Thematic Course: Interdisciplinary Land Use and Natural Resource Management

Course content

Land use and natural resource management issues are best approached through an interdisciplinary lens. Hence, the central theme of the course is learning and applying methods and theoretical approaches rooted in both natural and social science traditions in problem-oriented field work in a developing country in collaboration with local counterparts. In working with students from other disciplines, students are given opportunity to apply their own disciplinary skills in order to address a specific topic/question within land use, rural development and natural resource management. Collaboration with students from partner universities provides further exposure to working in an inter-cultural environment.

The course includes training in analysing problems and developing a research/project synopsis; 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 report writing. This course provides the students the skills to participate effectively in interdisciplinary assignments in developing countries, and serve as a basis for understanding strengths and weaknesses of students' own discipline.

The course is a collaboration between Department of Food and Resource Economics at UCPH, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences at UCPH, Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management at UCPH, Department of Anthropology at UCPH and Department of People and Technology at RUC. The consortium has carried out interdisciplinary field courses in collaboration with university counterparts in Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Kenya, South Africa, Swaziland and Botswana since 1998. The course attracts students from a wide range of study programmes and during the field work the students will work together with students from the partner universities. 

For logistical and planning purposes, students must enroll by the end of October. Check the specific date of enrollment at the course homepage: where you can also find the form for enrollment. In addition to this enrollment, students must also register the course as normally done.



MSc Programme in Environment and Development

Learning outcome

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

  • Describe key field data collection methods (both natural and social science methods) 
  • Describe central concepts and terms within development and natural resource management
  • Integrate own disciplinary knowledge, skills and competences into interdisciplinary groups tasked with complex, interdisciplinary natural resource problems
  • Select relevant methods
  • construct a research plan for investigating a real-life natural resource “problem” (natural resource management issue)
  • Apply selected methods in the field and collect empirical data
  • Analyse and report on 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

Learning activities include lectures, exercises, discussions, student presentations and group supervision. 2-3 weeks field work in a developing country doing group based data collection. Supervised report writing in group.

The course curriculum willl be made available in Absalon. It consists of i) texts on theoretical and analytical frameworks from the natural and social sciences of relevance to natural resource management,  ii) literature on natural and social science methods, and iii)literature on interdisciplinarity and group work. The students will also read texts of relevance to the research problem being studied and the country/location where the field work takes place.

BSc degree from natural science or social science related programme.

Participants are required to cover transportation costs to the field trip destination, insurance cost, visa cost and food expenditures under the field trip.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)

Students will receive feedback from lecturers and fellow students to the draft synopsis. Intensive feedback will also be given by lecturers during the data collection in the field. During report writing, there will also be feedback to the data analysis and draft versions of chapters in the report.

Type of assessment
Oral examination, 60-90 minutes
Written assignment
Type of assessment details
Oral group examination in synopsis, field report and course curriculum, 60-90 minutes, depending on no. of members of group. No preparation time. The examiners will ask students individual questions to allow individual assessment.

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

Please refer to the learning outcomes

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 24
  • Preparation
  • 84
  • Practical exercises
  • 40
  • Field Work
  • 153
  • Project work
  • 100
  • Guidance
  • 10
  • Exam
  • 1
  • English
  • 412


Course number
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 block

Block 3
Outside schedule, Field trip in 4th, 5th and 6th week of the course
No limits
The number of seats may be reduced in the late registration period
Study Board of Natural Resources, Environment and Animal Science
Contracting department
  • Department of Food and Resource Economics
  • Department of Anthropology
  • Department of Geoscience and Natural Resource Management
  • Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator
  • Christian Pilegaard Hansen   (3-6a776f47706d797635727c356b72)

Torben Birch-Thomsen ( Department of Geoscience and Natural Resource Management, UCPH
Dorette Müller-Stöver (, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, UCPH
Kristine Juul ( Department of People and Technology, RUC

Saved on the 28-02-2022

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