Introduction to Sustainability with Social Science Applications - Online Course (7.5 ECTS Credits)


The course will run once in 2010: mid  Feburary to late April 2010



This is a part-time study course. Students should expect to commit approximately 4 hours per week to view online materials and participate in online sessions. Additional worktime is required for assignments and readings.



How to Apply

Note: There is a maximum of 60 students for this course, and applications are reviewed on a first come, first served basis (according to the date of online application).

Frequently Asked Questions



How Good are the BTH online courses?


Particpants in our other online courses have said this...


"As a teacher myself, and one who has some experience with the distance-learning environment, I have been very impressed with the quality of BTH's sustainability-related online courses. Not only is the content challenging and engaging, but the diverse format of the course, with its interactive webinars, group projects, recorded video lectures, discussion forums, and reading assignments, have really struck the perfect balance between flexibility and interactivity. In my opinion, they have created a model for the modern global classroom that others should try to mimic."

Erik Dunmire, PhD, Instructor of Chemistry and Engineering, USA


"It is inspiring and motivating to work together in education projects with students from all over the world and very different working experiences. Next to the content of the course, the people make it really worth the effort."

Gijsbert Koren, Industrial Designer, The Netherlands



The course will cover 2 modules:


Module 1: Introduction to the Core Concepts of Strategic Sustainable Development (SSD)

  • Today's environmental problems from a systems perspective
  • The cyclical processes in nature, vs. the traditional linear use of materials in today's society
  • How to use a systems view and strategic planning for sustainable development
  • Principles of sustainability stemming from basic science: thermodynamics, energy, biological systems and social systems

Module 2: Examination of Social Science Applications for Sustainability

  • The role of macro-economics and its relation to sustainable development.
  • Governance and public policy and how it can help or hinder progression towards a sustainable society.
  • Urban planning and land use: how this can impact the way in which our society attempts to meet its needs.
  • Organisational learning and change: how these concepts can assist in a societal progression towards sustainability


Aims and learning outcomes


On completion of the course the participant will:

  • Be able to discuss some of the sustainability challenges facing today's society, including some of the causes of both environmental and society problems.
  • Be able to describe the major components of a framework for strategic sustainable development
  • Be able to describe the strategic planning tool (the ABCD analysis)
  • Be able to describe how different aspects related to social sciences (e.g. Macro-Economics, Governance & Public Policy, Urban Planning & Land Use, and Organisational learning and change) can be used to help society progress to a more sustainable state.

This course is designed as a distance course offered to a wide range of bachelor or graduate-level students in a variety of different cultures and backgrounds.  This course offers an introduction to the concepts of Strategic Sustainable Development (SSD) to students without significant prior study in physical sciences, and is therefore accessible to students with a background in social sciences or other humanities.


Through online videos, lectures, group dialogues, and assigned readings, students will gain an understanding of the course content.  Students will complete small assignments on an individual or small group basis, and will share his/her learnings with others through his/her written documents, group discussions and short presentations. There will be a final written examination and a final oral examination.  The course will be provided in English.





This course is open to all students having at least 120 ECTS credit points of University study (or the equivalent). English language requirements are English A (minimum score of IELTS 5.0 or TOEFL 500). You do not need to be a currently registered student to participate in this course.

Students must have access to reliable broadband internet connection, and will be prepped in advance with information on online conferencing. Additionally, a microphone and webcamera will be required. Starting in 2010 all of BTH's online conferencing will be done via Adobe Connect, and does not require participants to download any software.

While the tuition is currently paid for by the Swedish government, students will be required to purchase a course textbook, at a cost of 600 Swedish Kronor (approximately 60 Euros/$100 USD) including worldwide shipping costs.


More Information




View the brochure for this course here.




Further questions regarding the application process (e.g. documents, english language requirements, etc.) can be directed to Lena Magnusson at lena.magnusson (at)


Further questions regarding this course content and delivery can be directed to Treva Wetherell at treva.wetherell (at)



Related Studies


See the different single online sustainability courses here.


Interested in completing a full degree? Go to:

Master's Programme in Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability (MSLS) or the

Master's in Sustainable Product-Service System Innovation (MSPI)


Would you like to hire our staff to do short (eg. 1-week or 2-week) training sessions with your organisation? Contact us at sustainabilitymasters (at) to discuss options. We are able to customize a wide variety of training options, using our on-site and distance learning options.

Share Share