Module details for Sustainable Development in Scotland


Based on a breadth of knowledge from across the disciplinary spectrum and from lay and community-based interests, this module aims to reflexively foster the development of a range of skills, knowledge and techniques within the natural, technological and social sciences that are relevant to the study of environmental sustainability and concurrently, life in the twenty-first century. It will promote an understanding of critical issues that confront humanity and begin to discern appropriate responses to these issues.


The aim of this Module is to begin to provide students with the skills and knowledge required to innovate locally in the context of transforming globally; that is, an understanding of social, cultural, economic and environmental issues associated with sustainable development and its practicalities; an understanding that will facilitate a transformational experience and a notion of active citizenship.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module the student should be able to:

1.  outline and discuss the complex relationship between society and the environment;

2.  describe the principles and characteristics of sustainable development and appreciate how they relate to specific study disciplines;

3.  describe the social and cultural nuances of recent political and social change as regards sustainable development and global agreements thereof;

4.  recognise and critically evaluate the social, technological and natural aspects of a range of environmental issues;

5.  reflect on personal modes of practice and knowledge attainment in line with sustainable lifestyles and sustainable futures; and,

6.  an appreciation of local innovation as regards global transformation.

Indicative Content

1 The Challenge of Sustainable Development

Problems associated with life in the 21st Century and the relationship to scientific provisionalism and uncertainty are discussed.

2 The Genesis of Sustainable Development Concept

Developments associated with the Club of Rome are outlined while Limits to Growth and the Tragedy of the Commons are discussed.

3 Evolution of Sustainable Development

The Reo Summit and Suitability, and Policy Developments thereof will be discussed.

4 Scientific Inquiry and Sustainable Development

We will look at controversial issues like climate change, oil peak, and food production and the role of science in helping delimit them as problematic will be outlined.

5 Mainstreaming Sustainability

Sustainability and Mitigation, Adaptation and Resilience, as individual and social concerns, will be evaluated. And their role in transformation will be discussed.

6 Communicating Sustainability

Human well-being, Environmental Justice, Environmental Policy and the practicalities of Sustainability in Scotland are discussed.

7 Sustainable Development in Practice

Community Empowerment associated with Land Reform. Energy Production and Food Production in Tayside are looked at.

8 Ethics and Sustaiability Policy

Active citizenship and Globalisation are discussed.

9 Innovating Locally, Transforming Globally

Transformations that are required to embrace Sustainability will be analysed and discussed.

10 Active Relationship for Sustainable Futures

Thinking Globally, acting locally.

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

For session 2020/21 the expectation is that the teaching and learning hours stated in this descriptor will form a mix of synchronous and asynchronous student/staff activity, with the majority of this being online. The exact pattern of this activity is likely to vary from the standard face-to-face hours listed below but the overall student effort remains the same. Up-to-date information on the delivery of the module can be found on the relevant module MLS site and on your student timetable.

Teaching and Learning Method Hours
Lecture 6
Tutorial/Seminar 12
Practical Activity 44
Assessment 40
Independent 98
Total 200

Guidance notes

SCQF Level - The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework provides an indication of the complexity of award qualifications and associated learning and operates on an ascending numeric scale from Levels 1-12 with SCQF Level 10 equating to a Scottish undergraduate Honours degree.

Credit Value – The total value of SCQF credits for the module. 20 credits are the equivalent of 10 ECTS credits. A full-time student should normally register for 60 SCQF credits per semester.


We make every effort to ensure that the information on our website is accurate but it is possible that some changes may occur prior to the academic year of entry. The modules listed in this catalogue are offered subject to availability during academic year 2020/21 , and may be subject to change for future years.