Understanding Sustainability

Understanding Sustainability

Course dates:
9 August, 2021 to 20 August, 2021
EU/EEA citizens 6375 DKK/Non-EU/EEA citizens 10000 DKK
Fee advantages:
Full fee
Engineering & Sciences
Application deadline:
Thursday, 1 April, 2021
University of Copenhagen
Copenhagen, Denmark

General information

In recent decades, it has become increasingly evident that a key challenge for the global community is to create a more sustainable future. While the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals as well as the Paris Agreement from 2015 are examples of significant international efforts to achieve a more sustainable future, conflict and disagreement remain at all levels of society about what constitutes “sustainability” and how to achieve it. Accordingly, it requires an understanding of the wide variety of ways in which sustainability is defined, conceptualized, understood and used among different sciences, stakeholders and decision makers, in order to actively engage in this contested domain of sustainability in practice.

The overall purpose of the course is to provide BSc students from natural science and social science backgrounds with a roadmap to understand different concepts of sustainability and sustainable development, enabling students to qualify and reflect upon sustainability aspects in their own education and future professional practice from an interdisciplinary perspective. The course will help to disentangle the complex notion of sustainability in order to assist students in navigating within the diverging sustainability agendas that they are likely to face both within their own disciplines as well as in the broader society. The course will outline important underlying empirical and value based assumptions as well as challenges with and potentials of a wide range of different conceptualizations, interpretations and practical uses of sustainability. Offering a broad overview of different theoretical perspectives on sustainability from the social sciences and humanities to broader systems thinking, the course will facilitate productive critical thinking and reflection on both the social, economic and environmental pillars of sustainability. This includes inherent tradeoffs and synergies associated with practical operationalization and implementation of sustainability, e.g. in relation to the UN SDGs.


Please note that the summer courses are non-residential. Participants are responsible for finding and funding accommodation during their stay in Copenhagen.

You can use different online portals to search for accommodation, such as:

Hostel World

UCPH Housing Foundation (acceptance letter from UCPH required).


Application form

ECTS accreditation

Bachelor level

7,5 ECTS