HGO4302 – Transformations to Sustainability

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Course content

How do we transform ourselves and our societies at the rate and scale called for by both science and policy? How do we do this in an equitable and just manner? This course explores theories, policies, and practices associated with transformations to sustainability. It provides students with an in-depth overview of concepts, theories and approaches for understanding the relationship between individual change, collective change, and systems change. The course contextualizes research on transformation within the Anthropocene, an epoch where global environmental changes are challenging models of socio-economic organization and the mental models and worldviews associated with them. Readings and lectures will consider the drivers and dynamics of transformative change from multiple perspectives and paradigms, including those that embrace alternative ways of thinking about humanity’s relationship with the environment. Seminars will focus on the transformation in practice, including how we individually and collectively work with and scale transformative change.

Learning outcome

Knowledge goals

You will be able to:

  • account for and discuss key concepts and theories related to transformations towards sustainability in the era of the Anthropocene
  • explain the distinctions and relationships between different perspectives on transitions and transformations to sustainability

Skills attainment goals

  • account for, discuss and critique concepts and theories covered in lectures in a sophisticated manner
  • connect these theories, and critiques thereof, to specific cases and concrete settings in the field
  • write a research paper that links transformation in theory with transformations in practice

General competences

You will be able to:

  • assess specific situations, challenges and openings related to transformations to sustainability based on theoretically grounded knowledge on this field.
  • communicate knowledge-based insights and analysis both verbally and in writing.
  • contribute to the new creative and independent thinking about the potential for transformative change.


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.

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

This course is a part of the Master's program in Human Geography. Students with admission to other relevant master’s degree programmes can apply for admission as guest students.

Master specialisation in didactics for social science in the Teacher Education Programme (Lektorprogrammet) – please see the link for information regarding admission.


The course consists of lectures, discussions, and seminars. The lectures and discussions will be linked to the readings and students are expected to have read them. The seminars will focus on transformative change in practice, and provide opportunities for students to develop ideas for their term papers. Short reflection pieces will be assigned, but these will not be included in the final grade.  


The examination will take the form of a term paper, and students are free to choose a topic that is relevant to the themes and literature covered in the course. The length of the paper will be maximum 4000 words, not including references.  

Examiner guidelines

Submit assignments in Inspera

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

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

You may write your examination paper in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or 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

Ask for explanation of your grade in this course:

Resit an examination

If you are sick or have another valid reason for not attending the regular exam, we offer a postponed exam later in the same semester.

See also our information about resitting an exam.

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

Every other autumn starting 2018
Every other autumn starting 2018
Teaching language