Document Type

Conference Paper


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence

Publication Details

Paper presented at Engineering education for Sustainable Development September 2013, Cambridge.


This paper presents the initial findings of an investigation of the Sustainable Development (SD) content in five professional engineering degree programmes in a large Irish Institute of Technology.

A comprehensive investigation of the modules content was conducted to see to what extent the learning outcomes for SD as set out in the Barcelona Declaration and SD competencies were covered by the modules. It was found that 40% of the 137 modules included SD learning outcomes and/or addressed SD competencies. The modules have a focus on environmental issues and tend to address only one of the three dimensions, environmental, social and economic, of SD. The social dimension is inadequately addressed. There is a particular focus on inter-personal skills development. More advanced skills such as systematic and critical thinking are not comprehensively addressed. Opportunities for the development of an ethical commitment to SD seem to be missing. In general it is concluded that the integration of SD competences is inadequate and is not based on a holistic approach at a programme level but rather on individual modules.