Online Microcredential in Nature & Environment

Sustainability and Development

Explore sustainability, human development and environmental impact in the context of development programs.

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Deakin UniversityDeakin University

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Explore the relationship between humans and the environment

During this microcredential you will interrogate the importance of sustainability across policy and practice and the significance of working closely with affected communities to achieve sustainable outcomes that are meaningful to the people concerned.

You will examine concepts such as complexity theory, equality, sustainable development and ecological understandings of our economic system, and join the critical debate in relation to sustainability across different development contexts.

This microcredential is a pathway for Deakin’s Graduate Certificate of Sustainable Development and Humanitarian Action and a number of related degrees. Successful completion offers credit towards a qualification at postgraduate level.

Deakin University UK credit modules ECTS* US Credit
1 credit 15 credits 7.5 credits 4 hrs

*European Credit Transfer System

This microcredential meets the standards set by the Common Microcredential Framework.

To pass this microcredential, you’ll need to successfully complete 2 assessment tasks including an essay and a project brief for a sustainable initiative.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 6 seconds MAX KELLY: Have you ever felt bombarded by bad news? Climate change stories hit the headlines daily. From extreme weather events causing floods, fire, and drought, to the bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef here in Australia. Other significant environmental issues range from the so-called Great Pacific Garbage Patch, to the health issues associated with air pollution in places such as Lagos, Karachi, Beijing, and of course even in Los Angeles. It’s clear that human impact on the planet is immense, and in some cases, it is irreversible. However, it’s only half the story. Sustainable development is about what we have done, but it’s also about what we can do, as individuals, as communities, and as nations to change the path of human development.

Skip to 0 minutes and 50 seconds You’ll learn about sustainable development in terms of decisions we can make today to positively affect the future. We will learn about development, we’ll learn about sustainability, and sustainable development. We’ll look at the different ways in which sustainable development can be understood. We’ll investigate the impact that we, as humans, have had on our environment. We’ll explore the ways in which the future may be different if we act now in the present. We’re expecting people from all over the world with very diverse perspectives.

What skills will you learn?

  • Social justice
  • Sustainability plans
  • Creating initiatives
  • Developing sustainable cities
  • Sustainability for individuals

What you will achieve

By the end of the microcredential, you’ll be able to...

  • Evaluate diverse theoretical perspectives of sustainable development, and analyse how these have been applied in real-world scenarios
  • Identify and explain the complex interrelationships between ecology, society and sustainable development
  • Critically analyse a range of mainstream and non-mainstream perspectives on sustainable development
  • Apply alternative thinking to address issues of sustainability and development

Are you eligible for this microcredential?

Applicants for this microcredential require English proficiency and the academic capacity to complete the required assessments. Professional experience recommended. For entry into a pathway degree, students will require an undergraduate degree or equivalent relevant work experience.

For entry into a pathway degree course at Deakin students will need to prove English language skills at IELTS 6.5 or above and meet entry requirements + any residency requirements for on-campus enrolments.

Is this microcredential right for you?

This microcredential is designed for those currently in or aspiring for a career focused on local, national and international sustainability and development issues.

Roles such as Community Development officers, International development officers, project officers in natural resources sector or any sector where you’re considering sustainable design solutions.

The course curriculum is designed to impart essential development and humanitarian sector competencies for professionals, working toward various career outcomes with both governments and non-governmental organisations.


What happens before, during, and after your microcredential

  • Before learning

    You will have access to our online welcome area where you’ll be able to start conversations with fellow learners and read any announcements or additional information relating to your microcredential including assessment details.

  • Course 1

    From 9 Nov 2020

    Introduction to Sustainability and Development

    Discover the impact of human activity on our planet, and what we can do to ensure a sustainable future for everybody.

    2 weeks

    3 hours per week

    • Week 1

      What's the story with development and sustainability?
      • What is development and what is sustainability?
      • Development versus sustainability: an introduction
      • Challenges of sustainable development
      • Setting goals
    • Week 2

      Where have we been and where are we going?
      • How did we get here?
      • Visions for the future
      • Back to the present
      • Course wrap
  • Course 2

    From 23 Nov 2020

    Social Justice, Equality and Sustainability

    Analyse the interconnectedness of social justice, equality and sustainability.

