Master-Studiengang Digital Transformation & Sustainability, HSBA

Digital Transformation & Sustainability

Master of Science – part-time

Innovative part-time Master's programme that combines the global future topics of digitalisation and sustainability


Master's studis Digital Transformation & Sustainability

Part-time Master of Science with a focus on digitalisation & sustainability at HSBA Hamburg School of Business Administration

The innovative Master of Science Digital Transformation & Sustainability combines, for the first time, two major topics of the future in one business study course: digitalisation and sustainability. Rethink teaching, learning and researching! With a maximum of 18 students the study group is small. Project-based learning is used throughout the degree programme. The group is accompanied by two professors and project consultants. Are you interested in making your own contribution; do you want to develop your own projects and ideas? This programme is ideal for you! Aligning with the UN's Global Goals, the graduates of the programme master the challenges of a rapidly changing digital world sustainably – perfect for a career as Change Manager, Project Leader, and future Executive...

Master of Science
120 ECTS
Programme Start
1 October each year
Study duration:
2.5 years (30 months)
in progress

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The academic heads Prof. Dr. Susanne Hensel-Börner and Prof. Dr. Michael Höbig explain the focus and the special features of the parte-time postgraduate degree programme in Digital Transformation & Sustainability (MSc).

Key Features

Key Features & Highlights of the Master's programme Digital Transformation & Sustainability

  • Innovative combination of the topics Digitalisation & Sustainability – breaking the boundaries between disciplines

  • Projects – from practice & research, which can also include your own ideas – instead of exams and tradition

  • Small groups and individual support

  • International excursion (into the digital world)

  • 4 Competencies of the Global World: Critical Thinking, Creativity, Communication and Collaboration

  • Innovative topics: networking of people, organisations and the world, influence of digital media, growing importance of data and machines

  • Continuous reference to the 17 Global Goals of the United Nations (SDGs)

  • JOB & MASTER Service: JOB & MASTER is a free-of-charge placement service for applicants who wish to combine a challenging academic education at HSBA with valuable professional experience.

  • Mentoring Programme: Students are matched with experienced HSBA Alumni from the Hamburg business community, offering to be ideal sparring partners / role models.

  • Campus in the heart of Hamburg

Alle Bewertungen lesen

Study Organisation and Programme Structure

Digital Transformation & Sustainability (Master of Science) at HSBA

To successfully complete the programme and be awarded the Master of Science degree, 120 ECTS must be collected. The credits are spread over core modules as well as five semester projects and one mandatory elective module. The programme concludes with the thesis.

Plan of Study & Course Content

  • Learning Journey
    • Studierende, Lehrende und Programmstruktur kennenlernen
    • Identifikation mit den 17 Zielen für Nachhaltige Entwicklung der UN (SDGs)
    • Eine Gemeinschaft werden
  • Effects of Digitalisation
    • Impact of digitalisation and digitisation through technological developments
    • Effects in the economy, politics and society
    • Innovation processes and organisational changes
  • Responsible Marketing
    • Marketing re-thought in its structure / pull with connection to communication
    • The customer and his point of view as a starting point for all considerations and decisions
    • Sustainable development of goods and services
  • Systems Thinking
    • Introduction to systems theory
    • Understanding complexity as a system property: levels, interdependencies, dynamics
    • Consider organisation as a social system
  • Agile Work
    • What are modern project management tools and techniques?
    • What is and what needs agility?
    • Accompanying transformation: who and what needs to change and how to achieve it?
Cross-Module Competences: Communication, Collaboration, Creativity, Critical Thinking
  • Research Project
    • Project learning as defined by John Dewey (often cited as learning by doing) provides the students with autonomous freedom of action. In this module, students are enabled to apply this technique in real contexts.
    • Students learn how to effectively organise and critically control projects in entrepreneurial or non-profit contexts as well as how to achieve and present project results present.
    • Research projects enable students to practice structuring problems scientifically, establish the connection to research and to document and transfer generated knowledge.
  • Data-Based Decision Making
    • Which data sources are available and how is data systematically gained?
    • Generate knowledge from data
    • Learn, understand and apply analytical methods
  • Leadership & Change
    • Basic communication and behavioural theories
    • How does communication work in the digital age?
    • Different levels of communication: Corporate Communication, Individual, Society & Politics
    • Which channels are used when and by whom?
Cross-Module Competences: Communication, Collaboration, Creativity, Critical Thinking
  • Company Project
    • Project learning as defined by John Dewey (often cited as learning by doing) provides the students with autonomous freedom of action. In this module, students are enabled to apply this technique in real contexts.
    • Students learn how to effectively organise and critically control projects in entrepreneurial or non-profit contexts as well as how to achieve and present project results present.
    • Research projects enable students to practice structuring problems scientifically, establish the connection to research and to document and transfer generated knowledge.
  • Algorithms & Intelligence
    • Introduction to Artificial Intelligence
    • Concept, limits and fields of application of machine learning based on neural networks 
    • Identifying and evaluating possible applications for machine learning
    • Databases: How are large amounts of data organised and linked?
    • Basic understanding of algorithms
    • Artificial intelligence and neural networks
  • Study Trip

