Student reading in the grass. Summer.

Summer School for Sustainability - on campus 2022

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. Join an international cohort of like-minded people for five inspirational weeks, between July 4 and August 5, in the beautiful city of Gothenburg.

The Summer School offers a programme of courses and 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 five week period. The courses start July 4 2022 and end August 5 2022.

Students at Pedagogen
Photo: Natalie Greppi


Summer School for Sustainability is set in Gothenburg, a vibrant summer city on the west coast, and housed in one of our modern teaching complexes right in the city centre. Just a few paces away from the classroom you’ll find restaurants and pubs, shops, parks and entertainment. The Summer School building offers spacious and technologically equipped classrooms as well as areas for reading, group work and a self-catered café area with microwaves. The south of the building faces the canal with a sprawling terrace perfect for lounging and reading during hot summer days. Surrounding forest areas and the ocean is just a bike ride or tram ride away.


The courses offered are suitable for all levels and will focus on the issues relating to the Sustainable Development Goals. You will be taught by our experienced course leaders through an interactive, academic programme consisting of weekly lectures and seminars on contemporary sustainability issues to develop and inspire you. Through group work, assignments and field trips, you and your classmates will be able to hone your knowledge of sustainability challenges within your own academic discipline as well as gain the skills necessary to contribute to Agenda 2030.

All courses are at bachelor's level and taught in English.

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


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).


FH1550, Summer 2022

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 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).



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).




The purpose of this course is to prepare students as self-aware, responsible agents of change in the world, such that you are able to apply critical thinking and a long-term systemic perspective to the plethora of development opportunities provided by digitization.

We discuss sustainability and sustainable development concepts in class and relate them to climate change, world economics, systems thinking, and technological development. This builds the foundation for critically assessing the potential and risks of digitization in a changing world - i.e. when new ideas come around, you will be able to judge them well. To make this very applicable in your future, we also conceptualize and develop prototypical IT systems that support sustainable development. 

The course is carried out via: 

  • Development of and reflection on a personal sustainability practice. That means we try practices like yoga, meditation, walks in nature and reflect on the effects - yup, we have a well-qualified professor for that in IT, see below; 
  • Flipped classroom for introducing concepts. You will be watching a short documentary or reading a research article as preparation and then we discuss them in class and reflect on how to use these concepts in our work. 
  • A team project will be carried out in small teams over the extent of the course to apply all the new concepts (so you are comfortable at integrating your new sustainability knowledge into technology development), including requirements engineering, design, and prototyping of an IT service or product to explore sustainable development.

The course responsible and main teacher is Associate Professor Birgit Penzenstadler, who has been researching the connection between technology and sustainability for a decade, and for the last three years integrated her yoga teacher practice into research to increase the wellbeing and resilience of developers and engineers. 
There will be further guest teachers.

This course is linked to Global Goal number: 3 (health & wellbeing), 9 (innovation) and 11 (sustainable communities).


Student walking on street
Photo: Medieteknik/Alana da Silva

Social and extra-curricular activities

The summer school is a fantastic opportunity to meet people from all over the world. Alongside your courses, you will be offered to take part in an extensive programme with guest lectures, interdisciplinary seminars, site visits, and practical workshops. Our social programme will include a welcome and farewell ceremony as well as day trips and social activities, allowing you to experience Swedish culture and sustainability initiatives. Aside from organised trips, a self-guide to Gothenburg will let you explore all that the city and surroundings have to offer in your own pace. Gothenburg is a great city to be a student and you will find a broad variety of eco-stores, vegan cafés and second hand shops to explore. The natural surroundings of the city can be easily reached by bike or tram, and offer great opportunities for hiking, paddling and other outdoor activities. And don't forget to try all Swedes favourite summer activity: swimming in the lakes and ocean.

General requirements

To be eligible to apply, you must be enrolled as a student on bachelor's or master's level at one of our partner universities 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.

Direct applicants are welcome to apply via the national application process. Please note: tuition fees apply if you are not a citizen of the EU and EEA, or a Swedish residence permit holder.

How to apply

To be able to apply you must get nominated 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 will be able to nominate you during the nomination period. Please note that the nomination does not mean automatic enrollment.

Once the application deadline has passed, there will be a selection process and the students will be notified of the result. More information regarding the selection process will be published later on this page.


Nomination period: February 1 2022 - March 31 2022

Application period: March 15 2022 - April 10 2022

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 direct applicant coming to us from overseas or a fee-paying student already in Sweden, you will be obliged to pay tuition fee for the Summer School courses. Read more about tuition fees.


Self-catered accomodation is guaranteed in one of our centrally located student housing complexes. Both locations are within biking distance of the city centre and close to supermarkets, tram- and bus stops, and recreation areas. Choose between an en-suite room with shared kitchen or an en suite-room with a cooking alcove. Prices range from €350 to €500 for the five weeks of the summer school. Duvet, pillow and basic kitchen equipment is included. More information about housing will be sent to students when the application period for the summer school has closed.

Arrival and pick-up service

Arrival day for students of the summer school will be Saturday July 2nd. There will be a meet & greet for enrolled students upon arrival in Gothenburg followed by collection of keys and drop-off at their chosen student housing. Please note that this service will not be offered on any other date than July 2nd.

View over Gothenburg
Photo: Per Pixel Petterson/Göteborg & Co
Logo Summer School for Sustainability

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 three 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).