Professional Course

The Science and Practice of Sustainable Development

edX, Online
11 weeks
375 USD
Next course start
Start anytime See details
Self-paced Online
11 weeks
375 USD
Next course start
Start anytime See details
Self-paced Online
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Course description

The Science and Practice of Sustainable Development

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.

Upcoming start dates

1 start date available

Start anytime

  • Self-paced Online
  • Online
  • English

Who should attend?


Participants should have experience, or a strong interest in working in development. While not compulsory, it is recommended that learners have completed a bachelor degree in a relevant discipline.

Training content

  • The History and Politics of Sustainable Development
  • The Science of Sustainable Development
  • Introduction to the SDG agenda
  • Critical Perspectives, Complexity and Indigenous Knowledges
  • Sustainable Development Goals 17 & 16: Partnerships, finance, technologies and institutions, the frameworks for enabling the SDGs
  • Sustainable Development Goals 13 & 7: Climate action, affordable and clean energy and the interconnections
  • Sustainable Development Goals 3, 5 & 6: Health, wellbeing, gender equality and clean water and sanitation
  • Sustainable Development Goals 1, 2 & 10: No Poverty, zero hunger and reduced inequalities
  • Sustainable Development Goals 12, 14 & 15: Responsible consumption and production, life below water and life on land
  • Sustainable Development Goals 8, 9, 4 & 11: Decent work and economic growth, Industry Innovation and Infrastructure, Quality Education and Sustainable Cities and Communities

Course delivery details

This course is offered through The University of Queensland, a partner institute of EdX.

8-10 hours per week


  • Verified Track -$375
  • Audit Track - Free

Certification / Credits

What you'll learn

  • To be aware of the current international policy landscape for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • To understand the practice and policy of sustainable pathways to development
  • To appreciate some of the underpinnings of sustainable development practice and how policy-makers are trying to apply it for better governance of scarce resources
  • To gain a deep understanding of the interconnectedness between the SGDs and how they are implicated in practice
  • To apply relevant aspects of sustainable development to your own practice as a development leader
  • To understand how various attributes of sustainability (environmental, economic and social) can be applied by development practitioners and other stakeholders
  • To gain scientific knowledge regarding planetary boundaries processes and their influence on international economic development

All graded assessment will be graded and have insightful feedback for learners to further refine their new knowledge and skills.

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141 Portland Street
02139 Cambridge Massachusetts


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