BSc Geography with International Study / Course details

Year of entry: 2022

Course unit details:
Creating a Sustainable World: Applying the Sustainable Development Goals

Unit code UCIL20511
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? No


"The climate crisis has already been solved. We already have the facts and solutions. All we have to do is wake up and change." - Greta Thunberg

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.

You already have the foundational knowledge of what the SDGs are, and a good understanding of six of the 17 Goals. You have applied your skills in data analysis and sustainability communication to begin to effect change for sustainable development.


Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Creating a Sustainable World: 21st Century Challenges and the Sustainable Development Goals UCIL20311 Pre-Requisite Compulsory

To take this unit you MUST have completed the 10 Credit Creating a Sustainable World unit (UCIL20311) last year.

UCIL units are credit-bearing and it is not possible to audit UCIL units or take them for additional/extra credits. You must enrol following the standard procedure for your School when adding units outside of your home School.

If you are not sure if you are able to enrol on UCIL units you should contact your School Undergraduate office. You may wish to contact your programme director if your programme does not currently allow you to take a UCIL unit.


This unit is available as 10 or 20 credits and offers you the opportunity to extend and deepen your existing knowledge of SDGs by studying some of the SDGs that you didn't study last year. Each SDG is explored through its own module, drawing on cutting-edge research carried out by world-leading experts across The University of Manchester, together with input from external experts and international policy-makers and practitioners. In this unit, particular emphasis lies on effecting change for sustainable development through interdisciplinary partnership.

Learning outcomes

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

  • Describe in depth the key interdisciplinary concepts and theories that underpin sustainable development, as presented by the SDGs
  • Analyse ways in which sustainable development plays out across different spaces and scales, including policy spheres, everyday lives, and infrastructures
  • Collaborate in interdisciplinary groups to view problems from new perspectives and communicate this in a public space through a blog

In addition, for 20 credits:

  • Apply disciplinary knowledge to the SDGs, undertake desk-based research and produce materials that could contribute to the unit in future years


10 Credits

You will refresh your knowledge of the two core modules:

Core Module 1: Sustainability and GOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goals

Core Module 2: Sustainable Development Goals

You will then study six of the Sustainable Development Goal modules, listed below, that you didn't study last year.

Teaching and learning methods

The unit is delivered entirely online via Blackboard. All students will refresh their knowledge of the two core modules and will then study six or ten SDG modules that they didn't study last year. Students will engage in fortnightly discussions, drawing upon material they have studied that week. Like the SDGs, a strong ethos is placed on partnership. Beyond the assessed discussion groups you will be encouraged to engage with each other's ideas to the benefit of your own.

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 blog co-authored with another interdisciplinary student. 500 words (20%)
  3. Produce a document that fills a gap you have identified in the Creating a Sustainable World unit teaching. 1500 words (60%)

Feedback methods

Via Blackboard

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Tutorials 100
Independent study hours
Independent study 75

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 80 expert contributors including Professor David Hulme (Global Development Institute), Khalid Malik (The United Nations), Professor Kevin Anderson (Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research), Dr. Manisha Anatharaman (Saint Mary's College, California), Professor Amanda Bamford (Division of Evolution & Genomic Sciences), Carly Koinage (UN Habitat), Dr Susie Miles (Manchester Institute of Education), Professor James Evans (Manchester Urban Institute), Professor Michael Shaver (Manchester School of Materials) and Professor Paulo Bartolo (School of Engineering).

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