Translation of the Swedish programme syllabus
 
Master's Programme in Environmental Science (INT), 120 credits
(Masterprogram i miljövetenskap (INT), 120 högskolepoäng)
 
Programme code P4410
Academic school School of Natural Sciences, Technology and Environmental Studies
Education cycle Second-cycle (Master)
Language of instruction English
Valid from HT 2015 (autumn semester)


1. Validation

This programme syllabus was validated by the Faculty Board at Södertörn University on 2013-11-08 according to the stipulations in the Higher Education Ordinance. This programme was revised on 2015-01-23.

2. Entry requirements

The equivalent of English B and Bachelor's degree including 90 credits in Environmental Science, Bioscience, Sociology, International Health, Media Communcation Studies or the equivalent

3. Programme outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

On completion of the programme, the student is able to:

  • analyse major environmental issues by using overarching concepts such as sustainable development, policy, communication, risk, health, and the ecosystem approach

  • analyse how socio-economic factors can impact governance of environmental issues in society

  • analyse the problem oriented and interdisciplinary nature of environmental issues, including risk assessment and management

  • analyse the implications of complexity, uncertainty and socio-political ambiguity for the assessment, communication and governance of various environmental problems at different levels.



    i. Environment Communication and Politics

    Upon completion of the programme, the student is able to:

  • critically analyse and use core concepts in the research field of environment, communication and politics

  • analyse public decision-making in key environmental issues at local, national and international level, including how communication forms may affect political decisions and outcomes

  • analyse how factors and complex processes related to communication, political decision-making and ecology may interact and influence the environment in various domains.



    ii. Ecosystem Management



    Upon completion of the programme, the student is able to:

  • critically analyse and use central concepts within the research area related to ecosystem management and sustainable development of social-ecological systems

  • analyse core concepts and ideas presented in current research related to ecosystem management, property and user rights, as well as in national and international implementation policies

  • measure biological diversity and analyse its different aspects, such as diversity within and among species, ecosystems, and different spatial and temporal scales

  • analyse the implications of biological diversity on ecosystem functioning.



    iii. Infectious Disease Control

    Upon completion of the programme, the student is able to:

  • define biological mechanisms and socio-economic factors behind major infectious diseases.

  • explain the increased epidemiological risks in relation to changes in environment and climate, inadequate nutrition and decreased immune competence

  • describe and generalise epidemiological principles important in infectious disease control and suggest strategies for identification of emerging or re-emerging disease threats

  • identify suitable surveillance and intervention steps adapted to the local situation as well as regional, national and international level

  • apply quantitative epidemiological methodology to assess infection risks in different populations.





    Competence and skills

    On completion of the programme, the student is able to:

  • formulate research questions with a multidisciplinary profile in the domain of Environmental Science

  • compile, analyse, and present reports, literature surveys and other types of academic material, in oral and written form, to various audiences in an autonomous manner

  • select methods and methodological approaches suitable to a particular research problem and in an independent manner discuss on what grounds these selections have been made

  • collect and compile empirical data using scientific methods appropriate to a chosen research plan

  • in an autonomous manner, plan and undertake a research project in Environmental Science and write a scientific report in the form of a Master's dissertation, including a popular sciences description, based on the findings of the project.



    Judgement and approach

    On completion of the programme, the student is able to:

  • critically assess scientific, ethical and societal aspects related to published scientific studies within Environmental Sciences

  • evaluate the potential impact from selected research efforts in relation to societal values such as democracy, sustainable development and gender equality

  • identify and consider personal gaps in knowledge related to the area of expertise

  • work in group projects, where the members have different disciplinary backgrounds

  • critically assess one's own attitudes and work in relation to different theories and ideas in Environmental Sciences.




  • 4. Applicability

    The programme is adapted to the increasing need for professionals trained and skilled in bridging the gap between traditional disciplines when working with issues relating to sustainability of ecological systems providing ecosystem services, on the one hand, and decision-making, management and communication on the other. Because of the multi-faceted nature of most kinds of environmental, health, and natural resources problems, it is necessary to be able to consider multiple analytical and assessment perspectives simultaneously. A considerable effort is made to improve students' communicative ability in both oral and written forms by different individual and group assignments where the focus is not only on content but also, and as importantly, on issues related to how language and structure of presentations are adapted to the target group.

    Great emphasis is placed on project work assignments, which are presented orally and in written form, and which develop international communication skills.

