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Last modified: 28 Jun 2018 10:27

Course Overview

The course explores the meaning, challenges and opportunities of sustainability, through a multi-disciplinary approach, including elements from education, politics, international relations, sociology, philosophy and biology.  We explore competing definitions of sustainability; the impact of personal, technological and economic actions and decisions on the environment; political strategies designed to improve sustainability; the emergence of international cooperation; and the roles and responsibilities of world citizens. Global and local case studies are used to illustrate the interconnectedness of the issues involved e.g.  climate change, food systems, energy, and economic development.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 1
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus None. Sustained Study No
  • Dr Donald Gray

Qualification Prerequisites


What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?


Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

Through an analysis of various relevant case studies the course will cover a broad range of issues with respect to the three key areas of environment, economics and society. Substantive topics include: • Conceptualising sustainability • Introduction to the (local and global) ecosystem • Science and other ‘ways of knowing’ the world • Sustainability science as a new paradigm • Environmental ethics and philosophy • Legislative debates • Consumption and risk • Becoming a global citizen • The Politics of Sustainability

Further Information & Notes

This course is only available to students registered in Programme Years 1 and 2.
Attendance at sixth century courses is compulsory. Students who do not attend all classes (including lectures) for a sixth century course, without exceptional cause, will not pass the engagement component of the course and will therefore fail the course.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

More Information about Week Numbers

Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

The summative assessment will be in three parts undertaken at approximately 4, 8 and 12 weeks. The first element will be an on-line short answer exercise based on the first four weeks of the course. The second will be a peer reviewed assessment of group project work. Students will produce a poster with presentation or presentation with slides which will be reviewed by other groups using feedback sheets and collated to provide an assessment of the group project. This will be moderated by a tutor report.

The final part will be an individual project report. The weightings for each part will be: Part 1 (10%); Part 2 (30%); Part 3 (60%).
Resit: New individual project report (100%).

Formative Assessment

This will take the form of on-line quizzes and on-going discussion during workshop sessions.


Summative feedback: The on-line exercise will provide automatic feedback; the group project work will be provided through peer feedback and the final project report will be in the form of written feedback from the tutor. Formative feedback will be provided through automatic feedback using on-line quizzes and a combination of oral and written feedback arising from workshop sessions.

Course Learning Outcomes


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