Critical Perspectives on Sustainable Development, 7.5 credits

Critical Perspectives on Sustainable Development, 7.5 hp


Main field of study

Environmental Science

Course level

Second cycle

Course type

Single subject and programme course


Myanna Lahsen

Course coordinator

Myanna Lahsen

Director of studies or equivalent

Veronica Brodén Gyberg
ECV = Elective / Compulsory / Voluntary
Course offered for Semester Weeks Language Campus ECV
F7MSU Science for Sustainable Development, master's programme - First and main admission round 1 (Autumn 2021) 202134-202138 English Linköping, Valla C
F7MSU Science for Sustainable Development, master's programme - Second admission round (open only for Swedish/EU students) 1 (Autumn 2021) 202134-202138 English Linköping, Valla C

Main field of study

Environmental Science

Course level

Second cycle

Advancement level


Course offered for

  • Master´s Programme in Science for Sustainable Development

Entry requirements

  • Bachelor's degree equivalent to a Swedish Kandidatexamen in one of the following areas: 
    - natural sciences, 
    - social sciences, 
    - humanities or
    - engineering
  • 15 ECTS credits passed in environmental sciences, sustainable development, or equivalent.
  • English corresponding to the level of English in Swedish upper secondary education (English 6)
    Exemption from Swedish

Intended learning outcomes

After completion of the course, the student should on an advanced level be able to:
- describe and analyze the histories and different conceptualizations of the sustainable development concept,
- illustrate the complexity involved in creating scientific knowledge and technology for sustainable development, including ethical aspects connected to power asymmetries, 
- analyze a case study from a sustainability perspective, identify problems, apply relevant theories, and reflect on the outcomes,
- critically analyze and integrate knowledge gained through reading, discussions, and cases, and express it orally and in writing,
- write academic texts where rules for citations and references are correctly applied.

Course content

The course focuses on an analytical and critical foundation from which the students can approach sustainable development. Drawing on past and present developments in nature/society, the course exemplifies how any chosen event or situation is dependent on the interplay between natural and social processes. The students are introduced to a number of theories that can be used to describe and analyze the construction of knowledge and technology for sustainable development. These theories will be applied to an analysis of a case on sustainable development. The students also develop the academic skills of referencing, analysis, and critical evaluation.

Important dimensions that are discussed include the links between social interests, politics, knowledge and technology. The influence of social class, gender, culture and other social relations on science and technology is examined and also how science and technology can structure such relations. The course underlines the importance of understanding the role of expertise and the dynamics involved in working towards sustainable development, such as issues relating power asymmetries between high- and low-income countries.

Teaching and working methods

The teaching at the course consists of lectures, seminars and a case-related workshop. Homework and independent study are a necessary complement to the course.

Language of instruction: English


The course is examined through individual reflection papers, seminar participation, an oral presentation of a case study and a take-home exam in the form of an individually written essay. Detailed information about the examination can be found in the course’s study guide.

If the LiU coordinator for students with disabilities has granted a student the right to an adapted examination for a written examination in an examination hall, the student has the right to it. If the coordinator has instead recommended for the student an adapted examination or alternative form of examination, the examiner may grant this if the examiner assesses that it is possible, based on consideration of the course objectives.

Students failing an exam covering either the entire course or part of the course twice are entitled to have a new examiner appointed for the reexamination.

Students who have passed an examination may not retake it in order to improve their grades.



Other information

Planning and implementation of a course must take its starting point in the wording of the syllabus. The course evaluation included in each course must therefore take up the question how well the course agrees with the syllabus. 

The course is carried out in such a way that both men´s and women´s experience and knowledge is made visible and developed.


Institutionen för Tema
Code Name Scope Grading scale
EXAM Examination 7.5 credits EC


A preliminary list of literature is available under the tag Additional documents eight weeks before the course starts.

This tab contains public material from the course room in Lisam. The information published here is not legally binding, such material can be found under the other tabs on this page.

There are no files available for this course.