Sustainability with Social Sciences, Policy and 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?

The Sustainability with Social Sciences, Policy & Law course focuses on the social, legal, governance and justice dimensions of sustainability. Progressing towards sustainability to ensure a healthy planet and population requires significant societal adaptation and behavioural change. How we can encourage the required transformations to ensure that new policy and legal frameworks deliver just outcomes, and that environmental concern is coupled with quality of life considerations, is a core focus of this specialisation. If you are interested in human behaviour, social justice, wellbeing, institutions, policy, interdependence and global relations, then this is the course for you!

Course Pathways
What Will I Study

First Year:

First Year is a common experience across the three specialisations. You will take two core modules focusing on sustainability concepts and skills, along with core and option modules from subjects in each specialisation – Social Sciences, Policy and Law; Environmental Sciences; Business and Economics.

  • Introduction to Sustainability
  • Sustainability Challenges
  • Principles of Scientific Enquiry
  • Introductory Chemistry
  • 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 Environment
  • Social Policy & Sustainable Wellbeing
  • Chemistry

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).

  • Environment Law & Policy
  • Applied Ethics
  • Global Risks & Resilience
  • Transport, Environment & Sustainability
  • Global Inequalities
  • Principles of Environmental Biology & Ecology
  • Economics of the Environment

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 specialisation 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.

For detailed information on subject content click here

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 specialisation 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 sector. For example, the aviation industry, 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, Teagasc, and government.

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

Other Entry Routes

“As someone with strong interests in tackling social issues and preserving the environment, choosing to study Sustainability with Social Sciences, Policy & Law at UCD has been the single best decision for me. With such a wide variety of modules on offer, students are able to explore the path of study most of interest to them. Having looked at topics ranging from global justice, to education in sustainability, I have gained thoughtful insights into a whole range of climate justice issues. The interdisciplinary approach of this course has truly opened my eyes to the injustices of the world, while also helping to equip me with the necessary 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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