Sustainable developmentOrganization logo: Leiden University

About this minor

This interdisciplinary minor addresses sustainability challenges from a systems perspective, and investigates ways to sustain society within planetary boundaries.

The minor provides knowledge of society, energy and material flows, climate change, land use and biodiversity, and the interlinkages between these. You will also be taught academic skills and tools to design interdisciplinary solutions to sustainability challenges, including innovative and circular economy approaches. Moreover, you will improve a lot of practical skills like English writing, debating and presenting. In the final course of the minor, you can apply your acquired skills and knowledge to current and real-life sustainability challenges in the Netherlands or in Portugal.

Whether you are a language or chemistry student, a biologist or a cultural anthropologist, the minor Sustainable Development is open and of interest to third year bachelor students from all degree programmes. Please note that we can accommodate a maximum of 90 students. Admission is based on a first come, first served basis. Students of Leiden University are given priority over external students.

Why opt for the minor Sustainable Development?

  • It is a specially designed minor with courses that are closely coordinated
  • You will learn how the world’s major problems can be made manageable
  • You will work within both a local and a global context
  • The course uses modern teaching methods (debates, seminars, flipped-classroom, e-learning)
  • The course combines academic and practical skills
  • You will receive extensive feedback from teachers and from your peers

Learning outcomes

After completing the minor Sustainable Development, you will be able to: A. Describe the world as a complex system of cycles and processes, and explain how that affects sustainability challenges;

B. Use theory, factual knowledge and a system’s perspective to explain the drivers of sustainability challenges and how they interact with economy, culture and biodiversity;

C. Analyse complex sustainability problems using various methodologies, and use the results to propose well-founded and creative ideas for solutions;

D. Substantiate and defend statements and findings regarding sustainability challenges and proposed solutions to a broad audience, both verbally and in writing;

E. Identify how the knowledge and skills of your major programme can contribute to managing and solving sustainability challenges;

F. Recognise the value of the interdisciplinarity of the field of Sustainable Development by integrating different perspectives and sensitively interacting with people with different backgrounds.

Additional information

  • Theme
  • Credits
    ECTS 30
  • Selection minor
If anything remains unclear, please check the FAQ of Leiden University.


  • Start date

    4 september 2023

    • Ends
      2 februari 2024
    • Term *
      Minor semester 1
    • Location
    • Instruction language
    • Register between
      16 May, 13:00 - 15 Jul 2023
    Enrolment period closed
These offerings are valid for students of Erasmus University