    This Master's programme gives students advanced qualifications for subsequent application to PhD studies in Environmental Science or equivalent disciplines.



    i. Environment Communication and Politics

    The student develops skills in compiling, using, assessing and communicating knowledge and tools in political science and policy in and among various types of organisations: public and private as well as for-profit and non-profit. Considerable attention is paid to transnational processes and complex interactions among multiple levels of politics, policy-making and organisation. Different types of organisations need to cope with an increasing complexity and uncertainty regarding issues of sustainability, and this Master's programme fosters useful analytical skills for such endeavours.

    Skills in communicating contemporary environmental risks are of great importance in all these contexts, both within organisations and in networks of organisations and not the least in regard to public communication and the mass media. An important part of this specialisation is to train students in communicating complex scientific arguments in forms appropriate to both specialists and non-specialists.



    ii. Ecosystem Management

    Knowledge and skills in natural resource management of terrestrial and marine ecosystems help us, and the next generations, to govern a changing environment in a sustainable manner. The scope of what constitutes an environmental problem has broadened substantially during the last decades from comparably narrowly framed management problems towards ecosystem-based, multi-dimensional approaches including ecological as well as social and economic dimensions. Key for a sustainable development is an increased understanding of the significance and valuation of different ecosystem services. Ecosystem management approaches are now commonly featured in environmental legislation and policy documents in the EU and elsewhere. There is thus a demand on experts in Environmental Science with knowledge in ecosystem management and biodiversity issues.



    iii. Infectious Disease Control

    This multidisciplinary education gives the student the tools needed to survey, control and evaluate the risk for epidemic infections, as well as a deep understanding of the connection between spreading patterns for infectious diseases and global environmental changes, urbanisation and mobility. It also evaluates action plans in rapid emergence and evolution of infectious diseases, as well as prioritising and identifying cost-effective actions in light of insufficient health budgets.

    5. Qualification

    Title of qualification

  • Filosofie mastersexamen med huvudområdet miljövetenskap
  • Degree of Master of Science (120 credits) in Enviromental Sciences

    Qualification stipulation

  • The degree of Master of Science (120 credits) is awarded on completion of courses equivalent to 120 credits with a degree of specialisation determined by the individual institute of higher education. At least 60 credits must be awarded for in-depth courses within the main field of Environmental Science including a minimum of 30 credits for an independent project in the main field. A project of 15 credits is sufficient if a Master's project of 15 credits has previously been completed. A student must previously have been awarded a degree of Bachelor of Science for courses equivalent to 180 credits, or have an equivalent qualification from abroad.

  • 6. Programme design

    This programme focuses on training students to develop a multi-disciplinary knowledge base and skills to analyse current environmental issues. The programme endeavours to develop fruitful combinations of theoretical approaches from studies of sustainable development, policy, communication, risk, international health, and ecosystem management. The programme has three specialisations. Some courses are common to all, including the final Master's dissertation, courses on research methods, methodologies, and theories of science applied to Environmental Science, as well as a course on environmental risks.
    Most modules are built around a foundation consisting of lectures and discussion seminars. In addition to this, group assignments in the form of projects are an important means of fostering advanced scholarly collaboration, not only between students, but also in relation to actors external to the university.

    Environment, Communication and Politics
    The specialisation focuses on in-depth analyses of the relationship between science, communication, democracy and political decision-making in the domain of the environment and sustainable development. The programme focuses on how political and administrative structures, institutions, communication processes and actor interests influence interaction among experts, political decision-makers, the general public, and other stakeholders as well as how advanced theoretical and practical knowledge can be exchanged among various groups in modern, democratic and globalised societies. Special attention is given to risk assessment, risk management and the role of the mass media in public environmental administration at various societal levels, where the aim is to deepen democracy, encourage deliberative political processes, i.e. information exchange and negotiations between key groups in society, in order to enhance sustainability.

    Ecosystem Management
    The specialisation towards ecosystem management is problem oriented and interdisciplinary, including both social and natural sciences. Key aspects include the identification and evaluation of a range of ecosystem services, processes and functions in different types of ecosystems and how they are affected by human activities. Both ecological and socio-economic systems are complex. Therefore, it is important to study institutions and governance systems that can integrate social and ecological systems and adapt to and learn from change so called adaptive management perspectives. This includes different forms of property and user rights of natural resources and stakeholder participation in governance processes.

