Sustainable Development Applications

Dates are TBC

This module provides an introduction to sustainable development for people primarily concerned with industrial ecology. It can also offer a consolidation and deepening of understanding for students focusing on sustainable development and corporate environmental management, who also take the Foundations of Sustainable Development module.

Further information

Module overview

Module leader Stephen Morse
Other contributors Ian Christie plus various guest speakers
Number of credits 15
Number of ECTS credits 7.5
Module availability Semester 1
Overall student workload 150 hours
Units of assessment Weighting towards module mark (%)
Pre-module individual critical review (maximum 1000 words) 25%
Post-module individual written assignment (maximum 3000 words) 75%

Alternative assessment: Repeat of assignment with different subject from supplied list.

Qualifying condition(s): A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module.

Pre-requisite/co-requisites: None.

This module aims to raise awareness among students to what sustainable development means, and in particular its application in a variety of contexts spanning the public, private and ‘third’ sectors.

The emphasis is very much upon a critical analysis of practice, rather than the theoretical and ethical basis for sustainable development which is covered in the Foundations of Sustainable Development module.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students will be able to:

  • Understand the basic issues in implementing and managing sustainable development (K)*
  • Understand challenges and emerging solutions in public and private sector organisations (P, C)*
  • Understand issues in the integration of sustainable development in national and local development policies and plans (C)*
  • Engage in debates about the practical implementation and management of sustainable development policies and plans in business and governance (P, T)*.

*Key: C - Cognitive and analytical; K - Subject knowledge; T - Transferable skills; P - Professional and practical skills.

Module content

The module will cover the following topics:

  • Summary of foundational issues in sustainable development: Origins, Brundtland, I=PAT equation, sustainable development strategies and contested ideas
  • Measuring sustainable development (Indicators, sustainable livelihood approach, remote sensing)
  • Sustainable production and consumption: Sustainable development in relation to industrial ecology, concept and practice of the maximum sustainable yield (MSY) in fishery management
  • Case studies of sustainable development challenges, policies and management in mining, production of consumer goods, retailing, finance, health services
  • Case studies of sustainable development and sustainable livelihood approach in the global south
  • Case study of sustainable development communications
  • Communication and leadership issues in management for sustainable development
  • Issues in implementation of sustainable development policies
  • Analysis of key texts and discussion of films offering case studies.

Methods of learning and teaching

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to provide an introduction to sustainable development, including an awareness of some of the key issues in implementation being faced today.

The module is very much geared towards application rather than theory. Hence a number of guest speakers from the public, private and ‘third’ sectors are invited to talk about some of the key issues that they have faced making sustainability a reality in their own context.

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • Pre course study involving the analysis of a sustainability report
  • Lectures from module team and various guest lecturers from the public, private and ‘third’ sectors
  • Group exercises
  • Audio and video presentations
  • Post course study linked to main assessment.

35 hours contact time in one week (Monday to Friday).
Pre course study = 30 hours.
Post course study = 85 hours.

Assessment strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate.

The pre- and post-module assignments are designed to build upon the topics covered in the module and give the students a chance to explore them in a context that they are especially interested in.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • Pre-module individual critical review (maximum 1000 words) of a corporate sustainability report or similar document from a public agency (25%)
  • Post-module individual written assignment (maximum 3000 words) from a supplied list of essay topics (75%).

Formative assessment and feedback

Feedback from the pre-module assignment will help students with their post-module assignment. Sessions at the start and end of the module will cover – in part – the module assignment. Students will submit their work online.

Further information


This will be a week long course, dates are to be confirmed.


Price per person:

  • £1275.00 - Standard rate

How to apply

Payment can be accepted by purchase order, credit card or bank transfer on our online store, which will be available soon.

If you would prefer to fill out our paper form, then please complete and return this form by email or send it in the post to:

FEPS Student Services Administration
08 AA 02
University of Surrey
GU2 7XH.

Please note that we do not charge VAT as we are an educational establishment.

Payments will be accepted subject to availability.

Essential reading

Callum Hill, An Introduction to Sustainable Resource Use, Earthscan, London, 2011.

Stephen Morse, Sustainability: a biological perspective, Cambridge UP, Cambridge, 2010.

WCED, Our Common Future, OUP, Oxford, 1987 (aka The Brundtland Report) This document is in many ways the documented underpinning of what today we call sustainable development.

Recommended reading

Anne Augustine, The First 100 Days on the Job: how to plan, prioritise and build a sustainable organisation, Do Shorts, Oxford, 2012.

Adisa Azapagic and Slobodan Perdan (eds.), Sustainable Development in Practice: case studies for engineers and scientists, Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester, 2011.

Janis Birkeland, Positive Development, Earthscan, London, 2008.

William Blackburn, The Sustainability Handbook: the complete management guide to achieving social, economic and environmental responsibility, Earthscan, London, 2008.

Bob Doppelt, Leading Change Toward Sustainability, Greenleaf, London, 2001.

Tim Jackson (ed), The Earthscan Reader in Sustainable Consumption, Earthscan, London, 2006.

David Mackay, Sustainable Energy - without the hot air, UIT, Cambridge, UK, 2009.

Sara Parkin, The Positive Deviant, Routledge, London, 2010.

Jonathon Porritt, Capitalism as if the World Matters, Earthscan, London, 2007.

Jonathon Porritt, The World We Made, Phaidon, London, 2013.

Kristiina Vogt et al, Sustainability Unpacked: Food, Energy and Water for Resilient Environments and Societies, Earthscan, London, 2010.

Background reading



If you have any queries about this module then please contact Melanie Wilde, the Administrative Officer:

Contact us

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Centre for Environment and Sustainability
Arthur C Clarke building, Floor 2
University of Surrey