BSc Management (Accounting & Finance) with Industrial/Professional Experience

Year of entry: 2020

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Course unit details:
Creating a Sustainable World: 21st Century Challenges and the Sustainable Development Goals

Unit code UCIL20311
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by School of Environment, Education and Development
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it” - Robert Swan, Author


“We have 12 years to save the planet” - United Nations


The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a call from the United Nations for all countries to tackle by 2030, the global challenges faced by humanity. The SDGs cover a wide range of challenges, with 17 goals backed up by 169 indicators. The goals include poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, prosperity, and peace and justice. The SDGs are designed for everyone to be able to play their part, including The University of Manchester and you our students.


If we are to successfully achieve the SDGs by 2030, then we need to be able to work across traditional disciplines and in more collaborative ways. This unit offers a unique opportunity to engage with multiple real-world challenges and develop applied knowledge and skillsets that are highly prized by employers from the public, private and third sectors.


The unit is available as 10 or 20 credits. It is delivered online via Blackboard (with one face-to-face session). It is highly interactive and adopts a blend of approaches including video inputs, discussion space and case studies. Students will have a choice of assessment formats.


Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the unit you will be able to:

  • Describe the key interlinked, interdisciplinary concepts and theories that underpin sustainable development, as presented by the SDGs
  • Analyse diverse ways in which sustainable development plays out across different spaces and scales, including policy spheres, everyday lives, and infrastructures
  • Identify and defend your own social positioning in the world and feel empowered to make positive change

In addition, for 20 credits:

  • Apply your knowledge to a specific problem, devise an action plan and communicate this in a well-argued report



10 Credits

You will take the two core modules. The first is about Sustainability and Goal 17 - Partnerships to achieve the goals. The second is about the Sustainable Development Goals.  You can then choose six of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal modules shown below. Support and advice will be given about which goals to choose based upon your degree.



Teaching and learning methods

The unit is delivered entirely online via Blackboard. All students will study 2 core modules and will  then choose their learning pathway, studying either 6 modules (10 credit) or 16 modules (20 credit unit). Students will engage in weekly discussions drawing upon material they have studied that week.


Each module is led by a leading researcher from across The University of Manchester and features leading contributors from around the world. 


The unit is highly interactive and uses case studies, imagery and video to deliver the learning material.


Assessment methods

  1. Ongoing module assessment (20%)
  2. Sustainability analysis exercise . 250 word(20%)
  3. Inform the world about a sustainable development issue in choice of format. 1500 words (60%)

Feedback methods

Via Blackboard

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
eAssessment 8
Independent study hours
Independent study 92

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Jennifer O'Brien Unit coordinator

Additional notes

The unit is led by Dr Jennifer O’Brien (School of Environment, Education and Development) and features over 50 expert contributors including Professor David Hulme (Global Development Institute), Khalid Malik (The United Nations), Professor Kevin Anderson (Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research), Professor Amanda Bamford (Division of Evolution & Genomic Sciences), Dr Susie Miles (Manchester Institute of Education) and Professor James Evans (Manchester Urban Institute)


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