Postgraduate study
Edinburgh: Extraordinary futures await.

Data Driven Sustainability (Online Learning) PgCert (ICL), PgProfDev

Awards: PgCert (ICL), PgProfDev

Study modes: Part-time Intermittent Study

Online learning

Funding opportunities

Data is absolutely everywhere - it is all around us and continually growing. Huge data sources are increasing exponentially, but there are too few people with the specific skills and understanding to process the abundance of information available to inform the best ways forward in tackling pressing global challenges.

This qualification will train students in the use of data-driven approaches to inform practice, decision-making and policy relating to planetary health and sustainable futures.

Planetary health is defined as the health of human civilisation and the state of the natural systems on which it depends.

Science is often used to support decisions that have profound economic, social and environmental impacts. Good decision-making is fundamental to achieving policy aims, and science should be used as an instrument to evaluate proposed ways of reaching those aims; this is policy-led decision-making.

This qualification puts science under a planetary health and sustainable futures lens. An emphasis on translating policy aims into manageable scientific questions is a particularly distinctive, and possibly unique, feature among the University's courses on science and policy.

The University of Edinburgh has been delivering online postgraduate study since 2005 and is the largest provider of online learning in the prestigious Russell Group of universities.

Our online learning technology is fully interactive, award-winning and enables you to communicate with our highly qualified teaching staff from the comfort of your own home or workplace.

Our online students not only have access to Edinburgh's excellent resources, but also become part of a supportive online community, bringing together students and tutors from around the world.

The Certificate is designed to be tailored to your particular areas of interest. The qualification is offered online and on a part-time basis, allowing you to study at a pace and location that works best for you.

PG Certificate

The PG Certificate consists of 60 credits and can be completed in 1-2 years.

Postgraduate Professional Development

Postgraduate Professional Development (PPD) is aimed at working professionals who want to advance their knowledge through postgraduate-level learning, without the time, or financial commitment, of a full award.

You may take a maximum of 50 credits worth of courses from within the Certificate over two years and gain a University of Edinburgh postgraduate award of academic credit.

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
PgCert (ICL)Data Driven SustainabilityUp to 2 YearsPart-time Intermittent StudyProgramme structure 2024/25
PgProfDevData Driven SustainabilityUp to 2 YearsPart-time Intermittent StudyProgramme structure 2024/25

The aim of the certificate programme is to train you in the use of data driven methodologies to inform practice, decision making and policy relating to planetary health and sustainable futures.

On completion of the qualification, in the context of data driven sustainability you will be able to:

  • demonstrate a critical understanding of a range of theories, concepts, and principles
  • apply knowledge, skills and understanding using a range of skills, techniques, or practices
  • apply critical analysis, evaluation and synthesis to forefront issues/developments/research
  • communicate, using appropriate methods and/or applications to specific audiences, which may have different levels of knowledge/expertise
  • take responsibility for the identification, selection and use of appropriate resources and develop the ability to work autonomously or work with others in relation to professional, research and equivalent activities

You will gain skills and knowledge that will equip you to pursue careers in a variety of sectors, including:

  • government
  • non-governmental organisations (NGOs)
  • third sector policy
  • financial investment
  • health and nutrition

The courses offered within the certificate are primarily aimed at upskilling or reskilling those already working in a related industry. As such, many students will already have established careers.

This qualification may contribute to your employability and career progression by providing you with up-to-date research-based education and data skills that are attractive to employers across sectors focused on data, AgriTech and policy.

These entry requirements are for the 2024/25 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2025/26 academic year will be published on 1 Oct 2024.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent in a life science or social science.

We may also consider your application if you have less than a 2:1, or if you have a degree in another discipline, if you can demonstrate three or more years of relevant professional experience. Relevant experience should be detailed in the Personal Statement section of your application.

Students from China

This degree is Band D.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

Regardless of your nationality or country of residence, you must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 6.0 in each component. We do not accept IELTS One Skill Retake to meet our English language requirements.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 92 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 176 with at least 169 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 62 with at least 59 in each component.

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries (non-MESC).

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than five years old* at the beginning of your programme of study. (*Revised 05 March 2024 to extend degree validity to five years.)

Find out more about our language requirements:

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
PgCert (ICL)Data Driven SustainabilityUp to 2 YearsPart-time Intermittent StudyTuition fees
PgProfDevData Driven SustainabilityUp to 2 YearsPart-time Intermittent StudyTuition fees

The following courses on this programme are available through the Data Upskilling Short Courses (DUSC) initiative:

  • Making science relevant to policy and decision-making
  • Understanding planetary health and data: An introduction to the concepts and themes
  • Foundations of nutritional epidemiology

Learn more about the DUSC initiative

The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) Upskilling Fund offers a limited number of fully-funded places on Data Upskilling Short Courses at The University of Edinburgh. Eligibility criteria apply. Please submit an online enquiry form to request further information about this funding opportunity.

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Systems
  • The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies
  • Easter Bush
  • Edinburgh
  • EH25 9RG

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible. We may consider late applications if we have places available, but you should contact the relevant Admissions Office for advice first.

You must submit one reference with your application.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Systems
  • The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies
  • Easter Bush
  • Edinburgh
  • EH25 9RG