BSc Education

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Sustainability Education

Course unit fact file
Unit code EDUC34402
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


The course unit will explore the term ‘sustainability’ in relation to the other terms sometimes used and examine the perspectives and practices of sustainability education across local, national, and global contexts. It will consider the following content areas:

  • Systems thinking
  • Sustainable futures
  • Sustainability gateways (Energy, Buildings, Consumption, Wastes, Transportation, Inclusion, Local wellbeing, and Global dimension)
  • Sustainable development goals
  • Formal and informal sustainability education
  • Pedagogical approaches to sustainability
  • Sustainability literacy
  • Diversity and inclusion in sustainability education


This course unit aims to:

  • introduce students to the concept of sustainability.
  • develop their knowledge and understanding of educating for and about sustainability.
  • explore key aspects of sustainability education across diverse contexts, with focus on critical and participatory approaches.
  • advance understanding of sustainability and the diverse approaches to educating for sustainability, towards developing effective and equitable processes and outcomes for sustainability.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

  • Value the need for a change to a sustainable way of living, individually and collectively.
  • Explain multiple perspectives of sustainability across diverse cultural contexts.
  • Perceive problems within contexts of larger ecosystems comprising human, political, economic, ecological, cultural, and social systems.
  • Explain climate change and its mitigation and adaptation strategies.
  • Appraise the ways in which social beliefs and values influence sustainability and educating about it.
  • Evaluate the sustainable development goals and their implications for a sustainable future.

Intellectual skills

  • Recommend systems thinking to describe the multidimensional sectors of sustainability.
  • Prioritise reasoning and analytical skills when dealing with complexity, unpredictability, and uncertainty.
  • Criticise sustainability policies and practices towards identifying transformation opportunities.
  • Appraise sustainability education content and practices in the context of equity and diversity.

Practical skills

  • Measure carbon footprints and develop carbon offsetting plans.
  • Evaluate sustainability issues, their relation to a variety of vocational and professional contexts and the implications for future study and career options.
  • Compare divergent perspectives on sustainability and defend views that support equity and diversity.
  • Assess inequalities due to unsustainable practices.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Defend the importance of engaging with diverse communities and cultures.
  • Value sustainability literacy skills.
  • Recommend digital communication tools for sustainability education.
  • Support decisions and actions that favour sustainability.

Teaching and learning methods

An interactive seminar approach accompanied by online learning activities will be used throughout.

Assessment methods

Assessment task Word length Weighting

Conduct a literature review of approaches and examples of educating for sustainability and present an evaluation based on the approaches and examples discussed in this course.

4000 100%


Recommended reading

Detailed lists of reading on specific issues will be provided for students.  The following is a list of some key publications.

Carson, R. (1962). Silent spring. Greenwich, CT: Fawcett publications.

Gifford, R. (2011). The dragons of inaction: Psychological barriers that limit climate change mitigation and adaptation. American Psychologist, 66(4), 290–302. doi:10.1037/a0023566

Glasson, G. E., Mhango, N., Phiri, A., & Lanier, M. (2010). Sustainability science education in Africa: Negotiating indigenous ways of living with nature in the third space. International Journal of Science Education, 32(1), 125-141.

Goodall, C. (2007). How to Live a Low-carbon Life. London: Earthscan. ISBN 978-1-84407-426-6

Leal Filho, W., Amaro, N., Avila, L. V., Brandli, L., Damke, L. I., Vasconcelos, C. R., ... & Salvia, A. (2021). Mapping sustainability initiatives in higher education institutions in Latin America. Journal of Cleaner Production, 315, 128093.

Merrill, M. Y., Burkhardt-Holm, P., Chang, C. H., Islam, M. S., & Chang, Y. (Eds.). (2017). Education and Sustainability: Paradigms, Policies and Practices in Asia. Routledge.

Orr, D. W. (2004). Earth in mind: On education, environment, and the human prospect. Island Press.

Salas¿Zapata, W. A., & Ortiz¿Muñoz, S. M. (2019). Analysis of meanings of the concept of sustainability. Sustainable Development, 27(1), 153-161.

Stibbe, A. (2009). The Handbook of Sustainability Literacy: Skills for a Changing World. Dartington, UK: Green Books.

Sustainability literacy: knowledge and skills for the future. Available online:

Tilbury, D., & Stevenson, R. B. (Eds.). (2002). Education and sustainability: Responding to the global challenge. IUCN.

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Sandra Ajaps Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Activity Hours allocated
12 taught sessions 24
Presentation preparation 3
Private study/assignment prep 100
Directed reading  68
Tutorials 6
Total 200


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