Module code: ENG1098

Module Overview

This module introduces students to the concept of sustainable development, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the indicators adopted to measure progress toward fulfilling the goals. The module introduces students to the concept of system thinking and explores how system thinking is connected to sustainable development. It also introduces students to the use of academic literature and academic referencing.

Module provider

Sustainability, Civil & Env Engineering

Module Leader

SEYMOUR Valentine (Sust & CEE)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 4

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 108

Lecture Hours: 11

Tutorial Hours: 11

Guided Learning: 10

Captured Content: 10

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

  • The origin and evolution of the concept of sustainable development

  • Systems thinking and sustainable development

  • Definitions of sustainable development

  • The political context of sustainable development

  • Origins and development of the SDGs as a framework for action

  • Linkages between SDGs

  • Progress with the SDGs and barriers to progress

  • Who and how – states, businesses, citizens

  • Basic needs: Reducing inequality, poverty and hunger and improving health and wellbeing

  • Education and gender equality

  • Affordable water, sanitation and energy

  • Decent work, economic growth, industry and infrastructure

  • Sustainable cities and communities

  • Responsible production and consumption

  • Climate action

  • Life below water and on land

  • International cooperation, peace, justice and strong institutions

  • Environmental and socio-economic principles and their application within policies

  • Policy makers, policy instruments and achieving sustainable change

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Indicators analysis 40
Examination Final exam (2hr) 60

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to assist students develop their knowledge and understanding of the sustainable development goals and the indictors used for monitoring progress towards achieving the goals. Students have the opportunity to focus in on an area of particular interest when choosing the focus of their coursework. 


The summative assessment for this module consists of:
- An analysis of progress towards achieving one of the sustainable development goals worth 40% of the module mark

- A final exam covering the entire module worth 60% of the module mark 

Formative assessment and feedback:

Students receive verbal feedback during lectures. There are also weekly seminar sessions during which key issues, debates and data relating to sustainable development will be discussed and analysed together by the class. Some of these discussion sessions will assess progress towards achieving individual sustainable develop goals, thus allowing students to get verbal feedback on their understanding of progresses towards the goal they choose for their coursework. Exam questions from mock exam papers will be discussed in class prior to the exam period and students will receive verbal feedback on their input into the discussions on how these exam questions could be answered

Module aims

  • To explore the evolution of the concept of sustainable development
  • To provide an overview of how progress towards sustainable development is measured
  • To provide an overview of the breadth of topics which underpin sustainable development
  • To examine progress to date in key areas of sustainable development globally
  • To introduce students to the concepts of academic literature and referencing

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Be able to define sustainable development CK
002 Understand how progress towards achieving the sustainable development goals is measured KC
003 Be able to apply indicators to measure different aspects of sustainable development CPT
004 Understand the key global challenges to achieving sustainable development KC
005 Understand the differences between balancing and resolving interactions between social, environmental and economic issues in the context of sustainable development KC
006 Understand the concept of systems thinking KC
007 Understand academic referencing PT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

  • Develop students’ understanding of the concept of sustainable development

  • Develop students’ knowledge of how progress towards sustainable development is assessed


The learning and teaching methods include:

  • Lectures and class discussions (11 hours)

  • Captured content (11 hours)

  • Seminars (11 hours)

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: ENG1098

Other information

The Centre for Environment and Sustainability is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability and Resourcefulness and Resilience, in line with the Surrey Curriculum Framework. This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills and capabilities in the following areas:

Sustainability: This module provides students with the opportunity to learn how progress towards sustainable development is assessed. Students are introduced to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and consider the progress being made to fulfil these goals.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Environment and Sustainability BSc (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2025/6 academic year.