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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh Futures Institute : Edinburgh Futures Institute

Undergraduate Course: Sustainable Development Goals: History, Progress and Beyond 2030 (EFIE08008)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh Futures Institute CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 1 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryAs we approach the year 2030, the deadline for the United Nations Sustainable Development goals (THE 17 GOALS | Sustainable Development (, you will reflect on their history, their purpose, progress, and question the core philosophy of sustainability. You will learn about the SDGs from the perspective of different parts of the world, different disciplines, stakeholders and generations. After this course you will look at the SDGs critically, from many different angles and explore alternative approaches that might replace them after 2030.
Course description The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a set of global goals intended to be achieved by 2030 for 'peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future' ( Now that 2030 is fast approaching... how well have we done in terms of achieving these and what will come after? This course aims to facilitate discussion between students from a range of different backgrounds. We will introduce and guide you through the SDGs, what they are, where they came from and why they matter to you, the University and the planet.

Sustainable development and the SDGs are broad, context dependent and interdisciplinary. This is at the heart of this course. Through short, pre-recorded lecturers from experts in different disciplines, to critical discussions of the Universities' own policies, this course will break down this complex area into core principles, academic skills, and authentic case studies. The SDGs guide activity around the world, and this too is at the centre of this course - critically exploring these goals from different epistemic, political and cultural perspectives and giving you the student room to bring your own experiences to debates and discussions.

The course content is designed around understanding the historical context of the SDGS from industrialisation and colonialism, philosophy, global governance, international relations and funding. We look at progress: how do we measure or monitor the SDGS, what data is used, what is missing? We bring in authentic case studies from a wide range of geographic regions, delivered in an interactive, active learning approach. We also look at the link between theory and practice within the University of Edinburgh.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  48
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 11, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 11, External Visit Hours 2, Formative Assessment Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 170 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Formative Assessment:

Each course within Edinburgh Futures Institute includes the opportunity for you to participate in a formative feedback exercise or event which will help you prepare for your summative assessment. The formative assessment does not contribute to your overall course mark.

1) SDG Bingo - week 1 (allows for exploration of each SDG to allow student teams to select one)

2) Attend Tutorials - report on group progress in weeks 2, 4, 6 and 10
- Week 2 = presentation - assign SDG (group presentation)
- Week 4 = reflective skills (group presentation and written report)
- Week 6 = prep for panel discussion and group ppt (group presentation and written report)
- Week 10 = debrief panel discussion and written report
3) Attend debate - week 9

Summative Assessment:

The course will be assessed on a pass/fail basis.

1) Group Presentation

(10 mins max.) - week 8

Each team has a single SDG and with their SDG they need to demonstrate concept, data elements to gauging progress, critical analysis and what could replace. To be delivered as a recorded presentation. All in the group have to show contribution (e.g. each could have a section - e.g. concept, data...).

2) Individual Written Report

(1500words max.) - week 11

A Written report which picks a particular policy as part of the university strategy (shortlist of policies to be generated from = and:

- Reviews and critiques/ critically evaluates this policy and its links to the relevant SDGs
- Assesses the extent to which progress has been made within this policy
- Make recommendations for future progress/impact of current policy
- Tell us what you personally would like to do going forward to address this policy (self-reflection)
- Suggest what should happen after the SDGs reach their target year of 2030 and what should come after?
Feedback The formative assessment activities have be assigned to help facilitate the flow of feedback to students prior to their summative assessments. The SDG bingo will enable students to explore the SDGs as presented by the UN in an informal way and elicit critical discussion of these goals in a non-confrontational manner. The 4 tutorials across the course will provide a space to discuss summative assessments, practice the skills needed for these and seek and receive feedback. By including attendance at these tutorials and the final debate in the formative requirements it ensures students are as well-equipped as they can be for undertaking the summative assessments.

Whilst there will be no formal feedback as such on these activities, they provide the space and time to reflect on summative assessments in good time, prior to their submission dates.

Feedback on summative assessments will be in the form of written feedback, based on the key tasks, the common marking scheme, and a marking rubric which will allow detailed feedback the student can draw on in their academic development.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a knowledge of the scope, aims, concepts, models, and main themes of the sustainable development goals.
  2. Undertake critical analysis, evaluation of concepts, ideas, information in relation to common understandings of SDGs.
  3. Use and evaluate numerical and graphical data to measure progress towards selected key SDG targets.
  4. Work with others to acquire an understanding of the need for collaboration at community, national and international levels to achieve the SDGs.
Reading List

Anne E. Egelston. 2013. Sustainable development a history,

Minna Lammi. 2012. Citizen participation in global environmental governance / edited by Mikko Rask, Richard Worthington,

Ghosh, Bipashyee et al. 2021. Decolonising transitions in the Global South: Towards more epistemic diversity in transitions research. Environmental innovation and societal transitions, 2021, Vol.41, p.106-109

Geopolitical risk, sustainability and "cross-border spillovers" in emerging markets. Volume II, Constitutional political economy, pandemics-governance and labor-oriented bail-outs/bail-ins / Michael C. I. Nwogugu. Nwogugu, Michael C. I., author.Cham, Switzerland : Palgrave Macmillan; 2021

Susskind, Lawrence, Ali, Saleem H. (Saleem Hassan). 2015. Environmental diplomacy : negotiating more effective global agreements. New York, NY : Oxford University Press; 2015

Marshall, Tim. 2015. Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Tell You Everything You Need To Know About Global Politics. London: Elliott & Thompson
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills This course emphasised the role of the SDGs in a broad range of aspects of a student's life and encourages them to look beyond 2030 to instil the long timescale of the SDGs and encourage lifelong learning. The global nature of the teaching and case studies as well as the student engagement embedding in the course supports outlook and engagement. This course is designed to develop the skills of enquiry - looking at the principles of sustainability development from many perspectives critically. Embedded throughout this course are opportunities that encourage students to bring their own experiences and areas on interest into the teaching, creating a link to personal and intellectual autonomy.
KeywordsEFI,Sustainable Development,Level 8,UG,Sustainable Development Goals,2030,United Nations,17 Goals
Course organiserDr Fiona Borthwick
Tel: (0131 6)50 7300
Course secretaryMiss Katarzyna Pietrzak
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