Course Outline

Course Learning Objectives

To enhance students understanding of the SDGs to create a better- informed citizenry, which will lead to a more sustainable action by all and for all.

Students can expect to learn:

  • The difference between sustainability, sustainable development, and the sustainable development goals, why and how they came to be, and their current applications;
  • The role of the United Nations, the 2030 Agenda, and other international agreements (e.g., the Paris agreement and post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework);
  • An overview of the 17 SDGs and their targets, and why they matter;
  • Pathways for solutions and how students can become active agents of change;
  • How governments, businesses, and civil societies can also be active participants in the implementation of the SDGs;
  • How countries make decisions on their selection of SDGs and targets they want to focus on and how they establish indicators of progress;
  • How the SDGs are monitored, tracked, and reported;
  • The role of thinking beyond sustainability to the transformations necessary to meet and exceed the 2030 Agenda.


The course will be delivered through eLearning requiring a combination of asynchronous and synchronous student participation. Students will engage with the course material at the individual and SDG community of practitioner level. Learning objectives will be achieved through a combination of lectures, videos, online discussion forums, interactive exercises, comprehension questions, quizzes, assignments, and weekly readings.

Required Course Texts

There is no required textbook for this course. Readings from journal articles, book chapters, and internet sources will be assigned on a weekly basis. The course will also utilize materials from the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), and the SDG Academy.

Weekly Schedule

Week 1 – Sustainability, sustainable development, and the sustainable development goals 

  • History of sustainability, and what it means. The United Nations, sustainable development, and the path to the SGDs.

Week 2 – What are the SDGs?

  • SDGs overview, goals, and targets

Week 3 – #1 Poverty, #2 Hunger, #3 Good Health and Well-being 

  • Eradication of poverty and hunger to help all societies achieve a higher quality of life

Week 4 – #5 Gender Equality, #10 Reduced Inequalities

  • Reduce inequalities worldwide

Week 5 – #6 Clean Water and Sanitation, #7 Affordable and Clean Energy

  • Universal access to basic essential services including clean drinking water, hygiene and sanitation, and safe renewable energy

Week 6 – #4 Quality Education, #8 Decent Work and Economic Growth 

  • Universal access to inclusive education and decent work to support fair and socially just economic opportunities

Week 7 – #9 Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure; #11 Sustainable Cities and Communities; #12 Responsible Consumption and Production

  • Innovative solutions and resilient infrastructure to enable societies to produce and consume in a more sustainable way

Week 8 – #13 Climate Action, #14 Life Below Water, #15 Life on Land 

  • The protection of human and non-human life by combating climate change and safeguarding oceans and terrestrial habitats including inland surface water

Week 9 – #16 Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions; #17 Partnerships for Goals

  • Collaboration between all society partners and stakeholders to create a world of peace and justice for all

Week 10 – Implementing the SDGs

  • Solutions and best practices at the individual, local, national, and international level

Week 11 – Monitoring, Evaluation, Reporting

  • Measuring SDG success through indicators, monitoring, evaluation, and reporting

Week 12 – Beyond Sustainability to Radical Transformation

  • The course will close with an introduction to taking the SDGs to the next level – changing world-views and perspective through radical transformation and thinking beyond sustainability


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Introduction to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Copyright © by Jocelyn Baker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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