MLA College

BSc (Hons) Global Sustainable Development

MLA College delivers innovative distance e-learning courses for the global marine industry. Their range of education and training products include short courses, undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications in subjects including hydrography, meteorology, oceanography and sustainable maritime operations.

Their award-winning Total Learning Package allows students to study University of Plymouth approved programmes whilst remaining in their own jobs and learning at their own pace.

MLA College is a young, ambitious organisation with a commitment to the highest-quality education and professional development. It is a privately-owned company limited by shares. The shareholders are BAU Global and IMarEST.

Putting students first, MLA College has a particular focus on distance and blended learning and strives to continue to develop its expertise in the use of technology to enhance student learning.
Course details
  • Year 1

  • Optional modules

    • Sustainable Economics (MLA511)

      There is a tension between the economic development of nations, often driven by resource exploitation, and the need to live more sustainably. This module investigates alternative economic views which might alleviate this tension, or create new problems to solve, through asking how we value, or put value on natural and human resources.

    • Sustainable Shipping and Transportation (MLA512)

      Trade on a global scale, and movement of goods on a more local scale, has brought benefits to numerous economies. However, concerns about a range of environmental impacts show why the movement of goods needs to be set on a more sustainable footing. This module looks at the various solutions in place, and being worked on, to move goods between and within countries, in attempt to provide a more sustainable supply chain.

    • Education and the World of Work (MLA513)

      Long viewed as personal development, the access to quality learning can also be a driver for wider scale sustainable development. At the same time, education for sustainable development recognises a need for great environmental literacy in the population in terms of promoting sustainable development. It, is also seen as a way of developing a workforce that responds to the emergent trends in the world of work.

    • Renewable Energy (MLA514)

      In response to the need for alternatives to fossil fuels, the growth of renewable energy sources has been considerable in some parts of globe. This module reviews the types of alternatives available, the social, environmental, and economic ramifications of their installation, and discusses the disparity in utilisation of these technologies around the planet.

    • Global Environmental Change (MLA515)

      Evidence is gathering that human activities are changing the environment. This module will give context to the need for monitoring of the environment. It will give the student insight into the main global and regional issues of natural and anthropogenic environmental change that face the Earth today and in the future, including considering whether we have moved into a new geological age.

    • Environmental Technology (MLA516)

      Environmental technology is the taking of principles of engineering and the various environmental sciences for developing solutions to real world environmental problems. This unit addresses areas such as waste disposal and recycling and the control of air and water pollution, all of which have an impact upon environmental quality and public health

    • Urban Design (MLA517)

      The growth of our cities seems almost inexorable. The high density of people, with significantly impactful patterns of consumption, mean that cities are areas where the principle of sustainability is both needed, and sorely tested. This module looks at some of theoretical and practical examples of modern urban design, that are being used to lessen the environmental impact of such spaces.

    • Citizenship and Public Engagement (MLA518)

      Engagement and participation in a range of community and societal practices both enhances group cohesion but is also often seen as a precursor to democratic change. However, what this looks like, and the ability to do this, varies spatially. This module aims to document and explain these variations, and investigate the issues that arise from such spatial differences.

    • Geographies of Health and Wellbeing (MLA519)

      Health, shelter, and safety have a central place in the development and relationships within our communities. However, these factors, globally, look very different dependent upon a range of political and cultural influences. This module explores how these concepts are constructed and vary spatially, as well as investigating initiatives that promote wellbeing where it is most needed.

The modules shown for this course are those currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new modules. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to amendment from time to time as part of the University’s curriculum enrichment programme and in line with changes in the University’s policies and requirements.

In light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the changeable nature of the situation and any updates to government guidance, we may need to make further, last minute adjustments to how we deliver our teaching and learning on some or all of our programmes, at any time during the academic year. We want to reassure you that even if we do have to adjust the way in which we teach our programmes, we will be working to maintain the quality of the student learning experience and learning outcomes at all times.
Fees, costs and funding

The UK is no longer part of the European Union. EU applicants should refer to our Brexit information to understand the implications.

For the latest information regarding programme fees please visit:

How to apply

To apply for the course please fill in the online application form on the Marine Learning Alliance website.

Admissions tutors for the MLA College will check all applications thoroughly, and may also arrange an interview (usually by telephone or Skype), in order to assess your suitability for study. Offers are based on the information provided in the application documents and interview (where appropriate).

If you have any further questions or would like to discuss any aspect of studying with MLA College, please contact the Marine Learning Alliance.

Our partnership with MLA College
The University of Plymouth has developed partnerships with institutions around the world with the sole purpose of making higher education more accessible to those people who need something just a little different.

Our Academic Partnerships enable students to enrol for a degree at a partnership institution closer to home, or engage in distance learning – even when they’re in the middle of the ocean. They are there for those people looking to return to education, or enhance their professional development. Full- or part-time; foundation degree to masters-level – we cater for a huge variety of needs and aspirations.

Many of our partners offer specialist degrees, unique facilities, and smaller class sizes at a competitive price. And as a student of two institutions, you get the best of both worlds; a supportive learning environment as part of a close-knit community, and a university-level qualification awarded by the University of Plymouth. You’ll enjoy not only the facilities and services your partnership institution provides, but also all of the additional support and resources you need from us, and you’ll automatically become a member of our Students’ Union, too.

We are continuing to grow the number of partner institutions and expand our academic community to new locations around the UK and overseas. Why not visit the Academic Partnerships page on our website for a full list of partners and for more details on studying with us?

One of our partners delivers this particular course – so please visit their website for full course details, entry requirements, tuition fees and information on what student life is like there. 

Open days

Partner college open days

This course is run at one of our partner colleges. Open days are held at the college and more details of these can be found on the college website. You'll find contact details below, on this page.

University of Plymouth open days

You are also very welcome to attend a University of Plymouth open day, to get a flavour of the courses you can progress to from a partner college. There will however be limited information on this specific course and college.

MLA College

The MLA College has developed blended distance e-learning programmes that are perfectly suited to marine professionals seeking advancement of skills and qualifications without having to attend university full time.

We have developed a flexible syllabus that meets the growing market need for part time study that fits around your working patterns.

Find out more about the MLA College