Course Syllabus for

Water and Sustainable Development
Vatten och hållbar utveckling

VVR075F, 7.5 credits

Valid from: Spring 2021
Decided by: Gudbjörg Erlingsdóttir
Date of establishment: 2020-12-15

General Information

Division: Water Resources Engineering
Course type: Third-cycle course
Teaching language: English


The purpose of the course is to provide an insight into the sustainability problem and what water related challenges and opportunities that exist with sustainable development. The course is multidisciplinary with teachers and participants from several faculties, which is a starting point for discussions and participants 'reflections on their own and others' approaches to the concept of sustainability. The course aims to highlight sustainability and water related issues in both a Swedish and international perspective.


Knowledge and Understanding

For a passing grade the doctoral student must

Competences and Skills

For a passing grade the doctoral student must

Judgement and Approach

For a passing grade the doctoral student must

Course Contents

Discussion sessions are a very important part of the course. In total, four discussion sessions are planned. The course is multidisciplinary with teachers and participants from several faculties. This is envisioned as a starting point for discussions and participants' reflections on their own and others’ approaches to the concept of sustainability. During the group discussion sections, participants are discussing water and sustainable development with each other and invited experts. The sustainability goals and selected scientific literature are used background material in the discussions. There are also two discussion sessions where the lessons learned from keynotes and panel debates will be discussed. Invited experts will give 10 min inspirational presentations. The experts will give their perspective on water issues and sustainability and define major obstacles and opportunities for sustainable development. The key component in this course is the debate sessions. The objective of the debate sessions are to generate interaction between participants and experts, to better understand the views of participants with other background and to better understand the complexity of sustainable development. The participants are divided into three or four groups depending on the number of participants. Each group organizes a debate session with three or four invited experts. Before the debate session, each expert should be interviewed by the arranging group. The interview should take around one hour. The form of the debate session needs to be approved by the course coordinator. As a starting point for the debates, one of the following subject areas is chosen; life, society, industrial, digitization or climate. The participants interview the experts in advance and plan interesting issues and topics to address during the debate. The participants then lead the debates. There is no set recipe on how to arrange a debate session. We encourage the participants to think outside the box. A debate session could include small workshops, role play, presentations and so on. The more diverse the sessions are, and the more interaction there is with the audience, the better. The participants meet after the debate sessions and discuss the outcome. They will then write a report on their own reflections. The reflection should include a section where the student discusses the sustainability perspective in relation to their own PhD topic.

Course Literature

Litterature, supplementary material (scientific journal papers)

Instruction Details

Types of instruction: Lectures, miscellaneous. Scheduled sessions (2 h); Discussions, Four sessions; Keynotes, One session; Panel debates, Three or four sessions depending on the number of students; Reflection, One session

Examination Details

Examination formats: Written report, miscellaneous. The participants must prepare and lead a panel debate. The examination will consist of three to four individual written reports with the participants' personal reflections following the panel debates. For a passing grade, participants must actively participate in at least 75% of the panel debates, one of which is the one they prepare and lead. The participant must hand in a reflection which should include a section where the student discuss the sustainability perspective in relation to their own PhD topic.
Grading scale: Failed, pass

Admission Details

Admission requirements: The applicant must be a PhD student
Selection criteria: Limited number of seats: maximum 20 seats, the course can be canceled if there are less than 10 registered participants at the start of the course. Members of the Agenda 2030 Research School will be given priority if more than 20 participants apply.

Course Occasion Information

Contact and Other Information

Course coordinator: Magnus Persson <>
Web page:

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