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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 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.

Due to space and resource limitations on the field trip, this course is only available to Environmental Sustainability MSc students (for whom it is a core course).

Course description The course considers various different scales for thinking about sustainable development, from global agreements to household practices and individual behaviour. 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 imposition or adoption of regulations and incentives for environmental change; 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.

In addition, students will develop transferable skills in writing a succinct (policy) brief and developing and communicating group project work effectively. Tailored training, and discussions with experts from science, policy and practice will explain the characteristics and importance of effectively communicating core messages. Students develop group projects and liaise with contacts at the Department of Social Responsibility and Sustainability (SRS). Project work will be presented in class and field questions from class and representatives from SRS.

At the end of Semester 2, students will attend a week-long residential field course to central Scotland and the Scottish Highlands and Islands. The field course provides the opportunity for students to experience sustainable development in practice and reflect on the range of initiatives taking place across a range of sectors in Scotland. Students will complete a series of blog posts to reflect on their experiences on the field course.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  0
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 %
Feedback A variety of methods will be used to provide feedback throughout the course and on the assignments:
¿ The course organiser and tutors will provide verbal feedback on the group work during the scheduled project work times;
¿ Formative feedback will be provided on a 1-page outline of the 4-page issue brief (submission of an outline is optional).
¿ Lead contacts in SRS will provide feedback on outlines of group presentations;
¿ The marks for all assignments will be accompanied by written feedback to explain the marks awarded and make constructive suggestions for improvement.
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 (internationally and 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 organiserDr Dan Van Der Horst
Tel: (0131 6)51 4467
Course secretaryMrs Lynn Taylor
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