Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Sustainable Development Studies

Study Sustainable Development Studies in Göttingen

Sustainable Development Studies are primarily concerned with global poverty, inequality and other challenges in the "Global South", i.e. in the so-called developing and emerging countries. This refers to all countries whose economic development, e.g. measured by their per capita income, degree of industrialisation or average life expectancy, does not yet correspond to that of Germany or other industrialised nations of the "Global North".

However, development is not only understood in an economic way, but also includes social, political and ecological aspects. Development is therefore also taking place in Germany, for example towards a more environmentally friendly way of life and economy or towards more gender equality. Because of this diversity, sustainable development studies combine the theories and methods of different disciplines to deal with the great and complex challenges of our time.

General information

  • When applying for the degree programme, you have to prove knowledge of German and English.
  • The study programme is fully modularised, which means that credits are accumulated during the study programme. The study programme is successfully completed when 180 credits have been achieved.
  • The standard period of study is six semesters.
  • Enrolment is possible in every winter semester.
  • In addition to a sound education in development studies, our students should acquire specialised knowledge through an appropriate subject or regional focus in order to

    • acquire excellent general and subject-specific professional skills
    • to lay the foundations for being able to complete a further professional qualification in the form of a Master's degree.

  • Mailing list for students: Subscribe to the Mailinglist of the Department of Economics and receive important information e.g. about new seminars and other courses or job offers for student assistants and tutors!

Pre-courses before the start of studies
We recommend taking the following pre-courses:

  • Pre-course in Maths: The faculty offers a pre-course in Maths (in German) for first-year students every semester before the start of lectures. In this course, the content of school mathematics is repeated and the students are prepared for the lecture "Mathematics" in the first semester. Registration for the course is required.
  • Sustainable Development Studies pre-course: This preliminary course is offered specifically for the Sustainable Development Studies degree programme. Our students will practice reading academic texts and receive an introduction to development issues as well as an overview of the most important development organisations. Registration is not required for this course.

  • The Bachelor's programme offers a sound and interdisciplinary introduction to sustainable development issues. It imparts broad-based basic knowledge together with specialised knowledge through a subject or regional focus.
  • In the orientation phase, you take courses (modules) in the core subject of economics and also gain insights into other disciplines such as political science, international relations, agricultural sciences and ethnology.
  • You will get to know various statistical methods in order to be able to better examine development processes and challenges.
  • In the second stage of your studies, you choose between several subject-specific or regional specialisations: Development economics, globalisation, sustainability, and regional studies.
  • The degree programme includes a stay abroad in the form of an exchange semester, an internship or field research, so that you learn specialised knowledge from a different perspective and gain practical experience in countries of the Global South.

The general admission requirements of the University of Göttingen apply to the Bachelor's programme in Sustainable Development Studies. The application for a place on the programme takes place exclusively via the online application at the University's Student Office. If you have any questions about the application and the application procedure, please contact the University Student Office directly.

Application deadlines: 1 June to 15 July of a year. These application deadlines apply to applicants from EU countries.
Information on the application deadlines for applicants from non-EU/EEA countries can be found here.

Further information: Language requirements for international prospective students
The languages of instruction in the degree programme are German and English.

  • Applicants whose native language is not English must prove sufficient knowledge of English when enrolling in the degree programme.
  • Citizens of a country outside the EU (or stateless persons) or graduates of a preparatory course ("Studienkolleg") must prove sufficient knowledge of German when enrolling.

The Bachelor's programme in Sustainable Development Studies is divided into the orientation phase (1st and 2nd semesters) and the in-depth and specialisation phase (3rd to 6th semester).

In the orientation phase (1st and 2nd semesters), you will gain knowledge of the fundamental problems and approaches to solutions in development studies as well as some important neighbouring disciplines. We also provide you with knowledge of economic and social science methods as well as initial basic knowledge in the fields of ethnology, international relations and the economic fields of microeconomics and macroeconomics.

In the in-depth and specialisation studies (3rd-6th semester), you complete your basic education started in the first two semesters and choose a subject-specific or regional focus that corresponds to your personal interests. This will deepen your subject knowledge and give your studies an individual profile.

You can find model courses of study depending on your choice of specialisation here (in German).

In total, the 120 credits to be earned in the second study section are made up as follows:

  • Specialisation area ("Vertiefungsbereich") (36 credits)
  • Focus area ("Schwerpunktbereich") (48 credits)
  • Semester abroad ("Auslandssemester") (at least 18 to 30 credits)
  • Elective area ("Wahlbereich") (24 credits)
  • Bachelor thesis ("Bachelorarbeit") (12 credits)

A component of the Bachelor's programme Sustainable Development Studies is a one-semester study visit to a foreign university in a country of the Global South for all students. All countries according to the DAC list of developing countries and territories count as countries of the Global South.

During the stay abroad, you must complete courses (modules) to the extent of 30 credits; at least, however, modules to the extent of 18 credits. The completed modules should have a content-related connection to sustainable development studies, ideally to the chosen focus.

The academic achievements must essentially correspond to the requirement level of a Bachelor's degree programme and may not already be the subject of a module examination already taken or to be taken within the framework of this degree programme before the start of the stay abroad.

The examination board of the faculty decides on the recognition of the achievements made at the foreign university. This should be made binding before the stay abroad by concluding a learning agreement. Examination results not passed during the semester abroad can be made up at Göttingen University.

If you do not wish to study a semester abroad, you can alternatively complete the module B.WIWI.SDS.0006 "Field Research in the Global South" worth 18 credits or the module B.WIWI.SDS.0005 "Internship in the Global South" worth 18 credits.

In addition, if you would like to establish contacts with international students during your studies in Göttingen, feel free to take a look at our Study Buddy Programme and our Exchange@WIWI - events at Both programmes serve to connect international and local Göttingen students and to get to know foreign cultures.

The international orientation of the degree programme prepares our students for an international working environment in development cooperation or in international organisations, associations, non-governmental organisations as well as internationally oriented companies and research institutions, which opens up excellent career opportunities.

As graduates of the Bachelor's degree programme in Sustainable Development Studies, they are familiar with current academic developments and have the ability to map and analyse complex problems of the Global South in their relevant economic, political and social frameworks.

In addition, the Bachelor's degree offers the possibility to continue with an advanced Master's programme in Germany or abroad (see drop-down menu "Advanced Master's programme"). Depending on which Master's degree programme you would like to study afterwards, we recommend choosing the following specialisations:

  • Major in Development Economics, if you wish to pursue a Master's degree in Development Economics.
  • Major in Globalisation, if you are pursuing a Master's degree in International Economics
  • A specialisation in Sustainability, if you are pursuing a Master's degree in Agricultural Sciences or Sustainable International Agriculture.
  • A regional studies concentration with an appropriate regional profile, if you are pursuing a Master's in Modern Indian Studies or Ethnology

If you would like to move into professional practice after completing your Bachelor's degree, we recommend that you acquire both subject-specific and cross-disciplinary professional knowledge and skills. This can also be done in particular by specialising in a subject and working on a topic that directly qualifies you for a profession as part of your Bachelor's thesis.

In addition, the Bachelor's degree offers the opportunity to continue with a Master's programme at home or abroad. At the Faculty of Business and Economics you can study the following Master's programmes following your Bachelor's degree:

All Master's programmes at the Faculty usually last four semesters (two years). Application is made directly to the faculty. Certain admission requirements must be met in each case.

Into the bargain, you can study the following Master's programmes offered by other faculties: