World in Transition WiT




18–25 ECTS




Advanced studies

Language of learning:



Health and wellbeing
Human-centred living environments

Target group:

All Aalto students

Teacher in charge:

Olli Varis (ENG)
Saija Hollmén (ARTS)

Administrative contact:

Sanna Tekonen

Organising department:

Department of Architecture


School of Arts, Design and Architecture


Bachelor's degree.

Quotas and restrictions:


Application process:

Open for all master's students at Aalto University. Application procedures and/or prerequisites apply to some individual courses. Included studio courses have additional selection criteria, identified in their respective course descriptions. The used criteria varies from course to course. The course descriptions indicate to whom and how the applications will be submitted. 

The focus of WiT Minor is in long-term sustainable global development issues, such as UN’s SDGs, good governance, human rights, social sustainability, climate change and innovations. It explores the dilemma of development from different perspectives. It deals with cross-cultural communication, participatory practices and community engagement in vulnerable settings, and promotes culturally sensitive professional practices in architecture, design, engineering and business.
WiT Minor exploits Problem Based Learning (PBL) and Human-Centered Design (HCD) methodologies with links to industry, civil society and academia. The WiT Minor emphasizes interdisciplinarity and mutual and reciprocal peer learning.  

Learning outcomes 

After completing WiT Minor, student will have holistic understanding of the global development related issues, regardless of their own disciplinary background. They are prepared for advanced studies in the thematic area and for further work life opportunities on the field.
Transferable skills – such as teamwork, critical thinking, judgement and decision making, communication project design, research methods, adaptability – are core learning objectives, preparing the students’ expertise and knowledge to move from situated (context related) to transferable, scalable and applicable in complex professional situations. 

In addition to disciplinary and context related learning outcomes, the minor aims at providing the students with an understanding in the diverse linkages and relations from technology, innovations, design and entrepreneurship to socio-culturally, economically and environmentally sustainable development. The Minor educates professionals capable of strategic spatial problem solving, planning design-led solutions for longer-term recovery, adapting to cultural variations, and coordinating and managing projects in vulnerable communities, using participatory planning methods.

Structure of the minor

WiT Minor consists of prerequisite courses on global development issues, followed by studio courses (see admission process) including a field trip, provided by Aalto School of Arts, Design and Architecture and School of Engineering.
The core courses are Interplay of Cultures (IoC) Studio and Sustainable Global Technologies (SGT) Studio, with a selection of theme related electives. In previous years, the field trips have taken Aalto students to countries such as Senegal, Benin, South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania, Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, Lebanon, Greece, Nepal, Cambodia, Taiwan, Philippines and Mexico.  The field trip costs are (usually) on the students’ responsibility.
The minor also offers courses that do not require attending a field trip. Students are also free to compose the minor from additional and optional courses only.

Code Course name ECTS credits Selection Criteria Prerequisites (in addition to BA degree)
Prerequisite and compulsory courses        
WAT-E3020 State of the World and Development L 2 open for all  
WAT-E2060 Sustainable Built Environment L 5 *) some limitations WAT-E3020
Alternative Studio courses        
WAT-E2070 Sustainable Global Technologies
  (SGT) Studio L
10 *) some limitations



ARK-E1021 Studio_Spring (Interplay of Cultures Studio, (Humanitarian Architecture Studio)  18 *) some limitations



Additional and optional courses        
ARK-E1022 Sustainability Tools for the Built Environment 6 *) some
WAT-E2080 Water and Governance L 5 *) some
ARK-E2021 Interplay of Cultures, Research and Theory 6 *) some
21E1000 How to Change the World – Innovating toward Sustainability 6 *) some
21E16001 Sustainability in Business 6    
MNGT-E3004 Sustainable Entrepreneurship, Markets, and Systems Change 6    
MNGT-E2005 Sustainability in global value chains 6 *) some
22E29100 Accounting for Sustainability 6 *) some
REC-E3500 Urban Economics 6    
REC-E4500 Land Management   6 *) some
REC-E4700 Environmental Law   6    
MNGT-E1002 Market-based Development in the Global South 6 Preference given to students in (1) Creative Sustainability, (2) Management and International Business,  (3) Entrepreneurship None
MEC-E6005 Engineering Materials Seminar D 5    
 all UniPID Virtual Courses  (organized min. 3 years in a row: check
  availability), for example:
  Concepts of Sustainability 5 open for all  
  Contemporary Environmental Conflicts 5 open for all  
  Migration, Development and Human Rights 5 open for all  
  Decolonising Sustainable Development? Introductory lessons from the Global South 5 open for all  
  Other UniPID virtual course, according to availability 5 open for all  

*Selection criteria applies. Students from the responsible / organizing master program have priority.

(Check the minimum scope of the minor studies in your own program.)

Previous curricula

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