Course syllabus

Perspektiv på hållbar utveckling
Perspectives on Sustainable Development

FAFF50, 7,5 credits, G2 (First Cycle)

Valid for: 2017/18
Decided by: PLED N
Date of Decision: 2017-04-06

General Information

Main field: Technology.
Compulsory for: N3
Elective for: F4
Language of instruction: The course will be given in Swedish


The course is aiming at giving the student the ability to work for a sustainable development by problematizing around and by adopting a critical attitude towards his/her role within, and influence on, society.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding
For a passing grade the student must

-  have a fundamental knowledge of sustainable development.

-  have a fundamental knowledge about and experience of handling "wicked problems"

-  be able to describe different aspects on sustainable development and their respective connection to certain problems, especially

-  have fundamental knowledge of communication and of different kinds of meeting modes.

-  have an understanding of how group-processes are used for and work to reach agreement in decisions.

Competences and skills
For a passing grade the student must

be able to

-  find and value information of immediate importance concerning sustainable development.

-  relate earlier achieved knowledge to a sustainable development.

-  perform a stakeholder-analysis.

-  identify and, from different aspects/interests, describe problems which can lead to a non-sustainable development.

-  formulate and present arguments in smaller group-discussions as well as in a big public meeting.

Judgement and approach
For a passing grade the student must

be able to

-  independently as well as in a group situation create a sustainable and from relevant aspects well illustrated solution to a problem.

-  critically analyze and assess the sustainability in solutions presented to her.


The student is trained in critical thinking and awareness on the basis of his/her future role as an engineer. This is done by dividing the students into groups representing "stakeholders", i.e. groups with different interests within the international community. (An introductory task is for the students to actually identify stakeholders within a certain problem by doing a stakeholder-analysis.) Examples of groups can be researchers (within nanotechnology), government representatives from industrial nations and/or developing countries, lobbyists from multinational companies, health organizations, NGO:s with interests in environmental questions and/or human rights or (inter)national regulation agencies. A question at issue is given to all groups of interest. The groups are then supposed to take a position on the issue on basis of the interests of the respective group. The goal is that all groups at the end agree on a roadmap concerning the question at issue. Negotiations in inter-group meetings and on the concluding conference have to lead to agreement on a common document, a roadmap. The students are supposed to present and defend the roadmap at a press-meeting in immediate connection to the concluding conference. Students, teachers, journalists and special guests are invited to attend this press-meeting.

Lectures are given to inspire the students and to give them an insight to the parts of society mainly affected from problems within the area of sustainable development. The lectures can, in addition to the concept of Sustainable development, discuss e.g. communication, meeting modes, ethics, practical environmental work, economics, jurisprudence, politics and global environmental justice. At workshops, the students work in groups to analyze and discuss the concept of sustainability and ethical problems.

Since great importance is attached to every student's individual development concerning attitudes towards the issue of sustainability, the course ends with a follow-up-discussion. Questions about the quality and the planning of the course are raised and discussed. Every student should reflect over standpoints taken and the background for taking these standpoints.

Examination details

Grading scale: UG - (U,G) - (Fail, Pass)
Assessment: Mandatory presence and active participation in lectures, workshops, group discussions, final conference and follow-up of conference. Mandatory written reports.

The examiner, in consultation with Disability Support Services, may deviate from the regular form of examination in order to provide a permanently disabled student with a form of examination equivalent to that of a student without a disability.


Required prior knowledge: 120 credits within the Engineering Nanoscience or Engineering Physics programmes - or corresponding.
The number of participants is limited to: 50
Selection: Priority is given to students within the Engineering Nanoscience programme. Other students are admitted on the basis of credits remaining for the degree.
The course overlaps following course/s: FAFF15

Reading list

Contact and other information

Course coordinator: Elisabeth Nilsson,
Course coordinator: Carina Fasth,
Course homepage: