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Environmental Communication and Management - Master´s Programme


Programme code:


Decision by:

Revised by:

Programnämnden för utbildning inom naturresurser och jordbruk (PN - NJ)

SLU ua 2020.3.1.1-347

Applies to students admitted in
1.    Autumn 2011 
2.    Autumn 2012 
3.    Autumn 2018 
4.    Autumn 2020 -   Visas nedan 

Board responsible:
Programnämnden för utbildning inom naturresurser och jordbruk (PN - NJ)

Admission to the Master’s programme Environmental Communication and Management requires a first-cycle qualification comprising 180 credits and including specialised studies comprising of 90 credits within a single subject (i.e. Biology or Economics) within one of the following disciplinary domains:
- natural science
- technology
- social sciences. (i.e. sociology, psychology, economics, political science, human geography, media)

Applicants with the equivalent qualifications obtained by means of a degree from another country, or with the equivalent knowledge obtained in some other way, may also be regarded as fulfilling the specific entry requirements.

This programme is taught in English. The applicant must further have a level of English equivalent to upper secondary school English, called English 6. An applicant with a first-cycle qualification from SLU comprising 180 credits automatically fulfils this requirement. Special rules apply for applicants with qualifications from one of the Nordic countries and some English-speaking countries.

Specific requirements apply for admission to the individual courses included in the programme.


General objectives
The general objectives for first- and second-cycle courses and programmes are specified in the Swedish Higher Education Act (Chapter 1, Sections 8–9).

Objectives for a Degree in XX
In accordance with the annex to the Ordinance for the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, for a degree of Master (120 credits) the student shall:

Knowledge and understanding
- demonstrate knowledge and understanding in the main field of study, including both broad knowledge of the field and a considerable degree of specialised knowledge in certain areas of the field as well as insight into current research and development work, and
- demonstrate specialised methodological knowledge in the main field of study.

Competence and skills
- demonstrate the ability to critically and systematically integrate knowledge and analyse, assess and deal with complex phenomena, issues and situations even with limited information
- demonstrate the ability to identify and formulate issues critically, autonomously and creatively as well as to plan and, using appropriate methods, undertake advanced tasks within predetermined time frames and so contribute to the formation of knowledge as well as the ability to evaluate this work
- demonstrate the ability in speech and writing both nationally and internationally to clearly report and discuss his or her conclusions and the knowledge and arguments on which they are based in dialogue with different audiences, and
- demonstrate the skills required for participation in research and development work or autonomous employment in some other qualified capacity.

Judgement and approach
- demonstrate the ability to make assessments in the main field of study informed by relevant disciplinary, social and ethical issues and also to demonstrate awareness of ethical aspects of research and development work
- demonstrate insight into the possibilities and limitations of research, its role in society and the responsibility of the individual for how it is used, and
- demonstrate the ability to identify the personal need for further knowledge and take responsibility for his or her ongoing learning.


Degree awarded on completion of the programme
Upon completion of the programme, the degree of Master of Science is awarded. Other general qualifications may be awarded, provided that the requirements for them are fulfilled. More information can be found in SLU´s degree regulations.

Students who fulfil the qualification requirements for a degree will be issued a degree certificate upon request. The degree certificate will specify the qualification as Degree of Master of Science (120 credits) with a Major in Environmental Science.

Degree requirements
A degree of Master of Science (120 credits) with a major in environmental science is awarded to students who fulfil the course requirements (courses with a Pass grade) of 120 credits, of which at least 90 credits at second-cycle level, according to the following:
- at least 30 credits of courses with specialised study in the main field environmental science (A1N; A1F),
- at least 30 credits from an independent project (degree project) in the main field environmental science (A2E).

In addition, the student must hold a degree of Bachelor or professional qualification of at least 180 credits or an equivalent qualification.


Programme description
The aim of this programme is to give students the opportunity to develop skills to, using social science theories and methods, understand and analyse environmental communication as it appears, its function and role in environmental management in society, and to use this knowledge when working with sustainable development and environmental change, in research and in practice. After completing the programme students should be able to demonstrate such knowledge about and understanding of communication processes within environmental and natural resource management as is required to work independently and in cooperation with others on environmental communications within natural resource and environmental administration, organisations and companies and with research tasks within the area of environmental communication. The teaching methods for both theoretical and practical components are experience-based and include (social) laboratory work, case studies, role play, excursions and reflection training. The teaching aims to provide wide variation of theory, experience and reflection.

Initially, theoretic understanding of communication is taught both as a prerequisite for and a consequence of society and natural resource management. This component is mainly analytical and aims at creating understanding for how, why and what happens within natural resource management.

Important theories and concepts concern human perception and interpretation of the situations in which a person is acting, norm structures and norm formation, action and motivation, social interaction, reflection, language, institutions and social identity. Woven into these sections are also more normative elements, which concern how constructive dialogues with a high degree of participation can be planned and carried out.

Another central theme during the first semester is theory of knowledge, perception of reality and systems thinking, where we try to understand the consequences of people perceiving reality in different ways and how this can be handled in practice in participant-orientated decision-making processes. During the second semester, the focus is on democracy, conflicts and conflict management between the actors of natural resource management.

Another theme is communication strategy and planning for change, and to understand how mass media work and impact on environmental and natural resource management.

At the end of the first year, there is also an overview of different approaches to communication theory and their relationships.

During the second year, the focus is on how to carry out scientific studies within the area of environmental communication. Theory of science, social scientific methods, methods for problem formulation and analysis of periodicals and scientific discussions in progress within the area are studied.

During the second year there is also the opportunity to do a placement in an organisation working with environmental communication.

Courses in the programme
Main fields of study
LU=Rural development, MX=Environmental science, ÖÄ=Other subject

Year 1
Introduction to Environmental Communication - Society, Social Interaction and Communicative Skills, 15 cr MX A1N
Engaging Critically with Environmental Governance Practices, 15 cr MX A1N
Conflict, Democracy and Facilitation, 15 cr MX A1N
Communication Theory and Strategy, 15 cr MX A1F

Year 2
The Context and Process of Research I: Theories and Methods, 7.5 cr LU/MX A1N
The Context and Process of Research II: Theories and Methods, 7.5 cr LU/MX A1F
Internship in Environmental Communication, 15 cr ÖÄ AXX
The Process of Research: Qualitative Methods, Data Analysis and Academic Writing, 15 cr LU/MX A1N
Governance of Natural Resources, 15 cr LU A1N
Master Thesis in Environmental Science, A2E, 30 cr MX A2E

The courses offered may change during the course of the programme. Decisions on the courses offered are taken well in advance of the next academic year.

For each course, there is a course syllabus providing more detailed course information. Information on when courses are offered is available on the SLU student web.


General regulations for first- and second-cycle courses and programmes
For more information on semester dates, examination and credit transfer, see the Regulations for education at Bachelor´s and Master´s level available on the SLU student web.

Possibilities for further studies
Students who complete the programme and are awarded a degree of Master have the option to continue their studies at doctoral level.