Sustainability Courses: A Recommendation Per Period

Sustainability Courses: A Recommendation Per Period

Wageningen University & Research has been ranked as the most sustainable university in the world for the fourth time in a row according to the GreenMetric ranking The GreenMetric ranks universities on their sustainability with a comprehensive, detailed survey on specific indicators including sustainability in education and research. In total 1086 courses are offered at WUR, many with environmental content. Choosing from such a large number of courses can often be overwhelming, due to the high number of courses with environmental or sustainability related orientation. For this reason, the Green Office Blog Team decided to bring you our own selection of recommended sustainability courses from Period 1 to 6. Of course, this is only a small sample of all WUR has to offer, but we hope the courses highlighted below spark your interest and inspire you on your future endeavours in course selection. 

Top 10 Sustainable Universities, Green Metric (from

Sustainability course for each period

The first course that could enrich your understanding on sustainability issues and some solutions is the course “principles of climate change economics and policy” (ENP-22806), which is given in period 1. This course introduces you to economics and policy in an environmental context. In economics, how markets function and how they are currently failing us in protecting the environment is discussed. Additionally, possible solutions to the failure of the economy in protecting the environment will be discussed. It addresses how the environmental costs of production can be internalized in our economy. Regarding policy, historical events will be discussed together with basic social and political theory to gain understanding of current environmental policies and dilemma’s. This course is especially intended for students of the life sciences. 

Second, in period 2 the course “sustainability transitions: concepts, issues and indicators” (ENP-23806) is given. In this course, the main concept is the theory on how transitions as a whole of transformation processes change society fundamentally over one generation. Energy and water systems are central in this course. The transitions in water and energy systems from past to present to future are discussed. This course includes historical and present issues in energy and water technology and management in the Netherlands. The transitions that are necessary in water and energy systems concerning sustainability are discussed. Additionally, indicators to assess long-term strategies towards sustainable water and energy systems are discussed. Next to lectures, you will write an essay and go on an excursion.

Another interesting course is “insects as food and feed” (ENT-21306), which is given in period 3. This course will teach you all the ins and outs of edible insects for both humans and animals. You will learn the environmental advantages and challenges of the production of insects instead of livestock. The harvesting of insects and whether it is sustainable will be addressed. Moreover, the level of farming, household and industrial level, will be discussed. Furthermore, the food safety and legislation of edible insects will be considered. Lastly, market strategies and consumer attitudes towards insects as consumption will be discussed. 

Another course addressing sustainability is “empowerment for sustainability” (ELS-53506) given in period 4. Some sustainability theory and concepts will be discussed in the lectures. This course will enable you to see your own potential and what actions to take considering sustainability in your own discipline. You will write an individual paper on empowerment for sustainability and give an individual presentation on your personal sustainability process. 

In period 5, the course “Co-creating sustainable cities” (YMS-52303) is given. This course will focus on the improvement of sustainability in cities with the involvement of citizens. Co-creation is increasingly trending in the scientific world. In this course, it contains the involvement of citizens in city politics and in the design of the urban landscape. The cities Amsterdam, Beijing, Ho Chi Minh City, Nairobi, Kampala and Suzh will be used as case studies. The course is a MOOC module and fully online. 

At last, the course “Politics of healthy and sustainable food” (PAP-31806) is given in period 6. This course focuses on the politics involved in steering society towards a more healthy and sustainable food system. A range of political science concepts and theories will be discussed and applied to current food system debates. You will learn to develop and defend a convincing argumentation in debates about healthy and sustainable food systems. 

The Green Office education and research coordinator Fabiola Mustafaj created a list of courses related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and indicated which of the SDGs each course targets. Interested? View this link! Furthermore, the Green Office social media puts out posts with sustainability course recommendations at the opening of course registration for each period. Make sure to follow our social media (instagram, facebook) to see these posts, among many other sustainability tips and content. 

By Stella Brugman

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