SUM4030 – Environmental Humanities

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Course content

The Environmental Humanities is a new, emerging area of interdisciplinary studies of the environmental and climate crisis. It is designed to both critically inspect the current planetary predicament as the crisis of environmental imagination which demands a pivotal paradigm shift in our values, habits, routines and representations.    

The course invites students to examine environmental topics through the lens of philosophy and ethics, literary traditions, history, media, landscape studies and the arts. The course covers thus a range of research areas, such as environmental history and anthropology; climate and environmental ethics; literature/media studies, studies of the nexus environment-religion-ideology; studies of landscape and identity.


Learning outcome

The course will provide students with in-depth insights into the complex – and often hidden – value charged dilemmas which stem as much from globalization and predatory capitalism, and from the pivotal features of human psychology and mindset. The course will make the participants able to grasp the following aspects of development and the environment:

  • the role of literature, and the mainstream and new media in shaping our perceptions of the climate crisis;
  • the importance of creating new, ethical foundations for the Age of the Anthropocene.
  • the impact of civil society and local cultures’ mobilization on saving the planet;
  • the often hidden – or unspoken - connection between environmental values and ideology.
  • The analysis of what works and what doesn’t work in communicating sustainability

The students will be given tools to think of combatting environmental and development challenges not just in technological or institutional terms but also in terms of a cultural paradigm shift.


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

Students enrolled in other Master's Degree Programmes can, on application, be admitted to the course if this is cleared by their own study programme.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.

The minimum requirement for admission to this course is a bachelors degree (or equivalent) within social sciences, the humanities, or natural sciences.If you have a natural science background, you should have at least half a year's studies (30 ECTS) within the humanities or social sciences to prepare you for the interdisciplinary challenges this course offers. Please contact Centre for Development and the Environment for more information regarding admission.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

The minimum requirement for admission is a minimum grade average of C (in the Norwegian grading scale) or equivalent from the specialization in your degree within social sciences, the humanities, or natural sciences. A degree in business studies does not qualify.

Students with a natural science background should have at least half a year's studies (30 ECTS) within the humanities or social sciences to prepare them for the interdisciplinary challenges this programme offers.

Students must also have a good working knowledge of English, and should be able to read and follow lectures in this language as well as writing a school examn in English.


This is how you apply for a valid absence from compulsory activities/compulsory attendance:

Access to teaching

A student who has completed compulsory instruction and coursework and has had these approved, is not entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework. A student who has been admitted to a course, but who has not completed compulsory instruction and coursework or had these approved, is entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework, depending on available capacity.


2019: Home exam

2017-2018: Course paper.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course





Teaching language