Universiteit Leiden

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Sustainable Development

About this minor

Minor Structure

The programme consists of:

  • Big Issues, New Answers (15 ECTS)
  • Sustainability in Practice (8 ECTS)

And one of the following Area Studies:

  • Area Study Sustainability Netherlands (7 ECTS)
  • Area Study Sustainability Portugal (7 ECTS)

More information about the content of these courses can be found via the e-Prospectus.

In this minor, sustainability issues will be approached from various perspectives, involving aspects of both the natural sciences and social sciences. Students typically come from a wide variety of backgrounds, creating an interdisciplinary learning environment. You will be expected to participate actively, assisting your fellow students with the knowledge you can contribute from your discipline. Additionally, you will have the opportunity to broaden your perspective and learn from each other and experts in the field. It is this exchange of knowledge that makes this minor interactive and yields the maximum result, as well as being fun. Not only collaboration and curiosity are encouraged but also creativity! This minor gives you the tools to make the large and often overwhelming sustainability issues manageable and to find ways forward.

The course level is aimed at third-year Bachelor’s students, and the programme is open to students of all disciplines. 

Picture by Anna Pabērza

Why opt for this minor?

Minor concept
• It is a specially designed minor with courses that are closely coordinated (not a combination of existing courses).
• You will work on sustainability issues within both a local and a global context and in theory as well as practice.

Minor contents
• The minor provides a strong theoretical background on diverse aspects of sustainability, an introduction to different sustainability assessment and social processes analysis methods, and enables you to apply this knowledge to real-world questions.
• The minor combines academic, practical (debating, presenting, writing), and creative skills (poster presentations, pitching results to an audience).
• You will learn how to manage work in an interdisciplinary group and utilize your knowledge for a research project.
• You will have the opportunity to practice consultancy skills while running a project with a real-life research question and for an external client. 
•    You will receive extensive feedback from teachers and your peers.

Minor outcomes
• You will learn how the world’s major sustainability problems can be made manageable.
• The minor will encourage you to participate in real-life activities and discussions aimed at highlighting sustainability issues.
• You have the chance to learn to see beyond your own expertise. The group of students is very diverse in terms of academic background and skill set. This gives you the chance to interact and learn from students from other disciplines.
• You will potentially find your future study path and new professional interests

Picture by Anna Pabērza

Course Description

Please see the E-prospectus.

Frequently Asked Questions

The minor is a full-time programme lasting five months. You must be aware that it is an intensive programme with lectures, tutorial group sessions etc. mostly on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (usually from 09.30 – 16.30h, but this varies with the lecturers and topics; the detailed schedule will be published in mid-August). Tuesdays and Thursdays are reserved for occasional classes and independent studies, which does not mean that these are days off; you will need them to study the literature, do assignments and prepare presentations. 

Given the intensity of the programme we strongly recommend not doing any other coursework during the minor. You should be aware that the minor will keep you busy for five days a week (see the explanation at question 1). You will be collaborating closely with fellow students in the project group component and the area study, and attendance will be compulsory.

Yes, students who do not have the full 30 ECTS available can take the ‘Sustainable Development: Big Issues New Answers’ course as an elective. You will need permission to do so from the Board of Examiners of your degree programme. This course will be taught from September until the beginning of November.

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