Click here to view a video about studying Sustainable Development at St Andrews by staff, undergraduates and alumni.
The Sustainable Development (SD) undergraduate programme at the University of St Andrews is a unique, interdisciplinary, award winning programme. Our first graduates qualified in 2008 and have been successful in finding a range of jobs related to their degrees, or are enjoying postgraduate studies. The SD programme is Scotland's flagship higher education degree programme related to sustainability and in 2009 received the prestigious Green Gown Award for excellence in promoting sustainability. The University has also won acclaim through, for example, the Times Higher Education Award for Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Development and in the UK Universities that Count 2010 report. We are proud to be able to contribute to the rapidly expanding field of sustainability science.
However, the SD Programme is only part of the University’s drive towards sustainability; there is active and expanding research in sustainable development across the University, as showcased by the St Andrews Sustainability Institute.
The most broadly accepted definition of sustainable development is “development that meets the needs of present generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (Brundtland Report, 1987). However, the concepts of ‘sustainability’ and of ‘development’ are widely debated and are understood differently from different disciplinary and philosophical perspectives. In this programme, we also understand SD as “the art of longevity” (Orr 2000). Education for sustainable development demands that we facilitate our students to take their place as local and global citizens and rise to the challenges of the environment and society. Through innovative teaching and learning opportunities, we encourage our students to develop critical perspectives on SD, to reflect on societal values and actions and to take responsibility for the environment, and we provide them with knowledge and skills to effectively act in this regard.
The overall goal of the SD Programme is to enable students to critically interrogate the principles, practice and plurality of sustainable development and so to contribute to the evolution of innovative, interdisciplinary thinking and action in this area. As an SD student, you’ll have the opportunity to explore SD issues in an interdisciplinary environment whilst developing academic skills and expertise in a single discipline area (partner subject). Flexible degree pathways include Climate Change, Environmental Management, Business and Corporate Social Responsibility, Sustainable Technologies, Social Justice, International Development, Policy and Implementation, and Knowledge and Education for Sustainability. There is no Joint Honours with the SD Programme because its interdisciplinarity already offers new modes of learning. Students registering for the SD Programme as their degree intention (MA or BSc) take core SD modules, plus partner subject and other modules to make up the 120 credits required in each year. Students doing other degree programmes can participate in the first and second year SD modules.
Further details on the content and structure of the programme are provided in the SD Programme Handbook (PDF, 713 KB). General information about the undergraduate degree programmes are provided in the Department of Geography & Sustainable Development Handbook (PDF, 1,381 KB). A full list of the current Core and other modules is available from the Geography & Sustainable Developments Programme Requirements.