Course Syllabus for

Sustainable Development – a Systems View
Hållbar utveckling – med systemperspektiv

IDE055F, 5 credits

Valid from: Autumn 2022
Decided by: Mats Ohlin
Date of establishment: 2018-11-05

General Information

Division: Department of Design Sciences
Course type: Third-cycle course
Teaching language: English


Overall aims with this course are that the participants shall understand and be able to reflect on the set of problems with complex socio-ecological systems and to understand the importance of multi-disciplinary efforts and how to deal with current and future uncertainties. Sustainable development in the course refers to the development at the global, regional and local levels as defined in the Brundtland Commission report "Our common future", with the three pillars of environmental, social and economic sustainability. The aim of the course is to give PhD students in depth knowledge of sustainable development. This knowledge will increase the students' ability to identify possibilities and risks associated with sustainability when developing products, processes and systems.


Knowledge and Understanding

For a passing grade the doctoral student must

Competences and Skills

For a passing grade the doctoral student must be able to take part in a deeper discussion about and reflect on possibilities to act for sustainable development

Judgement and Approach

For a passing grade the doctoral student must

Course Contents

The course gives essential knowledge in sustainable development. The subdivisions below are grouped into modules. Some modules have online video-introductions, some have introductory seminars and others have introductory reading materials. Subdivisions: Definition of sustainable development. History. Climate change and its effects. Planetary boundaries. Circular economy. Lice-cycle analysis. Food security. Social aspects. Health and Occupational Health. Sustainable city. Poverty. Complex systems. Sustainable development and ethics. The designer/engineer and sustainable development.

Course Literature

Literature and other online videos will be made available for each module.

Instruction Details

Types of instruction: Lectures, seminars, self-study literature review. Introductions by teachers in the classroom and in online videos.

Examination Details

Examination format: Written assignments. Active participation in introductions in lecture rooms, workshops and seminars.
Grading scale: Failed, pass

Admission Details

Admission requirements: Accepted for PhD studies.
Selection criteria: Criteria for selection will be used in the following order: 1. PhD student from the department of design sciences, 2. PhD student from the faculty of engineering, 3. PhD student who has reached longer in his/her postgraduate studies, 4. by lottery.

Further Information

This course overlaps completely with Part 1 (5 hp) of the course The Designer/Engineer and Sustainable Development (IDE035F, 7.5 hp). The course is given every two years. The course will be given if at least 7 PhD students take part. At most 20 applicants will be accepted.

Course Occasion Information

Contact and Other Information

Course coordinators:
Web page:

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