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The Science and Practice of Sustainable Development (edX)

Learn the critical foundations of sustainable development and how to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals that are deeply interconnected in the field. This course introduces the origin and key concepts of sustainability and how to apply those to sustainable development practice.

This course is part of the Leadership in Global Development MicroMasters Program. In order to get the most out of this course, we recommend that you have experience working in the development sector or a strong interest in this area. We also recommend that you complete the other three courses that make up the Leadership in Global Development MicroMasters program: Leaders in Global Development, Adaptive Leadership in Development, and Critical Development Perspectives.

Sustainable development will be explored through theories and case studies from a range of Disciplines. You also will learn about planetary boundaries, urbanisation and growing inequality, to show how integral sustainable development is to our everyday existence.


This course will attempt to provide key content knowledge to bridge the science and the practice of the application and enhancement of sustainable development. The course draws on contemporary examples from both The University of Queensland (UQ) and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) to address the world’s most urgent challenges, with emphasis on the linkages between science and policy.

What you’ll learn:

– To understand the practice and policy of sustainable pathways to development

– To appreciate some of the scientific underpinnings of sustainable development practice and how policy-makers are trying to apply it for better governance of scarce resources

– To understand how various attributes of sustainability (environmental, economic and social) can be applied by development practitioners and other stakeholders

– To gain scientific knowledge regarding planetary boundaries processes and their influence on international economic development

– To be aware of the current international policy landscape for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

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