Sustainability in our Teaching and Learning

We aim to help nurture a new generation of climate-conscious citizens and bring a breadth of perspective and expertise to a challenge that crosses cultural, economic and political boundaries.

Universities are educational institutions that need to work hard to produce graduates with cross-disciplinary skills and capabilities. We believe all staff and students should have an understanding of sustainability, so the University is weaving the UN Sustainable Development Goals into its entire teaching and learning portfolio. For example, the University of Birmingham is the first Higher Education establishment to introduce climate change such as Carbon Accounting into its BSc Accounting and Finance degree course. 

three young adults listening intently to their teacher, sitting around a table covered in textbooks and notes, with Aston Webb visible through the window in the background.

Our aim is to ensure all our students and staff understand the critical issues around social and environmental sustainability and to teach discipline-specific knowledge of sustainability using the SDGs in all academic programmes. Whether students are studying nursing or theology, we want them to understand as they go into the workplace what sustainability will mean for them as professionals, or have the tools to find out.

Not only do we include sustainability in our curriculum, but many of our extracurricular activities include sustainability teaching, such as the Vice Chancellor's Challenge. We have initiatives such as Green Impact and training programmes to educate and engage our students and staff alike in sustainability at work, school, and in life. The University’s engagement with the wider city is strong, evidenced through collaborations with Birmingham City Council, West Midlands Combined Authority, Tyseley Energy Park, and the private sector.

 A young woman in her graduation gown smiling chatting to her lecturer, with a proud mother looking on in the background.

We are proud to be a member of EAUC - The alliance for sustainability leadership in education.  

Logo for the EAUC - The alliance for sustainability leadership in education



We are aiming for all our courses to embed features from the UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) within their curriculum. Type 'Sustainability' as a keyword in our Course Search Tool and you will find over 60 Undergraduate courses and over 100 Postgraduate courses that embed sustainability.

We have included a few highlights of courses that have a particular focus on sustainability below:


As well as the Postgraduate courses detailed above and in the Course Search, the Smart Campus project in collaboration with Siemens is providing a research site and studentships for ten PhD students.

We also offer Sustainability related Fellowships.

Professional Development Programmes

Not only are we teaching the workforce of the future through educating our students, we also provide a multitude of Professional Development resources. These support the upskilling and reskilling of people in our region and beyond.

Anyone can explore our Short Courses, Continuing Professional Development Courses, and our Online Courses.

Our Influence and Outreach

We also hope to positively influence our local and global communities as a civic university as part of our Strategic Framework. We have scientists across different departments who are award winning for their public engagement and outreach efforts, and our UoBe Elevate Business Accelerator programme has supported a number of students and alumni in social enterprise ventures.

The VC Challenge is an interdisciplinary student competition ran every year where students can win funding and support for their social enterprise ideas around a specific theme. In 2017 a group of students in EPS designed a solar air pod, and in 2020 two students won funding to develop their prototype for tackling litter.

Our alumni continue to positively influence the world around them, such as Hazaar Founder Harriet Noy. Explore other alumni paving the way for a better world in our alumni magazine, Old Joe, or staff and student can visit our B Enterprising Intranet page.

Our campus-based nurseries are the first in the city to pledge their dedication to becoming a more sustainable environment for young children.

Heather Bench

Maples Day Nursery Manager

“I am pleased to celebrate the opening of this innovative and inviting setting that will put children’s experiences and learning at the heart of what we do. Our sustainable approach is a unique opportunity for our team to introduce children to ideas which could impact not only their own development but that of the wider community too.”


For Staff and Students

If you are a staff or student at the University, there are sustainability training and volunteering opportunities for you to get involved in, whether you are completely new to the subject or experienced. See how else you can get involved!