KEKO1 Implementing the principles of sustainable development, 10 cr

Course is a mandatory part of the Sustainable Development Studies. During the course, students apply with academic information searching and interpretation skills to analyze practical examples in collaboration with students from different faculties and disciplines. 

The student learns to:

  • to create collective expertise together with students from various backgrounds
  • to know sustainable development as a political and normative concept as well as a scientific research object
  • to analyze various phenomena from the perspectives of ecological, social, economic and cultural sustainability
  • to recognize interdependencies between different dimensions of sustainability
  • to create in-depth knowledge of one topical sustainability-related issue 
  • to lead the content development and schedules of a small research project
  • to present the results of a project
  • to understand one’s own strengths as an expert and as a team member, as well as those of others


The course spans from September to April. It applies the pedagogy of research-based learning in teams. At the beginning of the course, students are divided into teams. Each team is given a topic or a theme to which the team relates all its project works. At lectures, students learn about the different dimensions of sustainability. In the teamwork phase, students collectively define the research questions for each project work, decide how to answer them, divide tasks, search and create knowledge, discuss ideas and findings and write and edit four texts of 20–30 pages as well as a final poster or some other form of presentation that condenses the most important insights of the team’s work during the study year. 

Organization of the course

At the beginning of the course the students are divided into teams (Finnish-speaking teams for those doing their degree in Finnish, an English-speaking team for those doing their degree in English). There are max. 10 students in each team, supported by two teachers. The students work with the same team for the whole study year.

The course includes 5 joint lectures in English for all teams and joint seminars in English at the beginning and in the end of the course. The teams have 9 facilitated 2-hour meetings with teachers during the study year. There are two kinds of facilitated meetings. Each project work starts by a meeting where the sustainability perspectives presented at lectures as well as the team’s project work plans are discussed. Each project work ends with a facilitated meeting where the results of the project work and the teamwork process are jointly discussed.

The actual content of the project work is developed by the team in a self-organized manner during the 4–6 weeks between the facilitated meetings. In these project working periods the teams typically meet face-to-face approximately once a week, and also utilize virtual networking and writing tools. Leadership rotates so that each student in turn leads the teamwork and presents the team’s working plan to the teacher. The course materials and the project works are shared and peer reviewing is carried out via Moodle web platform.

Completion and evaluation

The completing of the course requires participation to facilitated and self-organized team meetings, to joint seminars and to carrying out the project works (four co-authored texts of 20–30 pages as well as a peer-reviewed poster or other presentation). The student’s course grade is based on the grades of the team’s project works and on peer-evaluated personal activity as a team member.

Evaluation on scale 1–5 / fail.

UN SDGoals