Skip to main content

School of Social and Political Science: Undergraduate study


Sustainable Development


Our accelerating consumption of natural resources is damaging the ecosystems on which all life depends, posing fundamental challenges to modern assumptions about economic progress, democracy and social relations. Sustainable Development refers to the challenges of reducing global inequity and poverty, and improving well-being, while reducing threats to the earth's life support systems from industrial production and consumption. Effective environmental care and management in relation to climate stability, other species and natural resources requires the examination of how humans relate to each other and to their surroundings. The critical analysis from diverse perspectives that the Sustainable Development degree provides will be essential to understand these challenges, and to evaluate the proposed responses.

This programme, which is run by the School of Social and Political Science and is also affiliated with the University's Global Development Academy, addresses the challenges mainly through social science perspectives, and focuses on the social, political and economic consequences, challenges and opportunities for change. It also gives students an understanding of the key scientific debates, and the ability to understand and evaluate the scientific knowledge and practices concerning sustainable development.

Students will be able to engage with sustainability issues from a variety of perspectives and in the interdisciplinary manner that sustainable development demands.

Further Information

Sustainable Development subject area – contains a detailed overview of this programme, including programme structure, fees and entry requirements

Social Responsibility and Sustainability at the University of Edinburgh 

Sustainable Development