As reflected in the sustainable development goals (SDG), sustainable development is a multi-dimensional concept integrating political, ethical, economic and other factors. Reports from the UN decade of Education for Sustainable Development (UNDESD) suggest that universities are more engaged with sustainable development in higher education (HESD). Despite promising signals about student awareness of sustainable development, survey studies suggest student engagement and knowledge is limited in addressing social and economic factors. This study evaluated how UK students enrolled in postgraduate taught sustainability degrees responded to the multi-dimensional issues of sustainable development. Consolidating work by Baker on the multi-dimensional ladder of sustainable development, this study piloted a 39 question 7-point Likert scale survey with a cohort of UK taught postgraduate (MSc, MPhil) students (n=121, Cronbach Alpha 0.796, n=39 Questions). Subsequent removal of questions duplicating content and replacement of missing values produced better results (0.810 Cronbach Alpha, n=30 Questions). The study found this cohort able to recognize and respond to the multiple challenges of strong and weak sustainable development issues. Results also suggest that future studies could limit the number of questions Results and qualitative comments from the survey suggest, however, students resist the idea of strong interventions in social, political and economic life.