The Research Methods Laboratory    





Programme Number:              DSD 101

Mode:                                  Online  


The idea of sustainable development emerged during the late twentieth century in response to growing concerns about the apparent failure of conventional, state-led ‘development’ initiatives and about the extent and pace of environmental degradation, especially at the global scale. 

This course equips you with the tools essential for analysis of the relationship between environmental issues and human society. The course will focus on evaluating political, socio-economic, ethical, cultural and regulatory frameworks and their relation to issues of development and sustainability. You will acquire a sensitive appreciation of issues surrounding sustainable development and an understanding of the theory and application of sustainable development

One of the central themes running through the course is a focus on Policy Making and Policy Analysis. You will be introduced to the nature and operation of the policy process in contemporary economies and to policy analysis. You will explore concepts and theories relevant to understanding the policy process, together with a systematic method of thinking about the formulation, adoption, implementation, and evaluation of public policies.

The course will introduce students to policies and strategies of sustainable development, promoted by development agencies in different regions of the global south. Students will develop insights into the historical emergence of policy instruments and strategies such as the clean development mechanism, international biodiversity conservation agreements and other local/regional sustainable development initiatives.  




Principles of Sustainable Development

Understanding Sustainable Development  

Types of sustainable development

Climate change and sustainable development

Promoting sustainable development

Research Project


There are no prerequisites to enrolment on this course. Study requires that you have the ability to:

  •  write accurately, clearly and concisely
  •  read large quantities of text accurately and critically  
  • argue logically, consistently and skeptically
  • organize evidence to support a logical argument. 



Students are assessed at the end of each module. Various forms of assessment are used across the modules. The pass mark for each module is 60%. Any student who fails an assessment will be entitled to ONE resubmission. The table below provides guidance on the general criteria used to assess submitted work. Specific advice on individual modules’ assessment will be supplied by the module coordinators. All assessed work will be double-marked before a grade is awarded.

Grade %



Truly Exceptional/Outstanding demonstration of learning outcomes:  wide, appropriate knowledge and   understanding (and where appropriate effective project work) including   outstanding insight and/or originality


Evidence   of reading and thought beyond course/assignment materials appropriate use of   references and exemplars an exceptionally high standard of writing and   communication. Excellent demonstration of learning outcomes:    wide, appropriate knowledge and understanding including insight and/or   originality, evidence of reading and thought beyond course/assignment   materials, appropriate use of references and exemplars, a high standard of writing and communication.


Good   - Comprehensively Good demonstration of learning outcomes: wide appropriate   knowledge and understanding (and where appropriate effective project work)   with only occasional lapses in detail evidence of reading and thought beyond   course/assignment materials a high standard of writing and communication.


Generally   Satisfactory demonstration of learning outcomes: sound knowledge and   understanding of essential material (and where appropriate essential project   skills). General accuracy with occasional mistakes and/or uncoordinated use   of information.


Unsatisfactory   demonstration of learning outcomes: some very basic knowledge and   understanding (and where appropriate basic project skills). Omissions and/or   weaknesses of presentation and/or logic and/or evidence.  Inconsistency in argument and   unsubstantiated assertion.


Poor performance in learning outcomes: some relevant information and limited   understanding (and where appropriate some project work completed under   supervision). Omissions and/or weaknesses of presentation and/or logic and/or   evidence lack of familiarity with the subject of assessment and/or assessment   vehicle. Inconsistency in argument and unsubstantiated assertion.


Very weak performance in learning outcomes.    Little evidence that learning or project work was seriously attempted.   Entirely inconsistency in argument and unsubstantiated assertion


No work submitted for assessment



Sustainability is a growing field, with job opportunities in industry, the sciences, social sciences and the humanities. Career paths for sustainability professionals involve promoting environmental protection, social responsibility, and profitability. Careers in SD revolve around the conservation of resources (energy, water etc.) and the improvement of efficiency; creating new, more environmentally and socially responsible technologies or services. Key roles in SD also includes the education of stakeholders about environmental and social issues.






For further information, or to apply for a place on the course please visit our website or email us.

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