Sustainability: Social Sciences, Policy and Law

Course Information

BSc (Hons) (NFQ Level 8)

Full Time - Undergraduate Studies

CAO Code: DN240
CAO Points Range 2019: N/A
Length of Course: 4 Years
Average Intake: 40

Leaving Certificate:
  • 02/H6 in Mathematics
  • 06/H7 in Irish, English, and 3 other recognised subjects
Click below for equivalent entry requirements information for:

Why is this course for me?

This unique programme combines the economic, environmental and social dimensions of sustainability, enabling specialisation in one of those dimensions complemented by knowledge and skills from the others. Core modules provide a global perspective on sustainability and include interdisciplinary research, a professional placement, field work in Ireland and Europe and guest lectures from leading researchers, advocates and practitioners.

The Sustainability with Social Sciences, Policy and Law pathway has a particular emphasis on the societal and governance dimensions of sustainability. It has a great degree of flexibility to enable you draw on a range of modules from relevant disciplines in the social sciences, humanities and law or choose to become more focussed on particular aspects such as physical or human geography, global development or climate change and associated policy.

Career & Graduate Study Opportunities

Graduates will enjoy careers as consultants, managers and advisers in large organisations and private businesses. An interdisciplinary education in sustainability theory, policy and practise will equip you to work in areas such as renewables, clean technology management and energy efficiency, or advise industries on social and environmental strategies. Many opportunities also exist in international organisations such as the UN, the European Environment Agency and the European Commission, government departments and state agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Parks and Wildlife Service and in local authorities and Non-Governmental Organisations.

What Will I Study

The degree reflects the integrated interdisciplinary approach required in sustainability research, policy and practise. First Year is structured so that students are able to progress into one of the following degree pathways in Second Year:

  • Sustainability: Environmental Science and Engineering
  • Sustainability: Social Sciences, Policy and Law

Second, Third and Fourth Year involve core sustainability modules, a majority of core and option modules from the disciplines and a smaller number of key modules from the other pathway.

This is a sample pathway for a degree in Sustainability.

First Year: Common to both Pathways

  • Sustainability including concepts and research tools, policy, law & economics
  • Mathematics
  • Social Sciences
  • Environmental Science
  • Economics & Business
  • Option modules

Sustainability: Social Sciences, Policy and Law Pathway.

Second Year:

  • Sustainability (includes modules on Research Tools for Sustainability and Innovation, Communication and Careers in Sustainability)
  • Social Sciences, Policy and Law (includes modules on Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, Introduction to GIS for Sustainability, Global Development and options including Environmental Management, Environmental Law and Policy, Energy, Climate Change and Policy)
  • Environmental Science and Engineering
  • Economics and Business

Third Year:

  • Sustainability (includes a professional work placement in sustainability & a residential field trip)
  • Social Sciences, Policy and Law (modules include Environment and Sustainability, World Heritage and Sustainable Development and options including Democracy and Civil Society, Climate Politics and Policy, Social Justice & the Environment, Environmental Assessment, Global Biodiversity and Heritage)
  • Environmental Science and Engineering
  • Economics and Business

Fourth Year:

  • Sustainability (includes an interdisciplinary project on a sustainability challenge and a research project module)
  • Social Sciences, Policy and Law (including modules on Urban Environments, Climate Politics and Policy, Planning Law, Development Geographies, Overseas Field Trip)
  • Environmental Science and Engineering
  • Economics and Business

Download the course pathways for the BSc Sustainability

This is a full-time course, with many student timetables running from 9:00am to 5:00pm or later. Depending on the subject choices, a weekly timetable can include lectures, practicals and tutorials.

Assessment varies with each module but may comprise continuous assessment of practicals, written exams and online learning activities.

International Study Opportunities

Students will have the opportunity to study abroad as part of international internships with relevant industries and employers. Placements are secured through a competitive process.

There will also be opportunities to apply for the Erasmus Study Abroad Programmes and there will be opportunities for overseas field trips.


Professor Tasman Crowe is director of the UCD Earth Institute and combines his expertise in marine ecology with that from a range of disciplines to address environmental challenges.  Projects include Ecostructure, which is developing eco-engineering interventions to enhance biodiversity on marine artificial structures and Land2Sea, which is characterising combined impacts of climate change and pollution on freshwater and marine ecosystems and ecosystem services to inform environmental management and policy.

Professor Jacky Croke 

Professor Jacky Croke is a Professor in Physical Geography specialising in the management of riverine systems and associated natural hazards such as floods and droughts. This includes the use of long-term records of past climate to better understand and predict water security under a changing climate. With career experiences in Australia, Indonesia, Europe and Ireland, she is passionate about tackling global environmental challenges through quality education, real-world experiences and employment opportunities.

Canpus Tours

Slide background

UCD Campus Tours
Every Monday, Wednesday & Friday @ 1pm

Skip to content