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Postgraduate course

Theories of Sustainable Land Use

Main content

ECTS Credits


Level of Study


Teaching semester


Objectives and Content

Finding ways to negotiate increasing pressures on land around the world is key to meet the sustainability challenge. The aim of this course is to give the student a thorough introduction to contemporary research and debates on sustainable land use in a period of rapidly increasing climate and environmental crises. The course integrates social science and ecological perspectives on competing uses of land, including production of food and energy, conservation, habitation and recreation. The concept land includes also coastal areas and marine resources. Students will discuss theoretical approaches to global and local complexities of sustainability, vulnerability and resilience. Central approaches to sustainability assessment are introduced, in addition to critical perspectives addressing sustainable land use interventions and policies for transition.

Learning Outcomes

A student who has completed the course should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:


The student

  • understands concepts of sustainability science and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and can critically reflect upon their content and on the dilemmas resulting from conflicting priorities
  • has knowledge of advanced contemporary geographical and interdisciplinary approaches to sustainable land use problems, including socio-ecological systems and political ecology
  • understands how the trends in land use are shaped by environmental, social, economic and political factors


The student

  • can read, understand, present and discuss advanced scientific texts on sustainability and land use subjects.
  • can identify, select and apply relevant analytical approaches to assessment of sustainability, vulnerability and resilience
  • can write informed texts discussing sustainability issues referring appropriately to literature and other sources

General knowledge

The student

  • can apply geographical theoretical approaches to land use relationships and conflicts

Required Previous Knowledge

A bachelor's degree in Geography, or other relevant disciplines.

Recommended Previous Knowledge

GEO124, GEO131, GEO222, GEO281, GEO282 or similar courses

Access to the Course

MA in Geographies of Sustainable Development and MA in Geography, students from other relevant master's programmes at UiB and incoming exchange students with relevant background. Interested students from other programmes and exchange students are welcome to contact the Department of Geography (Studieveileder.geog@uib.no).

Teaching and learning methods

One seminar (30 min) and lecture (60 min) combined, รก 2 hours pr. week.

1-2 half-day summary seminars

Total: 16-20 hours

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

Oral presentation of a given topic (3-4 students together, 20 min presentation + 10 min discussion) as an introduction to a specific lecture.

The compulsory activities must be approved in order to take the exam. Approved compulsory activities are valid in the current and following two semesters.

Forms of Assessment

Take home exam, 5 days, 3000-3500 words (100%)

Grading Scale

Grading A-F

Assessment Semester

Assessment in teaching semester

Reading List

The reading list will be ready before 1 June for the autumn semester and 1 Decemeber for the spring semester.

Course Evaluation

All courses are evaluated according to UiB's system for quality assurance of education.

Programme Committee

The Programme Committee is responsible for the content, structure and quality of the study programme and courses.

Course Administrator

The Department of Geography at the Faculty of Social Sciences has the administrative responsibility for the course and the study programme.

Contact Information

Department of Geography


Exam information

  • Type of assessment: Take home exam

    Assignment handed out
    13.11.2023, 09:00
    Submission deadline
    17.11.2023, 14:00
    Withdrawal deadline
    Examination system
    Digital exam
    • Digital innlevering, Inspera