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Advanced Diploma in Sustainable Development welcomes first cohort
Author: Aamirah Sonday
Published: 13/04/2023

Advanced Diploma in Sustainable Development welcomes first cohort


The School of Public Leadership (SPL) this year commenced its new Advanced Diploma in Sustainable Development programme with its first cohort of 21 students.  The one-year, hybrid programme was officially launched in 2022.


The students, the majority of whom are alumni of the undergraduate Diploma in Sustainable Development programme at SPL, attended an online orientation programme from 6 to 10 February, 2023.


While most of the Advanced Diploma is offered online through synchronous sessions and self-directed learning, there are four in-person sessions throughout the year. In-person sessions are practical, experiential learning opportunities that allow students to apply their theoretical learning.


According to Dr Ruenda Loots, programme head of the Advanced Diploma in Sustainable Development, the team aims to produce graduates who understand the Code for Responsible Investing in South Africa (CRISA) and the requirements of impact investors.


“CRISA aims to ensure that future investments contribute to social justice and ecological restoration. However, we don't have enough businesses that align with the principles of CRISA. It is a problem but also an opportunity – and that is where the Advanced Diploma in Sustainable Development comes in. We want to deliver graduates that can innovate with sustainability in mind. Graduates that can link impact investment opportunities to businesses that will make a difference.


“The Advanced Diploma in Sustainable Development will help students develop the tools to ideate solutions to local and global challenges. Our graduates should be able to make a compelling case for their idea and to get their ideas, or those of others, off the ground."


A recent Greenbiz report states that there has been a 10% increase in sustainability job postings during 2020. “These trends reinforced our belief that the Advanced Diploma in Sustainable Development will help students to prepare for the future of work," shared Loots.


Khuselwa Matodzi who enrolled for the Advanced Diploma in Sustainable Development because it supplements her Environmental Management studies and allows her to study while working, shared: “I also feel that sustainable development is the future as everything currently revolves around development in a sustainable manner."


While she is currently enjoying the online classes she cannot wait to attend lectures in person and to physically interact with her classmates.


Manon Perrot-Baar, an alumna of the Diploma in Sustainable Development programme, believes her participation in the new programme will enhance her knowledge of sustainable development, especially in the digital space.


“The programme will also give me the opportunity to develop my business skills. It also forms part of what I would like to do next year as a sustainability consultant. The programme also gives me the option to study further for my Master's degree, and provides me with a qualification that will support my work as a sustainability consultant," she shared.


The Advanced Diploma in Sustainable Development covers the following modules:


  • Sustainability in the Digital Age
    This module looks at technologies that are driving the 4th Industrial Revolution and which of these tech trends are truly sustainable. It also helps students to understand responsible investment and impact investment.


  • Research Approaches
    This module explores methods that will help students to identify problems worth solving and to test the impact of their solutions. They will practice critical thinking and writing skills to formulate persuasive arguments for social change.


  • Business Plans and Strategies
    This module unpacks both traditional and non-traditional business elements through the lens of sustainability thinking. Students will learn how to build impactful, sustainable entities in a range of diverse fields. The module will explore a collection of relevant and exciting case studies and will draw on design thinking and asset-based thinking.


  • Entrepreneurship Incubator
    In this module students learn how to become relevant through concrete business skills, and by building resilient ecosystems. They will also learn how to take a human-centred approach to what they do.


The Advanced Diploma in Sustainable Development is open to graduates with a background in economic and management sciences, business studies, entrepreneurship, developmental studies or sustainability.


  • For registration queries and more information about the programme contact