SOAS University of London

Academic Summer School at SOAS

Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (2020 entry)

  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Fees and funding
  • Apply


Due to the situation surrounding Covid-19, we are currently looking into alternative options for teaching our programme this year. Full details will be announced soon, but in the meantime please get in touch with any questions you may have.

Programme Description 

Since the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015, many countries in the world have undertaken parallel efforts to tackle global challenges – from poverty to inequality, from climate change to health, from sustainable cities and communities to peace and justice. The SDGs set ambitious albeit necessary objectives to be reached by 2030, which should be of interest to anyone concerned with the sustainability of production and consumption systems, equitable and inclusive development, and growth and prosperity of future generations. Yet, SDGs should play a more influential role in the policy process than they have actually obtained so far.

This course aims to provide participants with theoretical knowledge and practical tools to understand the challenges that the SDGs aim to tackle, the role that SDGs play in the policy process, and the strategies that governments can pursue to achieve them. The course is of interest to anyone who wants to better understand the concept of SDGs, why they are important and how to achieve them; to undergraduate students interested in policy-making, sustainability and development; policy-makers and policy practitioners; and private (business and non-profit) sector actors who want to contribute pursuing the SDG agenda.

For more information, please see the course handbook:  Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals Handbook (pdf; 154kb)  

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the course, a student should be able to demonstrate the ability to:
  • Understand what SDGs are and how they matter for public policy and management
  • Explain how the pursue of SDGs affects the policy-making process
  • Explain how organisational and financial resources should be aligned to the pursue of SDGs
  • Explain how the attainment of SDGs can be measured, appraised and reported


This course is worth 15 credits in the UK system. 15 credits is equivalent to 4 credits in the US system and 7.5 ECTS in the European system. If you intend to transfer credit to your home institution, please check the requirements with them before you apply. We will be happy to assist you in any way we can, however please be aware that the decision to transfer credit rests with your home institution.

Current SOAS students selecting this course as an open option module will not be charged the tuition-fee. For further informaiton and assistance, please contact

 "Attending the Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals course has enlightened my understanding of the words and inspired me to want to live them out. My experience on the Academic Summer School has renewed my passion to pursue my dreams, inspiring me to want to do more for my community. It has inspired me to be proactive about the world that I would like to see." Tshegofatso Seabi, 2019 


For more information, please fill out our enquiries form.

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings

Start of programme: 29 June – 17 July 2020

Mode of Attendance: Full-time

Entry requirements

  • You will have completed one year of undergraduate study at the time of joining the Academic Summer School. Professional experience can be acknowledged as equivalent to a university qualification.

Featured events

3 weeks

Tuition Fees

Credit assessed: £1,750

Non-assessed: £1,600



Programme Schedule

Week 1: Defining the roadmap towards the SDGs

  •  What are the SDGs
  • SDGs and the policy process
  • Engagement of stakeholders
  • Strategic planning

Week 2: Organising, resourcing and controlling the achievement of SDGs

  • Developing administrative capacity
  • Strengthening public financial management systems
  • Using performance management systems
  • Monitoring and evaluating policies and programmes

