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The UvA Create a Course Challenge Special Edition: Sustainability

Do you think the UvA should pay more attention to sustainability in education? Do you have a great idea for a new course? Join the special edition of The UvA Create a Course Challenge! We challenge you to submit an idea for a course and to develop it together with the curriculum experts of the Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies (IIS). Who knows – next year, you may get to work as a student assistant in your own course!

Think along with us about education at the UvA

The climate crisis calls for creative and innovative solutions. The IIS challenges all UvA students to help think about how sustainability can be incorporated into education more effectively. With this special edition of The UvA Create a Course Challenge on sustainability, we are challenging students to explore uncharted terrain, to think and act outside the box, in order to think along with us about ways to make sustainability education fun, challenging and meaningful. What topics should be taught and which teaching methods should be used? What roles do students and lecturers play? 

With this challenge, the IIS wants to give students a say in the way education is organised at the Institute and within the University. The Challenge gives you the opportunity to make your vision on education a reality. The winning course will be launched in the following academic year. 

Students without borders

Crossing boundaries is what the Create a Course Challenge is all about. Not just between students and lecturers and between faculties and disciplines, but also between academia and society.

Special Edition: Sustainability

The world is changing and education is changing alongside it. The future calls for innovative solutions to contemporary challenges. No issue is more relevant to the leaders of tomorrow than sustainability. For this special edition of the Challenge, the emphasis is on contributing to the sustainable transformations society needs.
The broad concept of sustainability can be approached from many angles, such as technological, socio-economic, ecological, political, psychological and philosophical. When developing your course, think outside the box and across perspectives and disciplines. 

  • How does it work?

    The UvA Create a Course Challenge consists of four rounds. In the final round, the winner is chosen by a jury. The IIS and the winner will work together to develop the course. The Challenge is open to all UvA students, Bachelor’s and Master’s alike.

    Round 1: Submit your idea

    Deadline: 17 March 2021
    Submit the first draft of an idea for your course by filling in the form below. Be creative in both content and form!

    Round 2: Develop your idea

    Deadline: 21 April 2021 12 PM (CET)
    As soon as we have received your idea, we will send you a template by email for you to use to further develop your idea. Which teaching methods will be used in your course? Many courses are structured in the form of lectures and tutorials - can you think of an innovative way of teaching? In what way does your subject contribute to understanding and facilitating societal transitions? What will the students learn? Which lecturers will be involved? What study material will the students use, and how will they be assessed?

    Please send the completed template before the deadline of 21 April 12 PM (CET) to the IIS: 

    Round 3: Nominate your favourite idea

    Between 28 April 12 PM (CET) and 11 May 12 PM (CET) 2021
    All UvA students and staff can vote once for their favourite course idea. Read more about the Top 10 selected ideas of 2021 here. The five ideas with the most votes will continue in the challenge and proceed to round 4. 

    Round 4: Pitch your idea to the jury

    Thursday 20 May 5 - 7 PM (CET)
    During the live-streamed grand finale, the jury will decide which entry will be rewarded with the realisation of the course. The winner can then immediately start working as a student assistant on the development of the course.  

    The jury members are Rick van der Ploeg, University Professor of Environmental Economics, and Lucy Wenting, director of the IIS. Rosa van der Laag, Future Planet Studies student and co-plaintiff in the climate case against Shell, is the student jury member.

  • Conditions

    When developing your idea, keep in mind the following requirements and guidelines.


    • The course must be suited for second and third-year UvA Bachelor’s students.
    • The course must be designed for a minimum of 20 participants
    • Number of credits: 6 (ECTS)
    • The course may be either in English or Dutch
    • The course must be interdisciplinary in nature
    • The concept 'sustainability' is the central theme

    Your course will be assessed on the following criteria:

    • Interdisciplinarity
    • Societal relevance: the course contributes to the sustainable transformations society needs.  
    • Innovative teaching methods: think outside the box of lectures and tutorials. 
    • Lecturers: think about which lecturers you want to be involved in your course. Keep in mind that the course should be interdisciplinary in nature, which means the lecturers must have different academic backgrounds.
    • Assessment format: learning objectives and the way these can be assessed.
    • Originality: the course is innovative.
  • The annual UvA Create a Course Challenge

    In the spring of 2021 there is a special edition of The UvA Create a Course Challenge. For more information about the regular annual Challenge, click here.