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Student reading in the grass. Summer.

Summer School for Sustainability

The Summer School for Sustainability is a chance to take action on sustainability and deepen your understanding of global challenges and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. A chance to join an international cohort of like-minded people for five inspirational weeks.

The University of Gothenburg's very first Summer School for Sustainability has now been completed - entirely digitally. It was very successful! More than 180 students from over 20 countries studied together throughout July.

Since our Summer School is here to stay, we are already working with 2022’s edition. We will update this page with more information as soon as possible, so keep checking back!


Please note: the information below applies to the summer of 2021 and will soon be updated for the summer of 2022.

The summer school offers a programme of courses and digital activities to create synergy around sustainable solutions and encourage interdisciplinary collaboration.

The courses are open for students from our partner universities and for those who are eligible to apply for courses through the Swedish national system. You find information about how and when to apply as an exchange student from our partner universities below.

You will be able to get accepted for one 7,5 credits (ECTS) course, running over a four week period. The courses start July 5 2021 and end July 30 2021.

Tuition fee

The courses are free of charge for all students from our partner universities and for non-paying students from Swedish universities. Please note that if you are a fee-paying student at a Swedish university, you will be obliged to pay tuition fee for the summer school courses.


All courses offered will focus on the issues relating to the Sustainable Development Goals and will provide a challenging and rewarding academic atmosphere for you to develop knowledge around contemporary sustainability challenges within your own academic discipline as well as skills necessary to contribute towards fulfilling Agenda 2030.

All courses are on Bachelor level and taught in English.

Please note: Most of the course leaders and teachers are planning to record the lectures to at least some extent, so problems with different time zones can be met as well as possible. Please click on the courses and check the preliminary schedules. If there is more information about course content being available online for students, it will be indicated there. All the information will be updated regularly.

You will receive a Transcript of Records when the course is completed.

Faculty of Social Sciences

The course juxtaposes two important phenomena – inequality and climate change – and takes it point of departure in the recognition of the inextricably interconnected character of humans and nature. Supposedly natural phenomena (like disasters) invariably have interconnectedness human dimensions and supposedly human phenomena (like urbanization or land tenure) invariably have ecological dimensions.

To grapple with the question of climate change is therefore to confront the question of climate justice, and reflect on inequality, its various scales, its causes, and its consequences for climate change mitigation or adaptation.

The course consists of three modules:

  • Perspectives and debates
  • Case studies of contemporary challenges
  • New paradigms and ways forward

We will address some of the current global issues, such as deforestation, agrarian crisis, water management, conservation, and disasters, and will reflect on the interaction between science and politics. We will review debates on risk, uncertainty and attribution, “evidence-based policy”, as well as the use of data by activists and think tanks and the struggles over knowledge in which these are embedded.

Prerequisites for this course: None, except for the general requirements regarding application.

This course is linked to Global Goal number: 10 (Reduced Inequalities) and 13 (Climate Action)



Faculty of Education

The course addresses how aspects of sustainable development can be taught in formal and informal educational settings to encourage greater awareness of sustainability issues. Multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives on the complex concept of sustainable development will be discussed from an educational perspective, in which teaching and learning will be problematised and informed by educational research from different perspectives. The course aims to increase student's ability to reflect on and centrally position, both as individuals and in subject groups, issues of sustainable development across all forms of education.

The course is oriented around three thematic strands:

  • Human activities and their impact on society and the environment
  • Social participation and the politics of engagement
  • Personal and curriculum values in relation to life on earth

The experiences and cultural backgrounds of the participants will be an integral part of all three strands.

Prerequisites for this course: None, except for the general requirements regarding application.

This course is linked to Global Goal number: 4 (Quality education), 3 (Good health and well-being), 10 (Reduced inequalities), 12 (Responsible consumption and production) and 13 (Climate action).


School of Business, Economics and Law

This course will be available to students who wish to develop a deeper understanding of strategies and solutions related to sustainability issues in global value chains and assess the impact on stakeholders.

The interaction between the physical, information and financial layers of global value chains will be considered from a law and policy perspective through a combination of lectures and group activities to analyse the sustainability challenges faced by various stakeholders.

Students will evaluate contracts, policy documents, memorandum of understanding, treaties, and domestic laws of selected countries where certain value chains are located to determine SDG challenges and propose solutions.

Prerequisites for this course: To be eligible for this course you must have completed at least one year of full-time studies at the undergraduate level.


FH1550, Summer 2021

7.5 credits, First Cycle

Faculty of Social Sciences: School of Public Administration

One of the central challenges facing the public sector in all states at the moment is the successful management of migration and integration. The ongoing refugee crises (including those involving internally displaced peoples), a growing number of climate refugees, the free movement of citizens within the European Union, and the continued need from both the private and public sector for skilled and unskilled labor from outside the European Union have combined to make migration an especially salient issue for scholars, policymakers, bureaucrats and the general public more broadly.

This course provides students with an introduction to this key societal challenge facing states, regions and municipalities.  It highlights the key forms of migration being witnessed and details how the associated challenges and possibilities are being problematized by migration scholars. 

In addition to seminars with migration scholars from the University of Gothenburg, course sessions will include presentations, discussions and workshops with a diverse group of international public servants, civil society staff and researchers.  The course will meet for approximately 12 hours per week.  All instruction will take place online.  The language of instruction is English.

