Introduction to Sustainability Science
7.5 credits cr.
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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.
Congratulations! You have been admitted at Stockholm University and we hope that you will enjoy your studies with us.
In order to ensure that your studies begin as smoothly as possible we have compiled a short checklist for the beginning of the semester.
Follow the instructions on wether you have to reply to your offer or not.
Checklist for admitted students
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Stockholm University organises a series of welcome activities that stretch over a few weeks at the beginning of each semester. The programme is voluntary (attendance is optional) and includes Arrival Service at the airport and an Orientation Day, see more details about these events below.
Your department may also organise activities for welcoming international students. More information will be provided by your specific department.
Find your way on campus
Stockholm University's main campus is in the Frescati area, north of the city centre. While most of our departments and offices are located here, there are also campus areas in other parts of the city.
For new international students
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.
The course is given online.
This online course consists of a set of video and text-based lectures. All required material for the course will be online available for free. 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.
It is expected that the student after taking the course will be able to 1) explain how humanity has affected the earth ecosystems, 2) explain basic concepts of system theory and basic systems analysis, 3) describe ecological as well as social and economic drivers for environmental change and provide a social perspective on natural resource management, 4) show insight of institutional aspects of natural resource management, 5) show a good overview of transdisciplinary methodology, and 6) define and use the resilience concept.
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.
ScheduleThe 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.
Course literatureNote that the course literature can be changed up to two months before the start of the course.
No mandatory course book.
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 (http://executive.stockholmresilience.org/) to further their understanding of these complex but vital issues for future human welfare. You can also participate in several independent courses.
ContactStudent officeStudy counsellor (advanced level)