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Sustainability Science

MESS33, 10 credits

The course allows students to develop skills that foster more nuanced understandings of complex sustainability challenges.

In addition to gaining an understanding of the evolution of the field of sustainability science, students develop knowledge about the possibilities and limitations of inter- and transdisciplinary approaches in sustainability research. The majority of course learning activities concentrate on participants developing competences with different tools and system approaches used for understanding coupled socio-ecological systems. These include, DPSIR, Causal Loop Diagrams, stock and flow thinking, the multi-level perspective (MLP), and the Ostrom SES Framework. Furthermore, students gain basic proficiencies with anticipatory processes including scenario analysis and visioning.

Students also develop inter-personal abilities such as presentation skills, professional report writing, among others. Most of all, emphasis is placed on students improving their group work skills.

Literature list

Literature list, established 2021-05-20 PDF (420 kB)


Note: From the autumn of 2022, this course will be replaced by MESS18 Sustainability Science, 7.5 credits.


I found the systems thinking block particularly interesting and intellectually stimulating. I also found all the frameworks we covered very helpful and relevant.


Student, Batch 23

Interview with Barry Ness about the LUMES course Sustainability Science