Sustainable Development Goals

Sustainable Development Goals

In consulting about our Aberdeen 2040 strategy, our academic and student community highlighted the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework that should inform our academic and operational sustainability activities.  We are committed to working with the SDGs to help us articulate the positive sustainability impacts of our research and teaching, and to help us prioritise improvements in operational practice. 

Annual Report

Our first Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Annual Report was published in autumn 2021. It showcased research, curriculum, community, and operational initiatives and reflected the breadth of activity happening across the University of Aberdeen with a positive impact on one or more of the SDGs. We intend to report annually on our progress and to work to find new ways to embed the SDGs in everything we do.

Times Higher Education Impact Rankings

We entered the inaugural Times Higher Education Impact Rankings in 2019 and have participated actively since.  We welcome the increased awareness these rankings have given to the SDGs across the global HE sector.

In the 2023 edition we ranked among the top 100 universities in the world in terms of supporting the UN's Sustainable Development Goals:

  • Out of 1,591 ranked institutions spanning 112 countries worldwide, the University was placed 70th in the world and 18th in the UK
  • The University was ranked 1st in the UK and 4th globally for Partnership for the Goals (SDG17)
  • Overall, we are in the top quartile for all 17 SDGs globally, which includes Quality Education, Climate Action, Gender Equality, Reduced Inequalities; and Affordable and Clean Energy
SDG Accord

As part of the formal launch of our Aberdeen 2040 strategy, we signed the global SDG Accord (external site). 

In June 2020, we submitted our first annual SDG Accord Report. That exercise saw us collate examples of activity across all 17 SDGS for the first time, and served as the template for the development of our own stand-along annual SDG Reports - first published in late 2021.

Courses & Programmes

The University of Aberdeen offers a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses and programmes that relate to sustainability and to activities designed to address the Sustainable Development Goals. These include:

Undergraduate Courses

AC4034: Accountability and Sustainability 

CM5052: Renewables 

EC3530: Economics of Natural Resources and the Environment  

EC59C8: Issues in Energy Transition

EK3303: Population Ecology 

GG1512: The UN Sustainable Development Goals: Transforming Our World 

GG2509: Environment And Society 

GG3057: Land And Marine Conservation 

GG5072: Sustainability Transitions - Challenges and Opportunities  

GG5557: Governance And Political Economy Of Sustainability 

GG5571: Partnerships for Sustainability 

GL4535: Geoscience and the UN Sustainable Development Goals 

GL5564: Sustainable deep space exploration and Planetary Protection 

LS501H: Low Carbon Energy Transition: Renewable Energy Law 

LS5068: The Politics Of Human Rights 

PL3304: Ecosystem Processes 

QB4007: Accounting and Sustainability 

RN5506: Sustainable Diets and Global Food Systems 

SX1011: Sustainability - Sixth Century Course 

SX1022: Arts for a More Sustainable Planet 

SX1521: Sustainable International Development 

ZO3812: Applied Marine Biology, Fisheries And Aquaculture 

ZO4540: Sustainable Management of Marine Resources 

ZO4811: Sustainable Aquaculture 

ZO5516: Marine Environmental Impact Assessment 

For a full listing of courses relating to sustainability and for courses mapping on to our strategic “sustainability” theme, type the word “sustainable” into the search bar here 


Postgraduate Degree Programmes

Biological Sciences

Business, Law and Policy

Case studies