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Student reading in the grass. Summer.

Summer School for Sustainability

The University of Gothenburg’s 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 likeminded people for four inspirational weeks in one of the most sustainable cities in the world.

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

The courses are tuition free and open for students of our partner universities and Swedish students. You find information about how and when to apply 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.


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.

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.


Faculty of Social Sciences

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.  Through a focus on the theoretically-driven analysis of the formulation and implementation of migration and integration policies, the course sensitizes students to the diverse ways in which scholars draw upon theory and methods to better explain the dynamics associated with managing migration and integration.

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).


Faculty of Science

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).

Students walking in Haga, Gothenburg
Photo: Peter Widing

Social activities and housing

Outside of the classroom you will immerse yourself in Swedish culture and experience summer in beautiful Gothenburg. The city was ranked as the most sustainable destination four years in a row (2016-2019) by the Global Destination Index and has been named the European Capital of Smart Tourism 2020. An extensive social programme is offered for all students, including interdisciplinary seminars, daytrips and practical workshops, as well as a welcome ceremony and a farewell event.

All students will be offered accommodation. The estimated price for the four week period will be 4000-5000 SEK including wi-fi and basic equipment, depending on your choice of accommodation.

You also need to plan for living expenses, for exemple food and public transportation, and flight or train tickets to get here.

On this page you will find information about cost of living in Sweden.

We will offer the students pick-up service upon arrival. More detailed information will follow.

Student, arrival day

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 is accepted, you will receive more information about the application process.

Nomination period: November 10 2020 - January 3 2021

Application period: January 4 - 31 2021

Plan B (COVID-19)

Our top priority is your safety and well-being, as well as that of our community. Given the evolving COVID-19 situation, we therefore have a digital Plan B. This way, we can ensure that there will be a summer school 2021.

Why you should study sustainability in 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).