Since 2004, the University of the Highlands and Islands, in Scotland, has delivered an online MSc in sustainable mountain development (SMD). Students have the choice of exiting from the course with an MSc, a postgraduate diploma, or a postgraduate certificate. This paper first describes the history and delivery of the course, complemented with statistics on past and current students. This is followed by a presentation, analysis, and discussion of the results of an email survey of the 62 people who have gained a qualification from the course and could be contacted, achieving a response rate of 81%. The survey gathered information about each individual's motivations for taking the degree; benefits perceived with regard to its online nature; subsequent education; current location and employment; and ways in which the course had enabled them to contribute to SMD. Many quotations from graduates are presented, in response to previous findings that it has been difficult to evaluate long-term impacts of education for sustainable development. The paper concludes with some lessons learned from 15 years of experience.
- online education
- master’s degree
- sustainable mountain development (SMD)
- education for sustainable development (ESD)
- postgraduate education