Document Type

Undergraduate Syllabus


Spring 2018



Course Number

DIPL 4170

Course Description

This course offers an introduction to what former United Nations Secretary-General Ban-Kimoon refers to as the central challenge of our times: achieving sustainable development. The most frequently cited definition of sustainable development is that which "meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs" (see the 1987 Brundtland Report). The key question guiding this course centers around how humanity can maintain sustainability in the context of economic growth and development. We will explore sustainable development both as a way of understanding the world and as a method of solving global problems. As an analytical concept, sustainable development involves four complex interacting systems: the global economy, social interactions, changes to the Earth's systems, and problems of governance. From a normative perspective, sustainable development is concerned with a holistic vision of what a good society should be. This course will survey the history, patterns, and theories of economic development and examine the challenges of combining them with environmental sustainability.