Module code: POLM045

Module Overview

This innovative new module provides a general introduction to the system of SDG Governance. 
Students will engage with a general overview of key concepts, structures and theoretical debates in this field, on global governance and how IGOs work, including a historical overview of SDGs from Annan’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to the 2030 Agenda, as a means of building knowledge. Students will then delve into specific SDGs grouped thematically, in terms of human, societal and economic development, inequalities and sustainability, and climate action, as well as capacity development, inter-agency coordination and stakeholder engagement. 
Students will delve into the world of policy development and policy analysis. In doing so, students will combine interdisciplinary knowledge and insights to think critically about social, political and economic ramifications of the SDGs bridging the international environment with domestic politics and nuances. 
Students will also be given the opportunity to engage in their assignments with a comparative study of the SDGs and apply their knowledge in an authentic assessment in the form of a simulation, scenario-based exercise. This will allow students to develop five key areas: employability, global and cultural capabilities, digital capabilities, sustainability, and resourcefulness and resilience.

Module provider

SOL - Sustainability, Civil and Env Eng

Module Leader

EXADAKTYLOS Theofanis (Politics)

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: 94

Tutorial Hours: 6

Guided Learning: 40

Captured Content: 10

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content
Part A: Context

  • Global Governance and how IGOs work.

  • History of SDGs (from Annan’s MDGs, to SDGs, to the 2030 Agenda).

Part B: Cross-Sectoral SDG Coverage 

  • Human Development: Poverty, Hunger & Wellbeing.

  • Societal Development: Education, Equality and Institutions.

  • Economic Development: Energy, Growth, and Industry.

  • Minding the Gap: Clean Water, Reduced Inequalities and Sustainable Cities.

  • Green Means Go: Responsible Consumption and Production, and Climate Action.

  • Getting it off the ground: Capacity Development, Inter-Agency Coordination and Stakeholder Engagement.

Part C: Policy Analysis: Methods and Applications

  • Policy Development: National Action Plans vs International Commitments.

  • Policy Analysis: Who is Acting? IGO, National, and Local Levels.

  • Improving the SDGs to get beyond 2030.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Essay 60
Coursework Report 40

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to:

Enhance students’ resourcefulness and resilience, as well as their digital research capabilities. The strategy’s core is that students treat the first assignment required for the module as a mini comparative study/research project, which give them the opportunity to research areas of SDG Governance that they find interesting.

Students are allowed to research SDG Governance-related topics that are not featured on the syllabus (pending approval by the module leader). Doing research strengthens resourcefulness and resilience. Looking for information that falls outside of the syllabus also strengthens digital research capabilities. The ability to manage a small research project is also crucial to enhance students’ employability in a labour market where they will often have to work independently. In addition, the assessment trains students’ ability to analyse and critique rather than simply describe their topic.

This involves using an analytical framework, choosing relevant examples and sources, to illustrate their argument, tying theoretical perspectives to real-world examples, and demonstrating comprehension of the subject to ensure factual accuracy. Students are marked on their ability to structure their argument clearly, as well as their use of evidence to back up the points they are making. Students are required to use high quality, relevant primary and secondary source literature and reference their sources using a standard referencing protocol. 

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • SDG Policy Essay: Students will be asked to take a deep dive into any two of the grouped SDGs in a comparative study design, using qualitative evidence or quantitative data, or a mix of the two, and analyse on the basis of the UN’s own evaluation reports thus far. Students are assessed against knowledge and depth, ability to design a comparative study (justification of selection), methodological understanding on presenting and analysing evidence, collecting evidence, and drawing inferences based on their evidence, to support an argument for their comparison. This assignment accounts for 60% of the final mark.

  • SDG Post-Simulation Game Report: Following the simulation, scenario-based game, students are required to submit a ‘post-simulation game report’ including an SDG policy proposal and reflecting upon their experience of the game. Students are assessed in their ability to draw inferences from their own experiences and reflect on the knowledge acquired during the module, as well as their ability to provide brief and to-the-point synthesized accounts in the form policy proposals on the SDGs covered in the game. The report enhances their employability, professional and resourcefulness skills. This assignment accounts for 40% of the final mark.


