Institute for Transport Studies (ITS)

MSc Sustainability in Transport

The way the world thinks about transport has changed. We now look for responses beyond ‘predict and provide’, and take a more holistic and longer-term view about the future of transport and its relationship with the development of sustainable communities. This integrated Masters programme provides insight into this evolving debate and addresses fundamental issues such as ‘how can transport contribute to more sustainable development?’

It brings together the Institute for Transport Studies and the Sustainability Research Institute, each with reputations for world leading research. Students benefit from the expertise in both Institutes and are trained in the analysis and development of solutions to local, regional and global problems.

The programme considers the interactions between the economy, society, the environment and governance and examines the design, evaluation and implementation of policies across sectors and spatial scales. Students examine emerging drivers such as climate change policies and corporate governance initiatives and they develop skills to help deliver integrated transport solutions.

The choice of optional module pathways together with a research dissertation allows each student to develop a unique skills set, to match their interests and future career. 

Students learn to:

  • conduct strategic reviews of transport and land-use policy
  • evaluate frameworks for understanding sustainable development
  • consider the roles that governments, markets and community groups can play in encouraging sustainability
  • undertake sustainability assessments
  • conduct land-use zoning and development control exercises
  • evaluate key policy interventions which integrate economic imperatives with sustainable development
  • apply a range of tools and techniques to real-world case studies.

Teaching, learning and assessment methods

Postgraduate study involves a range of teaching methods, supported by independent learning. In addition to the traditional lecture and seminar formats, students experience a blend encompassing workshops, computer exercises, practical sessions, directed reading, reflective journal, student-led discussions and tutorials. Assessment is equally varied and can include coursework essays, case-study reports, group assignments, posters, presentations and exams. Fieldwork also forms an important part of the learning experience and ranges from half-day local site visits to a week-long European field trip.

Applicants should normally have or expect a first or good second class honours degree, or equivalent, in a relevant discipline. For the MSc Sustainability (Transport) course, a relevant Undergraduate degree in the following is required:

Geography, town planning, earth & environment, architecture, sustainability, logistics, business & management, psychology, social policy, history, politics, public administration

Other graduates and those with professional qualifications plus experience in the sector will also be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Please also refer to our Admissions Policy document.

English language

Applicants whose first language is not English must provide evidence of their language proficiency. This is normally in the form of a recent test certificate:

English testMinimum score required
IELTS6.5 overall 
with not less than 6.0 in any component
Pearson (PTE) Academic64 overall
with at least 60 in all components

Applicants who have not quite achieved the minimum score may be admitted in certain circumstances. Those achieving an overall IELTS score of 6.0 may be accepted conditionally, on attendance of the University’s 6-week pre-sessional English language course. 

For further details including recognised alternatives to IELTS, please contact us or visit the Language Centre website.  The Language Centre provides a range of English for Academic Purposes Pre-sessional courses which are designed to help international students develop the necessary language and academic study skills required for successful postgraduate study.  These courses  start  in September, January, April, July or August.  For further information, please see visit the Language Centre’s website or contact via email: langc(at)

To find your local test centre, please visit the IELTS website.

ITS Masters programmes are recognised by the leading professional bodies in the transport sector.

The MSc Sustainability in Transport programme fulfils the educational requirements for membership of the Chartered Institute of Highways & Transportation (CIHT). 



ITS Programme:


Bachelors degree & University:

ITS dissertation topic:



Marc Fialkoff


MSc Sustainability (Transport) 

US-UK Fulbright

Political Science with Chemistry minor, Gettysburg College, PA, USA

Port Centric Logistics: Analysis at the Humber Ports of Hull and Immingham

Dr Tony Whiteing
Dr Gerard de Jong

As a Fulbright Scholar you are following in the footsteps of many famous and prestigious US citizens - why did you choose to come to ITS? 
I chose ITS after seeing that of all the UK institutions that have transport studies programs, ITS at Leeds was the best. What attracted me to ITS and the MSc Sustainability (Transport) was the interdisciplinary nature of the course and the crossover with the Sustainability Research Institute in the School of Earth and Environment. Coming from an interdisciplinary background, this was my first choice. Part of the Fulbright program is building international understanding in areas of study; learning transportation studies from world-renowned faculty members definitely feeds into the ideal.

What is it about transport that interests and motivates you to study it? 
My dad is a transportation engineer back in the United States and I have always marvelled at the projects he worked on when I was younger. He has been all over the world and I have been lucky to see some of his projects from conceptual drawings to actually riding on the finished project. When I started studying public policy at Gettysburg, it gave me a chance to begin to understand what my dad does and allowed me to find my own interests within the field. I found that transport studies is a perfect intersection of science and policy and the work I have been doing at ITS makes this even more evident.

How would you describe the experience of being an ITS Masters student?  
Amazing, it has been a lot of fun studying transport with the class I am in. Every lecture is an experience and I learn something new. Inside and outside the classroom, my classmates make the time here fun and exciting. The coursework is interesting and makes me look at transport from different perspectives. It truly is an interdisciplinary field and you need to be open to seeing the different perspectives that emerge.
What have you enjoyed most about the first semester and what are you looking forward to in the next semester? 
Induction week and the field-trip around Leeds were really fun. It gave all of us time to really get to know one another. It was really interesting to hear where everyone in our class comes from. Inside the classroom, I would have to say I particularly enjoyed the Transport Planning and Policy module. The discussions that emerged during our lectures were interesting and forced us to look at our own of opinions of transport and at times re-evaluate them.

Next semester, I am looking forward to my module in Green Logistics and doing my fieldwork at Hull and Immingham for my dissertation. In addition to the semester activities, I am really excited about the ITS field trip to Europe and my own travelling to Ireland.

What have the lectures and seminars been like? And the teaching staff/faculty?
At first glance, I did not realise that the material we would be reading in our classes are written by the faculty members of ITS. I thought that would be a bit intimidating, but once I was in Leeds and met the Professors and started attending the lectures, I found the faculty are amazing. They are very approachable and enjoy challenging us to think ‘outside the box’ and see new perspectives on transport related issues. They make material which can be challenging, interesting and easy to understand. The examples we learn in class are not theoretical, but are scenarios and projects that are ongoing which makes understanding them even easier.

How have you found living in the UK and Leeds in particular?
Living in the UK and Leeds has been a lot of fun. Gettysburg is a small college with about 2,700 students so coming to the University of Leeds and Leeds in general would be a challenge, but it has been an easy transition. Leeds has a lot of events in the city centre such as the Christmas Market and the ice skating rink. Also, being in Leeds allows me the opportunity to travel to places close to Leeds for day trips which has been a lot of fun.

...and the social life at the University of Leeds? 
During the first semester, I took up Jiu Jitsu which has been a lot of fun, although a bit daunting when it is your first martial arts. In addition to Jiu Jitsu, my classmates and I do stuff outside the classroom. When I needed to go to York to judge a debate, a friend from ITS accompanied me and we made a day trip to explore the city and sights (including the rail museum).

You’ve travelled quite a bit around the UK – what have been the highlights?
The University offers day trips to places such as Liverpool and Cambridge which were a lot of fun. During the Christmas Break, I travelled to Stonehenge, Bath, and spent some time in London. The highlight of my travels in the UK has to be the time I spent in Cornwall and Plymouth. During my time in Cornwall, I was taken to a Cornish Mine and saw the regeneration projects going on in the region. Although the weather was not too good on the few days we were in Cornwall, on the last day when we were in St. Ives, the sun came out and we were able to see the Atlantic Ocean from the beach and walk around St. Ives which was stunning. The tiny streets and the waterfront were truly amazing and things I will not forget.

You have already achieved a lot in your life, including some academic publications , teaching assistantship and as an Eisenhower Institute Undergraduate Fellow – tell us more…
Gettysburg really allowed me to explore my interests in political science and chemistry. The Eisenhower Institute is a public policy program that allows students to work on policy areas that are of interest to them. The program is led by Susan Eisenhower, the granddaughter of President Eisenhower and the program gave us the opportunity to meet public policy makers in the US and learn what they do. For me, I was interested in the environment, infrastructure, and nuclear non-proliferation. Being a political science major and chemistry minor allowed me to be an assistant in courses such as Organic Chemistry and Constitutional Law as well as write some articles on Constitutional Law and an Organic Chemistry Manual. In the area of Nuclear Non-Proliferation, myself and some friends organized a team to represent the US at a Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty Simulation held in Washington DC. At the end of the conference, our team was awarded the Most Outstanding Delegation award for our work during the simulation.

What do you plan to do once you’ve completed your Masters? 
Prior to being awarded the Fulbright Award and coming to ITS, I was accepted to Roger Williams University School of Law in Rhode Island. After I finish my studies at ITS, I plan to return to the US to start my law degree. My work at ITS dovetails nicely with my law degree because I am working on a maritime-based dissertation and Roger Williams specializes in Maritime Law. I am contemplating going for my PhD in Maritime Affairs to tie law, transportation, and maritime affairs together and hopefully will be able to teach in these areas.

Do you have any advice for anyone thinking about studying for a Masters at ITS?
Be prepared to hit the ground running. ITS is a wonderful place and the courses are great but be prepared to work on day one. Be open to new ideas and have fun. The year goes fast and enjoy every day of the program.



ITS Programme:


Bachelors degree & University:

ITS dissertation topic:


Jorge León Bello


MSc Sustainability (Transport)

ITENE - Packaging, Transport & Logistics Research Center, Valencia, Spain

Industrial Engineering, Politechnical University of Valencia, Spain

Environmental Benefits of Diesel-Hybrid Buses

Dr James Tate

Why did you decide to study at ITS?
ITENE - the Packaging, Transport and Logistics Research Center of Valencia ( - decided to invest in training a Research Engineer in order to enhance the capabilities of its Transport and Sustainability Division. That’s the reason I came here to study at ITS. As a leading academic research group in the transport field, I feel that ITS is the best option to develop my skills in transport and sustainability through the MSc Sustainability (Transport). ITS is very well established and the exceptional facilities that the University of Leeds had to offer were the main reasons I chose ITS ahead of other universities.

