PLAN40550 Fundamentals of Sustainability

Academic Year 2023/2024

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. The module will focus on outlining fundamental concepts assosciated with sustainable development, planetary boundaries and how to measure sustainable development and related progress.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of the module student should:

• Understanding core concepts of sustainable development
• Understand the role of sustainable development in the economy, society, environment and governance
• Understand the importance of planetary boundaries to sustainable development
• Gain knowledge of the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs), their measurement and relevance to public policy

Indicative Module Content:

The syllabus focuses on:
• A fundamental understanding of sustainable development and the UN Sustainable Development Goals;
• Interdisciplinary perspectives on the role of people (inequality, health, human rights), planet (planetary boundaries, renewable energy, sustainable consumption), and profit (economic growth, sustainable supply chains, the future of work) for sustainability;
• Tipping points and the big three boundaries of the planet;
• Global governance and how we move forward as a planet for sustainability?
• Methods for measuring and understanding SDG progress at global, national, or local levels.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Online Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
All content is online and on-demand and delivered via the SDG Academy ( digital library. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Continuous Assessment: Students will complete a series of UN SDSN SDG in-MOOC continuous assessments. Varies over the Trimester n/a Pass/Fail Grade Scale No


Carry forward of passed components
Remediation Type Remediation Timing
In-Module Resit Prior to relevant Programme Exam Board
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Not yet recorded.

Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.

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