Environmental Management in Europe

Course content

Environmental Management in Europe is an interdisciplinary distance learning course offered by the University of Copenhagen with contribution from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna, the University of Hohenheim and the European Environment Agency. It is open for MSc students from Denmark, other countries in the EU and the rest of the world. 

The focus of the course is environmental management of natural resources (soil, water, air, biodiversity and climate) from a European perspective. The European Union (EU) sets the policy frame for almost all environmental regulation in the member states. This frame determines both the possibilities and the limitations for carrying out environmental management and developing environmental solutions in the EU.

In the first part of the course the concept of environmental management and the online learning platform used in the course is introduced. A short overview of European natural resources and the current state of the environment within the EU is given. Environmental ethics and sustainability concepts are discussed. There will be an introduction to environmental monitoring and assessment, EU environmental law and EU environmental policy. Economic tools for environmental valuation and cost benefit analysis will be discussed.

The second part of the course features a number of case studies based on actual EU environmental policy initiatives (e.g. the Habitat Directive, the Water Framework Directive, the Air Quality Framework Directive, the Climate Action and Renewable Energy Package and the Soil Framework Directive. It is investigated how these initiatives originated and how they are implemented from the EU level to the national, regional and local levels. The scientific and political background for the different initiatives are analysed and discussed. It is investigated how environmental assessment and economic tools are used to support decision-making and evaluate environmental policies. It is analysed how EU directives are interpreted and implemented in the different member states. The environmental, economic and social consequences of EU environmental policies and the need for EU environmental policy integration are discussed. In this discussion the Water Framework Directive is central, since it links to a number of other EU directives. 

For more information see the course homepage at www.environmental-management.dk

Note 1: In week 34 all students will meet at the University of Copenhagen for one day to get to know each other, meet the teachers, and learn about the online learning system used in the course.

Note 2: Students may follow the course in the first or second year of their Master programme, e.g. as a part of the Basic Semester Package in the EnvEuro MSc programme in Environmental Science (see www.enveuro.eu).


MSc Programme in Agriculture
MSc Programme in Environmental Science

Learning outcome

The aim of the course is to provide a solid understanding of how environmental management in Europe is applied at different scales, from the EU level to the national, regional and local levels. Focus is on environmental management of natural resources to achieve long term sustainability for soil, water, air, biodiversity and climate. The course covers a wide range of the UN Sustainable Development Goals with a focus on SDG3 (good health and well being), SDG6 (clean water and sanitation), SDG12 (responsible consumption and production), SDG13 (climate action) and SDG15 (life on land). After completing the course the student should be able to:

- Summarise the background, the fundamental principles and the managerial approaches embedded in EU environmental law
- Identify how different tools and resources for environmental management can be used to acquire knowledge about the state of the environment and solve environmental problems
- Describe how insight and skills in natural sciences are used together with economics, law and planning in contributing to contemporary environmental management
- Reflect about own environmental ethics, and how environmental ethics and sustainability concepts of different stakeholders affect actual environmental policy in the EU. 

- Apply environmental management tools and resources to analyse environmental policy initiatives
- Compare the implementation of environmental policies in different EU member states

- Cooperate and work independently with environmental management in the context of environmental policy
- Discuss how environmental management in Europe is applied at different scales, from the EU level to the national, regional and local levels

Internet based E-learning modules (E-modules) featuring E-lessons with weekly deadlines as well as team assignments and individual assignments. Each E-module is composed of an introduction to the E-module topic and two E-lessons featuring: 1) an introduction 2) learning objectives, 3) learning resources - which can be text, video and/or audio files and questionnaires and 4) an online learning activity in the form of a discussion. The role of the teachers is to assist student learning by serving as E-moderators for the various E-lessons and give feedback to the students.

The learning resources consist of uploaded presentations with video and/or audio as well as selected scientific articles, reports and book chapters, which will be made available online.

Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)

Individual feedback from the course teachers is provided as comments together with the assessment of individual assignments.

Collective feedback from the course teachers is provided as comments together with the assessment of team assignments.

Continuous feedback from the course teachers and peer feedback between students is given in the interactive online discussions that are running throughout the course.

Type of assessment
Description of examination: Description of examination: Students will be assessed on the basis of a portfolio of deliverables from online exercises, two team assignments and four individual assignments. The first team assignment must be submitted as a report comprising of approximately 3.000 to 5.000 words and the second team assignment must be submitted as a poster. The individual assignments should comprise of a maximum of 2 pages each. Details of the portfolio assessment will be given at the course start. The final grade will be given based on the level of participation and the quality of the contribution to online exercises, individual contribution to team assignments and performance in individual assignments.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Criteria for exam assessment

Please see the description of learning outcome

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Preparation
  • 204
  • Theory exercises
  • 102
  • Excursions
  • 4
  • Project work
  • 102
  • English
  • 412


Course number
Programme level
Full Degree Master

2 blocks

Block 1 And Block 2
Outside schedule: Please note that the course begins in week 34, which is one week before the start of Block 1 (more information at www.environmental-management.dk).
Study Board of Natural Resources, Environment and Animal Science
Contracting department
  • Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences
  • Department of Food and Resource Economics
  • Department of Geoscience and Natural Resource Management
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator
  • Elizabeth Heather Jakobsen Neilson   (2-6a734575716a7333707a336970)

Inez Estelle P Harker-Schuch (co-responsible)

Saved on the 01-03-2021

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