Global Sustainable Tourism - MSc

2024/25 Full-time Postgraduate course


Master of Science


Ulster University Business School


Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management


Coleraine campus

Start date:

January 2025


Making tourism relevant and sustainable for the 21st century.

The University has robust approval processes to ensure the quality and standards of its new programmes.

Initially the University gives provisional approval of a proposed programme on the basis of an outline  description and that is what is presented in this prospectus entry.

The programme proposal is subsequently developed in detail and is then considered at a formal event, we call evaluation or validation, for final approval and through that process some significant changes may be made to the programme to enhance the final version.

You should therefore expect that some changes will be made to the programme as described in this prospectus.


The MSc in Global Sustainable Tourism is aimed at current and prospective managers across the tourism industry, providing them with specialist in-depth knowledge and practical understanding of how tourism and management theory informs professional practice, enabling the industry to aspire to be sustainable, more resilient and inclusive in how it operates.The course is taught in a block structure to allow for full time study as well as part time study for those working in the industry. Ulster University is ranked 2nd in the UK for Hospitality, Event Management and Tourism (The Guardian University Guide 2024).

We’d love to hear from you!

We know that choosing to study at university is a big decision, and you may not always be able to find the information you need online.

Please contact Ulster University with any queries or questions you might have about:

  • Course specific information
  • Fees and Finance
  • Admissions

For any queries regarding getting help with your application, please select Admissions in the drop down below.

For queries related to course content, including modules and placements, please select Course specific information.

We look forward to hearing from you.

About this course


Course modules include:

Semester 1

Global Issues in Sustainable Tourism

This module examines sustainable tourism from a wider policy, planning, development and management perspective. Issues examined include sustainable tourism as planning, tourism development that aligns with triple-bottom line thinking, and tourism management that accounts for the avoidance of overtourism, but recognises that in many destination regions, the need will be to manage mass tourism over smaller numbers. The module will also examine global tourism in line with sustainability alongside other wider global issues such as climate change, as well as meeting sustainable development goals.

Data Analytics for Sustainable Tourism

The module equips students with the knowledge and skills to analyse and interpret tourism-related data, evaluate its implications for sustainable tourism practices, and apply data analytics techniques to address challenges in the tourism industry. Through theory and practice, students can develop a critical understanding of the ethical and social considerations associated with data use in tourism management.

Fundamentals of Sustainable Management

The module is designed to familiarise students with the critical aspects of sustainability within business operations, including the drivers, barriers, and trends. It explores the balance between economic performance and sustainable practices, highlighting the importance of ethical decision-making, environmental stewardship, and social responsibility. Through engaging with contemporary case studies and theoretical frameworks, students will learn to apply sustainable management principles to real-world scenarios, emphasising practical, innovative solutions to sustainability challenges.

Semester 2

Sustainability Reporting and Governance

Sustainability reporting is critical for organisations to measure economic, environmental, and social activities. This module develops the students’ appreciation of what must be disclosed in sustainability reports, to comply with local, national, and international sustainability reporting requirements. Students will also gain an understanding of how good corporate governance leads to high quality sustainability reporting and the effective management of the organisation’s sustainability-related risks, opportunities, and targets progression.

Leadership and Professional Development

This module places emphasis on professional development with a focus on a deep understanding of emotional intelligence and resilience, helping to empower learners to effectively coach and mentor individuals and teams’ performance, in response to the ever-evolving dynamics of global change. The module also examines the significance of ethical leadership and responsible decision-making.

Operationalising Sustainable Tourism

The module explores the topic from a practice-policy nexus whereby students will investigate the policy framework within which sustainable tourism is operationalised as well as examine specific operational actions towards creating a more sustainable tourism industry. Emphasis is put on a holistic sustainability approach, incorporating the economic, environmental and socio-cultural aspects of the triple-bottom line and examining climate action, food, water, transport, and energy through a circular economy and social equity lens. Extant sustainable tourism theory is applied to the operational context using real-life cases drawing on geographic and sectoral diversity within the visitor economy.

Semester 3

Dissertation or Capstone Management Project

This module element will enable students to undertake either a research dissertation at postgraduate level on a topic of their choice related to sustainable tourism, or a more management-focused capstone project integral to sustainable tourism management, building on the knowledge and skills gained throughout the course.


The course starts with a 3-day induction period to introduce you to new network of students and staff.

All modules are taught in 3-day blocks (usually Wednesday to Friday 9-5) so you can fit your learning around your lifestyle. Classes are taught on the Coleraine campus of the university.

One module is delivered approximately every 4 weeks during each semester (3 semesters in total) with a number of half-day learning sets (tutorial learning support toward module assessment) per module to allow you to meet your tutors and student groups.

The calendar of scheduled teaching will be made available to you prior to you starting the course.

Start dates

  • January 2025

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

Teaching & Learning:

Various teaching methods will be employed, including traditional lectures, case studies, workshops and guest lectures. We also arrange several site visits (linked to a number of modules) to recognised tourism destination space within the local region.


Assessment includes written reports, essays, short synopsis, analysis of best-case exemplars, case studies, and individual and/or group presentations.

