Futures Studies: Exploring Sustainable Futures

5 credits

Syllabus, Master's level, 1GV213

Education cycle
Second cycle
Main field(s) of study and in-depth level
Sustainable Development A1F
Grading system
Fail (U), Pass (3), Pass with credit (4), Pass with distinction (5)
Finalised by
The Faculty Board of Science and Technology, 3 March 2022
Responsible department
Department of Earth Sciences

Entry requirements

A Bachelor's degree of at least 180 credits. Participation in Our Natural Resources 10 credits, Sustainable development - worldviews and visions - a seminar series 5 credits, as well as Society and environment 10 credits. Proficiency in English equivalent to the Swedish upper secondary course English 6.

Learning outcomes

On completion of the course, the student should be able to:

  • apply and describe central theoretical and methodological concepts within futures studies
  • critically analyse and apply the concept of system transition using different definitions, actors and dimensions
  • model and evaluate future scenarios for transitions in society and the environment
  • manage and evaluate analytical tools related to system transitions and their sustainability 
  • practically apply mathematical models and forecasting tools to make own projections of historical trends and possible future trajectories
  • define and critically problematise future system transitions in a written analysis
  • give constructive criticism of others' texts


Introduction to systematic exploration of futures and increased insight into future outcomes from medium- (5-20 years) and long-term perspectives (>20 years). 

Futures studies as an interdisciplinary systematic approach to analysing transition patterns in history, identifying trends and important drivers, and extrapolating possible future trajectories to study the future of society, evolution of drivers and mechanisms of change. Futures studies as a generator of knowledge about what is possible to affect in development and for creation of sustainable strategies for societal challenges. 

Empirical studies of change in society and its sociotechnical systems. Terms like transition within industrial infrastructure, economic conditions, and energy systems. Historical and current trends in various parts of society, including technical, social and political influences. Case studies of selected global and national examples. Introduction to use of numerical tools for analysis of development in society. 

Discussions on different drivers in society and how they can develop within the coming decades. Detailed explanations of universally observed patterns in transitions. Analysis of current attempts to phase out fossil fuel dependency and move to low-carbon, alternative, and renewable energy sources. The course also aims to provide insight into how systems are integrated and interacts and how these interconnections may influence eachother in a future sustainable development.


Lectures, guest lectures, seminars, and hand-in exercises. Compulsory participation in seminars and presentation or project work.


Written assignments (2 credits), written and oral presentation of individual project work with seminar and opposition (3 credits).

If there are special reasons for doing so, an examiner may make an exception from the method of assessment indicated and allow a student to be assessed by another method. An example of special reasons might be a certificate regarding special pedagogical support from the disability coordinator of the university.

Transitional provisions

Cannot be included in the same degree as TN0358 Systems analysis for sustainable development, 5,0 credits.