Formative assessment:

Students will engage in seminar oriented formative exercises, such as discussion boards, outlines, and assignment planning activities. Formative feedback will be provided on numerous occasions throughout the module.


Summative feedback will be provided on every assignment on the basis of the marking criteria and expectations provided in advance and marked against the University’s marking descriptors for the respective level of study.

Formative feedback will be provided on numerous occasions throughout the module either at individual or cohort level and via consultation & feedback hours of the module leaders.


Module aims

  • To consider, analyse, synthesise and critique a wide range of current issues within current debates on SDGs.
  • Engage in a diverse international environment, comparing various political and cultural viewpoints and divergent economic perspectives week-on-week.
  • Develop an understanding of complex issues on actors and institutions of global governance, legal and policy initiatives surrounding the SDG agenda.
  • Develop capability for sustainable thinking, in tackling key governance issues connected to multilateral approaches to climate change and sustainability.
  • Apply relevant analytical and critical thinking skills and invest in their independence as researchers, strengthening resourcefulness and deepening resilience in managing challenges.
  • Develop a range of research skills through methodologies, documentary and case-based materials from primary and secondary sources, including digital portals and repositories.
  • Develop debating and argumentation skills and other soft skills connected to global awareness, digital capabilities, sustainability plus resourcefulness and resilience cumulatively, augmenting overall employability.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 The student will be able to identify key features of SDG governance. KC
002 The student will be able to analyse the practices of SDG governance including modes of interaction and power dynamics. KCPT
003 The student will understand and utilise key approaches to the study the development of SDGs and their ramifications for international and domestic politics. KCPT
004 The student will assess the extent to which SDG governance is facilitating or undermining policymaking at home. KCPT
005 The student will use the diverse international environment represented in the material to compare various political and cultural viewpoints. KC
006 The student will develop the capacity for systemic thinking in relation to SDG governance and policymaking. KCPT
007 The student will be able to develop a policy-oriented comparative essay and a concluding policy piece with personal reflection. PT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The module is coordinated by two senior academics at the Department of Politics, and incorporates other research experts from the University of Surrey, alongside a set of external speakers from the national, European and international policymaking community.
The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

  • Encourage work both independent and group work.

  • Facilitate critical thinking.

  • Develop presentation skills.

  • Enhance analytical skills.

  • Augment global awareness, digital capabilities, sustainability awareness, resourcefulness and resilience skills, and employability qualities.

The learning and teaching methods include:
A simulation game exercise, captured videos online and prescribed reading.

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: POLM045

Other information

The Department of Politics is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability, and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills, and capabilities in the following areas:
Digital Capabilities: by using databases, engaging in data collection exercises, utilizing ICT skils to present their work, communicate with their peers and negotiate in the context of the simulation game. Equally, they will be given the opportunity to collaborate with their peers in class using online platforms for collaboration. 
Employability: by developing presentation skills, policy-writing techniques, reflection skills, project and research management skills, and also networking. 
Global and Cultural capabilities: by the nature of the module, students are exposed to different global and cultural contexts surrounding SDG governance, are positioned to critically think of the ramifications of the governance architecture for local and domestic politics and understand different viewpoints. 
Resourcefulness and Resilience: in tacking the assignment students will have to come up with their own comparative study, collect and analyse evidence with support from the module leaders, find their own primary sources and academic literature beyond the prescribed readings and circumvent obstacles in the research process. In addition, the simulation game gives students the opportunity to learn to be flexible and adaptable within a negotiating environment, grow their empathy by placing themselves in the shoes of different political actors and engaging in viewpoints with which they may not directly agree. 
Sustainability: by the nature of this module, students engage in a deep dive into the world of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) hence, sustainability as a concept and approach is enshrined in each and every topic discussed in the module.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Sustainable Development in Practice (Online) MSc 2 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.