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School of Social and Political Science: Undergraduate study


Year 1 and 2

These are the core courses for years 1 and 2:

1A: Introducing Sustainable Development  

There will be two lectures per week, from 9-9.50 a.m. as follows:

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9.00 - 9.50, Medical School, Teviot Lecture Threatre - Doorway 5

Course Convenor: Dr Isabelle Darmon, Room 6.27, Chrystal MacMillan Building, Tel 0131 651 1574, Email: Isabelle

Course Secretary: Sarah Steel
Room G04/05, Undergraduate Teaching Office, Chrystal Macmillan Building
Tel: 0131 650 3932, Email:

Sustainable Development 1A Handbook 2018-2019

This course addresses the central problems facing us in the twenty-first century, concerning equitable access to water, food, energy, shelter and sustainable livelihoods in the context of a destabilising climate and the degradation of environmental resources. The course explores sustainable development from multiple disciplines, as it begins with the principles and background to ‘sustainable development’, and draws insights from sociology, politics, human geography, and social anthropology. Students will think critically about what sustainability means and how it can be applied across contemporary societies from global to local levels. It will also enable students to evaluate the changes that capitalist and socialist societies, industrial development and technological advancement have brought to living patterns and the environment.

Science and Society 1B: Nature & Environment

There will be two lectures per week, from 9.00 -9.50 a.m. as follows:

Tuesdays: Lecture Theatre 3, Appleton Tower

Fridays:  Medical School, G.07, Meadows Lecture Theatre, Doorway 4

Course Convenor: Dr Lawrence Dritsas, Lecture, Science Studies Unit, Top Floor, Chisholm House, High School Yards, Edinburgh, EH1 1LZ

Science and Society 1b Handbook 2018-2019

Course Secretary: Alexander Dysart
Room G04/05, Chrystal Macmillan Building
Tel: 0131 651 5197, Email:

This course considers the ways that science and technology shape the relationship between humans and the environment. We will examine a number of topical historical and contemporary cases and in the process reflect on the role played by science and technology in how societies understand nature and environment. Here, you will learn about scientific knowledge as something that is socially constructed and that is used by various groups in society for specific purposes.

Student Workload

Science and Society 1B: Assessed by a short written assessment (30%) approx. midway through the course, and a long 2,000 word essay (60%), submitted via Learn to a deadline date. 10% of the mark is assessed on participation in tutorials. In order to pass the course, the long essay must be passed.

Entry Conditions

There are no entry requirements for 1st year courses. Students may do either of the courses as self-standing courses but all MA Sustainable Development students must take both courses as above.

Sustainable Development 2A

There will be two lectures per week, 10.00 - 10.50 am as follows:

Wednesdays:  Lecture Theatre G.01, Lister Learning and Teaching Centre

Fridays :  Room F.21, 7 George Square

Course Organiser: Professor Lynn Jamieson, Room 5.04, Chrystal Macmillan Building, Tel (0)131 650 4002,

Course Secretary: Laura Thiessen
Room G04/05, Undergraduate Teaching Office, Chrystal Macmillan Building
Tel: 0131 650 3932, Email:

Sustainable Development 2A Handbook 2018-2019

This course provides a multidisciplinary examination of key perspectives on – and issues of – sustainable development. It builds on the core course of Semester 1, year 1, which had introduced sustainable development as a contested area.

Each perspective is illustrated through a case study of a particular sustainability issue, such as transport, reduction of carbon emissions, and flooding.  Thus they will learn to use different lenses to think about sustainable development and the challenges it poses for everyday lives, for interventions, as well as for conceptions of life in common on the planet.
Each perspective is also seen into action, so to speak, usually through a separate ‘case study’ class on a particular sustainability issue and the struggles they give rise to, including sustainable transport, reduction of carbon emissions, sustainable water, sustainable energy, food security, waste etc. Students will also examine how these issues can be understood through a wide range of other perspectives. Further, they will reflect upon the implications of those different perspectives for our overall understanding of sustainable development.

Sustainable Development