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Education for Sustainable Development

This unit introduces the concept of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and provides an overview of the debates and approaches to embedding sustainability in Higher Education curricula.

Unit Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit participants will be able to:

  1. Critically assess the contemporary debates about the concept of education for sustainable development within Higher Education practices
  2. Critically evaluate different approaches to embed education for sustainable development in Higher Education practices
  3. Design a curriculum element contributing to embedding education for sustainable development in Higher Education practices


The unit comprises three taught components. First, the unit introduces and explains the concept of sustainable development and its implications for Higher Education.  Contemporary debates regarding sustainable development in the Higher Education context are critically reviewed.

Second, the unit focuses on critical evaluation of the range of different approaches to embedding education for sustainable development into Higher Education practices. UK and international as well as generic and discipline-specific approaches are covered.

The third taught element of this unit concentrates on designing specific curriculum elements.  The focus of this part of the unit is on embedding education for sustainable development into different disciplines.

The unit is situated in the context of the university’s Environmental Sustainability Strategy. Linkages between the teaching, research, administrative, outreach, and estate management functions of the university are made throughout the unit.

Face to face sessions typically involve interactive taught sessions introducing the topics. Interactive elements may include in-depth small group discussions and/ or reflections.  Face to face sessions are supplemented by self study. Preparatory activities, reading lists, resources and weekly teaching material are available online.

Self study by the participants is a central element of this unit because it allows participants to tailor their learning and scholarly research to their own needs. Peer to peer collaboration is also encouraged throughout the unit. Participants are guided and coached, according to their needs, by the tutor.

There is one summative assessment in this unit. One formative workshop is designed to assist the students in completing the summative assessment. There are opportunities for peer to peer feedback throughout the unit and in the formative workshop. Tutor feedback on formative and summative activities is provided online, in class, and by one to one meetings.  

Unit Assessment

There is one summative assessment in this unit. Formative activities are designed to assist the students in completing the summative assessment. There will be opportunities to obtain feedback on formative activities in the class and on summative assessment online and by one to one meetings.

Formative assessment takes two forms. First, formative feedback will be provided on class quizzes, discussions and practical activities. Second, a tutorial with the unit tutor will provide guidance and support related to the summative assessment.

The summative assessment for this unit comprises an individual presentation.  The presentation will last fifteen minutes and will be followed by ten minutes of questions from a panel of tutors and peers.   The participants will present a curriculum element demonstrating how they would embed Education for Sustainable Development in their current teaching practice. This should be critically discussed in relation to current debates about and approaches to embedding Education for Sustainable Development in Higher Education curricula.


For more information contact the Unit Leader Dr Konstantinos Tzoulas:

As well as registering below, in some circumstances you may need to complete an application form to study this unit. Please check on the application form page »

In brief


  • Learn how to to integrate sustainable development into your teaching or professional practice
  • Flexible, interactive unit tailored to individual needs. Participants reflect on their values and world views
  • Covers a range of curriculum design elements for embedding sustainable development

Mode of study: online

Number of sessions: 5, including presentations

Type of session: lecture/discussion with a formative workshop prior to assignment date

Assessment type and size:
15 minute presentation

Prior knowledge/experience required: none

When will it run: Summer term

Unit leader/contact: Dr Konstantinos Tzoulas

Delivery Dates and Registration

Please note: Units are delivered online. Processing time required for applications and preparation time for participants means that the last registration date cannot be extended

Summer 2022

Online sessions begin:
Thursday 28th April

10:00am - 01:00pm

Venue: online


Click here to see full timetable


Taught sessions on Thursday 10am-1pm

28 April 2022 Session 1 online
5 May Session 2 online
12 May Session 3 online
19 May Session 4 online
12 Sept 2022 Final Submission Deadline Moodle


Please contact the UTA CPD team if you have any queries.