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Learn about the circular economy with online courses and programs

In a circular economy, the production and consumption of materials is based on a cycle of reuse and refurbishment. This can help to extend product life cycles and minimize waste. Learn principles of a circular economy with online courses on edX.

What is a circular economy?

In a linear economy, products are made, used, and eventually thrown away. This process can heavily impact on the environment and be detrimental to societal health and wellbeing. A circular method aims to close the waste loop and result in more sustainable products and organizations.

A circular economy focuses on the management of resources to reduce waste. It can help to cut down on wasteful production and potentially reduce the production of greenhouse gasses. Society can also benefit from the adoption of circular economy principles. These can lead to safer jobs and healthier communities.Footnote 1

Understanding the circular economy can help you develop new ways to reuse materials and even redesign entire production processes. You can contribute to a resource-efficient future with the right mindset and skills. Get started with edX.

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Circular economy course curriculum

If you want to explore different ways you or your organization can adopt more sustainable practices, get started with an introduction to the circular economy. Online courses can get you up to speed on foundational topics, such as:

  • Foundations of the circular economy

  • Closed loop supply chains and reversed logistics

  • Value creation and new business models in a circular economy

  • Product life extension

  • Remanufacturing to recapture value on a product or component level

Depending on your industry and career goals, you may also take courses that focus specifically on sustainable packaging, bio-based business strategy, circular fashion, or circular food production. 

edX offers online courses that allow learners to study a variety of topics including economics, business, and much more. ‌Sign up for an accelerated boot camp or enroll in a full degree program and start working toward a bachelor's degree or (for more advanced learners) a master’s degree in a relevant subject. You can also explore executive education programs specifically designed for busy professionals.

Explore jobs in the circular economy

There are various roles that can benefit from learning about the circular economy. If you’re interested in adopting sustainable practices, some job titles that might use circular principles include:

  • Environmental scientist: Studies the impact of human activities on the environment and contributes to circular economy initiatives.Footnote 2

  • Product designer: Creates products with circular design principles in mind, such as easy repair, reuse, and recycling.Footnote 3

  • Supply chain manager: Optimizes supply chains to reduce waste, promote recycling, and minimize resource consumption.Footnote 4

  • Research and development specialist: Conducts research to develop new technologies and materials that align with circular economy principles.Footnote 5

  • Agricultural professional: Implements sustainable agricultural and food production practices that minimize waste and resource use.Footnote 6

Each of these roles will have different education and skills requirements. For example, some employers may seek candidates with a specialized degree, depending on the role. Before deciding on a specific learning path, research the positions you hope to pursue and align your coursework with your career goals.