Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

Click on an offering mode for more details.

Unit Overview


This unit examines the origin, design, implementation, and measurements of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) from a range of scientific, practical, and policy perspectives. It provides students with the tools to contextualise the SDGs from global and local contexts and to understand the interconnectedness between the goals, targets, and indicators. Students will analyse the discourses, challenges, and solutions of sustainable development, from both social and environmental viewpoints and through creative monitoring and evaluation tools. Students will learn how to use the growing online resources on the SDGs, such as the SDG Atlas, the SDG Index and Dashboard, and the SDG Mapping Tool, to critically reflect on their own and other people's lives in the context of the SDGs. Students will also hone and apply their sustainability literacy to examine opportunities and blind spots of the SDG concept through concrete community examples in both the Global South and the Global North. The unit will foster cross-cutting skills and core competencies needed to address the SDGs, including critical thinking, self-awareness, integrated problem-solving, design thinking, social responsibility, and anticipatory, normative, strategic and collaboration competencies.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face

Students are able to (1) describe the origin, design and structure of the UN Sustainable Development Goals as a framework for a more desirable and just future for all; (2) illustrate and explain how the SDGs are connected across time and space, from global progress measurements to local implementation; (3) evaluate opportunities for connecting the global goals with sustainability planning and decision making in your local, and other, communities; and (4) explain the interdisciplinary challenges in, and approaches to, addressing and overcoming social and environmental challenges at local and regional scales.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) reflective journal linking course readings with current events. Students reflect on a total of three SDGs, associated readings, and SDGs in the media, across the three main sections of the unit (social, environmental, and sustainable living); (2) briefing paper on measuring and monitoring one SDG at the nominated geographic scale, including analysis of spatial variation/socio-spatial inequalities, measurement challenges, links with other indicators, and critical reflection on how indicators may be used for policy and planning; and (3) design of a community education and engagement programme targeting one or several SDG(s) for a specific locality, including meaningful place-based participatory activities to involve diverse populations, gauge local priorities, design creative supporting materials to run the programme, and ultimately inform policy. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Natasha Pauli
Unit rules
Enrolment in
72530 Master of Environmental Science
and Successful completion of
ENVT4421 Fundamentals of Environmental Management
or Enrolment in
25530 Master of Urban Design
or 72520 Master of Biological Science
or 72560 Master of Urban and Regional Planning
or 71550 Master of International Development
or 73530 Master of Agricultural Economics
or 13550 Master of Environmental Planning
or 62540 Master of Ocean Leadership
Contact hours
Lectures: 2 hours per week for nine weeks
workshop/practical classes: 2 hours a week for nine weeks


  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.