Masters in English

Standardization, social regulation and sustainable development

Sustainable development, both economically, politically and socially, requires social regulation, which implies the coordination of the various actors. The master's degree covers these basic aspects of sustainable development, as well as ISO regulatory standards and the way in which the actors coordinate themselves. The master is the fruit of a partnership between the University of Geneva and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and collaborates with others international organizations.

Meet our students!

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120 ECTS    3 to 5 semesters
Language  English: compulsory classes

Assets of the master

As its name implies, the Master combines three thematic pillars in a single curriculum: standardization, social regulation and sustainable development. The idea behind the combination of these three pillars is related to a broad conceptualization of the notion of sustainable development. In fact, a series of recent evolutions (the financial crisis of 2008, the globalization process, new migratory flows,…) show that achieving sustainable development implies not only to consider its environmental implications, but also to take into account the economic, political and social dimensions associated with the transformation of our societies. A key element necessary to understand all these facets is the way individuals and enterprises manage to coordinate their actions in a sustainable way through the creation of regulations derived from participatory governance. It is also important to acknowledge and emphasize the role played by standard-setting processes in facilitating the coordination and monitoring of actors.

The combination of these three dimensions makes the Master in “Standardization, Social Regulation and Sustainable Development” a unique program. Most Master programs dealing with sustainability usually do not go beyond the environmental dimension of the concept. Only a few programs consider the social regulation facet, while not a single one takes into account the importance of standard-setting. Taking into account all three dimensions gives a perspective allowing examining sustainable development and its implications in a comprehensive way.

The Master program is structured at the intersection between the academic and professional world:

  • This cooperation between the University of Geneva and the ISO is enriched by the presence of numerous external professors working in organizations directly concerned with the different facets of sustainable development, participatory governance and standard-setting. Students have hence the possibility to complete the academic knowledge given by professors of the University with the one of external experts providing a direct link to the professional domain.
  • Students are asked to accomplish an internship allowing them to put into practice the knowledge acquired during the courses. The presence of several external professors and the Geneva environment (cf. below) makes it relatively easy to find very satisfying internship spots.
    At the end of the internship, the student can choose to either write an internship-based thesis suited for a direct transition into the professional world (possibly within the organization having hosted the internship) or an academic thesis independent of the internship thesis, suited for those willing to accomplish a PhD.

The nature of the Master makes it a highly interdisciplinary program where students from different fields and expertise are welcomed. The interdisciplinary character is directly related to the broad conceptualization of sustainable development at the core of the Master.

Alongside this interdisciplinarity, students have the possibility to create a tailor-made study plan suiting their profile and desires after the Master. The topics chosen to focus in the papers and assignments of every course, the internship, the thesis and an important number of elective courses leave students an important leeway to make the Master experience as useful as possible.

For every intake, we guarantee a low student-professor ration that allows us to follow the development, performance and needs of students attentively.

Detailed study plan

Required courses 72 credits

Comparative Labour Markets
Environmental Economics and Climate Change
Global Health
Contemporary Capitalisms
The Economics of Globalisation
Corporate Citizenship
Governance of Global Supply Chains
Voluntary, Consensus-Based Standards
Voluntary Standards, Governance and SDGs
Policy, Programme and Project Evaluation
Quantitative Methods

Electives 24 credits

Master's thesis or work placement dissertation 24 credits

A Bachelor degree or  an equivalent title delivered by a Swiss University or a foreign institution fully accredited by the admissions office of the University of Geneva is required.

Language: All compulsory classes are taught in English.
TOEFL (code number 3607), IELTS or an equivalent test is required, except  for graduates of Anglophone universities or programs.
Students with no prior knowledge of French are eligible to apply. 

Optional and an asset for international students: The GRE general test (DI Code 0850) or  the GMAT test (Master's code 651-QT-70).

  • Registration for the master's degree takes place between the beginning of January and 28 February for the following academic year (start of courses in September).
  • Application must be submitted online, through the admissions office.

More information

University housing

The University of Geneva offers some accommodation possibilities. Please note the latest date to apply for the University's housing for the autumn semester is the 15th of June. Please get in touch with the accommodation office of the University as soon as possible

Individual apartment

By applying for one of the offers available on the websites of the real estate agencies in Geneva, it is possible to rent an apartment. However, since the real estate market is extremely tight in Geneva, it is complicated for a student to obtain an individual apartment. Three additional options are those most frequently used by students. 

Subletting and apartment-sharing

The sublease/sublet is a temporary provision of all or part of a home. The object of the sublease is a housing unit as a whole (studio apartment) or a room in an apartment. 

The roommate lease, or colocation, involves a contract between 2 or more persons and a landlord. The term "colocation" means that the occupants are all signatories of the contract that binds the landlord and that they are liable in equal shares. 

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