    Students can choose between four study trips (subject to change) and are themselves in charge of the planning, organisation and implementation of their excursion.

    • Silicon Valley (USA)
    • London (UK)
    • Brussels (Belgium)
    • Hamburg/Berlin (Germany)
Cross-Module Competences: Communication, Collaboration, Creativity, Critical Thinking
  • Sustainability Challenge
    • The students are involved in initiatives, associations, NGOs, social projects or similar
    • Changing perspective / thinking outside the box
    • External responsibility: commitment to the society in which we all live
  • Sustainable Economy
    • Post-growth economy / alternative economic models (e.g., Shareconomy)
    • How to deal with zero growth? Qualitative vs. quantitative growth
    • Circular economy / material and raw material usage
  • Digital Toolbox/Masters' Electives

    Students of all Master's study programmes can choose obe profile from the following six profiles:

    • Digital Strategy
    • Intrapreneur
    • Communication
    • Programming
    • Data Business
    • Business Process Transformation


    Please note that electives only run if the minimum number of participants has been reached.

Cross-Module Competences: Communication, Collaboration, Creativity, Critical Thinking
  • Concluding Conference
  • Master's Thesis

    Gemeinsam mit ihrem Betreuer wählen Studierende ein Thema für eine abschließende wissenschaftliche Arbeit aus (in Deutsch und Englisch möglich).

Cross-Module Competences: Communication, Collaboration, Creativity, Critical Thinking

Professors and lecturers with in-depth practical experience

Dr. Stefan Alexander Ferrara

Dr. Stefan Alexander Ferrara


Modules: Data-Based Decision-Making

You want to get an impression of studying DTS: Follow our student's Instagram Account ► #digistainables

Career Prospects

A Master's degree in Digital Transformation & Sustainability opens up a wide range of career prospects for graduates in a wide variety of industries such as retail, construction and real estate, energy and utilities, consumer goods or consulting. As sustainability or project managers, they are responsible for developing and implementing (digital) strategies to reduce a company's ecological footprint or plan and coordinate projects aimed at achieving sustainability goals. As sustainability development consultants, they advise and accompany companies on their way to a digital, sustainable future.

"Sustainability is WHY and Digitalisation is HOW"

Nils Mönkeberg, IT & Sustainability Consultant, PHAT Consulting

Nils Mönkeberg has been working as an IT consultant at the Hamburg-based consultancy PHAT Consulting and advises organisations on digitalisation and sustainability issues. With his part-time Master's degree in Digital Transformation and Sustainability (MSc) at the HSBA, he was able to further qualify himself for the challenges of a digital, sustainable future. We talked to him about what drives him, how well study and work complement each other and where he sees his future.

Just two years ago you first started a new job and then also a new course of study. How did that come about? 

