Document Type

Undergraduate Syllabus


Spring 2019



Course Number


Course Description

This undergraduate course in sustainable development analyses the interplay of economic, social, and environmental goals. With the current U.S. Administration withdrawing from the Paris Agreement that went into effect in November 2016 following ratification of the Sustainable Development Goals in September 2015, this is an important time to study sustainable development. Economic development is important for raising living standards, but development policies don't automatically ensure that all sections of society gain. Nor do they necessarily preserve opportunities for current or future generations. Sustainable development policies are meant to minimize environmental damage, foster environmental protection, and ensure that growth aimed to raise living standards is socially inclusive.

The course also recognizes that countries are at different stages of development. Therefore, developed and developing countries' preferences for and their ability to undertake sustainable development will vary. Keeping these constraints in mind, we will learn and apply economic thinking to address the problems of reducing poverty, allocating resources over time, accommodating trade-offs between development and the environment, and solving collective action problems in undertaking sustainable practices will.

Textbook readings be supplemented with relevant policy briefs and academic or magazine articles through the semester. The course is both lecture-based and discussion-driven, giving students the opportunity to demonstrate their grasp of concepts. Coursework includes both individual assignments, and a problem-based group project.