A parchment may also be required in some instances
  • A Personal/Motivation Statement: In 500 words or less, please state why you wish to study this programme
  • An up-to-date CV

Where English is not your first language you are required to submit a copy of a UCC approved English Language Test/Exam.

2. Applicants who apply under Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), will need:

  • Copies of transcripts from all previous relevant educational qualifications. A parchment may also be required in some instances
  • Personal / Motivation Statement - In 500 words or less, please state:

- Why you wish to study this programme
- How your experience, professional and educational, equips you for admission to the course  despite not meeting the academic entry requirements

  • An up-to-date CV
  • References where applicable

Where English is not your first language you are required to submit a copy of a UCC approved English Language Test/Exam.

3. Eligibility for HCI Pillar 1 Funding: 

In addition to the above, academic, English language and RPL requirements, all applicants must provide proof of the following in order to qualify for HCI Pillar 1 funding:

  • Evidence of living full time in the Republic of Ireland
  • Evidence of holding a valid Personal Public Service Number (PPSN)
  • Evidence of having lived in the EU/EEA/UK/Switzerland for 3 out of the past 5 years
  • Evidence of meeting the nationality/visa requirement
  • Evidence of meeting one of the following employment statuses:

- Employed

- Unemployed and in receipt of an eligible Department of Social Protection (DSP) payment for 9 out of the past 12 months

- Recent graduate (2023 or 2024)

- Returner

- Self-employed

- Formerly self-employed

The above funding eligibility documentation will be required after acceptance of a provisional offer, and not earlier than 6 weeks prior to course commencement. For more detailed information on what constitutes acceptable evidence please visit the Springboard+ website.

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact