Sustainable Development BA

The University of Edinburgh
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Bachelor's programs

Sustainable development refers to the challenges of reducing global inequity and improving wellbeing, while reducing threats to the Earth's systems from industrialised production and consumption.

Effective environmental care, in relation to climate stability, biodiversity and renewal of natural resources, requires the examination of how societies organise social, economic and political activity, how they relate to their surroundings and how they ensure the renewal of natural resources for future generations.

Our programme addresses these global issues primarily through multidisciplinary social science teaching, focusing on the social consequences of current patterns of development and opportunities for change.

At the same time you will develop understanding of the key scientific debates and the ability to evaluate scientific knowledge and practices concerning sustainable development. There are options for students wishing to pursue scientific perspectives on sustainable development, but these are not compulsory.

Year 1

You will study two compulsory courses. The first will introduce the concept and principles of sustainable development, and the second will consider the way that science and technology shape the relationship between humans and the environment.

You will also choose a main subject area – geography, politics, international relations, sociology or social anthropology – and take two courses from this subject. You will select two further options from a wide range from across the University.

Year 2

In semester 1, you will study issues of international development planning, policy, and aid. In semester 2 you will explore key topics and theories of sustainable development from an interdisciplinary perspective.

You will also continue to study courses from your main subject area, and two other courses from a wide choice.

Year 3

You will take two compulsory courses. The first explores and appraises a range of actual and proposed methods of responding to sustainability challenges. The second is a fieldwork-based sustainable development course. You will choose honours-level options in your main subject area, and study courses from other related disciplines, as well as receiving research training.

Year 4

You will undertake a dissertation on a real-world sustainable development issue, with guidance from a supervisor. You will also choose honours-level options in both your main subject area, and from other related disciplines.

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Posted on:


Bachelor's programs


Edinburgh , United Kingdom