Module code: ENGM310

Module Overview

This module provides a trans-disciplinary exposition and discussion of the core concepts of Sustainable Development, covering economic, political, ethical, social and ecological dimensions. It also reflects on the real-life application of the concept in organisations across sectors and scales, focusing on policies, strategies, performance and governance. It is aimed at a wide range of students and is suitable as a foundation for students who have not previously studied sustainability. It provides a grounding to the concepts but also raises awareness of the leading-edge challenges in the integration and implementation of sustainable development in reality.

Module provider

Centre for Environment & Sustainability

Module Leader


Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

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

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 84

Lecture Hours: 30

Seminar Hours: 6

Guided Learning: 10

Captured Content: 20

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:
¿ the origin and evolution of the concept of sustainable development;
¿ Economic, social, ecological, ethical and governance dimensions of sustainable development
¿ Assessment of progress with sustainable development
¿ Application of sustainable development concepts to different contexts
¿ Policies, strategies, challenges and prospects of sustainable development
The presentations and discussion are intended to enable broad and deep understanding by the students, and to bring a wide range of perspectives into the consideration of foundational ideas and frontier challenges.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Pre-module individual critical review 25
Coursework Post-module individual written assignment 75

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate: analytical, critical thinking and writing skills and subject knowledge and interest. The assignments offer opportunities to write in different formats and lengths.

The pre- and post-module assignments are designed to build upon the topics covered in the module and give the students a chance to explore them in a context that they are especially interested in.

 Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • Pre-module individual critical review (maximum 1000 words) (25%)

  • Post-module individual written assignment (maximum 3000 words) from a supplied list of essay topics (75%)

Students will submit their work via Surrey Learn.

Formative assessment and feedback

Group work sessions in the module, while not part of the summative process, are used as the basis for offering students (in groups and individually) feedback on their developing understanding of the issues covered. In addition the tutors make time available during the module for informal one-to-one or group discussions which offer formative feedback on issues covered and progress with learning.

Other Feedback:

Detailed feedback is given in the marking process, including suggestions on improvements in grammar, style and structure. Feedback from the pre-module assignment will help students with their post-module assignment.

Module aims

  • To introduce the core trans-disciplinary concepts underpinning sustainable development
  • To deepen understanding of its application in a variety of contexts spanning the public, private and ¿third¿ (civil society) sectors
  • To enable critical analysis and exploration of challenges, policies, strategies and applications

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Understand the core principles of sustainable development CK
002 Appreciate current arguments and debates on sustainable development, including ethical and political issues CK
003 Evaluate and assess sustainable development practices, implementation progress and challenges CKPT
004 Engage in debates and be able to communicate about policies, strategies and prospects for realisation of sustainable development CKPT
005 Be equipped to work in teams to explore sustainable development issues PT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching methods include:

Surrey Learn-based pre-readings

Lectures from module team and various guest lecturers from the public, private and civil society sectors.

Group tasks for analysis and reflection based on particular challenges and dilemmas

Post-module study linked to main assessment

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: ENGM310

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: Employability: The module provides exposure to key concepts and challenges that students will encounter in employment relating to SD. The capabilities, insights and knowledge generated through the module should be valuable for employability. Global and cultural capabilities: This module highlights global challenges through films and discussions that relate core concepts of SD to global political, social and cultural contexts; the module also includes coverage of the cultural dimensions of SD. There is coverage of challenges relating to sustainable development in the global South as well. Digital capabilities: Students are given comprehensive guidance to digital resources relevant to the module and the course also includes critical reflection on the sustainability implications of digital technologies. The assignments could be used to do some independent work that would help develop digital skills (eg via use of databases, datasets and diverse ICT platforms). Sustainability: This module focuses on the core concepts and complex challenges of understanding, framing and debating sustainable development, and draws on ideas and expert practitioner perspectives from diverse areas of sustainability. Resourcefulness and resilience: Students are enabled to develop these qualities through group discussion exercises and through exposure to and dialogue with expert guest speakers, who are encouraged to be challenging in their presentations and questioning of the students. Confidence is built up during the week through the lecture and film discussions and through previewing the backgrounds and interests of the guest speakers.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Sustainable Energy MSc 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Sustainable Energy with Industrial Practice MSc 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Corporate Environmental Management MSc 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Environmental Strategy MSc 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Sustainable Development MSc 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% 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.