Postgraduate Module Descriptor

POLM005M: The Politics, Policy and Practice of Sustainable Development (MPA ONLY)

This module descriptor refers to the 2017/8 academic year.

Module Content

Syllabus Plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will include the following topics in the order indicated:

1. History of sustainable development

2. The politicisation of sustainable development

3. Challenges of implementing sustainable development across sectors and governance scales

4. Critical policy issues:

- Climate change

- Biodiversity and ecosystems

- Land use and planning

- Consumption

5. The public administration of sustainable development strategies - cases studies:

- United Kingdom

- European Union

- China

- United States

6. Drawing lessons for implementing sustainable development


This a short intensive course taught over three weeks.

Knowledge will be acquired through a combination of directed learning, the compulsory reading of core texts, 3 days of intensive lectures including contributions from expert guest speakers, student seminar presentations and interactive workshops.

Assessed student seminar presentations will give students the opportunity to develop a case study on an area of their specific interests that highlights some of the practical issues associated with the implementation of sustainable development. During the presentation students will also be encouraged to facilitate class discussion around their chosen case study. Students are also required to produce an assessed learning log (800 words) which will reflect on the module itself as well as its relevance to the student's profession and to other modules the student has or will be taking. In addition, students are required to submit an essay to deadline at the end of week 3. All assessed work should demonstrate that the students have met ILOs 1-12 at Masters level.

Students will be provided with a course handout consisting of background reading for each lecture and workshop topics. In addition, a dedicated ELE site will provide students with links to key texts and lecture materials. It will also have a discussion forum where students can share ideas or interesting texts they find.

Learning and Teaching

This table provides an overview of how your hours of study for this module are allocated:

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

...and this table provides a more detailed breakdown of the hours allocated to various study activities:

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching10Ten Lectures (1 hour each)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching5Two Workshops (2.5 hours each)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching3One Guest Presentations (3 hours)
Guided independent study82Reading, thinking and preparing for lectures and workshops
Guided independent study100Assignment preparation

Online Resources

This module has online resources available via ELE (the Exeter Learning Environment).