Sustainable Development in Practice

  • Delivery:
    Distance learning
  • Credits:

The course will consider the international policy context relating to sustainable development and will evaluate the extent to which policy targets and goals have been achieved, to identify any lessons that might be learned. This will include consideration of how sustainability can be measured, for example through the appropriate use of indicators.

The practical application of the principles of sustainable development will then be explored through a series of real world case studies, relating to a variety of different locations and focusing on different economic sectors. This will enable you to develop a critical understanding of the constraints and opportunities influencing progress towards sustainable development in different environmental and socio-economic contexts.

The course aims to enable you to understand how the scientific principles relating to sustainable development can be applied in practice. In addition, the course will provide insight into the relationships between scientific principles, policy and practice, including consideration of key issues such as the functioning of social-ecological systems, uncertainty and forecasting.

See more course details.

Key information

Next start date:

20 September 2022


Distance learning/online


10 weeks

Entry requirements:

This course is open to anyone with a relevant undergraduate degree. Alternatively, non-graduates and professionals with significant and relevant work experience, who can also demonstrate an ability to both complete and benefit from the course will be considered.

International entry requirements:

If English is not your first language you'll need IELTS 6.5 (Academic) or above.

Course details

Sustainable development focuses on meeting the needs of present and future generations while conserving the planet's life support systems. Key international policy initiatives will be considered, including Agenda 21, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the work of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD). The development and use of indicators of sustainable development will be examined, followed by an examination of numerous case studies.Option to undertake further study and complete an academic assessment

If you choose to take the academic assessment option for this course, it will take roughly four months to complete (from your enrolment through to the submission deadline for your assessment). There is an additional fee of £200 for the Masters level assessment.

Course content

The indicative content for this course is listed below:

  • Introduction to sustainable development
  • Sustainable agriculture – developing world
  • Sustainable agriculture – developed world
  • Sustainable forest management
  • Sustainable fisheries
  • Sustainable water management
  • Sustainable cities
  • Sustainable tourism
  • Sustainable consumption and production
  • Sustainability frameworks and monitoring.

The course will also provide students with a learning opportunity designed to provide them with practical experience of applying key methods. These will include the development of conceptual models of social-ecological systems, and the development of scenarios. These methods are now widely used to support planning for sustainable development.

Academic assessment (optional)

In addition to the short course itself you have the option of undertaking further study and completing an academic assessment (an additional fee applies). On successful completion of this assessment you will gain 20 academic credits at postgraduate level (Level 7).

If you choose to take the academic assessment option for this course, it will take roughly four months to complete (from your enrolment through to the submission deadline for your assessment). There is an additional fee of £200 for the Master's level assessment.

Fees and funding

The fee for this unit/short course: £600.00.

Additional fee: £200 if you wish to take the academic assessment.

With this type of course (ie. a short course) you will find that the cost of studying is already broken down into smaller, more manageable amounts (in comparison to a full degree, whether at postgraduate or undergraduate levels).

Additional funding help may sometimes be received from your employer given the relevance to your chosen career, if you are a previous student of BU you will receive a discount on your course fees, but other funding options are limited and postgraduate loans will not be available when studying individual CPD units.

See our fees and funding section for more information. 

How to apply

If you have any further questions about the course and for information on how to apply, please email [email protected].

Additional information

Statistics shown throughout this page are taken from Unistats and BU institutional data unless otherwise stated.