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University of Queensland

The Science and Practice of Sustainable Development

University of Queensland via edX


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.


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

Taught by

Jodie Curth-Bibb, Mark Moran and Saleem H. Ali


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