About this Course
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Approx. 37 hours to complete

Suggested: 8-10 hours/week...

English

Subtitles: Tamil, Chinese (Simplified), Portuguese (Brazilian), Vietnamese, English, Spanish...

100% online

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.

Flexible deadlines

Reset deadlines in accordance to your schedule.

Approx. 37 hours to complete

Suggested: 8-10 hours/week...

English

Subtitles: Tamil, Chinese (Simplified), Portuguese (Brazilian), Vietnamese, English, Spanish...

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course

Week
1
3 hours to complete

Orientation and Introduction

In this module, you will become familiar with the course, your classmates, and the learning environment. The orientation also helps you obtain the technical skills required for the course. In the introduction, we will examine some of the central ideas that underpin the Earth as a system, and their consequences for environmental sustainability.

...
5 videos (Total 37 min), 5 readings, 3 quizzes
5 videos
Introduction to Sustainability7m
Sustainability and Population Growth7m
Growth Curves5m
Malthus13m
5 readings
Syllabus10m
About the Discussion Forums10m
Social Media10m
Getting to Know Your Classmates10m
Module 1 Overview and Readings10m
3 practice exercises
Orientation Quiz10m
Big Ideas Practice Quiz22m
Module 1 Quiz28m
Week
2
2 hours to complete

Population

In this module, we will see how human populations have evolved over time and get a sense of where the next century of change will take us.

...
5 videos (Total 49 min), 1 reading, 4 quizzes
5 videos
Transitions10m
Demographic Transition10m
Future Populations, Part 110m
Future Populations, Part 215m
1 reading
Module 2 Overview and Readings10m
4 practice exercises
Population, Past and Present Practice Quiz16m
Global Population in the Future Practice Quiz22m
Population Interactive Homework16m
Module 2 Quiz30m
Week
3
5 hours to complete

Ecosystems and Climate Change

In this module, we will see that the Earth faces many environmental pressures that result from human exploitation of natural resources. We will also look at the issue of climate change.

...
8 videos (Total 78 min), 1 reading, 5 quizzes
8 videos
Tragedy of the Commons10m
Tragedy of the Commons: Solutions14m
Ecosystems and Extinctions6m
Weather vs. Climate3m
Climate Changes in the Past10m
Modern Climate Change14m
[OPTIONAL] Climate Processes16m
1 reading
Module 3 Overview and Readings10m
4 practice exercises
Ecosystems, Extinction, and Tragedy of the Commons Practice Quiz30m
Climate Change Practice Quiz30m
Climate Change Interactive Homework10m
Module 3 Quiz52m
Week
4
3 hours to complete

Energy

In this module, we will look at energy use. We will also consider what the trend of energy use means for the planet, and how we might transition to a more sustainable pattern of use.

...
8 videos (Total 58 min), 1 reading, 4 quizzes
8 videos
Energy Overview6m
Oil11m
EROEI5m
Coal & Gas7m
Nuclear Power7m
Renewable Energy12m
Energy Conservation6m
1 reading
Module 4 Overview and Readings10m
4 practice exercises
Oil Practice Quiz16m
Alternatives Practice Quiz22m
Energy and Society Homework8m
Module 4 Quiz40m
Week
5
3 hours to complete

Water and Agriculture

In this module, we will explore the connection between water and food, and see what will be required to feed the planet over the course of the century.

...
6 videos (Total 68 min), 1 reading, 3 quizzes
6 videos
Limits to Water15m
Water Trends15m
Agricultural Consumption7m
Agricultural Limits16m
Genetically Modified Organisms12m
1 reading
Module 5 Overview and Readings10m
3 practice exercises
Water Practice Quiz24m
Agriculture and Food Practice Quiz18m
Module 5 Quiz34m
Week
6
5 hours to complete

Environmental Policy

In this module, we will examine some of the common tools used by policy-makers, and some of the forces that shape (or misshape) policy.

...
9 videos (Total 94 min), 1 reading, 4 quizzes
9 videos
Negative Externalities14m
Environmental Policy11m
Environmental Policy Assessment14m
[OPTIONAL] Environmental Economics17m
[OPTIONAL] Application of Environmental Economics and Policy, Part 111m
[OPTIONAL] Application of Environmental Economics and Policy, Part 213m
[OPTIONAL] Application of Environmental Economics and Policy, Part 38m
Environmental Policy Examples: "Biofuels"3m
1 reading
Module 6 Overview and Readings10m
3 practice exercises
Environmental Policy Practice Quiz30m
Environmental Policy Examples Homework10m
Module 6 Quiz32m
Week
7
5 hours to complete

Measuring Sustainability

In this module, we will examine what tools are available to measure sustainability. Finally, I will make some predictions on global sustainability for the 21st century, based on the models we have spoken about in this course and the trends that have been observed in the early part of this century.

...
7 videos (Total 68 min), 1 reading, 4 quizzes
7 videos
Biodiversity and Ecosystems10m
Sustainability Metrics, Part 112m
Sustainability Metrics, Part 28m
Food Miles9m
Measuring Sustainability: The Future, Part 112m
Measuring Sustainability: The Future, Part 212m
1 reading
Module 7 Overview and Readings10m
3 practice exercises
Measuring Sustainability Practice Quiz22m
Sustainable Future Practice Quiz20m
Module 7 Quiz44m
Week
8
2 hours to complete

Conclusion

Welcome to the end of the course! This module has a final, comprehensive quiz that covers all of the topics that we’ve seen in the previous seven modules. You’ll want to be familiar with the goals and objectives, key phrases, concepts, and guiding questions from the earlier modules to do well on this final quiz.

...
1 reading, 1 quiz
1 reading
Conclusion and Final Quiz Instructions10m
1 practice exercise
Introduction to Sustainability Final Quiz1h 20m
4.8
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started a new career after completing these courses

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Top reviews from Introduction to Sustainability

By KFDec 19th 2016

It is a well prepared course. Contents are carefully organized and plenty of concepts and examples are included and analyzed. Overall, it is a excellent course to get an overview of sustainability.

By JWNov 29th 2015

This was my first Coursera course, and I wasn't sure what to expect; but was very pleased with the organization, timescale things were run on, and overall neutrality of the course. Very well done!

Instructor

Avatar

Dr. Jonathan Tomkin

Associate Director
School of Earth, Society and Environment

About University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a world leader in research, teaching and public engagement, distinguished by the breadth of its programs, broad academic excellence, and internationally renowned faculty and alumni. Illinois serves the world by creating knowledge, preparing students for lives of impact, and finding solutions to critical societal needs. ...

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Once you enroll for a Certificate, you’ll have access to all videos, quizzes, and programming assignments (if applicable). Peer review assignments can only be submitted and reviewed once your session has begun. If you choose to explore the course without purchasing, you may not be able to access certain assignments.

  • When you purchase a Certificate you get access to all course materials, including graded assignments. Upon completing the course, your electronic Certificate will be added to your Accomplishments page - from there, you can print your Certificate or add it to your LinkedIn profile. If you only want to read and view the course content, you can audit the course for free.

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