Introduction to Sustainable Development

5 credits

Syllabus, Master's level, 1MV550

Education cycle
Second cycle
Main field(s) of study and in-depth level
Sustainable Development A1N
Grading system
Fail (U), Pass (3), Pass with credit (4), Pass with distinction (5)
Finalised by
The Faculty Board of Science and Technology, 8 February 2024
Responsible department
Department of Earth Sciences

Entry requirements

A Bachelor's degree of at least 180 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:

  • critically discuss the history of sustainable development as an evolving agenda and the role of different actors in its development;
  • explain and critically problematize underlying assumptions and principles of sustainable development and potential conflicts of interest;

  • identify and discuss the ways that their own academic background is relevant in an interdisciplinary sustainable development context.


The course provides a general introduction to the evolving sustainable development agenda and introduces six different themes as lenses through which to understand the multifaceted nature of the concept: 1. Interdisciplinarity and the integration of knowledge from different scientific disciplines and traditions, 2. Multidimensionality of the concept of sustainable development, 3. Time and temporal dimensions of sustainable development, 4. Social dimensions of sustainable development including equity and justice, 5. Scale dimensions of sustainable development and, 6. Volume and perspectives on resource abundance and scarcity.

The course highlights general skills, such as academic writing, peer collaboration and interdisciplinary thinking, that will be useful during the program within the complex area of sustainable development. The course presents students with university resources available to them, including libraries and the student health service. Additionally, the course provides an introduction to equal opportunities with respect to the discrimination act.


The teaching consists of lectures, seminars and workshops.The lectures are given by guest lecturers from various academic disciplines and relevant areas of society. Ample opportunities are provided for active student participation and critical reflection. Participation in seminars and workshops is compulsory. 


The student is examined through preparation and active participation in seminars (3 credits), and a written assignment (2 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 University's disability coordinator.

Other directives

Active participation is reassessed through a re-seminar. If a student after having been offered a re-seminar still does not meet the requirements to pass the active participation elements the examiner can choose reassessment by another method.