The course supervisor and main instructor is Gregg Bucken-Knapp, Professor in the School of Public Administration at the University of Gothenburg). Additional teaching staff includes:

  • Iryna Aleksieiva (Deputy President, NGO Right To Protection, Ukraine)
  • Alexandra Bousiou (Post-Doctoral Researcher, School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg
  • Farah Haidar (Caseworker, Swedish Migration Board)
  • Naoko Hashimoto (Associate Professor, Global Education Program, Hitotsubashi University, Japan)
  • Xinqi He (PhD Candidate, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Tokyo, Japan)
  • Hanna Hellgren (PhD Candidate, School of Public Administration, University of Gothenburg)
  • Olga Ivanova (Operations Director, NGO Stabilization Support Services, Ukraine)
  • Tatia Lomtadze (Senior Specialist, Migration Department, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Republic of Georgia)
  • Keit Spiegel (Adviser, Ministry of Interior, Republic of Estonia)
  • Andreas Lundstedt (PhD Candidate, School of Public Administration, University of Gothenburg)
  • Marion Tamberg (Adviser, Ministry of Interior, Republic of Estonia)
  • Mariel Värk (Support Service Coordinator, Estonian Refugee Council)

Prerequisites for this course: None, except for the general requirements regarding application.

This course is linked to Global Goal number: 8.8 (Protect labour rights and promote safe and secure working environments for all workers, including migrant workers, in particular women migrants, and those in precarious employment), 10.7 (Facilitate orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people, including through the implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies.), 11 (Sustainable cities and communities) and 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions).


Biodiversity in Western Sweden will give a general introduction to biodiversity, its patterns and processes, and the reasons for its decline in recent history.

This will include:

  • how biodiversity is defined at different levels (molecular, species, ecosystem)
  • an introduction to common West Coast species
  • how biodiversity is coupled to our everyday lives (ecosystem services / natures contributions to people)
  •  an introduction to living and preserved collections and their value in research and society

It will further explore the threats to biodiversity, and how we understand these threats through eg. red listing and IUCN assessments.

The course will be given in connection with Gothenburg Global Biodiversity Centre partners, and focus on both theoretical and practical work around both in situ and ex situ conservation efforts with examples from their organisations.

Prerequisites for this course: None, except for the general requirements regarding application.

This course is linked to Global Goal number: 14 (Life below water) and 15 (Life on land).

Faculty of Humanities

The course focuses on practical and theoretical aspects of rock art research and sustainable cultural heritage management. This includes the implications of different documentation methods and interpretations of rock art images as well as introducing cultural heritage on the example of the UNESCO world heritage site "Rock art in Tanum". The course follows a hands-on teaching philosophy.

The course consists of lectures, workshops, and seminars.

  • Lectures will introduce concepts and theories of rock art research and cultural heritage management.
  • The workshops provide the opportunity to gain experience in documentation methods firsthand.
  • During the seminars we will discuss questions and issues surrounding rock art research and sustainable cultural heritage management.

The methodological and theoretical aspects of rock art that will be discussed include landscapes, distribution patterns, elevation models and shore displacement. This includes a strong focus on preserving the cultural heritage and the environment.

Apart from introducing rock art as a global heritage, the course will use the case of the rock art in Tanum to discuss how to negotiate the requirements for a protection of the UNESCO world cultural heritage, the heritage of the recent past, and nature within the concept of a "biological cultural heritage" (biologiskt kulturarv) envisioned by the Swedish National Heritage Board. The students will also gain a basic insight into institutions involved in rock art research like the Swedish Rock Art Research Archives.

The course has a hands-on outlook and the students will gain experience in various documentation methods. There will be a group and an individual assignment to evaluate the learned content of the course.

Prerequisites for this course: None, except for the general requirements regarding application.

This course is linked to Global Goal number: 5 (Quality education), 11 (Sustainable cities and communities) and 15 (Life on land).

Digital activities

Outside of the digital classroom you will be offered an interesting programme, including interdisciplinary seminars, practical workshops, opportunities to get to know your co-students as well as a welcome and farewell ceremony.

General requirements

To be eligible to apply, you must be enrolled in and have successfully completed at least one semester at one of our partner universities at the time of application and during the Summer School. A CEFR B2 English proficiency level is expected, though no formal test is required.

How to apply

To be able to apply you must receive a nomination from your home university. Contact the international coordinator at your home university to check if your university has signed a formal exchange agreement with the University of Gothenburg. If so, the coordinator sends an e-mail to and receives a link to the nomination form.

Once the nomination period has expired, you will receive the application link by e-mail and your international coordinator will be asked to send a signed Transcript of Records.

Please note however that we will need to make a selection once the students have applied. The selection will primarily be based on achieving an balanced mix of students from Swedish universities and international students from different countries and universities for every course, and on total amount of credits earned (translated to ECTS).


Nomination period: November 10, 2020 - March 1, 2021

Application period: March 2 - 12, 2021

Please note that the application deadline now has passed.

Why you should study sustainability at the University of Gothenburg

University of Gothenburg is at the forefront of sustainability work in teaching and research, and the university has been highly ranked two years in a row in Times Higher Education´s ranking for its work towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. The university is also the host of the Nordic Chapter of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN).