Sustainable Development BSc (Hons) 2018 entry

Sustainable Development is widely regarded as the most promising framework for addressing environmental and developmental challenges in the 21st century, including: the provision of clean water and adequate sanitation, energy generation and supply, human health, food production and distribution, and the continuing threat to biodiversity.

The BSc (Hons) in Sustainable Development encourages students to rise to the challenges of the environment and society, and focuses on the study of principles and practices of sustainability in an interdisciplinary environment.

Sustainable Development is studied up to Honours level in both the Faculty of Science (BSc) and the Faculty of Arts (MA). Students who have a background in the Sciences or who wish to study Sustainable Development alongside Science subjects at St Andrews should apply for the BSc. For those interested in studying Sustainable Development alongside Arts subjects, the MA in Sustainable Development may be of interest.

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UCAS code

F890

Course type

Bachelor of Science (single Honours degree)

Course duration

Four years full time

  • Start date: 10 September 2018
  • End date: 30 June 2022

If you started this programme in 2017, you can find information about 2017 entry on the 2017 Sustainable Development BSc page. Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.

Typical entry requirements

SQA Highers

AAAB, including at least two Highers from the following subjects:

  • Biology or Human Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Computing Science or equivalent
  • Geography
  • Geology
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Psychology.
GCE A-Levels

AAA, including at least one A-Level from the following subjects:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Computing Science or equivalent
  • Geography
  • Geology
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Psychology.
IB points 36

 

For degrees combining more than one subject, the subject with the higher entry requirements determines the grades you need. You will also need to meet any further subject specific entrance requirements as outlined on their pages.

International applicants

If English is not your first language you will need an overall IELTS score of 6.5, with a minimum score of 6.0 in each component (Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking), or an equivalent English Language qualification.

Find out more about international entry requirements.

How to apply

Do I need to have studied this subject before?

No previous knowledge of this subject is required.

Faculty entry requirements

You must also meet the Faculty of Science minimum qualifications. These vary depending on which qualifications you hold.

Other qualifications

Passes in other examinations at equivalent levels and subjects may be accepted by the Dean of the Faculty. More information on how to apply via other entry routes or accreditation of prior learning and experience can be found on the University’s entry requirements webpage.

Find out more about Faculty of Science entry requirements.

Timetables

Students must meet with their advisor at the beginning of Semester 1 in September to complete advising – a compulsory part of the matriculation process. After module choices have been decided, a timetable will be allocated indicating the dates and times of classes.

While every effort is made to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week.

Course information

The BSc (Hons) in Sustainable Development is a four-year course run by the School of Geography and Sustainable Development, with contributions from the Schools of:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • History
  • International Relations
  • Management
  • Mathematics and Statistics
  • Modern Languages
  • Philosophical, Anthropological and Film Studies
  • Psychology and Neuroscience.

St Andrews also offers an MA in Sustainable Development, which may be more suitable for students who wish to take Sustainable Development alongside Arts subjects. The Sustainable Development element within both the BSc and MA degree programmes are exactly the same.

Your first two years of study illustrate the breadth of issues involved in sustainable development as well as how to move from unsustainable to sustainable development.

Alongside Sustainable Development, in the first year of your studies, you will be required to study an additional two subjects. In the second year you will usually carry on at least one of these subjects, sometimes two. Find out more about more about how academic years are organised.

The knowledge you gain will prepare you for your final two years, during which you will have the opportunity to choose from a range of modules from different Schools. These modules allow you to pursue your specific interests and explore the practice of sustainability through specific field visits. Subjects in these modules include (but are not limited to):

  • climate change
  • environmental management
  • sustainable technologies
  • sustainable economies
  • social justice. 

During your final year, you will also carry out a dissertation module which focuses on a topic of your choice, with structured support from an academic in an appropriate school.

The University of St Andrews operates on a flexible modular degree system by which degrees are obtained through the accumulation of credits. More information on the structure of the modules system can be found on the flexible degree structure webpage.

Find out more about studying Sustainable Development at St Andrews.

Modules

In the first two years of your degree (known as sub-honours) you will take the four required modules in Sustainability alongside modules in at least one other subject.

Typically, you will take one Sustainable Development module per semester during your first two years, and four sustainability modules per semester during your third and fourth year (known as Honours). Find out more about the modular Scottish degree system.

Students will take the following compulsory first-year modules:

  • What is Sustainable Development?: provides an introductory overview to Sustainable Development, such as social justice, human well-being, inter-generational equity and environmental stewardship.
  • Sustainable Development Goals: Challenges and Opportunities: offers detailed investigation of a selection of core issues in sustainable development - and how these issues are addressed by key players.

Students will take the following compulsory second-year modules:

  • Sustainable Development: Frameworks for Implementation: explores conceptual frameworks that might be utilised (individually or together) to encourage and facilitate Sustainable Development.
  • Sustainable Development: Tools for Action: builds upon core themes from Frameworks for Implementation and looks at how different agents, such as governments, corporations, and individuals enact change.

If you decide to take Sustainable Development in your third and fourth years, you choose from a wide variety of advanced options, including modules from separate Schools within the University.

Here is a sample of Honours modules which have been offered in previous years:

  • Governance for Sustainability
  • Frontiers in Sustainability Research: do good lives cost the earth?
  • Introduction to Environmental Economics
  • Transitioning to Sustainability

You have the opportunity to undertake extensive training in research through a residential field course where you will learn how to conduct research, explore research methods and gain statistical and quantitative skills.

In fourth year, students will complete a dissertation module which combines expertise from partner disciplines with an understanding of sustainable development in researching a topic of your choice.


The sub-honours modules listed here are the compulsory modules that students must take in order to graduate in this subject. However, most students at St Andrews take additional modules, either in their primary subject or from other subjects they are interested in. For Honours-level, students choose from a range of Honours modules, some of which are listed above. A full list of all modules available for the current academic year can be found in the module catalogue.