    Infectious Disease Control
    This program bridges health science, biological, medical, environmental and socio-economic aspects of infectious disease control. Biological mechanisms behind important infectious diseases are highlighted with a focus on control, diagnostics and therapy with national as well as international perspectives. How local and global changes in the environment and climate are connected with the spread, presence and evolution of infectious diseases are addressed.
    Great emphasis is put on providing quantitative epidemiological methods for surveillance and outbreak investigations such as case-control studies, cohort studies and mathematical modelling of infectious diseases, statistical models suitable for epidemiological studies, GIS tools for spatial perspectives on the connections between the environment, health and society and meta-analysis for the identification of complex trends.

    7. Compulsory courses

    Environment, Communication and Politics: Environmental Governance and the Role of Experts (7,5), Generation of Knowledge in Environmental Science, (7.5 credits), Research Methods and Methodologies (7.5 credits), Environmental Risks: Assessment and Management, (7.5 credits), Media and the Environment, (7.5 credits), Political Decision Making and Environmental Management I, (7.5 credits), Environmental Communication, (7.5 credits), Communicating Scientific Knowledge and Complex Environmental Issues, (7.5 credits), Sustainability, Civil Society and Transnational Governance, (7.5 credits), Dissertation (15/30 credits)

    Ecosystem Management: Generation of Knowledge in Environmental Science, (7.5 credits), Research Methods and Methodologies, (7.5 credits), Environmental Risks: Assessment and Management, (7.5 credits), Ecosystem Management, (7.5 credits), Biodiversity and Conservation (7.5 credits), Environmental Planning for Sustainable Governance, (7.5 credits), Medical Geography (7.5 credits), Analytical Tools in Environmental Science (7.5 credits), Statistics (7.5 credits), Dissertation (15/30 credits)

    Infectious Disease Control: Research Methods and Methodologies (7.5 credits), Environmental Risks: Assessment and Management, (7.5 credits), Medical Geography (7.5 credits), Analytical Tools in Environmental Science (7.5 credits), Statistics (7.5 credits), Infectious Disease Control in Changing Environments (7.5 credits), Infectious Disease Epidemiology (7.5 credits), Multidisciplinary Research Project in Environmental Science (7.5 credits), Dissertation (15/30 credits)
     A student on a study programme is guaranteed a place on the compulsory courses or on the specializations/courses within the programme. (For entry requirements, see 11, Other Stipulations.)

    8. Optional courses

    Environment, Communication and Politics:
    Political Decision-making and Environmental Management II (7.5 credits), Ecosystem Management (7.5 credits), Biodiversity and Conservation (7.5 credits), Environmental Planning for Sustainable Governance (7.5 credits), Medical Geography (7.5 credits), Analytical Tools in Environmental Science (7.5 credits), Statistics (7.5 credits), Infectious Disease Control in Changing Environments (7.5 credits), Multidisciplinary Research Project in Environmental Science (7.5 credits)

    Ecosystem Management:
    Environmental Governance and the Role of Experts (7.5 credits), ), Media and the Environment (7.5 credits), Political Decision Making and Environmental Management I (7.5 credits), Environmental Communication (7.5 credits), Communicating Scientific Knowledge and Complex Environmental Issues (7.5 credits), Sustainability, Civil Society and Transnational Governance (7.5 credits), Infectious Disease Control in Changing Environments (7.5 credits), Multidisciplinary Research Project in Environmental Science (7.5 credits)

    Infectious Disease Control:
    Generation of Knowledge in Environmental Science (7.5 credits), Environmental Governance and the Role of Experts (7.5 credits), Media and the Environment (7.5 credits), Political Decision Making and Environmental Management I (7.5 credits), Environmental Communication (7.5 credits), Communicating Scientific Knowledge and Complex Environmental Issues (7.5 credits), Sustainability, Civil Society and Transnational Governance (7.5 credits), Ecosystem Management (7.5 credits), Environmental Planning for Sustainable Governance (7.5 credits)
     A student is guaranteed a place on a range of courses equivalent to a full workload. There is no guarantee that a student is offered a place on his/her first choice of course. For entry requirements, see course syllabus.

    9. Degree project

    Master's dissertation in Environmental Science, 30 credits

    10. Credit transfer for prior studies

    A student has the right to have prior learning assessed for accreditation within the study programme.

    11. Other stipulations

    For entry requirements for courses within a study programme, see course syllabus.

    Optional courses may be replaced by other courses, provided that these other courses are (a) classified as Master's courses, (b) classified as Environmental Science or equivalent, and (c) assessed by the Master's programme coordinator or equivalent to be in the domain of the Master's programme.