Global Challenges: the challenge of systems

Aims and objectives/Learning outcomes

This module will introduce you to the global sustainability challenges of population change, food & energy security, biodiversity loss, global governance and climate change. The underlying academic framework to these challenges will be a systems-level approach that emphasises how the individual challenges can be understood as a set of interacting complex systems.

Intellectual Skills

Having successfully completed the module, you will be able to:

  • Synthesize material from a wide range of sources in order to produce a comprehensive understanding of a multi-faceted issue.
  • Apply systems thinking to real-world  issues
  • Effectively communicate a complex topic in a way that is understandable to a wide audience


The module aims at developing global citizenship, global perspectives, appreciation of interdisciplinary approaches, and a recognition of the place of University research and education in the contemporary world. For some students it will prime an interest in pursuing interdisciplinary research. The Global Challenges is a core module for the Sustainability Minor pathway.

Learning and teaching hours

Scheduled learning and teaching activities: 30 hours

Guided independent study: 120 hours

Placement/study abroad: None

Teaching and learning methods

  • Lectures (1-2 per week) to introduce material
  • Seminars (1-2 per week) to discuss & explore material introduced in lectures
  • Group working & facilitation training to promote effective work within interdisciplinary teams

Lectures are recorded and made available via Panopto. Most seminar activities are undertaken within groups, so you must be willing and able to contribute to group activities in order to get the most out of the module.

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