Advanced Diploma

Sustainable Development

Faculty of Economic & Management Sciences
School of Public Leadership

​This one-year hybrid programme is ideal for graduates and working professionals who want to equip themselves to create just and sustainable futures in the digital age. 

Yes! I am interested, please send me more information:

​Skills for a Green Economy

In response to the growing need for responsible investing and the transition to a green economy, our programme aligns with the Code for Responsible​ Investing in South Africa (CRISA). CRISA encourages integrating environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors into investment decisions. Stay relevant and make a meaningful impact as you develop the skills to navigate the evolving landscape of responsible investment and stewardship.

Whether you aspire to launch your own enterprise, make a meaningful impact as an employee, or provide consultancy services to businesses, this programme will equip you with the necessary skills to align your ideas with CRISA principles and meet the expectations of im​pact investors.

Integrated modules

In “Sustainability in the Digital Age“, you will explore the sustainable potential of digital technology, impact investment, and responsible leadership. The “Research Approaches” module focuses on transformative and collaborative research, enabling you to identify social issues, collect data, and test the impact of your solutions. In “Business Plans and Strategies,” you’ll learn how businesses can be catalysts for social cha​​nge, exploring for-profit enterprises, social enterprises, and responsible investment. Finally, the “Entrepreneurship Incubator” module empowers you to design innovative projects by applying sustainable technology and critical thinking to real-world challenges.

Embrace the opportunity to reimagine our world through sustainable development. 

Hybrid learning

Discover a flexible and dynamic learning experience with our hybrid programme. Benefit from self-directed learning, complemented by daily synchronous sessions and three immersive in-person contact sessions throughout the year. This unique blend ensures you have the flexibility to shape your learning journey while growing a valuable professional network through real-world experiences.

What can you expect to learn?

TERMS 1 & 2

SUSTAINABILITY IN THE DIGITAL AGE (30 credits, Term 1 and Term 2)

How can digital technology help us achieve the Sustainable Development Goals?
This module is a pre-requisite for Entrepreneurship Incubator 151.

This module explores how digital technology, impact investment and leadership in the digital space can help us to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In this module, you will examine relevant technologies that drive the 4th Industrial Revolution and interrogate which technological developments and trends are truly sustainable. You will learn about values, ethics, and leadership in the digital space with a focus on responsible investment, and this will provide a conceptual basis from which you will imagine, ideate, and innovate in the Entrepreneurship Incubator module.

After the successful completion of this module, you will be able to:

  • Describe various interpretations of sustainable development in local and global contexts.
  • Explain current technologies that drive the 4th Industrial Revolution.
  • Identify the role technology can play in sustainable business, social justice, and positive environmental impact.
  • Discuss the ethical considerations of technological advances from a sustainable development perspective, with specific reference to new digital divides.
  • Describe basic principles of responsible investment, and relevant policies in the local context (e.g., CRISA).
  • Describe the relationship between technology and sustainable development, with reference to responsible investing.

Natasha King

A new way of thinking is required to ensure we build businesses and organisations with humanity in mind. I am passionate about people, education, technology, design and entrepreneurship, and I have professional experience
in all of these areas. I’m curious about the future and the role we as a collective can play in shaping it.



Timo King

I am passionate about promoting conscious consumerism and responsible development through technology. I have
a background in tech recruitment, client relations, business analysis, solutions engineering, and innovation. I enjoy listening to informative podcasts, engaging in meaningful conversations, and guiding others on their own path to personal and professional fulfilment.



Juliet Leuna-Obioha

I am a trained accountant with over a decade of aggregate experience within the banking, tech, and education industry. When I am not advocating for environmental sustainability and sustainability in business and strategic leadership, I spend time outdoors, listen to classical music, and collect plants.

RESEARCH APPROACHES (15 credits, Term 1)

How might we do research in transformative and collaborative ways?

This module is a pre-requisite for Entrepreneurship Incubator 151.

This module explores how we might do research in transformative and collaborative ways to deeply understand social issues and community needs. You will be guided in identifying problems worth solving, collecting and capturing data together with your research participants, and using a variety of approaches to test the impact of your solutions. You will also practice critical thinking and build your writing skills to formulate persuasive arguments for social change.

After the successful completion of this module, you will be able to:

  • Describe transdisciplinary and participatory action research approaches in relation to defined case studies.
  • Identify appropriate research designs, including specific data collection and analysis methods for defined case studies.
  • Develop and communicate ideas and opinions in a well-formed argument.

Daniella Favis

I have never managed to make up my mind about whether I want to be a writer or a teacher, and so I often find myself teaching about writing. My professional background is in teacher training, facilitating and writing curricula. I am curious about mountains, music, movement, and reimagining power relations to solve problems in regenerative ways.


