Sustainable development studies are available for all students at the University of Oulu
‘The University of Oulu is committed to promoting the UN's Sustainable Development Goals through its education and to offering education on the basics of sustainable development to the entire university community. Competence related to sustainable development will be central to working life in the future’, says Anni Huovinen, Specialist on Sustainable Development and Responsibility at the University of Oulu.
For several years, the University of Oulu has offered teaching on ecological, economic, social and cultural sustainability issues in various fields of education and degree programmes. The existing sustainability courses of all eight faculties were now compiled into minor subject studies. There are 48 courses, including online universities, from which students can choose the most interesting ones. Only the Basics of Sustainable Development course is mandatory. More than half of the courses can be completed in English.
‘By offering sustainable development as a minor subject, we want to make the studies more easily available for the students. At the same time, they have the opportunity to diversify their qualifications with expertise, the significance of which is constantly increasing in society and working life. The aim is also to promote multidisciplinary thinking and co-operation related to sustainability and responsibility by guiding the student to also select studies outside their field of study’, Huovinen continues.
Courses from climate change to corporate responsibility
Studies can be completed on topics such as climate change, biodiversity, corporate responsibility, equality and social justice. These include for example the basics of ecology and environmental chemistry, the reuse of electronic equipment, waste management and recycling, well-being at work and climate education.
Sustainable development courses organised by partner universities can also be included in the studies. The University of Oulu is involved in several networks that promote sustainability and responsibility, such as Climate University and the university development co-operation network UniPID.
‘Studies related to sustainability will probably expand over the next few years, as teachers have already been interested in designing completely new courses on the topic. In addition, the growth in co-operation between higher education institutions will diversify the selection of courses in the minor subject in the next few years,’, says Project Planner Leena Pääsky, who has led the practical planning of the studies.
Knowledge of sustainable development has been highlighted as one of the most important areas of competence in the future by several parties, such as the Finnish National Agency for Education's foresight assessments, the Ministry of Education and Culture and the University of Oulu's strategy, according to which the university aims to educate future leaders to build a more sustainable, intelligent and humane world.