Stockholm university
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Introduction to Sustainability Science

Sustainability science is a problem focused trans-disciplinary research field. It draws from biology, the social sciences, economics, geology and atmospheric sciences. In this course you will learn the challenges of the Anthropocene, how humanity can reconnect to the biosphere, to understand complex adaptive systems and options for management and governance.

Hand holding an orange flower, a Gerbera

In this course we will view sustainability from many different perspectives to understand the challenges and opportunities of aligning objectives and opportunities for sustainable living. In order to achieve a diverse set of viewpoints your own insights and perspectives will be an important part.

  • Course structure

    The course is given online.

    Teaching format

    This online course consists of a set of video and text-based lectures. A large part of the learning relies on the sharing of insights and reflections of each student during the reading of the course materials. The course allows you to organise your study time very flexibly. It has four parts that are released every two weeks in order to keep all students on a similar topic. This is to facilitate the discussions. But the required participation for each of the four parts can be done at any time within these two weeks time span. The course is a part-time course and should generally allow you to partake in it even if you have a full time job or studies, provided that you can sacrifice some evening time.

    Learning outcomes

    A list of the learning outcomes can be found in the syllabus. Please find the link to the syllabus on the right side of this page.


    After 4 weeks, there will a first home essay based on the topics released. You have one week to finish this home assignment.

    After 7 weeks into the course you will get the last home essay assignment together with the last part of the course for which you have two weeks to finish.

    For passing the course, one insight or reflection for each part of the course needs to be written and shared with the other students. The insights/reflections are shared on a course-dedicated forum.


    Juan Rocha Gordo

    Romina Martin

  • Schedule

    The schedule will be available no later than one month before the start of the course. We do not recommend print-outs as changes can occur. At the start of the course, your department will advise where you can find your schedule during the course.

    This course is an online self-study course. Written and video material will be released through Athena at set times, see schedule. It is up to you to organise your time to work through this material and complete the assignments. You will interact with other students through online discussion forums (compulsory) and live video discussion sessions (optional, timing to be discussed).

  • Course literature

    Note that the course literature can be changed up to two months before the start of the course.

    No mandatory course book.

  • Course reports

  • More information

    In this course you will meet students from all walks of life, from business executives, researchers, students, practitioners, workers, and government employees. Also, while usually dominated by people from European countries, we often have students from other continents as well. The common characteristic is that most have studied some academic discipline in depth at some time, and bring, together with their work-experiences, many different perspectives to share and enrich our discussions.

    After the course

    If the introduction to sustainability science has wet your appetite for further studies, there are several ways forward. At the Stockholm resilience centre we have both a two-year Master's programme, as well as opportunities for people in government and business ( to further their understanding of these complex but vital issues for future human welfare. You can also participate in several independent courses.


  • Contact

    Student office
    Study counsellor for advanced level