During my application process at PHAT, our People Lead, Lutz Gärtner, gave me the tip to take a look at the degree programme because it could be a good fit for both me and my position at PHAT. And as it turned out: yes, it fits and I like it very much. I am incredibly grateful to Lutz for that.

In your degree programme, you learn to link digitalisation and sustainability and to see them as two sides of the same coin. The degree programme is particularly project-oriented and focuses on project learning in the sense of John Dewey (learning by doing), for example in the research project or the practical project. (How) can you use the knowledge generated at the university meaningfully in practice? Are there any examples to illustrate this point?

That's an exciting question, and it's also the question that guides the entire degree programme. First of all, the degree programme is a win-win-win situation. The university, the company and I as a student and consultant all benefit from each other in terms of knowledge exchange and networking. I have often taken content from work into my studies, especially to do justice to the exchange among us students during project learning. Even more exciting, however, is the content of my studies that I can transfer into practice. Basics and general education in the context of DT & S speak for themselves, I think, but it went far beyond that. For example, in the second semester we developed an analysis of existing measurement concepts for sustainability in the research project. I have already used this model several times with our clients! 

A good two years ago, the topic of sustainability really took off at PHAT with the implementation of its own sustainability unit, among other things. PHAT accompanies companies on their way to a digital, sustainable future - with the help of digital technologies. At PHAT, you put it this way: "Digitalisation enables sustainability". That fits perfectly with your degree programme. Can you perhaps briefly introduce us to one or two projects you have worked on and explain how exactly digitalisation can lead to more sustainability? 

Exactly like that! You could also put it his way: sustainability is the WHY and digitalisation is the HOW. First of all, digital tools enable easier communication and increased collaboration in organisations. In addition, today's digital possibilities have helped us to accompany organisations during the pandemic and keep the work going. Ten years ago this would have been simply unthinkable. To be more specific: Dashboarding, i.e. measurability, is a major issue, for example. The most successful sustainability strategy with the best vision, the clearest mission and the most tangible goals is of no use if actual and target cannot be tracked and compared. 

What particularly motivates you at work and in your studies? 

What motivates me at work is the high degree of personal responsibility, the appreciation that PHAT shows me as a person (not a number or an employee) and the professionalism of digital transformation and sustainability. Our office in the middle of the Reeperbahn and the many spontaneous team evenings are just the icing on the cake. In my studies, my course group has been inspiring me for two years now, and always anew. We are a heterogeneous group that has grown incredibly close together and encourages and challenges each other. The course content, the lecturers and our course directors, Susanne Hensel-Börner and Michael Höbig, make the package complete. I am really grateful that I get to work with so many great people at PHAT and HSBA!

In your opinion, what are the most important overarching competencies taught during the degree programme?  

The list could get very long, so I would focus on these:

  • Teamwork skills > Conflict management > Communication skills > Leadership
  • Problem-solving skills > Linking & abstracting skills
  • Various methodological competences 

Do you already have an idea of the (task) area in which you would like to work after graduation?  

I assume that my area of responsibility will be similar to my current work in counselling, but with a significantly higher level of expertise and requirements. I hope for concrete projects in which we will think holistically about sustainability and digital transformation for and with our clients!

Read the full article: PHAT Success Story: Sustainability is WHY and Digitalisation is HOW (

Isabel Dammann

"For me, the study programme Digital Transformation & Sustainability combines the two biggest challenges that companies have to master in the future. Through exciting, interactive collaboration with my professors and fellow students, I get the necessary know-how at HSBA to be able to make a relevant contribution in the field of digitalisation and sustainability."

Isabel Dammann
MSc Digital Transformation & Sustainability (Class of 2021)
Tim Geringer

"Both in my professional and in my private life, I have repeatedly been confronted with the topics of sustainability and digital transformation. With today's fast-paced world and environmental influences, I am convinced that as an active participant in this study programme, I can make a lasting contribution to improving the big picture."

