• Length:
    11 Weeks
  • Effort:
    8–10 hours per week
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    Add a Verified Certificate for $375 USD

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  • Course Type:
    Self-paced on your time

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Participants should have experience, or a strong interest in working in development. While not compulsory, it is recommended that learners have completed a bachelor degree in a relevant discipline.

About this course

Skip About this course

This course is part of the Leadership in Global Development MicroMasters program. In order to get the most out of this course, we recommend that you have experience working in the development sector or a strong interest in this area. We also recommend that you complete the other three courses that make up the Leadership in Global Development MicroMasters program: Leaders in Global Development, Adaptive Leadership in Development, and Critical Development Perspectives.

This course introduces the origin and key concepts of sustainability and how to apply those to sustainable development practice.

Sustainable development will be explored through theories and case studies from a range of disciplines, and a particular focus will be on how the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) interrelate in practice. You also will learn about planetary boundaries, urbanisation and growing inequality, to show how integral sustainable development is to our everyday existence.

This course will attempt to provide key content knowledge to bridge the science and the practice of the application and enhancement of sustainable development. The course draws on contemporary examples to address the world's most urgent challenges, with emphasis on the linkages between science and policy.

What you'll learn

Skip What you'll learn
  • To be aware of the current international policy landscape for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • To understand the practice and policy of sustainable pathways to development
  • To appreciate some of the underpinnings of sustainable development practice and how policy-makers are trying to apply it for better governance of scarce resources
  • To gain a deep understanding of the interconnectedness between the SGDs and how they are implicated in practice
  • To apply relevant aspects of sustainable development to your own practice as a development leader
  • To understand how various attributes of sustainability (environmental, economic and social) can be applied by development practitioners and other stakeholders
  • To gain scientific knowledge regarding planetary boundaries processes and their influence on international economic development

All graded assessment will be graded and have insightful feedback for learners to further refine their new knowledge and skills.

Module 1 - The History and Politics of Sustainable Development

Module 2 - The Science of Sustainable Development

Module 3 - Introduction to the SDG agenda

Module 4 - Critical Perspectives, Complexity and Indigenous Knowledges

Module 5 - Sustainable Development Goals 17 & 16: Partnerships, finance, technologies and institutions, the frameworks for enabling the SDGs

Module 6 - Sustainable Development Goals 13 & 7: Climate action, affordable and clean energy and the interconnections

Module 7 - Sustainable Development Goals 3, 5 & 6: Health, wellbeing, gender equality and clean water and sanitation

Module 8 - Sustainable Development Goals 1, 2 & 10: No Poverty, zero hunger and reduced inequalities

Module 9 - Sustainable Development Goals 12, 14 & 15: Responsible consumption and production, life below water and life on land

Module 10 - Sustainable Development Goals 8, 9, 4 & 11: Decent work and economic growth, Industry Innovation and Infrastructure, Quality Education and Sustainable Cities and Communities

Meet your instructors

Jodie Curth-Bibb
Teaching and Research Fellow, Institute of Social Science Research
The University of Queensland
Mark Moran
Professor and Chair of Development Effectiveness, Institute for Social Science Research
The University of Queensland
Saleem H. Ali
Adjunct Professor, Sustainable Minerals Institute
The University of Queensland

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Learner testimonials

"I loved everything about this course. I learnt a lot about planetary boundaries and best approaches towards sustainable development. "
-- Solange, Rwanda.

Who can take this course?

Unfortunately, learners from one or more of the following countries or regions will not be able to register for this course: Iran, Cuba and the Crimea region of Ukraine. While edX has sought licenses from the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to offer our courses to learners in these countries and regions, the licenses we have received are not broad enough to allow us to offer this course in all locations. edX truly regrets that U.S. sanctions prevent us from offering all of our courses to everyone, no matter where they live.