Week 3: Good governance and the achievement of SDGs

  • The role of the private sector
  • The role of innovation, science and technology
  • Partnerships for sustainable development
  • A global policy agenda beyond 2030
Sample Reading list:
  • Asquer, A. (2017), Public Sector Revenue, London: Routledge.
  • Barber, M. (2015) How to Run A Government: So that Citizens Benefit and Taxpayers Don't Go Crazy. London, Penguin Books.
  • Bryson, J. M. (2011) Strategic Planning for Public and Nonprofit Organizations. 4th Edition. San Francisco, John Wiley & Son.
  • Cangiano, M. M., Curristine, M. T. R., & Lazare, M. M. (2013). Public financial management and its emerging architecture. International Monetary Fund.
  • Desai, D., & Schomerus, M. (2018). ‘There Was A Third Man…’: Tales from a Global Policy Consultation on Indicators for the Sustainable Development Goals. Development and Change, 49(1), 89-115.
  • Flynn, N. and Asquer, A. (2017), Public Sector Management, 7th edition. London: SAGE.
  • Joyce, P. (2015) Strategic Management in the Public Sector. Oxford, Routledge.
  • Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen, S., Dahl, A. L., & Persson, Å. (2018). The emerging accountability regimes for the Sustainable Development Goals and policy integration: Friend or foe?. Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space, 36(8), 1371-1390.
  • Lu, Y., Nakicenovic, N., Visbeck, M., & Stevance, A. S. (2015). Policy: Five priorities for the UN sustainable development goals. Nature News, 520(7548), 432.
  • Navarro-Galera, A., and M. P. Rodríguez-Bolívar (2010) “Can government accountability be enhanced with international financial reporting standards?”, Public Money & Management, 30(6), 379-384.
  • Nilsson, M., Chisholm, E., Griggs, D., Howden-Chapman, P., McCollum, D., Messerli, P., ... & Stafford-Smith, M. (2018). Mapping interactions between the sustainable development goals: lessons learned and ways forward. Sustainability science, 13(6), 1489-1503.
  • Palfrey, C., Thomas, P., & Phillips, C. (2012). Evaluation for the real world: the impact of evidence in policy making. Policy Press.
  • Schmidt, H., Gostin, L. O., & Emanuel, E. J. (2015). Public health, universal health coverage, and Sustainable Development Goals: can they coexist?. The Lancet, 386(9996), 928-930.
  • Stephan, R. M., Mohtar, R. H., Daher, B., Embid Irujo, A., Hillers, A., Ganter, J. C., ... & Sarni, W. (2018). Water–energy–food nexus: a platform for implementing the Sustainable Development Goals. Water International, 43(3), 472-479.
  • Xue, L., Weng, L., & Yu, H. (2018). Addressing policy challenges in implementing Sustainable Development Goals through an adaptive governance approach: A view from transitional China. Sustainable Development, 26(2), 150-158.

Important notice

The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session. If you are a current student you can find structure information on the previous year link at the top of the page or through your Department. Please read the important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.

Teaching and Learning

Teaching & Learning

Course Convenor:

Dr Alberto Asquer

Contact hours: 

50 hours (lectures, tutorials, activities). The course will be delivered Monday - Friday over the 3 weeks. 

Core hours:

Monday - Friday 10am-3pm. In addition to regular lectures and tutorials, each course is composed of a range of activities relating to their academic content (e.g. museum visit, company visit etc). 


Assessment will be in the form of a 2,500 word essay (70%) and a group presentation (30%).

If you have opted to study for credit, you will be required to complete all course assessments. Should you complete the assessments with success, you will receive a transcript confirming your marks and credits. If you have not chosen to study for credit, you will be exempt from any course assignments and not receive a mark.

Fees and funding

Tuition Fees

Credit assessed: £1,750
Non-assessed: £1,600

Application fee

A one-off, non-refundable application fee of £40 will be charged to cover administration costs. Please visit the SOAS online store to make your application fee payment.


10% discount if you apply by 31st March

10% discount if you apply for two courses over 6 weeks

15% discount for SOAS alumni (including Academic Summer School alumni)

20% discount for our partner institutions

Other discounts are available for groups. Please contact us for more information.


For more information, please see our accommodation page.

Academic Summer School Ambassador Scholarship 2020

The SOAS Academic Summer School is delighted to offer six tuition-fee waiver scholarships to passionate students with a desire to make a difference in the world.

The scholarships will cover the tuition-fee for one Academic Summer School course in 2020. 

Application Deadline: 2020-03-13 00:00

For further details and information on external scholarships visit the Scholarships section


How to Apply

Apply now to secure your place on the Academic Summer School.

Once you have paid the £40 application fee and submitted the online application form, you will be informed as to whether you have a place on the summer school within 5 working days. Please do not pay your tuition fee prior to having received your offer letter.

Please see our Ambassador Scholarship page for details regarding scholarship application.

Application Deadline

Applications for the Academic Summer School close on 25th May 2020.

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