How can Business be a vehicle for positive change?
This module explores how business can be a vehicle for social change. By recognising the value of doing business differently through for-profit enterprises, social enterprises, ‘knowledge commons’ enterprises and social campaigns underpinned by social enterprises, you will formulate a business plan aimed at responsible investment. The theoretical knowledge you gain in this module can then be applied to a new business venture in the Entrepreneurship Incubator module.

After the successful completion of this module, you will be able to:

  • Describe conventional for-profit enterprises, social enterprises, social campaigns underpinned by social enterprises and ‘knowledge commons’ enterprises.
  • Apply relevant business principles with reference to a particular set of case studies.
  • Identify key requirements of business plans for impact investing.

Juliet Leuna-Obioha

I am a trained accountant with over a decade of aggregate experience within the banking, tech, and education industry. When I am not advocating for environmental sustainability and sustainability in business and strategic leadership, I spend time outdoors, listen to classical music, and collect plants.



Leuna Obioha

I am a tech enthusiast who recently completed my PhD in informatics, with a focus on gameful design for development. I am passionate about the use of technology in education, and I have a keen interest in understanding users’ role in designing community and business innovations. I am also a lecturer and the Chief Technology Officer of a tech start-up in Cape Town.

TERMS 3 & 4

ENTREPRENEURSHIP INCUBATOR (60 credits, Term 3 and 4)

Ask courageous questions. Create meaningful answers.

This module encourages you to ask courageous questions and then to create meaningful answers to these questions by designing your own innovative project. To achieve this, you will be taken through cycles of divergent and convergent thinking to deepen your understanding of resilient ideas for a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) context. 

The theoretical content and practical skills you have gained during the first semester will be applied here in experiments, simulations, debates and scenario plans to explore the ways in which sustainable technology can be used for a significant cause.

After the successful completion of this module, you will be able to do the following in relation to a start-up enterprise, whether your own or that of an existing case study:

  • Demonstrate the entrepreneurial values of innovation, experimentation, determination, relationship-building, and cooperation through a design-thinking process, and reflect these values in practice.
  • Apply appropriate research methods and approaches to data collection.
  • Understand why prototyping is an integral part of the design thinking process.
  • Formulate and present a business case and business ​​plan that details critical aspects of developing a successful business.
  • Prepare and present an investor-ready business pitch that clearly explains your business idea.

Mandisa Mbaligontsi

I am the founder of the Orange Moon group and have a background in the private, NGO and public sectors. I am primarily concerned with contributing to building intersectional systems of change based on principles of wellbeing, equity, inclusion, and regeneration. I believe sustainable change is the responsibility of every entrepreneur, particularly those passionate about social change as a vehicle for serving communities and addressing the world’s wicked problems.


Advanced Diploma (NQF level 7, 120 credits)
One-year, full-time programme (February – November)
Hybrid learning approach:

  • Self-directed online learning at your own pace, with
  • Synchronous online sessions throughout the programme, and
    Approximately 120 hours per month (30% for synchronous engagement, 70% self-directed learning).
    Provisional dates for online orientation: 5 – 9 February 2024
  • Three compulsory in-person learning journeys (3 – 5 days).
    Provisional dates for 2024: 4 – 8 March, 10 – 14 July & 6 – 8 November. Subject to change.

Programme cost: approximately R55 000.00 per annum
Fee estimate for 2024. Subject to change.

Programme Leader

Dr Ruenda Loots

I am a biomimetic biochemist that lived my way back to my original passion: creating positive change through immersive, experiential education. I am curious about how we learn and what ignites joy in learning. I believe that when education is rooted in Nature and Community, curiosity and creativity thrive. It is the greatest privilege to journey alongside the change agents that enroll in our programmes.


  • A Diploma (NQF level 6) or Bachelor’s degree (NQF level 7) from a recognised tertiary institution in subjects/fields aligned with the focus of the Advanced Diploma, e.g. sustainable development, entrepreneurship, business studies, economics, innovation.
  • Access to a computer and reliable internet.


Apply by 30 September of the year before your intended studies. You must complete two applications:

1. The official University application, available at

Programme Selection
Faculty: Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences – Stellenbosch.
Programme Type: Undergraduate
Programme: AdvDip (Sust Development)

2. The Departmental application, which will be sent to you via email within ten days of your
University application status changing to ‘Reviewed’.


To receive information about the programme and upcoming open days, sign up here.

Approximately 40 students are selected for this programme every year. The number of students selected will be influenced by, inter alia, staff capacity, availability of School resources as well as academic merit and University transformation objectives. As staff capacity and resources may fluctuate from year to year, the number of students selected can also differ from year to year.
A committee selects applicants based on a combined score. The combined score is derived from academic merit, and the interest and experience you demonstrate in key areas (indicated in the Departmental application form). Key areas include sustainable development, social and environmental justice, entrepreneurial mindset, creativity, and leadership.

The number of applicants who are interested to register for this programme in a particular year will determine whether this programme is offered or not. Applications open in April and we will confirm by 31 July whether it will be offered.

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