Thematic Course: Interdisciplinary Land Use and Natural Resource Management

Course content


The course contents are:

- Familiarising with theoretical and methodological approaches to interdisciplinary studies of natural resource management and rural livelihoods in developing countries
- Enabling students to apply their own disciplinary skills in interdisciplinary problem-based group work
- Training in field based investigation of concrete topics/problems
- Ensuring exposure to methods from both natural and social science
- Providing students the experience of working with developing country counterparts
- Stimulate reflection on all the above

The course is jointly organised by Faculty of Science and Faculty of Social Sciences at University of Copenhagen and Roskilde University, and attracts students from a range of natural and social science disciplines. Most land use and natural resource management issues in developing countries are best approached interdisciplinary. Hence, the central theme in the course is learning and using interdisciplinary methods and theoretical approaches through problem-oriented field work in a developing country in collaboration with local counterparts. While working with students from other disciplines, students should apply their own disciplinary skills in order to address the identified topics/questions within land use, rural development and natural resource management. Close co-operation with local students will ensure exposure to working in an inter-cultural environment. The course includes training in analysing and developing project proposals; planning and conducting field work; selection and application of data collection methods (e.g. questionnaire design, interview techniques, bio-physical sampling methods, PRA techniques); data recording and processing; and writing field reports. This will allow students to participate effectively in interdisciplinary assignments in developing countries, and serve as a basis for understanding strengths and weaknesses of each student’s own discipline, including comparative advantages of academic disciplines relevant to rural livelihoods and natural resource management in developing countries.

The SLUSE programme at the former KVL, KU and RUC have carried out interdisciplinary field courses in collaboration with university counterparts in Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Kenya and Southern Africa since 1998.

For logistical reasons, students must enrol by October. Check course homepage for more information:



MSc Programme in Agricultural Development
MSc Programme in Geography and Geoinformatics
MSc Programme in Sustainable Development in Agriculture (Agris Mundus)
MSc Programme in Geography and Geoinformatics with a Minor Subject

Learning outcome

The course offers a training experience in selecting, applying and evaluating field methods for natural resource management from an interdisciplinary perspective. After completing the course the students should be able to:

Describe and show overview of key field data collection methods (both natural and social science methods)

Describe and define central concepts and terms within development and natural resource management

Integrate own knowledge, skills and competences into interdisciplinary groups tasked with complex, interdisciplinary problems

Select relevant methods and construct a research plan for investigating a real-life natural resource “problem”

Apply selected methods in the field

Analyse and report collected field data

Reflect on research plan and reliability of collected data

Generalize and reflect on results observed/obtained at the case level to broader issues of sustainability, livelihood, natural resource management and development

Teaching divided in lectures, excercises and discussions, student presentations and individual supervision. 2-3 weeks field work in a developing country.

Will be made available at Absalon

Participants are required to cover transportation costs and insurances to the field trip destination.

Type of assessment
Oral examination
Description of Examination: Assessment of field report. Individual oral examination in synopsis, field report and course curriculum.

Weight: Field report: 50% Oral exam: 50%
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Criteria for exam assessment

Please refer to the learning goals

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Exam
  • 1
  • Excursions
  • 153
  • Preparation
  • 100
  • Colloquia
  • 24
  • Theory exercises
  • 12
  • Project work
  • 100
  • Theory exercises
  • 12
  • Guidance
  • 10
  • English
  • 412