Core curriculum

At Keele we run a suite of dedicated programmes for students wanting to learn more about sustainability at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.

In line with our commitment for all our students to explore their discipline through a 'sustainability lens', we work with academic staff across all our Schools and Faculties to embed sustainability into degree programmes and formal learning through the 'core curriculum'. As part of our work to monitor and evaluate this inclusion, we completed an analysis of curricula across Schools and produced the 2016-17 Module Analysis Report. The report identifies modules which embed sustainability strongly, as an element, having the potential to explore sustainability (i.e. through dissertations) or not being appropriate for sustainability to be included. This enables us to see where sustainability appears in core (compulsory) modules, optional modules, and at which levels of study the content appears. 

We're keen to ensure that sustainability in modules and degree programmes does not become a 'tick box' and has real value for our students. 96% of our programmes embed ESD based on the most recent curriculum review, and we are working with programme directors to identify and apply even more innovative approaches to learning and teaching to reinforce ESD at each level of study. The Curriculum Review report was presented to the University Learning and Teaching Committee which is responsible for development and delivery of teaching provision.


There are many modules run within different programmes which have strong sustainability themes.

'Elective modules' available to all Keele students

Sustainability-related modules

Sustainability-related modules

Sustainability-related modules

Undergraduate Programmes

At Keele we run a suite of dedicated programmes for students wanting to learn more about sustainability at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.

This Single Honours programme is a general interdisciplinary programme and aims to produce graduates with and understanding and appreciation of natural science and social science of sustainability issues and their solutions. The programme is taught across the University's three faculties, and across 14 different subject areas.

The Environmental Science programme aims to produce graduates with a strong science background able to apply their ecological, chemical and geological understanding to address environmental and sustainability issues. It is available as a Dual Hons and Single Honours programme, as a Major subject, and with a 'year in industry'.

The Dual Honours Environmental Studies programme aims to produce graduates with an understanding of the complex nature of environmental problems and the various solutions, especially in their social, political and ethical dimensions.

Postgraduate programmes

This cutting edge course is designed to equip graduates with multidisciplinary skills and knowledge in the areas of environmental sustainability and green technology.

The MSc/MA in Geographical and Environmental Research is a research-focused masters programme designed to provide a strong educational background for a career in research and development, or the public or private sector.

A research-focused course with industry and international placement opportunities designed for a career in research, academia or a discipline related work setting.

Other ways we embed EfS into the curriculum

Away days

Starting in the academic year 2013-14 the Green:Keele team started working with the Curriculum Support and Development Team who deliver both subject specific, and general skills based student training and development opportunities.

Having 'sustainability' as the context in which students develop different skills was piloted within subject specific 'away days'. These training sessions provide students with a set amount of time with professional trainers away from their core subject area, and cover skills such as essay writing, developing arguments, public speaking, and self reflection.

In 2014-15 a different group of subject areas were piloted and overall feedback was very positive. The intention is to increase the number of subject areas that have 'sustainability' as the theme for their skills development.

Essay topics

When students are developing essay-writing skills, the process is more important than the topic written about. Green:Keele has used this opportunity to work with the Foundation Year Centre to propose complex sustainability debates as themes for essay writing practice tasks.

Sustainability projects within the University/Estates Directorate

As well as projects within the Greening Business elective module, students can undertake sustainability projects related to University operations at undergraduate and postgraduate level. It could be a dissertation or a smaller project. Recent examples of dissertations/projects include:

  • MSc students built phone app to track waste and manage planting in raised beds at the Sustainable Student Bungalow
  • Biodiversity of the University development site (Phase 3)
  • Carbon footprints of international student travel to university
  • Spatial distributions and conservation of bats at Keele University
  • Evaluation of the student led veg-box scheme at Keele University
  • ‘Shock’ posters vs. informative leaflets: Does media type affect students' motivation to recycle? (Keele University Halls of Residence)
  • Rainwater harvesting on Keele University buildings

 To find out more please contact


If you are interested in finding out more about how Keele aims to embed 'sustainability' into the core curriculum of all subjects, or find out about additional ways that have not been covered within this website, please contact Professor Zoe Robinson, Director of Education for Sustainability, and Reader in Physical Geography and Sustainability.