• Course Code:  GPF

  • Term:  Fall 2017

  • Start Date:  Oct 30 2017

  • End Date:  Dec 11 2017

  • Duration:  6 weeks

  • Course Author(s)
    Jeffrey Sachs, The SDG Academy

This course has ended

Globalization course card

Globalization: Past and Future

Fall 2017

  • Sdg academy website announcment
    The SDG Academy Team


This course is currently unavailable. Sign up for our newsletter to learn when this course (and others) will next be offered!

Globalization: a new phenomenon or an evolving state of the world? In the age of the internet, highly interconnected supply chains and mass migration societies feel more closely linked than ever. But is that really the case?


In this free, four-part mini-course, Professor Jeffrey Sachs argues that we have always lived in a global world. He takes students on a historical and anthropological tour of six distinct waves of globalization and outlines the key factors that drove innovation, technology dispersal and development during these epochs. The course tells the story of a global humanity and asks the question: What lessons can we pull from history to help understand the tumultuous changes underway today?


Course Structure, Logistics & Requirements

The course launches October 30th, 2017. Students can enroll anytime after that date and until December 11th, 2017. After December 11th, 2017, the course content will no longer be available.



  • Pre-recorded lectures

  • Readings

  • Quizzes

  • Discussion forums

Each module (the materials for each week) is made available each Monday, and once the module has been opened it remains open for the duration of the course. These course components can be completed at a time that is convenient for the students; quizzes can be completed anytime before the course ends.


Estimated time commitment: 4-6 hours per module (though this depends heavily on the student and their objectives in taking the course)

Cost: Free

Requirements: An internet connection to access course materials


Certificates: Students who successfully complete the course will receive a digital certificate of proficiency, signed by the course organizers. In order to successfully complete the course, students must score an average of 70% or higher on the quizzes and final exam, all of which are multiple choice. Students who score 85% or higher will receive certificates of proficiency with distinction. NOTE: While this course is not credit granting, we encourage students to work with their own institutions to explore the option of granting credit for online coursework.


Questions about the course structure or requirements? Email Adriana (the course teaching assistant) at globalization@sdgacademy.org or the SDG Academy Team at sdgacademy@unsdsn.org. For technical questions about the platform, please email support@edcast.com.


Course Syllabus


Module 1: Waves of Globalization in History

1.1 Six Major Globalizations

1.2 Prime Drivers

1.3 The Eurasian Advantage

1.4 The Classical World

1.5 The Medieval Chinese Miracle


Module 2: Ocean-Based Globalization: 1500-1800

2.1 Sea-Based Globalization

2.2 Global Trade in Commodities

2.3 Conquest, Slavery and Genocide in the Americas

2.4 Imperial Competition

2.5 The Beginning of Divergence of the West and Asia


Module 3: The Anglo-American World: 1800-2000

3.1 James Watt Changes the World

3.2 The Next Comers: US, Germany, Japan and the Rest

3.3 High European Imperialism

3.4 The European Immolation and Decolonization

3.5 US-led Globalization


Module 4: The New Globalization

4.1 The Eclipse of the North Atlantic

4.2 Hitting Planetary Boundaries

4.3 The Information Revolution

4.4 The Quest for Sustainable Development

4.5 Global Governance for Sustainable Development

4.6 Shared Global Vision and Ethics


About the Instructor

Jeffrey D. Sachs is a world-renowned professor of economics, leader in sustainable development, senior UN advisor, bestselling author, and syndicated columnist whose monthly newspaper columns appear in more than 100 countries. He is the co-recipient of the 2015 Blue Planet Prize, the leading global prize for environmental leadership. He has twice been named among Time Magazine’s 100 most influential world leaders. He was called by the New York Times, “probably the most important economist in the world,” and by Time Magazine “the world’s best-known economist.” A recent survey by The Economist Magazine ranked Professor Sachs as among the world’s three most influential living economists of the past decade.


Learn more about Professor Sachs here.


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Globalization: Past and Future


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