Ocean-Climate-Society: Sustainability summer course

Undergraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

In 2015 the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with 17 interconnected Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) addressing the global challenges of poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, prosperity, peace, and justice.

This course will employ the SDGs as a platform from which to gain a comprehensive understanding of planetary sustainability. This includes building skills for interdisciplinary cooperation needed for humanity to thrive for generations to come, simultaneously avoiding large-scale abrupt or irreversible environmental change. The course aims at recruiting a highly interdiscliplinary student group to facilitate incorporating individual differences of opinions and actions, cultural and social backgrounds and learning negotiating across these differences.

SDG200 is an interdisciplinary course, with a particular focus on SDG14 (Life below water) and SDG13 (Climate action). The course further showcases SDG17 (Partnerships), while at all times reflecting upon how all SDGs are embedded and interlinked within the Agenda 2030.

In 2022 the course will take place on board Staatsraad Lehmkuhl in the Pacific Ocean (see more details under "Teaching and learning methods"). Living and studying onboard will facilitate active and experiential learning. Working in teams will highlight the importance of cooperation whether sailing a tall ship or contributing towards a sustainable future. Multiple stops in Pacific island countries, including a longer stay in Fiji, allows the students to interact with and learn from local communities and experience first-hand how life in the Pacific region is connected to the ocean and climate.

More information and FAQ: www.uib.no/oneocean

Learning Outcomes


Upon completion of the course, a student should be able to:

  • Engage with the sustainability challenges in Agenda 2030, while acknowledging the role of individual and collective actions.
  • Explain how planetary boundaries define the safe operating space for humanity.
  • Reflect upon the role of oceans in global climate, ecological, oceanographic, and food systems.
  • Compare different fisheries management systems and approaches.
  • Explain the greenhouse effect and the relative importance of natural and man-made emissions for climate change in the past and the future.
  • Recognise the human impacts on the climate system and assess the risks to local ecosystems and societies.
  • Explain the international frameworks, including legal, for climate assessment, adaption and mitigation.
  • Recognise and explain connections between social, cultural, economic and environmental challenges in achieving socially just and sustainable societies.
  • Explain basic nautical terms and expressions including rigging, sails and ropes.
  • Explain basic ecological, oceanographic and meteorological concepts, relating the latter two to global wind systems and ocean currents.


Upon completion of the course, a student should be able to:

  • Assess which human activities contribute most to climate change (on an individual, local, national and global level).
  • Apply concepts of sustainability and planetary boundaries to develop a sustainability solution.
  • Apply behavioural science to understand attitudes and behaviours towards sustainable development
  • Apply natural, behavioural and social science methods and data to evaluate sustainability solutions and their impacts.
  • Explore connections and contrasts between scientific literature and the literature of reports, conventions and popular science literature.
  • Analyse current scientific knowledge and identify research needs related to SDG¿s.
  • Design a study using qualitative and quantitative research methods, and explain how these are needed for finding solutions for sustainable development.
  • Apply simple models of climate and population dynamics.
  • Evaluate climate adaptation measures.
  • Analyse case studies from the Pacific region, including regionalism, political agendas, international treaties, and sustainability efforts.
  • Participate in sail setting and trimming, basic navigation and watch procedures.
  • Analyse and contextualise social phenomena that arise from unsustainable practices

General competences

Upon completion of the course, a student should be able to:

  • Accommodate individual differences of opinions and actions, cultural and social backgrounds and negotiate across these differences.
  • Contribute to interdisciplinary teams and value the different roles within such teams.
  • Identify differences between scientific knowledge, values and opinions, and critically evaluate different types of arguments in societally relevant debates.
  • Collect, interpret and communicate data in the field
  • Provide constructive feedback and conduct peer-reviews verbally and in written form.
  • Evaluate current political processes and ways to influence these at an individual, community and regional level.
  • Compose and use scientifically valid arguments in societally relevant debates.
  • Analyze uncertainty and its role in science and decision-making.


ECTS Credits


Level of Study

Bachelor and master

Semester of Instruction

Not taught 2023

Place of Instruction

In 2022 the teaching will take place on board Statsraad Lehmkuhl sailing over the Pacific Ocean from Valparaiso, Chile, to Palau.
Required Previous Knowledge
Students applying for admission to the course should have studied at least one year at university level (min. 60 ECTS) at the applicationdate (before October 18th). Minimum average grade C (3.00), will be based on the best grades.
Recommended Previous Knowledge
Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap
SDG313 (5 ECTS), SDG214 (5 ECTS)
Access to the Course
Not relevant in 2023
Teaching and learning methods
In 2022 SDG200 took place on board sailing vessel Statsraad Lehmkuhl during the One Ocean Expedition.
Compulsory Assignments and Attendance
When the course run in 2022 it was compulsory attendance during the whole course, including active participation in sailing duties. Approved compulsory assignments.
Forms of Assessment

Portfolio assessment, consisting of:

  • individual essays and reflections
  • group essays and presentations
  • peer reviews of fellow students¿ assignments
  • preparing for and performing a debate
  • book presentations
  • outreach tasks (tweets, FB posts, blog texts)


Grading Scale
Assessment Semester
Reading List
The reading list will be available within July 1st for the autumn semester and December 1st for the spring semester.
Course Evaluation
The course will be evaluated by the students in accordance with the quality assurance system at UiB and the department]
Examination Support Material
Programme Committee
The Programme Committee is responsible for the content, structure and quality of the study programme and courses.
Course Administrator
The department of biological sciences