PD Foundations of Sustainable Development PT (T392)

Please note there is also a January start date for this programme Click Here

The stability of the Earth as a system is currently at risk as five of the nine planetary boundaries - describing the environmental limits within which humanity as a species may continue to thrive - have now been exceeded. The practice of sustainability is crucial to our management of life under water, life on land, the environment, and for societal health and wellbeing now and in the future. Utilising the digital resources of the SDG Academy and the sustainability expertise of UCD academic staff, the Professional Diploma in Foundations of Sustainable Development is taught through the lens of the SDGS and has the unique ability to address the large range of issues covered by the 2030 agenda. Ultimately, it will equip students to solve some of the most pressing issues of our times. Students who complete the programme will emerge with a holistic understanding of the core tenets of sustainable development across the four pillars of the Sustainable Development Goals —economic, social, and environmental, and governance.

Key facts:

  • The programme is flexible and delivered online and it provides students who complete the programme with a pathway for entry onto UCD’s online MSc Sustainable Development programme.
  • This programme can be completed over 1 trimester (Sept start only) or over 2 Trimesters (Sept & Jan start) giving the student lots of flexibility.
  • Lectures for module 'Global Classroom' is available as live and also recorded. The second module 'Fundamentals of Sustainability' is on demand, this gives the student a lot of flexibility to learn.
  • The programme utilises the best available online sustainability education resources from global experts and is delivered in partnership with the UNSDSN SDG Academy (https://sdgacademy.org/)
  • Assessments are through continuous assessment. 
  • Once they complete the Diploma, students can continue into UCD’s online Master’s of Science (MSc.) in Sustainable Development—offsetting 20 academic credits.

Curricular information is subject to change

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Knowledge and understanding

  • Understanding core concepts of sustainable development

  • Understand the role of sustainable development in the economy, society, environment and governance

  • Gain knowledge of the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs) and relevance to public policy

Applying knowledge and understanding

  • Apply knowledge of the inter-connectedness of the SDGs to policy diagnosis and associated solutions for practical implementation

  • Apply knowledge and understand the relationship between sustainability/SDGs and global challenges

  • Gain knowledge of appropriate tools and techniques to inform evidence based sustainable development driven policy decision

Making judgements

  • Evaluate the range of sustainable development solutions available for public policy implementation

  • Determining the appropriateness of different theoretic and/or analytic approaches to a variety of problems

  • Selecting appropriate concept/theories and empirical techniques to investigate sustainable development issues

Communication and working skills

  • Develop presentation, research and writing skills throughout their time on the programme

  • Enhance communication skills via the interaction with academics, peers and non-specialists

  • Develop a series of transferrable skills that will be important for future employability in the broad area of sustainable development practice

Learning Skills

  • Assess, review, extend theories and practices of sustainable development and the SDGs

Stage 1

T392 Professional Diploma Foundations of Sustainable Development is an online 20-credit part-time Professional Diploma Programme comprising two 10-credit modules: PLAN40550 Fundamentals of Sustainability and POL42080 Global Classroom. It can be completed in one trimester or one year for students entering in the Autumn trimester. For students entering in the Spring trimester it can be completed in one year.

Module ID Module Title Trimester Credits
Stage 1 Options - A)MIN0OF:
Option modules
POL42080 Global Classroom Autumn 10
PLAN40550 Fundamentals of Sustainability Autumn and Spring (separate) 10
Stage 1 Options - A)MIN0OF:
Option modules
See the UCD Assessment website for further details

Module Weighting Info  
  Award GPA
Programme Module Weightings Rule Description Description >= <=
PDARCH004 Stage 1 - 100.00%
Standard Honours Award First Class Honours



Second Class Honours, Grade 1



Second Class Honours, Grade 2






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