Felled woodland

Work in teams to discover which global challenges are posing the biggest threat to our survival and then design a future world that resolves as many of these issues as possible

How to enrol

Course details

Available to 1st years
Tuesdays 16.00-18.00
8 weeks (autumn term only)

This award winning course allows you to work with a team of students from across college to find out the latest about a global challenge that really interests you. We want to build up a complete picture of all the big issues facing civilisation - it’s a huge task, but if the whole class works together in teams to tackle a single issue each, we can produce a really good knowledge base about the most important global challenges.

You will work in a team to find out about one particular challenge, whilst other student teams are researching different global issues. Together we will create a wiki to share what we find out. This means that you will spend time finding out about something that matters to you, but you will also benefit from the work of all the other teams.

Each week we will look at a different aspect of our global challenges together, before spending the rest of the session in our teams working on our own topics.

Follow on course in the Spring term - HGC12 Sustaining our Future

In this course you get to start considering potential solutions to different global challenges and using perspectives from different disciplines to try to understand why some solutions might be better than others. 

Information blocks

Learning objectives

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

  • Understand the key principles and concepts relevant to your chosen global challenge, as well as having an awareness of those relevant to other global challenges
  • Identify and articulate the key issues and potential solutions within your challenge area
  • Synthesise a body of knowledge about your chosen global challenge, drawing from a range of primary and secondary sources, and integrating theories and concepts from a range of disciplines
  • Document your learning on Blackboard Learn, and collaboratively develop a Wiki for your chosen challenge
  • Participate in group discussion and debate about the key issues, and present your key learning points with a collaborative wiki and presentation

Indicative core content

  • The Current Status – define the current status of a given global challenge, and relate this to the historical context, including previous efforts to tackle the problem
  • Measuring on a Global Scale – understand the importance of methodology and comparability to global measurements; understand the value and limitations of proxy measures and indices
  • Uncertainty – identify areas of uncertainty with a given global challenge, including any assumptions that have been made historically; understand the impact of uncertainty on progress within a challenge area, and within communication about the challenge
  • Predicting the Future – what methodology is used to forecast future progress of specific global challenges; examine the accuracy of historical predictions; how can we judge whether any particular intervention will be successful in mediating or solving specific global challenges?


  • Course Performance (40%) - a continuous assessment of your critical engagement with the course content and process
  • Wiki (40%) - produced in small groups in class time
  • Group Presentation (20%) - a short presentation of key points of your global challenge

Key information

  • ECTS value: 0
  • Requirements: You must be prepared to attend all classes and to spend about an hour a week preparing for each session
  • This module is designed as an undergraduate Level 4 course. See Imperial Horizons level descriptors [pdf]
"I am impressed with the degree of exploration allowed in this module, as global issues are heavily dependent on the perspectives of individuals. The tutors are very kind and develop a close relationship with their students, and help was available when needed throughout the course. The coursework is also not too difficult (or too easy), which proved beneficial as my main coursework increased significantly in the later weeks of the module."
"It's really great to work in groups, and there is so much to discuss - all these issues are really important."