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Graduate courses

Departments' graduate courses for PhD-students.


Syllabus for

Academic year
FFR102 - Sustainable development - critical perspectives and possible solutions
Hållbar utveckling - kritiska perspektiv och möjliga lösningar
Syllabus adopted 2019-02-13 by Head of Programme (or corresponding)
Owner: TIELL
7,5 Credits
Grading: TH - Five, Four, Three, Fail
Education cycle: First-cycle
Major subject: Civil and Environmental Engineering

Teaching language: Swedish
Application code: 63119
Open for exchange students: No
Maximum participants: 120
Only students with the course round in the programme plan

Module   Credit distribution   Examination dates
Sp1 Sp2 Sp3 Sp4 Summer course No Sp
0113 Project 4,0 c Grading: TH   4,0 c    
0213 Examination 3,5 c Grading: TH   3,5 c   01 Jun 2020 pm L,  12 Oct 2019 am L,  19 Aug 2020 am L

In programs



Martin Persson

  Go to Course Homepage


FFR100   Sustainable use of resources FFR101   Sustainable use of resources


Environment 7,5 hec


In order to be eligible for a first cycle course the applicant needs to fulfil the general and specific entry requirements of the programme(s) that has the course included in the study programme.

Course specific prerequisites

None (i.e., none at bachelor level).


The aim of the course is to inspire and stimulate the student to reflect over how he/she can contribute to a sustainable development, both in his/her everyday life and in his/her professional life. Doing so requires a basic understanding of the concept of sustainable development, as well as knowledge about both the way in which current human use of natural resources and ecosystem services is unsustainable and possible strategies and solutions for increased sustainability. The objective of the course is therefore both to generate a strong interest in sustainability issues and to provide the student with the knowledge and tools needed to tackle complex sustainability problems in their future professional life.

Learning outcomes (after completion of the course the student should be able to)

  •  account for and critically appraise the meaning of sustainable development and its three principal dimensions: the ecological, the economic and the social dimension.
  • give an overview of the human influence and effects on the earth¿s climate system and ecosystems and the socio-economic consequences of these at the global and local level.
  • reflect on major restrictions and options for the sustainable use of natural resources and technologies, including key technologies for sustainable energy systems.
  • discuss challenges, strategies, and policy instruments for sustainable energy systems.
  • account for the differences between different ethical frameworks (consequential, duty and virtue ethics), apply these on ethical dilemmas, as well as reflect on different views on professional ethics and the engineers responsibility for sustainability.
  • collect and critically examine information that is relevant to the topic of the course, and communicate this information both in speech and writing.


The course content is divided into four thematic blocks. Below a brief specification of the content of each block is given:
1. Perspectives on sustainable development:
- the history and the meaning of the concept of sustainable development, including its three dimensions: ecological, social, and economic sustainability.
- current global trends in important indicators for ecological, social, and economic sustainability.
- discussion about key concepts such as substitutability, weak vs. strong sustainability, intra- and intergenerational justice and how these relate to the ethical dimensions of sustainable development.
2. Climate change & climate negotiations:
- the natural greenhouse effect and human impacts through greenhouse gas emissions and land use change.
- certainties and uncertainties in current climate science.
- climate change impacts on humans and ecosystems and how these relate to sustainable development.
- international climate negotiations and the main conflicts in these.
3. Sustainable energy systems:
- historical development for human use of energy.
- solutions for climate neutral energy systems such as renewable energy, fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage, and nuclear energy.
- potentials for increased energy efficiency and barriers for reaching these.
- pros and cons with different policy instruments for reduced environmental impacts from current energy systems.
5. Ethics and the engineer's responsibility:
- introduction to basic ethical frameworks (consequential, duty and virtue ethics).
- basics of moral reasoning, common fallacies and methods for analyzing ethical dilemmas.
- discussions on engineering ethics, the difference between private and professional ethics, and the responsibilities of the engineer.


This course aims to convey knowledge about field that is both large and complex. For this reason, lectures and literature are key elements for achieving the learning outcomes. However, just as important as a broad knowledge base is the ability to critically reflect over the knowledge that has been gathered. Not the least is this the case for normative (ethical and moral) aspects of sustainable development where no simple scientific answers are to be found. Therefore the course emphasizes the course elements (mandatory hand-ins and small group discussions) that aims to stimulate a deeper reflection and dialogue about the course contents.


'Hållbar utveckling: nyanser & tolkningar' by Fredrik Hedenus, Martin Persson & Frances Sprei, plus additional texts available through the course homepage.

Examination including compulsory elements

The examination will be carried continuously throughout the course, through hand-in exercises, mandatory group seminars where the hand-ins are discussed, and small written exams ("duggor"). The requirements for passing the entire course (7.5 hp) is as follows:
i) to pass the hand-in exercise in each block (4)
ii) to partake in the seminar discussions in each block (4)
iii) to pass the small written exam ("dugga") in block 1-4 (4).
The course is graded on the scale U, 3, 4, 5 based on the total amount of points from all hand-ins and small exams.

Page manager Published: Thu 04 Feb 2021.