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2022/23 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

OSEE5100M Policy, Governance and Sustainability

15 creditsClass Size: 150

Module manager: Dr Laura Smith

Taught: 1 Mar to 30 Apr, 1 Mar to 30 Apr (2mth)(adv yr), 1 Sep to 31 Oct, 1 Sep to 31 Oct (adv yr) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

Pre-requisite qualifications

Students are required to meet the programme entry requirements prior to studying the module.

Module replaces


This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

The module provides students with an insight into the ways in which human-environment interactions are governed. Through studying the module students will be able to:- Appreciate the need for sustainability related policy and governance and be able to assess the role and potential limitations associated with various policies.- Gain an understanding of the key factors and stakeholders which can influence the processes and outcomes related to governance.- Draw on their critical knowledge of environmental governance and policy in order to provide an organisation/sector with operational and strategic guidance on environmental governance and policy related issues.Overall - through studying the module, students will gain a critical appreciation of the complexities associated with governance, policy and the environment and will be able to discuss and debate these complexities in an informed and insightful manner.


This module examines the ways in which human-environment interactions are governed. Through studying the module students will:

1. Be able to outline and discuss:
- the definition and characteristics of environmental policy and governance
- the origins of and evolving approaches to environmental policy and governance
- critiques of environmental governance and policy within society and business.

2. Will investigate and appraise:
- state-led approaches to environmental protection
- alternative environmental policy instruments (e.g. market, informational, voluntary and beyond)
- non-state and hybrid approaches to environmental policy and governance.

3. Critically analyse the varying nature of environmental policy and governance at an international, regional, national and local level.

Throughout the module students will use case studies and organisational examples to explore the practicalities of implementing and managing governance/policy related activities.

One of the programme characteristics (i.e., students working in a variety of sectors and residing in multiple countries) will be utilised and through the discussion forums/webinars there will be an opportunity to investigate and discuss varying national/international/sectoral approaches to governance, policy and sustainability. In addition to this, where appropriate, within the webinars the tutors will draw on contemporary resources (e.g., newspaper articles, videos, podcasts) as a catalyst for discussion on the practical application, issues and complexities associated with the module.

Learning outcomes
Upon completion of this module students will be able to:

1. Summarise the role of and requirements for sustainability related governance and policy along with the nature, influence and limits of different environmental policy instruments.
2. Critically analyse and discuss key factors influencing environmental governance processes and outcomes and the role that governments, markets and civil society actors can play in influencing environmental policy and governance.
3. Evaluate and discuss the significance of scale in environmental governance.
4. Apply the skills and knowledge gained throughout the module in order to critically analyse the governance and policy related activities of a specific organisation or sector, outlining potential policy/governance measures which may be adopted.


1. Why regulate? The origins of the environment as a policy issue
2. Introduction to environmental governance
3. Introduction to multi-scale environmental governance
4. Global environmental governance
Environmental policy instruments:
5. Environmental regulations
6. Market-based instruments
7. Information-based instruments
8. Voluntary instruments
Environmental governance beyond the state:
9. Urban environmental governance
10. Sectoral environmental governance
11. Non-governmental and community governance
12. Private environmental governance
13. Governance and policy: implementation and innovation

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
On-line Learning61.006.00
Discussion forum61.006.00
Independent online learning hours24.00
Private study hours114.00
Total Contact hours12.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

Independent online learning refers to non-facilitated directed learning. Students will work through bespoke interactive learning resources and reflective activities in the VLE.

Private study refers to directed reading and self-directed research in support of learning activities and discussions, as well as in preparation for assessments.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

- The module’s digital learning materials provide regular opportunities for participants to check their understanding and gain feedback (e.g., case studies with short answer questions and automated feedback, MCQs with detailed feedback on correct/incorrect answers).
- The individual unit webinars and discussion forums provide opportunities for formative feedback from peers and tutors.
- The module assessment (3000 word project) will enable student progress to be monitored.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Report3,000 word problem centred report100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 11/01/2023


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