Climate change and education

Sustainability and climate change are embedded into many of the programmes and modules at the University of Birmingham. 

Undergraduate programmes tackling global challenges


Intertwining environment, society, culture and economy, sustainable development is our pathway to a sustainable future and the solutions will require an understanding of the fundamental processes on which our planet revolves. All of the colleges at Birmingham have a role to play in ensuring future generations are best placed to understand sustainability from a myriad of perspectives.

The College of Life and Environmental Sciences within the University of Birmingham is positioned to provide the foundational knowledge that underpins our responsibility to conserve natural resources and protect ecosystems and biodiversity (in the Schools of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences and Biosciences). Further, the ability to support human health and wellbeing for the coming generations is the focus of the Schools of Psychology and Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences, together with the College of Medical and Dental Sciences.

In the College of Social Sciences, the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) underpin areas such as Global Development Challenges in the International Development Department, to ensure future policy-makers act in an ethical and sustainable way. In the College of Arts and Law, students are able to develop an understanding of how our past knowledge of extinction can inform new areas of activism around climate change and consider the ethics of some of the practical approaches to a sustainable future such as vegetarianism and population control.

The challenges of how we can develop the technologies required to ensure our cities and towns can meet the requirements of our sustainability goals and a carbon zero future are tackled  in the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, with the UN SDGs forming the focus of the Integrated Design Project in Engineering. Events such as ‘Engineering a Sustainable Future’ enable students to engage in discussions around some of the key problems such as incompatible energy intensity and the shift to mega-cities.  

Our Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences (LANS) programme offers a Major in Sustainability, drawing from across the breadth of modules in all the colleges on campus. This enables students to study sustainability from social, political, environmental, cultural and economic perspectives. The LANS programme has also utilised the UN Sustainability Goals to develop core teaching material, both in the core modules in the first year and for those students taking the Year in Civic Leadership. All of the LANS students are exposed to real-world global challenges and aim to find interdisciplinary solutions to some of the most pressing problems faced today, including climate change.  

Together, the schools and departments that make up the Colleges at the University of Birmingham ensure we can take a holistic, integrated approach towards developing sustainable solutions for the future.