Sustainable Development and Politics BA (Hons)

Course code D44P

What is special about this course?

The world is facing the prospect of a climate emergency, with decision-makers grappling with how to understand and respond to the pressures on our environment and society. Sustainable Development, from the local to the global, is essential if society is to tackle the challenges faced. The necessary changes will impact on every facet of society, culture and the economy: this is a critical moment to study sustainability. 

This BA (Hons) Sustainable Development and Politics will examine the facts about climate change, explore the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and consider potential and emerging solutions such as the Green New Deals, the concept of ‘degrowth’ and the transition to wellbeing economies, leaving you ideally placed to influence - or indeed become - one of the decision-makers. 

The degree also focuses on how communities can shape a more sustainable form of development, particularly in rural settings. Most of our teaching team are based in the Western Isles where 75% of people live on community-owned land. This sets the context for us to study community-based development, land reform, community empowerment and community energy projects, which can all contribute to a more sustainable future. 

To develop a critical understanding of the three pillars of sustainability (social, environmental, economic), you will study modules drawn from a range of social science disciplines such as geography, economics, politics, sociology, and environmental studies, as well as developing practical skills in research and working with communities. The modules take a critical approach to examining the historical context to development, whilst looking firmly to the future and drawing examples of change in action from around the globe. 

The politics modules of this joint degree will follow the four main pillars of political study; you will study International relations, Comparative politics, and Applied politics, all feeding from the central pillar of Political theory. You will also study green ideologies, such as ecoism and ecologism, as well as environmental policies and the ways they are formed. You can apply to this degree with little more than a keen interest in politics: the modules become incrementally more specialised as the semesters go on and you can choose introductory options that will develop your understanding at a steady pace. Political leaders are so pivotal to climate change and sustainable futures that the combined study of politics along with sustainable development could not be more timely. 

Delivered entirely online and available to study from anywhere in the world, you will benefit from collaborative discussions and activities with colleagues from a range of diverse backgrounds and experiences, facilitated by tutors with many years of experience in delivering online education.

Special features

  • This degree is delivered by tutors with years of experience of teaching at a distance, and can be studied from home, full- or part-time, to suit your circumstances
  • According to the UK's Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), Geography graduates are among the most likely to find employment. More than 90 per cent are in work or further study within six months of graduating (Times Higher Education 2017)
  • There is an optional residential weekend each year, usually taking place in the Highlands and Islands, which will give you the opportunity to meet practitioners, staff and other students in an informal setting 

Accommodation

We offer modern student accommodation at a number of our locations.

Entry requirements

  • 3 Scottish Highers at grades BBC or above or
  • 2 A levels at grades BC or above
  • At least 2 should be from the list of required subjects
  • Additional qualifications and experiences will be considered on an individual basis

Advanced entry

  • HNC Social Science (12 SCQF credits) with 3 additional SCQF credits at level 7, which is equivalent to 120 degree credit points, and at least grade C in the Graded Unit, will be considered for direct entry to year two

Year 1 - CertHE

You will study the following modules: 

  • Understanding sustainable development (S1) 
  • Exploring economics in a changing world (S2) 
  • Ideas and ideologies in politics (S1)
  • Evolving politics of the UK (S2)

You will also choose two further option modules from other humanities subjects.

Year 2 - DipHE

You will study the following modules: 

  • Approaches to economic development (S1) 
  • Empowering communities (S1) 
  • History of political Ideas (S1)
  • Comparative politics (S2)

You will also choose two further option modules from other humanities subjects. 

Year 3 - BA

You will normally study the following modules: 

  • Globalisation and sustainable development (S1)
  • Sustainable tourism and the environment (S2)  
  • Modern political ideas (S1)

You will also study two of the following:

  • Advanced social research methods (S1) OR Climate change (S1) 
  • Advanced social research methods (S1) OR European Politics (S2)

Year 4 - BA (Hons)

You will complete either a Sustainable Development or Politics dissertation. 

You will also study one option module from your chosen dissertation subject, plus three option modules from the other subject.

Modules may include:

  • Geo-political development issues (S1)
  • The consumerist society (S2) 
  • Social enterprise and the social economy (S1) 
  • Democratising Europe (S1)
  • Political theory (S2) 
  • Geopolitics (S1)

How will I study my course?

  • Full-time
  • Part-time (structured)
  • Part-time (unstructured)
  • You will learn through a combination of video-conference lectures and tutorials, and online study via the university's virtual learning environment (VLE), with support from your tutors.

