Governance of Global Sustainability

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Governance of Global Sustainability

  • Host University

    Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

  • Location

    Amsterdam, The Netherlands

  • Area of Study

    Environmental Science, Environmental Studies, Sociology

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    After this course students:


    1. can explain key concepts from social and behavioral sciences relevant for the study of sustainability;
    2. can characterize main modes of governance and behavioral triggers;
    3. can explain the role of the social system in socio-environmental systems;
    4. are aware of methods to quantify/qualify the state of governance and institutional/organizational change;
    5. can identify Strengths, Opportunities, Threats and Weaknesses (SWOT) related to specific transitions strategies.


    How can we govern the transition towards a more sustainable society? What are the mechanisms, interventions and governance approaches that are able to change unsustainable patterns and structures? The course addresses these questions related to people at various levels of aggregation: at the individual and social group level, at the level of organizations (such as the United Nations or the World Trade Organization), and at the level of political institutions (such as the state/government, cities/regions and private/transnational regimes).

    Our course will consequently survey the existing modes of governance towards behavioral and institutional change: authority, markets and networks. Methods to assess governance and transformative change are addressed and students identify for their specific case studies what strengths, opportunities, weaknesses, and threats are associated to the ‘people dimension’. The course comprises lectures, workshops and a negotiation simulation and is evaluated through written assignment and a written exam.

    The course will be evaluated through
    1) an assignment, consisting of a) a presentation (10%) and b) a short student report (1500 words) regarding the governance/behavioral aspects of their topic and associated SWOTs (20%).
    2) an exam (70%), which will be composed of multiple choice and open questions.

    Interest in sustainability issues and social questions

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Some courses may require additional fees.


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