What is it about transport that interests and motivates you to study it?
Having already worked for three years as a Research Engineer at ITENE, I enjoy being involved in different projects in the field of transport and logistics. I think transport is one of the key issues for the economic growth and development of society. In fact, improvements in the transport system have become one of the top priorities for the European Union. In 2010 I started to work with projects related to the sustainability of the transport and logistics operations, and this is the area that interests me the most.

How have you found living and socialising in Leeds?
Personally I think Leeds is a great city to live in. I like the city, and the people here are really nice and you can easily adapt to its pace of life. The university itself has a wide range of activities to offer, most of them promoted by the Student Union. ITS also promotes various social activities throughout the year, for example a field trip around Leeds during the first semester.

How would you describe the experience of being an ITS Masters student?
Being an ITS Master student is definitely a great experience. It is a demanding program but extremely interesting. The lecture topics are chosen thoroughly in order to facilitate learning and students’ skills development. Each day you realise how important the things you are learning about really are. In fact, I believe sustainability in transport is one of the main challenges that today’s society needs to address.

What have you enjoyed most about the first semester and what are you looking forward to in the next semester?
During the first semester I really enjoyed all my lectures, both the modules offered by ITS and the modules offered by the School of Earth and Environment. During this second semester, I am looking forward to working on my dissertation research as well as learning more about ‘Urban and Transport Pollution’ and ‘Green Logistics’- as  this is the field of study in which I would like to develop my future career.

What have the lectures and seminars been like? And the teaching staff?
All the lectures and seminars I have attended so far have been very enjoyable, especially dealing with current affairs regarding transport and sustainability. The sessions are well-planned and well-prepared, and they offer many different points of view, including public and private perspectives about the issues we are studying. In addition, all the members of the teaching staff are very friendly and they are always ready to help you. 

What do you aim to do once you’ve completed your Masters?
Once completed the MSc, the next step is to apply the skills and knowledge I have learnt in order to carry out projects at ITENE. Our aim in ITENE is to increase the competitiveness of transport and logistics companies whilst considering sustainability in their decision-making. Moreover, a key objective is to take an active part in research and development projects within the European framework, and hopefully collaborating with partners such as ITS.

Do you have any advice for anyone thinking about studying for a Masters at ITS? 
Don’t hesitate and just go for it! It is a great opportunity for both you and your future career.



ITS Programme:


Bachelors degree & University:

ITS dissertation topic:



Jaime Vandenburg


MSc Sustainability (Transport) 


Civil Engineering and Society, McMaster University, Canada

How can low density communities in Ontario transition or develop their transportation modes & infrastructure?

Dr Miles Tight

Why did you decide to study at ITS?

I chose the Masters in Sustainability (Transport) because it fits my needs perfectly. I already had an engineering degree plus several years working in transport engineering, and this program helped to compliment these skills. There were other universities with similar programs, but many of them were more engineering focused or did not include the amount of sustainability content that I wanted. This program was the best fit for me; it also helped that the University is very reputable and that ITS is well respected in the transport sector.

What is it about transport that interests and motivates you to study it?

Transport interests me because its impacts are so broad and inter-linked with society. The movement of goods and people are necessary in society, but are having a significant impact on our climate and our overall well-being. Transport is typically coupled with the growth in the economy and I’m motivated to design and plan transport networks that are decoupled from this relation while still meeting the needs of our society.

How have you found living and socialising in Leeds?

I have been having a great time in Leeds this year. The city is beautiful as well as affordable and the people are the friendliest I’ve ever met. I've been having a great time socialising with my course-mates as well as the Leeds Union Hiking Club, where I've made some great friends and seen the gorgeous landscapes that Britain has to offer.

How would you describe the experience of being an ITS Masters student? 

I found that as an ITS Masters student a fair amount of attention is paid to you. I knew that Leeds was a large university and I really expected to be more of a number than a person, but ITS is certainly not like this. It is a very friendly environment and they organise field trips and external seminars that really add to the experience.

What have you enjoyed most about the first semester and what are you looking forward to in the next semester?

The first semester was great fun because it was a new beginning. The material was interesting and it helped develop the background needed for the second semester.  I’ve enjoyed all of my modules because they answered many of the questions I had about transportation that had built up in my mind during my working years. I was also quite surprised to have many of my previous opinions and ideas challenged and changed as well. It was very enlightening.

What have the lecture and seminars been like? And the teaching staff?

Like the rest of the people in Yorkshire the staff are really nice and friendly. They’re professional and approachable. The teaching staff participated in our international night, which helped us to get to know them better, and it also gave them an opportunity to recruit us to their classes.

What do you aim to do once you’ve completed your Masters?

I have had a great experience working in the public sector these past few years and I still feel that there is much that I can learn when I return to my position as a project engineer. I plan to return to my position with my new skills and knowledge and to try to use them to help encourage more sustainable transportation plans and projects.

Do you have any advice for anyone thinking about studying for a Masters at ITS?

Go for it! The program is great fun and there are some very useful skills to be learned. From the perspective of someone who has already worked in the transport field I found that I have learned a great deal that would have helped me while I was working and will now help me in the continuation of my career.

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