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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Global Sustainable Development Challenges
Module Code MM550
School School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Éadaoin Carthy
Semester 2: Éadaoin Carthy
Autumn: Éadaoin Carthy
Module TeachersÉadaoin Carthy
NFQ level 9 Credit Rating 7.5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Coursework Only

On 25 September 2015, the UN General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (UN, 2015). At the core of the 2030 Agenda are 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) whose aim is to secure a sustainable, peaceful, prosperous and equitable life on earth for everyone now and in the future. The goals cover global challenges that are crucial for the survival of humanity. They set environmental limits and set critical thresholds for the use of natural resources. The goals recognize that ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with strategies that build economic development. They address a range of social needs including education, health, social protection and job opportunities while tackling climate change and environmental protection. The SDGs address key systemic barriers to sustainable development such as inequality, unsustainable consumption patterns, weak institutional capacity and environmental degradation. The aim of this module is to help students to understand the interlinkages among the goals, to understand the importance of the 5 P’s, (people, planet, profit, peace and prosperity) in achieving the goals to acquire knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, and to become responsible global citizens

Learning Outcomes

1. Analyse the history and background (including the politics) to sustainable development and the linkages to the UN SDGs
2. Assess the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals
3. Evaluate the major contemporary global challenges and their linkages with environmental, social, economic, peace and prosperity issues
4. Examine the main trade-offs, conceptual and practical challenges associated with the SDGs
5. Justify the major alternative approaches (such as de-growth) to sustainable development
6. Apply problem-solving techniques to a complex sustainability problem and propose viable, inclusive and equitable solution options that promote sustainable development

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture24Two hours per week (can be online)
Report55Preparation for report assignment
Debate55Completion of online discussion fora activities
Independent Study54Assignment preparation, study for Loop Quiz
Total Workload: 188

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

History and Background to sustainable development
What is sustainable development? What are the UN Sustainable Development Goals? How were they developed and why? Can they be achieved?

The 17 UN SDGs
What does each of the SDG mean and what is involved in achieving them? What interlinkages are among the goals?

Global Challenges
Overconsumption , Overpopulation, Biodiversity loss, Deforestation, Desertification, Global warming/climate change, Habitat destruction, Holocene extinction

Alternative approaches to Sustainable Development Goals
De-growth; donought economics, sustainable development index, circular economy

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Completion of online activityOnline Debate10%n/a
ProjectSelect and study 5 global challenges and examine the synergies and trade-offs that exist and propose solutions taking a systems approach50%n/a
Reflective journalTwo reflections on what SDGs mean to the student as a global citizen 1) at start of the course 2) at the end of the course20%n/a
Loop QuizMCQ on the SDGs and sustainable develpment20%n/a
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • M. Antonelli and G. Della Vecchia: 2022, Civil and Environmental Engineering for the Sustainable Development Goals: Emerging Issues, Springer International Publishing, 978-3-030-995
  • UNESCO: 2017, , Education for Sustainable Development goals, 978-92-3-1002
Other Resources

59401, Website, 0, UNESCO and Sustainable Development Goals, http://en.unesco.org/ sdgs, 59402, Website, 0, The Story of Stuff: An online resource that investigates the humanity’s unsustainable use of materials, http://storyofstuff.org,
Programme or List of Programmes
GDSESGrad Dip in Sustainable Energy Systems
MMMEMEng in Mechanical and Manufacturing Eng

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