Attendance and Independent Study

The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.

Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:

  • Attendance and Independent Study

    As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until close to the start date and may be subject to some change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days and periods of attendance will be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.

    Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10, 20, or 40 credit modules (more usually 20) and postgraduate courses typically 15 or 30 credit modules.

    The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Teaching and learning activities will be in-person and/or online depending on the nature of the course. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.

    Postgraduate Master’s courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.

    Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.

  • Assessment

    Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be a combination of examination and coursework but may also be only one of these methods. Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes.  You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessments. This feedback may be issued individually and/or issued to the group and you will be encouraged to act on this feedback for your own development.

    Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification, the assessment timetable and the assessment brief. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.

    Normally, a module will have 4 learning outcomes, and no more than 2 items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised. The module pass mark for undergraduate courses is 40%. The module pass mark for postgraduate courses is 50%.

  • Calculation of the Final Award

    The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6, (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).

    Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Master’s degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.

    All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study.

    In Masters degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.

    Figures from the academic year 2022-2023.

Academic profile

The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 60% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.

Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (19%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (22%) or Lecturers (57%).

We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic and learning support staff (85%) are recognised as fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) by Advance HE - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.

The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise.  The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff.  This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.

Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.

Figures from the academic year 2022-2023.

Coleraine campus


A laid-back campus at the heart of a global tourist attraction.

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Sports Facilities

Our Campus in Coleraine boasts a variety of indoor and outdoor facilities that are open all year round to students and members of the public.

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Student Wellbeing

At Student Wellbeing we provide many services to help students through their time at Ulster University.

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Standard entry conditions

We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.

Entry Requirements

Applicants must normally have gained:

A second-class honours degree or better from a recognised university of the UK, Republic of Ireland, from the Council for National Academic Awards, the National Council for Educational Awards, the Higher Education and Training Awards Council, or from an institution of another country which has been recognised as being of an equivalent standard; or

An equivalent standard (normally 50%) in a Graduate Diploma, Graduate Certificate, Postgraduate Certificate or Postgraduate Diploma or an approved professional qualification or other qualification; and

Provide evidence of competence in written and spoken English to GCSE grade C or equivalent. Non-English speakers must demonstrate that English ability is appropriate for studying at this level and provide evidence of English competence to IELTs 6.0.

Applicants do not have to hold their primary degree in a cognate area, but prior knowledge of studying tourism and/or business at an undergraduate level or relevant work experience may be beneficial.

In exceptional circumstances, where an individual has substantial and significant experiential learning, a portfolio of written evidence demonstrating the meeting of graduate qualities (including subject-specific outcomes, as determined by the Course Committee) may be considered as an alternative entrance route. Evidence used to demonstrate graduate qualities may not be used for exemption against modules within the programme.

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.

Exemptions and transferability

Do you have another qualification awarded by Ulster University or by another university or other educational institution, or have evidence of accreditation of prior learning?

These may be considered for exemption from part of the programme, provided you register as a student at Ulster University for modules amounting to at least the final third of the credit value of the award at the highest level.

What exemptions can I get?

The Course Director can advise candidates as to the eligibility of their accredited course.

How do I apply for exemptions?

When accepted on the course, you are asked to complete an exemptions form, which is reviewed by the Course Director and exemptions are then agreed during the induction process.

Exemption is not permitted from the dissertation or management project.

Careers & opportunities

Career options

The programme is designed for those current working in the tourism and allied travel sector to upskill their specialist and management knowledge, helping to inform tourism policy both at a local and national level. For international students taking this degree, the specialist tourism and management knowledge received will be integral to enable better tourism policy in their home country regarding how it is planned, developed and managed in the present day and near future.

Work placement / study abroad

There is no defined work placement on this course.


Start dates

  • January 2025

Fees and funding

Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and EU Settlement Status Fees


International Fees


Additional mandatory costs

It is important to remember that costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges) and normal living will need to be covered in addition to tuition fees.

Where a course has additional mandatory expenses (in addition to tuition fees) we make every effort to highlight them above. We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals, as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free Wi-Fi are also available on each of the campuses.

There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.

Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as a part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs, as well as tuition fees.

See the tuition fees on our student guide for most up to date costs.


We’d love to hear from you!

We know that choosing to study at university is a big decision, and you may not always be able to find the information you need online.

Please contact Ulster University with any queries or questions you might have about:

  • Course specific information
  • Fees and Finance
  • Admissions

For any queries regarding getting help with your application, please select Admissions in the drop down below.

For queries related to course content, including modules and placements, please select Course specific information.

We look forward to hearing from you.

For more information visit


  1. Although reasonable steps are taken to provide the programmes and services described, the University cannot guarantee the provision of any course or facility and the University may make variations to the contents or methods of delivery of courses, discontinue, merge or combine courses and introduce new courses if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Such circumstances include (but are not limited to) industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key staff, changes in legislation or government policy including changes, if any, resulting from the UK departing the European Union, withdrawal or reduction of funding or other circumstances beyond the University’s reasonable control.
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