Teaching β€˜about’ and β€˜for’ sustainable development

VUB offers both education 'about' and education 'for' sustainable development. So we not only want to support the knowledge of our students, but also provide them with skills with which to help roll out the transition. We are expanding our range of majors and elective courses in the field of sustainability. Through clear information and communication, we will make courses of education more visible and accessible.

Such global challenges as climate change, resource scarcity, and biodiversity loss call for specific knowledge and expertise. At the same time, they are strongly intertwined with social tasks, such as combating poverty, hunger, and injustice. Sustainable development has many aspects and we want to offer this broad range of perspectives through our training courses. For us, interdisciplinarity is the key to teaching 'about' sustainable development. Our instructors share knowledge on sustainable development from their respective fields. At the same time, bridges are being built to other disciplines.

We also want to place a sufficient spotlight on such competences as self-reflection, creativity, and future-oriented problem solving: important soft skills that contribute to teaching 'for' sustainable development. Our campuses will provide students with a stimulating learning environment and experimental space to hone those skills.

Some of our sustainable learning options

Elective courses on sustainability

Here you can find a collection of the electives with a focus on sustainability that can be followed at the VUB.

Environmental aspects of the engineering profession

In the elective course 'Environmental Aspects of the Engineering Profession', future engineers learn to assess and compare the impact of technology on the environment. Knowledge about specific domains such as physics and chemistry and ethical aspects are covered.

Reasonably Idiosyncratic

In dit universiteitsbrede keuzevak diepen studenten uit verschillende disciplines een maatschappelijk vraagstuk uit met en voor een Brusselse organisatie. Tijdens het academiejaar 2020-2021 werkten de studenten bijvoorbeeld rond β€˜The Struggle Against Racism’. Het vak biedt de kans om praktijkervaring op te doen, het onderzoeks- en werkveld te leren kennen en een concreet maatschappelijk engagement aan te gaan.

In this university-wide elective course, students from various disciplines explore a social issue with and for a Brussels-based organisation. During the academic year 2020-2021, for example, students worked on 'The Struggle Against Racism'. The subject offers the opportunity to gain practical experience, get to know the research and the work field and engage in concrete social engagement.

Sustainability, an interdisciplinary approach

At the Faculty of Social Sciences and Solvay Business School, various disciplines come together in the elective course 'Sustainability: an interdisciplinary approach'. This course combines inspiring lectures with hands-on tools to accelerate sustainable change and shape students into the changemakers of tomorrow.

Decision Support for Sustainability

How do we decide towards more sustainable solutions? And how do we know they are indeed more sustainable? This English-language course offers various techniques for sustainability decision-making, including data-driven techniques, such as External Cost Calculations, and people-oriented methods, such as participatory foresighting. The course is interactive, with workshops in which participants experience the different techniques in a hands-on manner, complemented by lectures that can be followed online. The course is suitable for anyone with a professional or personal interest in sustainability, as it is also offered as a micro-credential, which allows non-regular students to follow it.

Monsoon School

In the 'Monsoon School' project, we translate theory into practice by means of real-life cases that zoom in on a sustainability issue. For two weeks, the inter-university master's programme Oceans & Lakes takes its students to a partner state in the South. There, they act as consultants on a local problem, such as plastic waste in marine areas or the impact of tourism on megafauna. Diverse backgrounds, interests, and cultures are represented in each student group.

Specific programs with a sustainability-focus

Here you can find some programs that include or focus on certain aspects of sustainability.

Master of Science in Sustainable Land Management: Urban Land Engineering

Keen to tackle important global and environmental issues? With the Master in Sustainable Land Management: Urban Land Engineering, you can specialise in urban land problems and engineering. It aims to shape experts that are able to manage and protect the land as well as manipulate the specifics and properties of the soil. The programme includes courses such as Climate Change, Sustainable Development and Environmental Impact Assessment, and offers a wide variety of electives to deepen your knowledge even further.

Master of Science in Geography - Module Earth & Climate

Interested in contributing to the debate on environmental change, globalisation, and other societal challenges? Want to make the world a more sustainable place? Then this interuniversity Master in Geography is the ideal way forward. The Master includes courses such as Environmental Change, and Environmental and Resource Economics. The different modules, such as Earth & Climate, provide more detail on specific topics and you can strengthen your knowledge even further with electives on climate and sustainable development.

Master of Biology : Ecology and biodiversity – track Global Change

As a future biologist, you'll have to tackle global biodiversity crises and changes. In the specialization 'Ecology and Biodiversity', you gain experience in the research methods used to study the ecology and evolution of organisms found in terrestrial, freshwater and coastal ecosystems. If you are interested in sustainability and how climate change influences ecology and biodiversity, you can follow courses from the track 'Global Change', such as Decision Support for Sustainability, Global Change Biology and Natural Risk Management.

Microcredential Sustainability

Within the micro-credential β€œSustainability” a combination of discipline specific knowledge, interdisciplinary understanding and tools, and transdisciplinary practical experiences is offered to allow you to become an agent for change towards sustainability. The courses provide insights in decision making processes and methods, as well as tools and methods for transition management and system thinking. It is a year-long program for 18 ECTS, including Decision Support for Sustainability, Sustainability Economics and Sustainability: an interdisciplinary approach.