Environment and Development – from Theory to Practice

Course content

This course focuses on the multiple theoretical and analytical approaches to understanding coupled human-environment systems in the context of achieving sustainable development in the Global South. The course traces the historical development in understandings of coupled human-environment systems in order to understand contemporary approaches to and debates on sustainable development. Examples of how development efforts have addressed globalization and global change processes will be discussed as will the responses of agro-ecosystem management to environmental pressures. The theoretical knowledge will be complemented by methodological exercises aimed at understanding the data needs and methodological approaches that are relevant for designing interdisciplinary research on the topics discussed. The students will work with quantitative and qualitative datasets from both social and natural sciences to obtain an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches. The theoretical and methodological knowledge will be put into practice in interdisciplinary group projects in which students, with different disciplinary backgrounds, will develop a solutions-oriented research project for understanding an interdisciplinary problem related to coupled human-environment systems, development and management of agro-ecosystems.


MSc Programme in Environment and Development 

Learning outcome


  • Theoretical understanding of historical and contemporary approaches to coupled human-environmental systems
  • Responses to global environmental change and globalization processes in development efforts and management of agro-ecosystems
  • Knowledge of a broad range of methodological approaches that can be applied in combination in order to understand complex interdisciplinary problems related to coupled human-environment systems and approaches to development.
  • An in depth understanding of interdisciplinary project work that is central for understanding and solving wicked human-environmental problems



  • Critical analysis of theoretical literature and approaches
  • Critical analysis of data and methodologies used for understanding interdisciplinary problems
  • Application of theory and methodologies in order to develop solutions oriented research projects.
  • Interdisciplinary group work and project development



  • Students should be able identify and apply theoretical and methodological approaches to solving complex interdisciplinary problems needed for understanding and managing sustainable development in the Global South

The form of teaching is based on theoretical and methodological exercises combined with lectures. Interdisciplinary group work with the aim of producing a joint product is central to the course. For the teaching plan, please see Absalon course page.

Please see Absalon course page

Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.

Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Oral examination, 20 min. no preparation
The written assignment is prepared during the course and must be handed in prior to the exam week.
The oral exam uses the written assignment as its point of departure and also includes examination in the titles listed in the officially approved reading list. The written report and the oral exam both account for 50% of the grade.

I order to pass the course, both parts of the exam have to score a grade of at least 02.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several internal examiners.
Criteria for exam assessment

See learning outcome.

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 14
  • Preparation
  • 143
  • Exercises
  • 49
  • English
  • 206


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 block

Block 2
Study Board of Natural Resources, Environment and Animal Science
Contracting department
  • Department of Geoscience and Natural Resource Management
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator
  • Laura Vang Rasmussen   (2-7076446d6b72326f7932686f)

Laura Vang Rasmussen, IGN
Dorette Sophie Müller-Stöver, PLEN
Aske Skovmand Bosselmann, IFRO

Saved on the 01-03-2021

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