ECON 492d – The Economics of Sustainable Development

Communities, Markets and Technology

Program Overview

Applications are currently being reviewed in the order received. The program will close when full, OR at 11:59 pm on January 1st, 2018, which ever comes first.

Eligibility Criteria

Students who have completed their second year (54 credits) by January 1, 2018 and who have completed a minimum of nine credits in Economics.

ECON 492d has multiple components

  • Pre-departure learning program from January – April 2018
  • ECON classes run on campus from January to end of May 2018
  • 12 weeks of fieldwork in a Regional Service Learning placement for June & July 2018 and remote follow-up as needed in August 2018
  • Return seminar and final course-work on campus in September 2018
  • Re-entry debrief and public engagement presentation on campus in September – October 2018

Course Description

Communities, Markets and Technology is a six credit course integrating an international /regional service learning approach with rigorous academic studies. The aim of the course is to both deepen and broaden students’ understanding of the process of economic development as it affects poor communities in East Africa, India and Latin America. In particular, students will explore the problems and concerns of developing communities in relation to ways that resilient, healthy communities are able to create sustainable livelihoods, to support rather than deplete the local or regional environment, and to build local economies that ensure the well-being of all community members.

Example Syllabus draftEcon-492d-Course-Outline-2018

Regional Service Learning Placement Description

As a part of the ECON 492d course, we will be piloting a new partnership with Clayoquot Biosphere Trust (CBT), in Tofino, BC.  CBT will host 2 student regional service learning (RSL) placements.  Students in this placement will work with CBT on research/inquiry studies that bring together social, cultural, economic, and environmental information to tell a story about the Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve region and measure the vitality these communities.  The UN SDG’s provide a global and universal lens to examine wide issues of poverty, climate action, ocean health, economic growth etc, and will help to frame this regional placement in the global context as discussed in the course.

This placement is part of a new partnership and is best suited to students who are open to ambiguity and ready to not only collaborate effectively in the internship activities, but to also participate in establishing a respectful, professional and reciprocal relationship with the host organization and community.


Regional Partner: Clayoquot Biosphere Trust

Two decades ago residents were looking for ways to be more sustainable while continuing the traditional economic activities of the region, such as logging and fishing and subsequently came together to find solutions towards a better future for their ecosystem and their communities.  In January 2000, Clayoquot Sound was designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. This recognition celebrates the unique ecosystems of Clayoquot Sound and the people who work so hard to encourage a respectful and sustainable relationship with our environment.

The mission of the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust (CBT) is to assist the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Region Community to achieve its vision by providing funding and logistical support for research, education and training initiatives that promote conservation and sustainable development. The CBT will facilitate the sharing and exchange of knowledge and experience both locally and globally. The CBT will accomplish these objectives by working creatively and proactively within the framework of the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere programme.


Living Environment

Tofino, like many regions in BC, is facing a housing shortage – an issue that is heightened in the summer months when Tofino experiences its peak tourist season.  As such, due to this placement being a new partnership, the living environment will be determined in the preceding months.  Students should be prepared to live in possible options such as homestay with family, rental space, or hostel /shared living environment.


Program Dates

Date Activity
Nov. 30, 2017 Regional placement application open. Applications are currently being reviewed in the order received. Placement will close when full, OR at 11:59 pm on December 10th, 2017, whichever comes first.
January – April 2018 Orientation and pre-departure learning sessions (all successful applicants will be expected to be in attendance at all sessions)
January – April + May, 2018 ECON 492d course
Late May – August 2018 12 week regional placement including a facilitated workshop approximately mid-way through (exact dates TBA) (8 weeks on location, 4 weeks remote)
September 2018 ECON 492d Course – Post Placement seminar and assignments due (exact times TBA)
September – October 2018 RSL Post-placement reflection sessions and Public Engagement Presentation

*Please note these dates may be adjusted but will be confirmed prior to offer.


Program Costs

Please see the Awards & Eligibility section below for more information. The finalized cost per student is yet to be confirmed, but will be within the ranges in the table below.

Location Full Program Fee
Tofino $2,900 – $3,200


NOTE: The RSL Program fee is separate from UBC course tuition. Tuition dues will be appear on your Student Services Centre account at the beginning of the term(s) in which you receive course credit.  

The program cost includes:

  • Pre-departure learning sessions at UBC
  • Housing in Tofino
  • Transportation from UBC to Tofino return
  • Orientation program in Tofino
  • In-session debrief and workshop partway through your placement
  • Reflection materials and post public engagement events
  • Program management fee

*Fees may be adjusted before offer. Program costs vary primarily due to cost of living expenses.

Additional Information

All expenses not covered in program costs are responsibility of the student. Costs not included are tuition, food during placement, local transportation while on placement, personal items, and daily incidentals. You will be required to bring your own laptop.


Processes & Timeline

Selection Process

To apply please fill out and submit an online application. Successful applicants will be invited to an interview. After interviews, you will be notified of a decision; successful candidates will be sent an offer letter with further details on the program and detailed instructions on how to accept. You will have approximately one week after receiving the offer letter to accept and pay a program deposit. Your selection into the RSL program includes meeting eligibility requirements, as well as your initial application and your performance in the interview.

Don’t wait to apply, limited spaces exist!

Pre-Departure Overview

The pre-departure learning program is designed to prepare you for an regional service learning placement. This will include:

  • Pre-departure learning sessions taking place over the academic term leading up to departure led by staff and community development professionals.
  • Creation of a learning and development plan
  • Participant-led events/presentations
  • Facilitated meetings with your placement team to explore learning topics

Post-Placement Overview

You will participate in post-placement activities in September- October 2018, including:

  1. A full day to debrief in September 2018
  2. Return seminar and final coursework in September 2018
  3. Presentation at a Global Development Symposium in October 2018