Tim Geringer
MSc Digital Transformation & Sustainability (Class of 2021)
Fabienne Meyer-Pohl

"The fascination that many things we have always dreamed of might come true soon is what drives me. I am convinced that digitalisation will not only allow our society to develop, but to improve. It is important for me to not only be a spectator of this exciting and often scary journey, but to help shape it. That is why I want to develop skills that enable me to participate in this inevitable development. For me, the Master's programme in Digital Transformation & Sustainability is the perfect starting point, as it offers an impressive range of relevant modules that not only deal with digital innovations, but also incorporate the core ethical challenges of our generation in form of the Sustainable Development Goals."

Fabienne Meyer-Pohl
MSc Digital Transformation & Sustainability (Class of 2021)
Isabelle Marie Eckartz

"As students of the new degree programme Digital Transformation & Sustainability at HSBA, it is our aim to anchor the idea of sustainability in the process of digitalisation. The course offers me the opportunity to learn in a practice-oriented way. Digitalisation can help to protect the environment and the climate and does not have to lead to more resource consumption. It is great that HSBA creates awareness for the future with this study course and that we can be a part of it."

Isabelle Marie Eckartz
MSc Digital Transformation & Sustainability (Class of 2021)


Admission Requirements & Application Process

Admission Requirements

For the MSc Digital Transformation & Sustainability the following admission requirements apply:

  • A completed third-level degree with an economics or business administration focus with 180 ECTS. We would be pleased to check whether your first university degree covers the required content.
  • Ability to study in English & German (minimum level: B2 of the European Framework of Reference)
  • Letter of recommendation from a current or recent employer, or an academic reference
  • A character reference or comparable document proving previous social engagement
  • Successfully completed HSBA selection process (online application, individual interview)

Online Application

Set the course for your career!

After you have submitted your written application to us, you will go through our selection process. The process ensures that students have the personal, social and professional prerequisites needed to complete the study programme successfully.

Apply now!

Order your programme brochure for free

Want to learn more about our part-time Master's programmes? Request your free brochure here.

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Any Questions?

We are happy to help you personally!

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Juliane Michaelis
Juliane Michaelis

Manager Student Recruitment & Company Relations

+49 40 822160-932

Ask a student

Would you like to address your questions directly to our students? Please contact Muriel Spanke (MSc Business Development) and Florian Kriz (MSc Digital Transformation & Sustainability) by e-mail. The two Master students will be happy to answer your questions!

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Partner Companies

More than 300 cooperation companies support HSBA

Lother GmbH
Do it Education GmbH
GBA Group
intersoft consulting services AG
Gartner Deutschland GmbH
Tomorrow GmbH
IBM Deutschland GmbH
GHD GesundHeits GmbH Deutschland
SAP Deutschland SE & Co. KG
AÜG NETZWERK Human Resources GmbH
PHD Germany GmbH
e.kundenservice Netz GmbH
Facelift brand building technologies GmbH
Montblanc-Simplo GmbH
KPMG AG Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft
Deloitte GmbH Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft
heyconnect GmbH
Schülke & Mayr GmbH
Rock&Stars digital GmbH


Frequently asked questions about the Master's programme at HSBA

Which Master's programmes can I study at HSBA in Hamburg?

At HSBA you can study two Master's programmes: The Master of Science (Msc) Innovation Management and the Master of Science (MSc) Digital Transformation & Stustainability. Both programmes are business-oriented and take place part-time in Hamburg.

When can I apply for a part-time Master's programme at HSBA?

Applications are possible at any time. However, since HSBA only has limited study places and funding programmes are partly awarded after receipt of the application, we recommend an early application for your Master's programme. If you want to apply for the JOB & MASTER offer at the same time, we recommend an early application to our university due to the longer procedure.

When do the courses in the part-time Master's programs take place?

In the Master's programme Innovation Management (MSc), the courses take place on extended weekends and in individual full-time weeks at the HSBA in Hamburg. In the Master's programme Digital Transformation & Sustainability (MSc), the courses take place on two attendance days and in two full-time weeks at the HSBA in Hamburg. 

Questions?Juliane Michaelis
Juliane Michaelis

Juliane Michaelis

Manager Student Recruitment & Company Relations
+49 40 822160-932

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