Teaching

Teaching format

Sustainable Development is taught using a wide variety of methods including:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • laboratory classes
  • tutorials
  • field excursions
  • research projects.

At sub-honours level, class sizes range from 80 to 200 students for lectures, 15 to 25 students for seminars, and 8 to 12 students for small-group tutorials.

At Honours level, much of the teaching is in small groups and there is a considerable amount of one-on-one contact with staff. Honours class sizes range from 10 to 30 students for seminars and laboratories down to 1 to 5 students for tutorials.

When not attending lectures, tutorials and laboratory classes, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. Typically, this will involve:

  • working on individual and group projects
  • undertaking research in a laboratory
  • undertaking research in the library
  • preparing coursework assignments and presentations
  • preparing for examinations.

You will be taught by an experienced teaching team with expertise and knowledge of Sustainable Development. Postgraduate research students who have undertaken teacher training may also contribute to the teaching of laboratory classes and seminars under the supervision of the module leader.

You can find contact information for all Sustainable Development staff on the School of Geography and Sustainable Development website.

In addition to your studies in the School of Geography and Sustainable Development, optional academic support is available through practical study skills courses and workshops hosted within the University.

The University’s student services team can help students with additional needs resulting from disabilities, long term medical conditions or learning disabilities. More information can be found on the students with disabilities webpage.

Assessment

All Sustainable Development sub-honours modules are assessed by 50% coursework. Depending on the individual module, the remaining 50% is made up either of further coursework or written examinations.

At Honours level, Sustainable Development modules are assessed by a variety of methods that include coursework and examinations.

Modules run by contributing Schools have varying methods of assessment.

Examinations are held at the end of each semester during a dedicated exam diet with revision time provided beforehand.

The School of Geography and Sustainable Development provides feedback on every assessment, with a view to improving your performance in future, and aims to provide feedback on assessments and coursework within three weeks.

Undergraduates at the University of St Andrews must achieve at least 7.0 on the St Andrews 20-point grade scale to pass a module. To gain access to Honours-level modules, students must achieve the relevant requisites as specified in the policy on entry to Honours and in the relevant programme requirements. Please note that some Schools offer qualified entry to Honours, and this will be clearly specified in the programme requirements. To find out the classification equivalent of points, please visit the common reporting scale webpage.

Fees

Tuition fees for 2018 entry

Scotland and EU

Tuition fees for Scottish and EU applicants have yet to be set for 2018 entry.

Rest of the UK

Tuition fees for applicants from the rest of the UK have yet to be set for 2018 entry.

Overseas £21,290

For overseas students, tuition fees will be fixed at this level for the duration of your programme.

More information on tuition fees can be found on the undergraduate fees and funding page.

Accommodation fees

Accommodation fees for 2018 are yet to be set. Find out about accommodation fees for University accommodation in 2017-2018.

Funding and scholarships

The University of St Andrews offers a number of scholarships and support packages to undergraduate students each year. 

Find out more about undergraduate scholarships.

Joint Honours degrees

You can take Sustainable Development as part of a joint Honours degree alongside one of the following subjects:

Your future

Careers

At a time when sustainable development is rising higher up the national and international agenda, and as businesses and organisations accept the need to adopt more sustainable practices, graduates with a degree in Sustainable Development are in strong demand.

Sustainable Development students are able to critically interrogate the principles, practice and plurality of sustainable development and to contribute to the evolution of innovative, interdisciplinary thinking and action in this area.

Career pathways for graduates include:

  • central and local government
  • non-governmental organisations (NGOs)
  • teaching
  • conservation
  • impact assessment
  • management
  • strategic planning
  • consultancy. 

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students as well as a programme of events to assist students to build their employability skills. 

Study abroad

The University is delighted to offer undergraduates a number of exciting opportunities to apply to spend a semester or year abroad as part of a St Andrews degree programme. St Andrews is partnered with large and small institutions, ancient and young, across the globe. What unites all of our programmes is the quality of the academic provision, ensuring that participation in a St Andrews Study abroad programme opens the door to a new and valuable academic experience at another world-class institution. Study Abroad for credit is permitted on existing University-approved programmes only.

Student life

From the outset, the University of St Andrews offers an array of events and opportunities which result in a truly unique student experience. Students participate in a range of traditions, notably, the red academic gown and the academic family, where older students adopt first year students as ‘children’ and help guide them in a system of mentoring. These traditions and the choice of over 150 sports clubs and student societies to choose from ensures a community feel amongst students from first year onwards.

Students of Sustainable Development may be interested in joining the following student societies:

  • Geology Society: organises academic activities such as lectures and networking events as well as social events and field trips to places such as Oban, Skye, and Loch Ness.
  • Geography Society: organises regular social meetups and Geography-related events throughout the year for students and staff. 

The School of Geography and Sustainable Development is housed within the Irvine Building, an attractive building close to the sea in the historical heart of the University between St Salvator's Quadrangle and St Salvator's Hall. Students attend tutorials, seminars, lectures and individual meetings with tutors in this building.

The town of St Andrews itself has lots to offer. As the campus is located around town, walking around you encounter ancient and modern buildings and areas of greenery and seaside which provide a rich, beautiful backdrop to learning. If you want a change of scenery, St Andrews' position near surrounding towns and cities such as Anstruther, Dundee and Edinburgh make it ideal for getting to know more about Scotland. 

Find out more about student life at the University of St Andrews.

Contact

School of Geography and Sustainable Development

University of St Andrews
Irvine Building
North Street
St Andrews
KY16 9AL

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2894
Email: gg@st-andrews.ac.uk 

Geography and Sustainable Development website