How long will my course last?

  • Full-time: 4 years @ 40 hours per week
  • Part-time (structured): 8 years @ up to 20 hours per week
  • Part-time (unstructured): variable

Number of hours per week indicates the total number of hours you should dedicate to the course, which includes time spent in lectures and your own time spent on individual study and research.

Where can I study my course?

  • Argyll
  • Outer Hebrides
  • West Highland

Start date

  • September

Fees

For students normally domiciled in Scotland, with a term-time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

This includes

  • EU nationals with settled or pre-settled status in the UK,
  • EEA/Swiss nationals with settled status in the UK
  • EEA/Swiss nationals with pre-settled status who are self-employed or migrant workers in the UK.
Degrees2021-222022-23
Full-time (120 credit modules) per year £1,820 £1,820
Part-time (structured) (3 x 20 credit modules) per year £645 £645
Part-time (unstructured per module) (per 20 credit module) £215 £215

Rest of UK students

For students normally domiciled in the rest of the UK (England, Wales and N. Ireland, including Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) and with a term time address in Scotland studying this course full time, the following fees apply:

Full-timeLevel2021-222022-23
Year 1 CertHE £9,000 £9,250
Year 2 DipHE £9,000 £9,250
Year 3 Degree £9,000 £9,250
Year 4 Honours free free

4th year free only for students studying full-time, on continuous study, who have paid for the previous three years at the University of the Highlands and Islands.

Part-time (per 20 credit module) - £1,542.

Fees are payable in advance each academic year unless otherwise agreed.

There are a number of funding options available to UK students to help you pay for your studies and your cost of living while studying.

EU/EEA and Swiss nationals without settled or pre-settled status in the UK

Following the UK’s departure from the European Union, the Scottish Government confirmed that EU/EEA and Swiss nationals, who do not have settled or pre-settled status, will be considered as international for fee purposes.  For 2022-23, students will get an automatic scholarship of £3,000 per annum and the 4th year of study will be free for those studying full-time, on continuous study, who have paid for the previous three years at the University of the Highlands and Islands.

This includes EEA/Swiss nationals with pre-settled status who are not self-employed or migrant workers in the UK.

Year Level 2021-22 Full-time With scholarship 2022-23 Full-time
With scholarship
Year 1 CertHE £12,360 £9,360  £13,020  £10,020  
Year 2 DipHE £12,360 £9,360  £13,020  £10,020  
Year 3 Degree £12,360 £9,360 £13,020  £10,020  
Year 4 Honours Free Free Free  Free 

Students will need Student Route visa sponsorship to study on the UK.

International students

For students who do not normally reside in the UK or European Union and with a term-time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

  2021-222022-23
Full-time (120 credit modules) per year £12,360 £13,020
Part-time (structured) (3 x 20 credit modules) per year** £6,180 £6,510
Part-time (unstructured per module) (per 20 credit module)** £2,060 £2,170

Part-time study is not open to international students requiring Student Route visa sponsorship to study in the UK.

Further information on international course fees.

A no fee increase guarantee is available for self-funding full-time and structured part-time rest of the UK, EU and international undergraduate students for continuous study for the same award, up to the permitted standard time limit for the relevant award.

Funding

External scholarships and financial support may be available. Contact the relevant UHI partner college for more information.

Additional costs

If you wish to attend an optional residential weekend, or to join other field trips, student contributions will be required towards the overall costs incurred. The cost will vary depending on the event, your location and the amount of other funding available towards the event (eg HISA contributions to the Student Society Residential weekend may reduce costs for individual students). Attendance at such face to face events is optional and not essential for completion of the course.  

What can I do on completion of my course?

Once you have successfully completed this BA (Hons) Sustainable Development and Politics, you might like to consider careers in: 

  • Government departments and development agencies 
  • Economic development departments of local authorities 
  • Community enterprises and community energy groups 
  • Community land initiatives 
  • Natural and rural heritage organisations 
  • Voluntary sector development posts 
  • International non-governmental organisations 
  • Independent consultancy on sustainability 
  • Political and economic departments of local authorities
  • Uniformed services
  • Electoral administrations
  • Assisting politicians
  • The trade union movement
  • Political party administration
  • Parliamentary work
  • The civil service
  • Researcher
  • Think tank work
  • Teaching

Apply for Sustainable Development and Politics BA (Hons)

I want to start in Aug/Sep 2022

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at the University of the Highlands and Islands. We operate a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of gender, age, disability, ethnicity and socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.