UCL Institute for Global Prosperity


Optional modules at UCL Institute for Global Prosperity

16 August 2023

Explore IGP’s range of optional modules available to those both studying at the IGP and across UCL

Students walking through campus

The IGP has an exciting range of optional modules available, led by experts in their field, and covering topics such as 'China and Global Prosperity', 'Prosperous and Inclusive Planetary Futures' and how we interpret the economy as a source of prosperity. These modules are available to postgraduates across UCL, with some also being made available to undergraduates for the first time. 

Hear from our teaching team about the modules they lead on and what you can expect in this YouTube modules playlist

YouTube Widget Placeholderhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJVkU_mocp8&list=PL2HO5vKlqYUhxsy2aKXpUn...

China and Global Prosperity (BGLP0008)

Today, China is the world's second-largest economy, and, in the past ten years, it has contributed around 30% of global growth. This module focuses on China’s re-emergence as a key global player. Through an interdisciplinary approach, the module explores the post-1979 ‘Reforms and Opening Up era’, which began with Deng Xiaoping’s intention to achieve a ‘moderately prosperous society’, and the implication that economic growth needs to be balanced with sometimes conflicting goals of social equality and environmental protection.

Therefore, the module aims to enable students to critically understand how the Chinese state and other actors envisage a prosperous future, and what does that mean for approaches to the culture, economy, sociality, governance, and the environment.

Led by Professor Maurizio Marinelli

Full details: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/module-catalogue/modules/china-and-global-prosperi...

Debt, Finance and Prosperity (BGLP0007)

How can we pay for the societies we want? How do we create more inclusive forms of value? How do we move from failing forms of finance and growth economics that create inequality and ecosystem destruction towards more inclusive and sustainable forms of prosperity? This module addresses these questions by interrogating existing financial practices, particularly the expansion of both private and public debt across the globe. It also examines alternatives that rethink work and wages, social relationships, health and wellbeing in order to sustain and secure individuals and communities, cities and environments.

Led by Dr Christopher Harker

Full details: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/module-catalogue/modules/debt-finance-and-prosperi...

New Economics of Prosperity (BGLP0023)

This course offers a new approach to how we interpret the economy as a source of prosperity. The basic proposition is to accept that fundamental uncertainty is ever-present in our decision making. Rather than leaving us powerless to act because we cannot know the full consequences of our actions, our psychological desire to understand stimulates our imagination to interpret patterns of observations. We learned long ago that our understanding can be assured, deepened or challenged by interacting with other people. This implies that direct human interaction is the ultimate source of prosperity (as well as adverse outcomes). All value becomes social.

We intend this module to be a conceptual grounding for students’ exploration of prosperity. It is an advanced course which draws on common ideas from the ESRC’s Rebuilding Macroeconomics interdisciplinary network, which is now part of the Institute for Global Prosperity. We consider this to be a highly innovative course which will include class exercises to explore our economic relations, including games from experimental economics, simple agent-based computer simulations, emergent processes and network properties of self-organisation. 

Led by Dr Angus Armstrong

Full details: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/module-catalogue/modules/new-economics-of-prosperi...

Prosperity from Below: The Informal, the Illicit and the Popular (BGLP0024)

What can the livelihoods of people working at the margins –in informal settlements, rural & peri-urban markets, or illicit trades, tell us about prosperity? This module starts from the point of view that the best way to understand exclusion, poverty and inequality is to ask those who are bearing the brunt of global inequality and historical patterns of exclusion on a daily basis. The aim is to get students to think about how to create an economy in which all economies fit, and so think about a plurality of exchanges and values rather than inclusion/exclusion from a ‘mainstream’ economic system.  Case studies are drawn from empirical work that is committed to centering the views of those whose voices have been excluded from the development of mainstream economic theories and policies – including the urban and rural poor, indigenous people, and women.  These will be analysed with reference to literature on decolonising the economy and feminist work on economic diversity, which challenges key economic and political ideas, and problematises the divisions between formal/informal, traditional/modern, productive/reproductive, and even legal/illegal.  On this basis, the module invites students to rethink what counts as value, exchange, production, corruption and modernity and so reimagine genuinely plural approach to prosperity.  

Led by Dr Kate Maclean

Full details: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/module-catalogue/modules/prosperity-from-below-the...

