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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Postgraduate Courses (School of GeoSciences)

Postgraduate Course: Case Studies in Sustainable Development (PGGE11192)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course introduces students to a range of case studies and approaches being used to achieve sustainable development. These include international governance, national institutions, economic instruments, environmental regulation, technological innovation, new policy initiatives, and grassroots participation. The course will build upon the environmental sustainability principles set out in the Semester 1 course, Principles of Environmental Sustainability. Students will develop practical skills by writing concise policy briefs and working in groups to address sustainability challenges with Edinburgh's Department for Social Responsibility and Sustainability. At the end of Semester 2, students will attend a residential field course to gain an insight into sustainable development across Scotland.

Course description This course introduces the diverse range of approaches being used to achieve sustainable development. These include international governance, national institutions, economic instruments, environmental regulation, technological innovation, new policy initiatives, and grassroots participation.

The course considers various different scales for thinking about sustainable development, from global agreements to household practices and individual behaviours. Some of the key themes that run through the course are the inter- relation and balance between economic and environmental decision-making; the consequences of upstream and downstream interventions; the implementation of regulations and incentives for environmental improvement; power and control over decision-making; and the role of experts and trust in information.

The use of these approaches at different levels of governance in a range of key sectors is considered, mainly on a case study basis through lectures and fieldwork. The course encourages a strongly interdisciplinary approach to the understanding of sustainable development and seeks to foster critical thinking and debate.

Students will develop transferable skills in writing succinct (policy) briefs. Tailored training, and discussions with experts from science, policy and practice will explain the characteristics and importance of effectively communicating core messages.

**From Academic Year 2020-21** At the end of Semester two, students will take part in a residential field course where they will explore case studies from a range sustainability sectors including environmental governance, environmental policy, environmental management, consultancy, public transport, waste management, eco-tourism, community energy schemes and eco-farming. The field course will provide a grounding to the case studies discussed in class and provide students with the chance to observe and reflect on sustainable development in practice.

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2020/21, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  42
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 40, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 156 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Assessed only by coursework (there is no examination):
The course is assessed by three assignments, an issue brief (50%), a group presentation (25%), and a reflective blog (25%):
1. A 4-page issue brief will be based on a topic chosen from a range of titles related to the lectures in the first five weeks of the course; due 17th November 2020.
2. A 15 minute group presentation will present findings on a chosen sustainable development topic on 1st April 2021.
3. A daily reflective blog will be completed by each student while on the residential field course in April 2021.
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Have a good understanding of sustainability initiatives in a range a different topical policy areas
  2. Have knowledge of a range of relevant case studies
  3. Understand the diversity of challenges, in terms of sectors and scales of governance, necessary to achieve sustainable development
  4. Have developed transferable skills in synthesis and presentation of sustainable development issues and recommendations through succinct, targeted briefs.
  5. Observe and critically reflect on sustainable development in practice across a range of sectors in Scotland
Reading List
Tailored reading material will be made available in advance to prepare for each lecture. This usually consist of a mix of academic literature and more applied policy reports and websites. A distinction is made between essential and recommended reading.

In preparation for the course students are recommended to have read the introduction (pp: 1-6) from Beder (2006) from 'Environmental Principles and Policies: An Interdisciplinary Introduction'. It gives a brief overview of the principles that were covered in last semester's sustainability course, so might provide useful background for those students who did not attend. (this text is available on Learn).

Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Keywordscase studies,sustainable development,sustainability,society,environment,transition
Course organiserMr Rowan Jackson
Tel: (0131 6)51 4340
Course secretaryMs Louisa King
Tel: (0131 6)50 2543
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