Global Environmental Governance

Course content

Global environmental governance (GEG) is an interdisciplinary project oriented course on how the global community addresses, or ought to address, environmental problems and their solutions.  


The course is interdisciplinary in that we take outset in concepts, approaches, and theories from political science, international law, and human geography. We draw mainly on examples from climate change and tropical forestry, but also from other environmental areas. The course is project oriented in that the students in parallel to the classes must write a group based project assignment, which along with the rest of the curriculum and presentations, forms the basis for individual oral exams. The students can chose from a broad range of topics for their assignments. 


The lectures fall into the following six modules:

1) Introduction to the general field of GEG

2) The emergence of ideas and ideologies about global environmental problems and their solutions.    

3) GEG actors, architecture, and international relations (perspectives mainly from political science and human geography)

4) State-led global regulation, institutions, and regimes (perspectives mainly from international law)

5) Global economic governance, the market, and the environment 

6) The role of non-state actors in GEG


Since the course has different teachers, the succession of the modules and lectures may not necessarily follow a straight path from 1) - 6). 


The course includes one or more excursions to national or international organizations that are located in Copenhagen and knowledgeable about, relevant to, and active in GEG.

When you have passed this course, you have met one of the requirements for obtaining a certificate in Global Environmental Governance. You can find more information about the GEG certificate here:


Relevance for sustainability: The vision about social, economic, and environmental sustainability underpins all topics, discussions, and assignments in the course. We look at the concept of sustainability as one of the milestones in the development of current ideas and ideologies about global environmental problems and their solutions. Some lectures and assignments may address sustainability as a distinct topic.


Digitalization: If possible, most lectures will be on site. Some lectures may be offered digitally and records made available. Some lectures, whether onsite or online, will draw on digital e-learning tools.      


MSc Programme in Climate Change
MSc Programme in Environmental Science
MSc Programme in Forest and Nature Management
MSc Programme in Nature Management
MSc Programme in Sustainable Forest and Nature Management
MSc Programme in Global Environment and Development



Learning outcome

Objective of the course:
The main objective of the course is to provide interdisciplinary knowledge, skills, and competences that can assist you in dealing with global environmental governance in an international and/or national work context.


Learning outcomes:


At the end of the course, the students can retrieve, recognize, and recall knowledge aquired from the course (including lectures, readings, and assignments) on:

  • Global environmental problems and issues,
  • Concepts and theories,
  • International organizations and regimes,
  • Different types of actors and the roles they play in global environmental governance



The students can:

  • Explain and compare theories and concepts from the course,
  • Exemplify and compare environmental problems and the challenges they pose to global governance



Finally, the students can:

  • Apply concepts and theories from the course in discussions and analyses of global environmental problems and solutions, institutions and regimes,
  • Compare and critically reflect on the (relative) strengths and weaknesses of different concepts and theories in relation to carrying out such analyses

As a rule, the lectures will be based on dialogue between teachers and students. The course includes theoretical exercises and guidance for writing the project assignments.

You can find a good introduction to the topic, for instance, in:

O’Neil, Kate (2017): The Environment and International Relations, Cambridge University Press (Course book)

Harris,P.G. (ed.) 2015. Routledge Handbook Of Global Environmental Politics, Routledge, London. 

This course is for graduate students, i.e. students who hold a BSc degree in any field. Students who have some previous experience with social science, law, and environmental studies may have an advantage, but for students with other backgrounds, a genuine interest in the topic can make up for it.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 25 min.
Type of assessment details
Oral examination, 25 minute including assessment. No preparation time. The exam starts with a five minutes individual presentation of the obligatory written assignment, and relate to all the curriculum.
Exam registration requirements

Written project assignment submitted and passed

All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several internal examiners

Same as ordinary exam.

If the student has not handed in the project report, then it must be handed in two weeks prior to the re-exam. It must be approved before the exam.

Criteria for exam assessment

See Learning Outcomes

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 40
  • Preparation
  • 62
  • Theory exercises
  • 10
  • E-Learning
  • 0
  • Excursions
  • 6
  • Project work
  • 84
  • Study Groups
  • 0
  • Guidance
  • 4
  • Exam Preparation
  • 0
  • English
  • 206


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 block

Block 3
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
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator
  • Iben Nathan   (2-787d4f7875817e3d7a843d737a)

Different teachers

Saved on the 28-02-2023

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Courseinformation of students