Systems Thinking for Climate Change and Sustainble Decision Making GEOG5127

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
  • Credits: 10
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Taught Wholly by Distance Learning: Yes

Short Description

The climate emergency is one of biggest global challenges that we face as a society. To move toward a sustainable transition requires a mindset shift by individuals to act within their roles to make change. This course enables individuals to act by providing new knowledge and skills that equip them to be agents of change. The course explores the relevance of systems thinking to climate change, sustainability and how it connects individuals and organisations to the wider system, uses scenario thinking to imagine our future in a net zero world, and offers content on how to create appropriate targets and indicators of progress and success to get there.


10 weeks duration.

Each week consists of discussion groups, opportunity to use technological/computing tools, and/or peer learning activities. All learning is online and will be delivered using a combination of videoed material, activities, case studies and recommended reading that will take up about 8-10 hours per week.

Requirements of Entry

Undergraduate degree or equivalent professional experience

Excluded Courses





Portfolio with two submission points, including: applying tools (i.e., Netlogo) and an analytical report (100%)

Course Aims

This course aims to empower students to make connections between the environment, society, and business and learn skills to make decisions that are environmentally sustainable and socially responsible in their workplace and other contexts.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students should be able to:

■ Describe what systems thinking is, why it is relevant to climate change and sustainability.

■ Evaluate the potential value and contribution of systems thinking in supporting ESG and CSR [a systems approach will naturally leverage pro-environmental orientation of individuals within organisations to act toward their strengths and interests]

■ Explore different ways in which systems thinking can be applied in practice by individuals and organisations to support problem-solving, decision-making and organisational learning.

■ Evaluate case studies of system orientated responses to climate change

■ Apply a set of 'synergistic analytic skills' including: Systems mapping to enable problem framing and scoping; Scenario thinking to support individuals to explore plausible futures

■ Understand that due to the complexity and dynamic nature of systems, intuitive decision-making does not always lead to expected outcomes

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.