PINS9550 Educational perspectives on sustainability Emneplan

Engelsk emnenavn
Educational perspectives on sustainability
PhD Programme in Innovation for Sustainability
5 stp.


This course addresses sustainability through theoretical perspectives on education. Education has the potential to change current practices and contribute to the transformation of ideas, attitudes, habits and values in societies. Formal education, starting with kindergarten and general education and then, through professional studies and the PhD degree, offers a unique arena for developing the skills and competencies, that is, literacies, needed to create a more sustainable future. Learning is a lifelong project and involves the transfer of knowledge and skills. This course discusses the effect of education and invites reflection on changes within and across cultures and societies. It also addresses changes in the creative industries due to innovation, digitalisation, technology and globalism, and sustainable perspectives on learning and education. The syllabus may be abbreviated and adapted to fit the interest of the participants of the course in cooperation with the supervisors.


The focus will be on critical reflection and literacy. The course invites questioning of why we act as we do and how education can contribute to critical consumption and consciousness. The course addresses the reflective citizen and invites reflection on how sustainability as part of education can change behaviour and actions and pave the way for innovative cooperation between citizens and professionals on community environmental challenges. The course introduces perspectives on new materialism and making practises as well as on the social lives of materials and products and their implications for cultural identities. It emphasises the exploration of future scenarios throughout. The candidates are invited to identify future-oriented research needs.

The course will address the following, non-exclusive themes:

    • Critical reflection and literacy
    • Media literacies and media communication
    • The reflective citizen and consumption culture
    • Changing practises and sustainable production
    • New materialism and implications for cultural practices and sustainability
    • Material performativity


Completed Master’s degree (120 ECTS credits) or equivalent education level.


Upon completing the course, the candidates are expected to have gained the following learning outcomes (knowledge, skills and general competence).


The candidate: 

  • has in-depth, advanced knowledge of concepts and theories on critical reflection and literacy that are tied to sustainability and education.
  • can critically reflect on the effect of education on innovation for sustainability and can contribute to new insights on consumption culture and changes within society.
  • has advanced, updated knowledge about the social lives of materials (agency) and their implications for cultural identities.
  • has advanced knowledge about new materialism theories and can critically reflect on their implications for cultural practices, innovation, and sustainability.



The candidate:

  • can handle complex analysis of theory and practice and can contribute to new knowledge and insights on education for sustainability.
  • can reflect on and combine different theoretical perspectives from critical reflection and literacy to identify future research needs on consumption culture and innovative cooperation between citizens and professionals.
  • can evaluate existing theories on new materialism and can challenge established knowledge and practices.
  • can formulate research questions based on advanced analysis of existing theories and can contribute to the development of the field, both nationally and internationally.


General  competence

The candidate:

  • can identify, reflect on and handle ethical issues in the field.
  • can communicate with scholarly integrity and contribute to the national and international debate on sustainability and education.
  • can assess the need for and initiate future-oriented, innovative cooperation between citizens and professionals.

Arbeids- og undervisningsformer

Lectures and workshops, both theoretical and practical.

Arbeidskrav og obligatoriske aktiviteter

Active participation in the seminars is necessary to adequately understand the course material and themes. Participation is therefore mandatory, and candidates are expected to attend all days of teaching and required to attend at least 80 percent of teaching days. In special cases of documented illness, the course leader may accept exceptions to this requirement. In these cases, lack of participation can be substituted with alternative arrangements such as active reading of the relevant syllabus literature. Course requirements are assessed as confirmed or not confirmed. The course requirement must be completed and confirmed within the given deadline in order to have the right to submit the final exam.

The course requirements are:

  • Each candidate will arrange a practical workshop relevant to the PhD project, alone or in collaboration with other candidates. In addition, participation in a number of the other workshops is mandatory.
  • 80 % attendance is required. 

Vurdering og eksamen

Confirmed participation in the course and accepted exam.

Portfolio exam:

  • Documentation of the development and execution of a practical workshop arranged by the candidate, alone or in collaboration with other candidates.
  • An individual reflection note (3000-4000 words) discussing experiences and reflections drawn from the workshop and the syllabus, relevant to the PhD project. Cover page, illustrations, and list of references come in addition.

Hjelpemidler ved eksamen

All examination support material is allowed as long as source reference and quotation technique requirements are applied.


Assessment is pass/ fail. If an essay is graded fail, the candidate has one opportunity resubmit a revised essay within a given time-period.


The final exam is assessed by the course lecturer and one other examinator. External examinators will be used regularly. The assessment is based on the learning outcomes for the course.


The course is primarily for PhD candidates. Unfilled places may be opened to applicants with a relevant Master’s degree or equivalent. Applicants must submit a summary (approximately one A4- sized page) containing information on their PhD project. The summary must be submitted before the deadline for Applications.