Online International Bachelor & Master Summer School

The future is sustainable – it's in our hands!

Sustainable Development – ONLINE International Bachelor and Master Summer School: 23 27 August 2021

Centre for Development and Environment (CDE), University of Bern, Switzerland
3 ECTS-Credits


Achieving human well-being and eradicating poverty for all people on earth while protecting our planet’s climate and biodiversity is still possible – but much more needs to happen to bring about the required transformative changes. Guided by the UN’s 2030 Agenda as well as the levers and entry points for transformation outlined in the Global Sustainable Development Report 2019, we aim at understanding interconnections across individual goals and showing how a systemic perspective can help find solutions.

The purpose of this Summer School is to empower participants to act in the face of today’s complex sustainability challenges. In this one-week online course, experienced sustainability researchers will highlight the most important development challenges in their field of research. These presentations will alternate with study time where participants can deepen their knowledge individually or in groups. Moreover, participants will form interdisciplinary teams to co-design projects on solutions to concrete sustainability challenges. 

Structure of the Summer School

The course involves the following main elements:

  • Preparatory reading/activities prior to the course
  • Interactive thematic sessions with presentations by distinguished experts
  • Student projects in intercultural and interdisciplinary teams
  • Interactive Slack workspace and peer-to-peer exchange and learning
  • Presentation and discussion of student projects
  • Reflection on learnings for your bachelor/master studies

Learning outcomes and competences

The Summer School is designed to produce the following learning outcomes and competences:

Professional competences

  • You can explain the different concepts of sustainable development and are able to analyse and critically reflect on the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda and the related trade-offs.
  • You understand the urgency of action and are able to explain different entry points for sustainability transformation – illustrated through different examples.
  • You understand the complex and dynamic society–nature interactions involved in sustainability transformations.
  • You have honed your methodological skills for tackling complex questions of sustainable development.
  • You are able to identify sustainability challenges in your own living environment and, together with others, you explore possible solutions and work out appropriate strategies.
  • You critically reflect on how your specific fields of study can contribute to sustainability transformation in interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary contexts.

Social competences

  • You are able to communicate in an intercultural and interdisciplinary team, to argue clearly and comprehensibly, and to meet other students’ arguments and contributions with openness and curiosity.
  • You are able to perceive facts from different perspectives and deal with complex questions and problems.

Interpersonal competences

  • You are aware of global uncertainties, your perceptions, and your options for contributing to sustainability transformations, and you are empowered to initiate action.
  • You are able to develop positive visions of how your own living environment could be made more sustainable.