Document Type



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

Publication Details

Irish Journal of Social, Economic and Environmental Sustainability, Vol.1, Issue 2, December 2017.


This article presents summary findings of a mixed methods research project exploring the provision of education for sustainable development (SD) in seven Irish engineering degree programmes. Drawing on Sterling’s (2004) iceberg metaphor and Critical Realism it seeks to identify the underlying socio-cultural barriers preventing a holistic integration of SD in engineering education. It argues that the current focus is predominantly on the environmental dimension of SD and that there are a set of reinforcing mechanisms facilitating the provision of disciplinary education aimed at producing technically proficient, employable graduates in which the social dimension of SD is marginalised. This is underwritten by a paradigm of engineering education located between science and market driven approaches as identified by Jamison and others (2014). It is argued that unless there is change in the underlying paradigm towards a more socially driven approach a full integration of SD is unlikely to occur or be sustained.