Seminar: Ecological Economics


The aim of the seminar is to give students a broad introduction to the key elements of Ecological Economics. Students are welcome to write papers in pairs. Possible topics for seminar papers include (but are not limited to):


  • The fundamental vision of Ecological Economics: the economy as a subsystem embedded in nature
  • The history of humans in the environment
  • The historical development of Economics and Ecology
  • Implications of the laws of thermodynamics for economic analysis
  • The relationship between Ecological and Neoclassical Economics
  • Sustainable development from the perspective of Ecological Economics
  • Herman Daly’s Steady-State Economics: sustainable scale, just distribution and efficient allocation
  • Defining and predicting sustainability in ecological terms
  • The paradigm of “Planetary Boundaries” and its relation to Ecological Economics
  • Elements of Ecological Economics in the Dasgupta Review on the Economics of Biodiversity
  • Economic growth and the environment: An Ecological Economics perspective
  • Measures of human impact on the environment
  • Can man-made capital substitute for natural capital?
  • Fair and efficient instruments of economic and environmental policy from the perspective of Ecological Economics
  • An Ecological Economics perspective on the Circular Economy
  • National income accounting from the perspective of Ecological Economics
  • International trade rules for sustainability


The seminar will start with a lecture which introduces students to key concepts in Ecological Economics and offers suggestions on the choice of topics for seminar papers, including references to relevant Ecological Economics literature.

Engelsk titel

Seminar: Ecological Economics


After completing the seminar the student is expected to be able to fulfill the learning outcome specified in the Master curriculum and to be able to


  • Account for, define and scientifically reflect on key concepts in Ecological Economics
  • Identify and discuss central contributions to Ecological Economics
  • Identify relevant literature for the purpose of further study of Ecological Economics



  • Define and discuss the structure of a good (seminar) paper
  • Present and debate issues in Ecological Economics to peers in a scientific and professional manner



  • Independently plan and carry through a research project in Ecological Economics
  • Independently be able to make use of the seminar course content in own academic work


Supplemented by an overall intended learning outcome outlined in the programme-specific curriculum

A good introduction to Ecological Economics can be found in the following e-book:

Costanza, R., Cumberland, J., Daly, H., Goodland, R., Norgaard, R., Kubiszewski, I., Franco, C. (2015). An Introduction to Ecological Economics. Second Edition, CRC Press.

The e-book is freely available on the internet:

Further references to relevant literature will be posted on the Absalon page for the seminar.

Students are expected to have academic qualifications corresponding to the BA programme in Economics at the University of Copenhagen.

Relation to subjects and courses: The content of the seminar relates primarily to our third-year course in “The Economics of the Environment and Climate Change” and to our graduate courses in “Advanced Economics of the Environment and Climate Change” and in “The Energy Economics of the Green Transition”.

- Kick-off meeting: Week 36

- Deadline for submission of commitment paper / project description: No later than 1 October.
1 october

- Deadline for uploading a seminar assignment paper in the Digital Exam portal: No later than one week before the presentations.

- Presentations: 20 November - 11 December

- Exam date: 20 December at 10.00 AM - latest uploading of Seminar paper to the Digital Exam portal for assessment.

- Deadline for assessment: 24 January

All information regarding the seminar is communicated through Absalon including venue. It is very important that you by yourself log on to Absalon and read the information already when you are registered at the seminar.

Peerfeedback (studerende giver hinanden feedback)

Each student receives individually oral feedback on the paper and at the presentation from peers and from the supervisor.


7,5 ECTS
Skriftlig aflevering
Krav til indstilling til eksamen

Use of AI tools is permitted. You must explain how you have used the tools. When text is solely or mainly generated by an AI tool, the tool used must be quoted as a source.

7-trins skala
Ekstern censur

Deadline for submitting the final seminar paper: December 20, 2024 before 10 AM

The seminar paper must be uploaded to the Digital Exam portal. More information will be available from the middle of the semester.

For enrolled students more information about examination, rules, aids etc. is available at the intranet for  Master (UK) and  Master (DK).

Examination Dates can be found  here (latest uploading of Seminar paper to the Digital Exam portal for assessment.)


The reexam form in seminars is a seminar paper with a synopsis

Kriterier for bedømmelse

Grade 12 is given for an outstanding performance: the student lives up to the course's goal description in an independent and convincing manner with no or few and minor shortcomings

Grade 7 is given for a good performance: the student is confidently able to live up to the goal description, albeit with several shortcomings

Grade 02 is given for an adequate performance: the minimum acceptable performance in which the student is only able to live up to the goal description in an insecure and incomplete manner

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7,5 ECTS

1 semester

Maximum number of number of students in the class: 20
Økonomisk Studienævn
Udbydende institut
  • Økonomisk Institut
Udbydende fakultet
  • Det Samfundsvidenskabelige Fakultet
  • Peter Birch Sørensen   (20-756a796a7733676e77686d337874776a73786a73456a68747333707a336970)

Peter Birch Sørensen/​

Gemt den 16-05-2024

Are you BA- or KA-student?

Are you bachelor- or kandidat-student, then find the course in the course catalog for students:

Courseinformation of students