    2 weeks

    10 hours per week

    • Week 1

      Does a sustainable future look the same for everyone?
      • Getting started
      • Human development from a more critical perspective
      • Best fit (versus best practice!)
      • Weekly wrap
    • Week 2

      Does development benefit everybody?
      • What is equality and why is it important?
      • Tackling inequality
      • Linking gender, sustainability and environment
      • Review and check progress
  • Course 3

    From 7 Dec 2020

    The Environmental Imperative

    Examine the environmental imperative for sustainable development.

    2 weeks

    10 hours per week

    • Week 1

      Does sustainable development protect the environment?
      • Getting started
      • Natural resource base and planetary boundaries: digging deeper
      • Vision into action; back to the SDGs
      • Let’s get wicked
      • Weekly wrap
    • Week 2

      Does sustainable development sustain the environment?
      • Let’s get super wicked
      • Explore the super wicked problem of climate change
      • What exactly is climate change?
      • Reigniting the debate. It’s shocking! 
      • How do we fix super wicked problems?
      • Course wrap
  • Course 4

    From 21 Dec 2020

    People and Cities

    Explore the complex relationships between people, cities and the natural environment.

    4 weeks

    10 hours per week

    • Week 1

      Intra-trimester break
      • Intra-trimester break: week 1
    • Week 2

      Intra-trimester break
      • Intra-trimester break: week 2
    • Week 3

      Sustainable development action
      • Getting started
      • Implementation and action
      • Action by civil society and private enterprise
      • Weekly wrap
    • Week 4

      Cities past, present and future
      • The evolution of urban areas
      • In what ways are cities evolving?
      • Sustainable cities
      • Cities and SDGs
      • Course wrap
  • Course 5

    From 18 Jan 2021

    Doughnuts and Sustainability

    Investigate alternatives and different perspectives for economic growth

    2 weeks

    10 hours per week

    • Week 1

      Alternatives to mainstream economic growth paradigms
      • Getting started
      • Doughnut economics
      • From doughnut to cronut (look it up!)
      • Weekly wrap
    • Week 2

      Is there cause for optimism?
      • Addressing environmental issues
      • Unpacking the puzzle further
      • Course wrap
  • After learning

    Upon successful completion of assessment tasks within this microcredential you will receive your certificate of completion from Deakin University which can be used as academic credit into postgraduate study.

What you will receive

1 Deakin postgraduate credit at Postgraduate level from Deakin University

The academic credit earned from this microcredential is equal to one unit of postgraduate study at Deakin.

1 Deakin credit = 15 UK credit modules = 4 US credit hours = 30 European Credit Transfer System

Find out how credits work and where you can use them in our FAQs.

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What is a microcredential?

Microcredentials are designed to upskill you for work in rapidly-growing industries, without the time and cost commitment of a full degree. Your microcredential can stand alone as an independent credential, and some also offer academic credit to use towards a degree.

Learn online with expert instructors

Complete online courses led by experts over multiple weeks with a dedicated group of professionals.

Complete project-based assessments

Test your understanding with online tutor-marked assessments and exercises.

Earn a professional credential

Finish your learning and pass your assessments to gain an accredited credential.

Advance further in your career

Use your microcredential as evidence of your specialised skills and progress further in your industry.

Career-focused learning by Deakin University

Deakin University is one of Australia’s largest universities with more than 61,000 students and over 15,000 online.

  • Established

  • Location

    Melbourne, Australia
  • World ranking

    Top 280Source: QS World University Rankings 2021

Delivered by experts

Max Kelly has over 15 year’s experience teaching and researching issues in sustainability and development. Max has experience across Europe, Africa, Asia and the Pacific.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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When would you like to start?

Enrolment for this microcredential is closed. We aim to run our microcredentials every few months. Register to find out more about this microcredential and future start dates.

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    We can accept payments made by card (Visa, Mastercard and American Express) or PayPal via our online system.

    You will have 14 days from the day the course starts to apply for a refund. If this Microcredential has any non-refundable costs they will be stated in the ‘Overview’ section above. You can find more information in our cancellation and refund policy.

    Microcredentials are designed to fit around your life and timezone.

    There may be live events as part of your studies, but these will be recorded and can be watched afterwards if you aren’t online for the live broadcast.

    No, microcredentials are designed to be taken anywhere in the world. You won’t need the right to study in the country where the university offering the microcredential is based.

    Towards a Deakin University postgraduate degree including the ‘Graduate Certificate of Sustainable Development and Humanitarian Action’

    Deakin University UK credit modules ECTS* US Credit
    1 credit 15 credits 7.5 credits 4 hrs

    *European Credit Transfer System

    Want to know more? Read the microcredential FAQs, or contact us.