Global research landscape of sustainability curricula implementation in higher education

Research output: Journal contributionsJournal articlesResearchpeer-review


Purpose: This paper aims to outline the global research landscape of sustainability curricula implementation processes in higher education. The focus is twofold and investigates where research that aims at integrating sustainability into the curriculum is happening and how the research area of curriculum change for sustainability is developing. Design/methodology/approach: A systematic review of peer-reviewed case studies published in English in selected journals and edited volumes between 1990 and 2017 was carried out. Data (n = 270 publications) were analyzed via descriptive statistics and bibliometric analysis. Findings: The study demonstrates that research on sustainability curricula implementation processes in higher education has produced a growing output in a broad range of journals. Nevertheless, the cross-country distribution is imbalanced, with most cases coming from the USA, Europe and Asia, but with the relatively highest density in Oceania. A citation network analysis revealed that the “Western world” is quite well interlinked, whereas other countries are not, indicating that sharing information between and learning from other cases is limited. Research limitations/implications: The exclusion of non-English publications likely skewed the global distribution of the research landscape included in this study. Social implications: These findings demonstrate the need for more research and funding for case studies in countries that have not yet been adequately examined. Originality/value: This study offers the first systematic reflection on the current global research landscape in sustainability curricula implementation and can guide further research endeavors.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)570-589
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 19.07.2019