Sustainability with Social Sciences, Policy & Law

BSc (Hons) (NFQ Level 8)

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Curricular information is subject to change.

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Why is this course for me?

This degree subject focuses on the social, legal, governance and justice dimensions of sustainability. Progressing towards sustainability to ensure a healthy planet and human wellbeing requires significant societal adaptation and behavioural change. How we can encourage the required transformations to ensure that new policy and legal frameworks deliver outcomes and that environmental protection is coupled with the quality of life considerations, is a core focus of this degree subject. If you are interested in human behaviour and change, social equity, wellbeing, institutions, policy, interdependence and global relations, then this is the degree subject for you.

Course Pathways
What Will I Study

First Year:

In first year you study core modules focusing on sustainability concepts and skills, along with core Sustainability with Social Sciences, Policy & Law is one of the degree subjects available through the common entry Sustainability DN240 course.

Students study a common first year for the three Sustainability degree subjects and at the end of first year, students choose their degree major. Assuming students meet all the academic requirements, students are guaranteed their degree major, which they study in second, third and fourth year.

Each year has a range of interesting core (compulsory) modules related to each of the three areas of sustainability, as well as option modules in your degree major. Indicative modules included are as follows:

  • Introduction to Sustainability
  • Sustainability Challenges
  • Principles of Scientific Enquiry
  • Practical Statistics
  • Mapping a Sustainable World
  • Environmental Change & Policy
  • Business in Society
  • Economics

Second Year:

  • Sustainability Research Tools
  • Careers & Innovation in Sustainability
  • Human Rights & Social Justice
  • Introduction to GIS for Sustainability
  • Quantitative Research Methods
  • Sociology of the Environment
  • Environment, Social Policy & Human Wellbeing
  • Chemistry
  • Microeconomics

Third Year:

In third year, you will participate in Sustainability In Action – an international field course in the Autumn – and have opportunities including an overseas exchange for one trimester (Spring) and/or a substantial internship (Summer).

  • Social Inclusion Law
  • Applied Ethics
  • Global Historical Geographies
  • Environmental Management
  • Global Inequalities
  • Principles of Environmental Biology & Ecology
  • Social Policy, Social Justice and the Environment
  • Marketing: An Introduction

Fourth Year:

In your final year, you will participate in a team-based interdisciplinary research project on a sustainability challenge, mirroring a workplace environment. You will also deepen your knowledge within your degree subject and have the opportunity to focus on particular aspects of sustainability such as gender justice, environmental assessment, sustainable cities, and communities, and European environmental policy.

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International Study Opportunities

There will be opportunities to apply for exchange programmes and an international field trip is a core component of the third year experience. In previous years, students have travelled to Copenhagen for this module. Students will also have the opportunity to apply for international internships with relevant industries and employers. Placements are secured through a competitive process.

Career & Graduate Study Opportunities

Graduates from this degree subject will have highly developed analytical skills, methodological and research competency, flexibility and the ability to deal with complex problems requiring interdisciplinary solutions. These attributes are in significant demand in the public and private sectors. For example, corporate businesses, private consultancy firms, banking and education, as well as in civil society organisations, state agencies and transnational organisations such as the UNDP, European Commission, Environmental Protection Agency, and Teagasc.

Students will be well equipped to undertake further study at Masters and Doctoral levels in a range of disciplinary areas.

Other Entry Routes

“As someone with a strong interest in tackling social issues and working to mitigate further environmental destruction, choosing this course has been the single best decision for me. There is a wide variety of modules so you can explore the path of study most of interest. I was exposed to a multitude of exciting topics ranging from global climatic inequalities, agriculture and sustainable land-use to education for sustainable development. This helped me gain thoughtful insights into a whole range of climate justice issues, which will undoubtedly prove essential for any career relating to climate change mitigation and adaptation. My eyes are now open to the injustices of the world and I feel equipped with the skills, knowledge and ambition to make a difference.”

Laoise Markey, Student

Contact Information

Associate Professor Ainhoa Gonzalez,
Programme Co-Director
UCD School of Geography,
Belfield, Dublin 4

Tel: +353 1 716 2389

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