Working as a Consultant

Course content

The newspapers are full of examples where expert consultants have developed ‘good’ solutions – but to the wrong problem. The solution does not make the problem disappear, or the ‘solution’ creates new and sometimes even worse problems. The issue is that many of today’s social and technological problems, notably those involving a transformation towards a more sustainable society, often involve complex dilemmas and paradoxes that evade simple solutions.

The course aims to prepare you to work as a consultant, solving complex problems involving sustainability issues while applying your discipline expertise efficiently. This is a crucial competence for addressing the profound social, ecological and economic challenges involved, for example, finding solutions that contribute to the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Working as a Consultant course can help you prepare for a professional life as a consultant by sensitizing you to the consultant’s work context and the task complexity you will encounter. You will work on a business-related case involving sustainable development issues in the course.

Good solutions are characterized by being both technically feasible and socially acceptable. In this course, you will develop the ability to engage with complex challenges as we focus on hands-on training of approaches to integrate multiple scientific and social perspectives to a) understand and describe complex problem situations, b) collaboratively design innovative project proposals, and c) communicate and sell project proposals to consultancy customers.

During the course, we aim to simulate one of the most essential consultant work situations: Developing a project proposal (tender) and answering a customer's request (a call for tender). You will work on a realistic task – and under time pressure. Developing the proposal will allow you to experience working with concrete consultancy tools and frameworks, for example, problem analysis, design thinking, teamwork, project management, proposal writing, and oral proposal selling. We promise you a frustrating and challenging learning experience, but we also provide you with tools to convert your learning experiences into personal development vis-à-vis the consultant role.

The course is open to students from all educations at the University of Copenhagen.


You can find a short video introduction of the course here.


MSc Programme in Environment and Development

Learning outcome

After the course, you will be able to:


  • Understand and discuss the consultant’s role, the consultancy process, and the consultancy firm's business model and working environment.
  • Better understand yourself and team members concerning preferences for how to learn new things, how to solve problems, how to collaborate, and how to be led and lead others in teamwork.
  • Understand essential psychological and social aspects of working under uncertainty and complexity in a multi-disciplinary collaborative setting.
  • Explain and reflect on different ways to engage with project development (problem-solving) and selling sustainability-related consultancy tasks in a business context.
  • Understand essential elements of project management and the organization of teamwork.
  • Understand and discuss how to integrate consideration of the SDGs in a tender proposal.



  • Design a tender (project proposal) development process involving problem definition vision/goal identification, solution development, project design, and proposal writing and selling.
  • Apply data collection methods and problem analysis tools to develop a shared understanding of multi-dimensional problems with other team members.
  • Apply problem-solving techniques (e.g. Design Thinking principles) to develop a solution concept as a response to a customer’s call for tender.
  • Communicate and discuss a task definition and project proposal with a customer.



  • Organize teamwork-based problem-solving processes that address complex sustainability-related issues characterized by uncertainty and ambiguity.
  • Lead a multi-disciplinary team from problem definition and solution development to the formulation of the project proposal and presentation. 
  • Critically reflect on own, teamwork and organizational practices, including gender and diversity issues, to facilitate individual and team learning and organizational development.  

The course is taught in close collaboration with experts from COWI - a large international consultancy firm. The course is structured around a consultancy task (project proposal development) on which students work as a team of consultants. Full participation in significant team-related activities is expected. The task involves the development of a project proposal for an external customer on how to address and solve a complex sustainability-related problem. As a foundation for personal and team development, students will make a personality type ‘test’ (Jungian Type Index, JTI). Students must capture and reflect on essential learning experiences in a written paper. The course will be intensive and work demanding, and a pro-active attitude and full participation during lecture hours are expected.

No requirements – the course is open to all types of study programmes at UCPH

Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 20 minutes
Written assignment
Type of assessment details
The exam consists of two parts:

1) An individual oral exam (60%)
The oral exam is based on the consultancy project proposal (tender), the reflective paper, and the wider curriculum. No time for preparation.

2) A written project proposal (tender) (40%)
An assessment of the individual contribution to the consultancy project proposal.

Each of the two exams is assessed and weighted individually, and the final grade is determined based on this. Students must pass both the written and the oral exams individually to pass the overall exam. Passed exams do not have to be repeated. They will be included in the assessment of the re-exam with the result obtained when they were taken the first time.
Exam registration requirements

1) Handing in an individual reflective paper. 2) Participating in a group in a sales pitch to the consultancy customer

Only certain aids allowed

Only the consultancy project proposal is allowed at the oral exam.

For the written project proposal all aids are allowed.

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Internal examiners

Individual oral exam. 30 minutes without preparation and no aids allowed.

If the student has not handed in a group consultancy project proposal prior to the ordinary exam, the student must hand in an individual consultancy project proposal three weeks prior to the re-exam. 

The student’s total grade is based on two sub-grades: 1) The consultancy project proposal (tender) (40%), and 2) the oral pitch and defence of the proposal and a discussion of the wider course syllabus (60%).  

Passed exams do not have to be repeated. They will be included in the assessment of the re-exam with the result obtained when they were taken the first time.

Criteria for exam assessment

Fulfilment of Learning Outcome is required to obtain the grade 12

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 20
  • Preparation
  • 30
  • Excursions
  • 10
  • Project work
  • 120
  • Exam Preparation
  • 16
  • Exam
  • 10
  • English
  • 206


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 block

Block 4
The number of places might be reduced if you register in the late-registration period (BSc and MSc) or as a credit or single subject student.
Study Board of Natural Resources, Environment and Animal Science
Contracting department
  • Department of Food and Resource Economics
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator
  • Carsten Nico Portefée Hjortsø   (3-69746e466f6c787534717b346a71)
Saved on the 23-02-2024

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