Sustainable Development

Faced with a global pandemic, a changing climate, an acceleration in species and habitat loss, as well as ever-increasing social inequality and conflict, society is forced to reconsider its development path on planet Earth. Sustainable development has become the promised way out of crisis, a way to balance current needs with the needs of future generations, the economy and the environment.

This course introduces students to the ideas, concepts and debates of sustainable development while critically engaging with real life examples of how sustainable development has been implemented.

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Subject content

The course draws on our interdisciplinary undergraduate programme, with contributions from a wide range of disciplines – both physical and human geography, political science, sociology, and environmental management – exploring a broad range of topics and cases from different parts of the world. 

Topic examples

  • The History of the Environmental Movement
  • Sustainable Consumption and Behaviour Change
  • Climate Change and Biodiversity Loss
  • Affordable and Clean Energy
  • Addressing Poverty, Inequality, and Conflict Induced Migration
  • Governance, Partnership, and the Sustainable Development Goals

These examples are a sample based on previous years. Topics may vary slightly based on the curriculum chosen by the School in any given year.

Academic skills

Aside from the study of specific content, students will learn to improve their writing skills, especially in relation to forming convincing arguments and developing an academic writing style, whilst also improving their subject-specific vocabulary and confidence in the subject.

Learning experience

Students will experience a mixture of lectures, seminars, group work and independent study on this course. The content is taught by staff and postgraduate researchers from the School of Geography and Sustainable Development at the University of St Andrews. 

Additional information

This is an interactive course, involving small group and hands on learning in the form of tutorials and fieldtrips, as well as larger group lectures and seminars. Students will have the opportunity to work in small groups to prepare and present team work on sustainable development topics of their choice. 

Course outcomes

From this course, students will be well-appointed with academic skills and critical thinking to successfully transition into higher education.

Students will receive an official certificate from the University of St Andrews to confirm their successful completion of the course.

Students will also gain an expanded understanding of the issues facing our world alongside potential solutions.