Department of Geography

Web Based Master Course on Environment and Development

Department of Geography is offering the web based course "Critical Perspectives on Environment and Development" in the spring semester 2014.

Ragnhild Overå

Main content

Critical Perspectives on Environment and Development

The course is based upon research within the fields of environment and development and aims to stimulate critical perspectives on established knowledge and 'facts' that have dominated development strategies/policies. Myths and narratives about themes like climate change, deforestation, desertification and erosion are analysed in light of theory of science where knowledge is viewed as socially constructed. Conventional views concerning land degradation are challenged in light of new ecology and political ecology. In the interaction between people and nature, institutions - here understood as established social practices - are important. Institutions are important in analyses of power relations in local communities and of different groups' access to resources.

Duration: 31 January - 28 March 2014
Instruction language: English
Credits: 10 ECTS
Admission: Students with a Bachelor’s degree


Study Methods

This course is designed to fit part-time students and students who engage in other courses simultaneously. Learning by writing is essential, and comments from fellow students and teachers are important in the learning process. Your own activity is crucial to your own understanding, but the teachers will be available continuously with rapid responses.

There will be 7 thematic ‘lectures’, or sessions as we call them. Each session deals with a specific topic. Each session contains a list of reading that students are required to read in connection to working with this topic.

In connection to 4 of the sessions we ask the students to write an assignment. These will be an essay of about 1 - 3 pages, or online discussion groups where we allot the students to groups with specified tasks. In addition, we expect the students to engage in general debates during the study period. As part of working with the assignments we ask students to comment on each other’s essays in small groups, before the teachers give their comments.

More information about the course.


Intended Audience

  • Master students in Geography at University of Bergen
  • Master students from other programmes at University of Bergen
  • Master students from our partner universities in Nepal, Ghana and Peru: Tribuvan University and University of Ghana.



  • Students at University of Bergen with a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent register according to the normal procedures via Studentweb within 1st of February 2014.
  • Students from partner universities in Nepal, Peru and Ghana, contact Department of Geography before December 15th.



  • Course Coordinator: Ragnhild Overå
  • Course Administrator: Grethe Meling
  • Department of Geography, University of Bergen, PB 7800, N-5020 Bergen, Norway