Prosperity, People and Planet: Conceptual Frameworks (BGLP0018)

This module will introduce students to the history of thinking about prosperity, wellbeing, and quality of life. This will include key intellectual debates about the relationship between humanity and the rest of nature, and how natural, economic and social approaches to prosperity can be integrated. It will introduce students to IGP’s work on natural prosperity metrics. Using a combination of economic approaches with other social science methods, data analytics, earth systems observation, and related approaches, it will investigate key ideas about the nature of ecological systems and critically examine current approaches to economics, climate, and sustainability. The module will introduce students to debates on economic pluralism, wellbeing economies, ecological economics, ecosystems theory, socio-natural systems, natural capital, ecosystem services, environmental accounting, carbon trading, the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Green-, De-and A-growth, doughnut economics, and other related topics. It will bring these ideas together by arguing that there is a need to generate new models, values, and relationships to design and build a prosperous, sustainable and inclusive future for the planet. The module thus acts as a foundation for the rest of the degree programme.

Led by Dr Ida Kubiszewski and Professor Robert Costanza

Full details: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/module-catalogue/modules/prosperity-people-and-pla...

Prosperous and Inclusive Planetary Futures (BGLP0019)

This module will combine various forms of futures and transitions thinking (such as the 3H and MLP models), ideas about complexity, resilience, emergence and non-linear dynamics with approaches to knowledge rooted in pluralising and decolonising economics. These will be used to develop original ideas around the concept of natural prosperity, the ecologies of the future and how these can be co-designed with IGP’s active research partners including Prosperity Co-Labs and the Transforming Tomorrow Initiative. The module begins by critically interrogating a range of models for the future which are often implicit in global political and scientific thinking. It challenges these with newer ideas about the future of ecological systems, their inseparable entanglement with human economic, social and political systems, and processes of co- and autonomous design. IGP’s own partnerships serve as foundational models. Students will explore a range of global transition case studies embedded in IGP projects and partnerships that are actively researching and designing regenerative and adaptive socio-natural systems as the basis for prosperous people and planet. In this way, the module draws students into leading-edge research into inclusive and pluralistic forms of prosperity and their future production through inclusive co-design developed at the IGP.

Led by Professor Robert Costanza

Full details: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/module-catalogue/modules/prosperous-and-inclusive-...

Social Theories of Prosperity (BGLP0015)

This module explores the ways in which different traditions in critical and social theory inform our thinking about contemporary challenges to global prosperity. It offers an overview of a range of theoretical traditions and examines their value for impact-driven research on social, economic and cultural challenges. Each week’s topic will focus on a unique theoretical framework – with related concepts, methods, and applications – and examine how this framework generates specific understandings and approaches to problems in the world. The module will address topics such as subjectivity, desire, affect and governmentality, and discuss their implication for understanding issues of social and economic inequality, democratic deficit, and climate change, among others.

Led by Dr Nikolay Mintchev

Full details: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/module-catalogue/modules/social-theories-of-prospe...

Urban Futures and Prosperity (BGLP0009)

Using emerging theories of prosperity as a critical lens, the module focuses on the way urban futures have been imagined and can be implemented in attempts to tackle these problems and make cities better spaces for living for all. We will examine common narratives of urban development as part of a discourse of economic development from agriculture to industrialisation and consider new urban forms that confound this trajectory. We will explore historical and contemporary top-down approaches to urban planning such as garden cities, modernist planning and smart cities as well as bottom-up activities like transition towns, housing coops, formal and informal urban entrepreneurship and urban circular economy networks. We will consider how these initiatives envisage diverse pathways to prosperous urban futures, how these fit into broader narratives of social and urban development – and how they re-write them.

Led by Dr Hanna Baumann

Full details: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/module-catalogue/modules/urban-futures-and-prosper...

About the process:  
Once you’ve completed your enrolment process, you’ll be able to choose IGP’s optional and elective modules. You do this via the 'My Studies' page on Portico, under 'My Modules'. Here, you'll find a link to register your choices. 

The IGP’s modules are open to all UCL postgraduate students, and, for the first time, the following ones are also available to undergraduates:

  • BGLP0008            China and Global Prosperity
  • BGLP0009            Urban Futures and Prosperity
  • BGLP0015            Social Theories of Prosperity
  • BGLP0017            Atelier: Prototyping Natural Prosperity
  • BGLP0019            Prosperous and Inclusive Planetary Futures
  • BGLP0023            New Economics of Prosperity
  • BGLP0024            Prosperity from Below: The Informal, the Illicit and the Popular

If you have any queries about our modules or need help registering on them, then you can contact us anytime at igp@ucl.ac.uk.