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Sustainability: Global Challenges, Interdisciplinary Solutions

This minor aims to engage students from all backgrounds in issues of sustainability by making them acquainted to the three dimensions of sustainability (i.e. People, Planet, Prosperity) and challenging them to design and develop solutions within their own field of interest (i.e. energy, climate, water, waste, nature, food security). Students are encouraged to step outside of their personal mono-disciplinary comfort zone and learn about the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the three pillars of sustainability. The students will learn how to identify and combine planetary opportunities that address the grand challenge from other disciplines, into innovative solutions for a more sustainable world.

The minor is carefully crafted with the aim to offer comprehensive and stand-alone courses, which at the same time form a strong unity in various ways. As shown in the Figure below, the minor follows the logical order of first defining the Grand Challenges of Sustainability (course 1), after which the three pillars of sustainability (Planet, People and Prosperity) are addressed separately, in respectively course 2 (Sustainability & Environmental Change), course 3 (Governance of Global Sustainability) and course 4 (Global Development for Prosperity). The minor ends with course 5 (Designing Solutions for Global Sustainability) in which students complete their personal case study by designing a solution for the sustainability challenge they have been working on in the previous four courses.

The minor offers a well-balanced and diverse program and provides a challenging intellectual journey for the student. We believe that, after completing this minor, the Bachelor graduates will be better able to judge whether they are sufficiently motivated and equipped to continue to explore on the sustainability challenges in their master’s program in a mono-disciplinary or interdisciplinary manner. 

The students will select a personal case in course 1 which they will continue to work on throughout the minor, adding relevant dimensions from the planet, people and prosperity domains (course 2,3 and 4). The outcome of the People-Planet-Prosperity courses will vary in the sense that different sustainability indicators are used and different mechanisms underlying issues of sustainability are addressed. In the final course 5 (Designing Solutions for Sustainability), the challenges and lessons learned in the previous four courses are combined and integrated into the design of innovative solutions for their personal case.

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