SUM4200 – Advanced Introduction to Development and Environment

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Course content

This course takes up key issues in sustainable development. We identify key systemic features of the Anthropocene era, and study how different lives are lived under this new planetary condition. We explore the complex interplay between different scales and localities, the role of different actors, as well as the relation between research and policy, within the sustainable development agenda. The course aims to give students a keen sense of the problems involved and how they interconnect; an advanced grasp of how those problems have been understood and theorized within social science and humanist scholarship; and the creativity to see how theory can be linked up with practice to create change.

Learning outcome

  • To better understand what has caused the Anthropocene, what the consequences of this condition are, and what avenues might lead to change.
  • To recognize and critically assess how various actors and groups contribute to, and are affected by, processes of global change.
  • To identify and discuss the problems and dilemmas involved in the ambition to transition to sustainable development.
  • To write and present academic texts of various length and complexity, discuss problems in class and give presentations in various formats, and comment constructively on the work of peers.


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.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

The Masters study is directed at students with a background in humanities, social sciences or the natural sciences. The minimum requirement for admission is that the students must have a bachelor’s degree (equivalent at least to a good second class honours degree from a reputable university). Students with a natural science background should have at least half a year's studies within the humantities 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.


The course is organized as a series of teaching units. Classes take a hybrid form, combining a lecture format with group discussions, exercises, presentations, etc. A textlab series is integrated into the course, where we will train advanced academic skills, from literature searches, to logging, to writing and presenting, all while working with assignments for the portfolio.

On average there will be three sessions of teaching per week, normally on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. All classes are compulsory.


Due to travel restrictions because of Covid-19, we will organize digital teaching for our international students. We will organize 3 groups based on time zones. The full schedule and teaching arrangements will be published as soon as it's ready. 

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 - : This course uses a portfolio assessment. During the course, students will be given approximately 6 writing assignments, of various (ascending) length and complexity, to submit to the portfolio. The lecturers will give each student feedback on each assignment. A revised, final, version of the portfolio is due a few days after the last teaching unit, and is assessed based on the guidelines in the assessment guide

2017 - 2018: 3 days home exam. In addition, each block will conclude with a one-day online test, which will be graded pass/fail. 

2018 exam questions and assessment guide

2014 - 2016: Portfolio assessment: Every third week the students are to submit a short paper (4-5 pages excluding references, Times New Roman font size 12 and with 1.5 line spacing), in which they will get feedback on in order to improve the following submission. Throughout the semester, the students are to submit five short papers that together constitute the Portfolio.

Submit assignments in Inspera

You submit your assignment in the digital examination system Inspera. Read about how to submit assignments in Inspera.

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 pass/fail scale. 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.

Evaluation Autumn 2012

Facts about this course

Every autumn
Every autumn
Teaching language