The SDG Academy’s University Partnership Program (UPP), works with universities, academic institutions and education programs to integrate SDG Academy course material into existing and new programs on sustainable development around the world. Institutions that are part of the University Partnership Program receive privileged access to SDG Academy materials in a format suitable to the needs of the institution, as well as pedagogical and technical support from the SDG Academy team in the implementation of the material in a blended learning program. Program participants receive group and one-on-one consultations with SDG Academy staff during various key stages of course development and delivery. Resources such as teaching guides, tool kits and best practice manuals are made available to participants.

Information about the program benefits, eligibility, and fees is included below. If you lead or are part of an education program on sustainable development or a related field and are interested in joining the University Partnership Program, please carefully read the FAQs below for application procedures and requirements.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and reviewed in September and March. The next round of applications will be reviewed in September 2019. 

See below for answers to Frequently Asked Questions. Additional questions about the program should be addressed to the SDG Academy team at

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the objective of the University Partnership Program?

The University Partnership Program is designed to encourage the uptake of SDG Academy courses in existing and new programs on sustainable development in universities around the world. The experience of online learning has consistently shown that comprehension is strengthened by the combination of online and in-person learning. A stronger understanding of effective blended learning will also inform the structure and delivery of future SDG Academy courses.

What are the benefits of the University Partnership Program?

UPP partner institutions will receive:

  • Privileged access to SDG Academy content. All SDG Academy courses are available for universities to use, even if they are not currently running. Materials include: video chapters with English transcripts, reading materials, assessment questions, and activities. All content is in English and is targeted at an upper undergraduate or lower graduate level.
  • Pedagogical support for blended learning. The SDG Academy provides advisory support to program participants in the pedagogical development of a blended course. Support may include curating materials, restructuring course syllabi, designing in-person activities to enhance online learning, and identifying contextually relevant literature and content.
  • Technical support for online platforms. SDG Academy courses are hosted on an online educational platform. In late 2018, course content will also be made available through an online searchable database. SDG Academy staff offers partners technical support to navigate these platforms as well as advisory support to work with institutions’ existing online learning management systems.
  • Training webinars. All university partners will be offered training webinars to learn more about the program, converse with other university representatives, and ask questions to the SDG Academy staff. Webinars will be interactive and recorded for future reference.

Is there a fee to join the program?

While program participants will have access to all SDG Academy course material for free, an annual advisory fee will be charged to cover the advisory support of the SDG Academy. The UPP adopts a tiered fee structure based on the World Bank Organization’s income classification to ensure that costs do not deter institutions from participating. The advisory fee will provide program participants with a direct line of communication with SDG Academy staff, as well as customized pedagogical and technical support. Please contact the SDG Academy if your institution has extenuating circumstances that make the cost restrictive.

WBO Classification Fee (USD)
Low-income economies $500
Middle-income economies $1,250
High-income economies $2,500

**The advisory fee will be due within 60 days of acceptance into the program**

What requirements does my institution need to meet to be eligible for the program?

Interested institutions must:

  1. Be an accredited institution of higher learning
  2. Be a member of SDSN (To apply for membership, click here. Institutions with pending applications for SDSN membership are still encouraged to apply.)
  3. Have a commitment towards the cause of sustainable development
  4. Have approval to participate via a letter of support from the head of the department
  5. Identify a clear start date for the use of the SDG Academy course or material (month/semester)
  6. Designate a primary point of contact for the university
  7. Be able to attend webinars and periodic conference calls for check-ins

Interested institutions will also be required to:

  1. Attend an informational webinar following acceptance to program
  2. Complete a pre-course survey with an SDG Academy staff member
  3. Complete a post-course survey with an SDG Academy staff member
  4. Liaise periodically with the SDG Academy for planning and implementation of resources
  5. Utilize SDG Academy content to promote sustainable development

How many applicants will be accepted into the program?

The SDG Academy accepted 12 institutions into the 2017-2018 program. We strive for geographic, thematic, and institutional diversity, so institutions and programs from traditionally-underrepresented regions are particularly encouraged to apply.

How do I coordinate the SDG Academy courses with my academic year?

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. The application period to join in March 2019 has closed. Applications to join in September 2019 will be reviewed in late August for universities that intend to offer courses beginning January 2020. However, we recognize that universities operate on different academic calendars. Therefore, we intend to offer the SDG Academy course material to program participants based on their particular academic calendar.

What SDG Academy courses are available to use?

All SDG Academy courses are available for universities to use, even if they are not currently running. The full list of courses can be found at Click on the course card to learn more about the course topic, faculty members and syllabus.

What materials are included in each course?

Each course includes 8-12 modules worth of material, with each module representing approximately 1 week of material. Materials include: video chapters, reading materials, assessment questions and activities. All content is targeted at an upper-undergraduate or lower-graduate level. We encourage you to join one of our courses on to learn more about the type of material offered.

In what ways can the material be used?

The material has an unlimited number of applications, and the SDG Academy team will work with UPP partners to explore the options that will best suit the requirements of the partner’s program. Examples of how the course material can be used include:

  • As a virtual textbook, supplementing existing course material.
  • In a “flipped classroom” format, with students viewing lectures online before engaging in in-class discussion and activities.
  • As the global perspective on an issue discussed in class at the local or regional level.
  • As a series of case studies.

Additionally, the materials can be reorganized, re-sequenced, and pieced together from multiple courses to meet the specific needs of our UPP partners.

APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS! What needs to be submitted to be considered for the program?

Interested parties should submit an Expression Of Interest containing the following:

  1. A cover letter entitled “Application for University Partnership Program, SDG Academy” containing:
    1. Description of the department interested in the partnership, highlighting its commitment towards the cause of sustainable development
    2. Description of the university, highlighting its commitment towards the cause of sustainable development
    3. Brief plans for using SDG Academy resources, including SDG Academy content you intend to use (view our complete catalog of courses here), your course’s name, a brief description, expected launch dates, and syllabus where possible
    4. Commenting on the status of the institutional approval process to use online materials in a university course (if applicable)
    5. Signature of the academic point of contact
  2. A letter of support from the school’s department head

Email all materials to

When will I know if my university has been accepted into the program?

Applications will be approved by early September 2019 for universities that intend to offer courses beginning January 2020. Applications will be approved by March 2020 for universities that intend to offer courses beginning September 2020. Once accepted into the program, our university partners will continue to have access to courses and services for each academic year that advisory fees are paid (see above).