Course syllabus for

Sustainable Health and Development, 7.5 credits

Hållbar hälsa och utveckling, 7.5 hp
This course syllabus is valid from spring 2023.
Please note that the course syllabus is available in the following versions:
Spring2023 , Autumn2024
Course code
Course name
Sustainable Health and Development
7.5 credits
Form of Education
Higher Education, study regulation 2007
Main field of study 
Public Health Sciences 
AV - Second cycle 
Grading scale
Fail (U), pass (G) or pass with distinction (VG)
Department of Global Public Health
Decided by
Education Committee GPH
Decision date
Course syllabus valid from
Spring 2023

Specific entry requirements

At least 120 credits within health care or medicine. Language skills equivalent to Swedish B and English A at Swedish upper secondary school are also required.


After the course, the student should be able to:

  • Describe the concepts of sustainable health and sustainable development and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) according to the 2030 Agenda 
  • Analyze expected effects on health of the major sustainability challenges, such as climate change, extreme poverty, inequality, and reflect in depth on how these can be prevented and responded to
  • Discuss how the challenges of sustainability may affect the clinical work of healthcare personnel, such as, possibly, a changed disease panorama or treatment complications due to a warmer climate
  • Reflect on how cooperation between different professions within and outside the healthcare organization contributes to improved health based on the sustainable development perspective
  • Know and practically use selected tools to work with sustainable health and development.



With the covid-19 pandemic, the climate crisis and war in our immediate proximity, it has become even more obvious how we face enormous health challenges linked to sustainable development. The health challenges strike differently, those who were already exposed become even more so. How do we reverse this trend and what can we do in healthcare to ensure that society develops in a sustainable direction? And how will clinical everyday practice change as the climate gets warmer? Society is currently poorly equipped against these parallel crises, but there are tools to respond to them and limit their health effects. It is clear, however, that the health challenges cannot be solved by the health care system alone. We must learn to collaborate between different professions and sectors and use other tools than the ones we use today.

The course is based on the concepts of sustainable health and sustainable development. The global sustainability challenges are complex and integrated with each other. To meet these global challenges, we need to develop sustainable leadership and multi-sector collaboration and a systems approach that takes into account the needs of the planet, society, organizations, others, our own and future generations.

In this course, we will discuss sustainability challenges such as the climate crisis and other environmental issues, poverty and inequality, food safety, antibiotic resistance and other safety issues. We discuss solutions to these challenges from a health and rights perspective and how we need to adapt to the new reality that the challenges bring. The course also touches on how healthcare affects sustainable development and how we can contribute to sustainable healthcare. The connection between mental health and sustainable development is also discussed. During the course, you as a student will also get to know and use various tools to respond to and study sustainability issues, so-called Tools for Action.


Teaching methods

The teaching consists of interactive lectures, workshops, case studies, seminars where the students work together in interprofessional groups, and independent project work, which incorporates an interprofessional perspective.


The course is examined through participation in discussions at seminars. Attendance is taken here. If a student misses a seminar, the student supplements with a written assignment in which a shorter text is compiled using the course literature. In addition, the student must complete an individual written assignment. To pass, it is required that the student has made use of, and correctly referred to, relevant literature as well as used one of the tools presented on the course to respond to a sustainability issue and its effect on health. An alternative tool can be used after approval from the course management. For the grade well passed, it is required that the student has achieved well passed on the written assignment. 

Compulsory participation
Seminars are compulsory. Absence from compulsory seminars is compensated by a written assignment, the form of which is specified by the course director at the beginning of the course. The examiner assesses if, and in that case how, absence from compulsory parts can be compensated. Before the student has participated in all compulsory parts or compensated absence in accordance with the examiner's instructions, the student's results for respective part will not be registered. Absence from a compulsory activity may result in that the student cannot compensate the absence until the next time the course is given.

Students who have not passed the regular examination are entitled to participate in five more examinations. If the student has not passed the exam after four participations, he/she is encouraged to visit the study advisor. If the student has failed six examinations/tests, no additional examination or new admission is provided.
The number of times that the student has participated in one and the same examination is regarded as an examination session.
Submission of blank exam is regarded as an examination session. An examination for which the student registered but not participated in, will not be counted as an examination.

If there are special grounds, or a need for adaptation for a student with a disability, the examiner may decide to deviate from the syllabus's regulations on the examination form, the number of examination opportunities, the possibility of supplementation or exemptions from the compulsory section/s of the course etc. Content and learning outcomes as well as the level of expected skills, knowledge and abilities may not be changed, removed or reduced.

Transitional provisions

Examination will be provided during a time of two years after a possible cancellation of the course. Examination can take place according to an earlier literature list during a time of one year after the date when a major renewal of the literature list has been made.

Other directives

Course evaluation will be carried out in accordance with the guidelines established by the Committee for Higher Education.

Literature and other teaching aids

Hedenus, Fredrik; Persson, U. Martin; Sprei, Frances Hållbar utveckling : nyanser och tolkningar
Additional articles and reports will be dealt out during the course.