SOSGEO2301 – Environment and society

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Choose semester

Course content

This course focuses on contemporary environmental issues and the challenges of both understanding and responding to them in an equitable and sustainable manner. The course presents geographical and sociological insights on discourses and framings of environmental problems, including how beliefs, values and worldviews influence perceptions of problems as well as proposed solutions, and the implications for human security.

The lectures introduce economic, political, cultural and ethical perspectives on environmental problems, focusing on issues such as climate change, urban environmental problems, land use change, biodiversity, access to water and food, and vulnerability and adaptation to environmental change and disaster risk. The course includes discussions of the different types of social transitions and transformations that are considered necessary for creating a resilient and sustainable future.

Understandings of human-environment relationships, social change, conceptions of power, and the role of individual and collective action in systems-scale change will be considered. Students are expected to participate actively in the seminars.

Learning outcome


  • Understand key concepts and theories about environmental problems, including vulnerability, resilience, adaptation and human security;
  • Explain the role that discourses play in framing problems and solutions;
  • Recognize different perspectives and approaches to environmental problems, and how these influence research, policy and action;
  • Understand the key issues related to individual environmental problems such as climate change, biodiversity loss, deforestation, etc.;
  • Understand the links between globalizaton and environmental change, and recognize how multiple processes (e.g., economic change, urbanization, epidemics, etc.) intersect and interact;
  • Explain how environmental problems are linked to development and understandings of human-environment relationships and society-technology dynamics;
  • Understand how contributions from the social sciences can contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of environmental problems and solutions.

Skills and Competence

  • Discuss and debate articles and text on environmental issues;
  • Recognize how different discourses are represented in media coverage of environmental issues;
  • Experience in writing short opinion pieces on environmental problems;
  • Write an academic text with references that addresses a particular question related to environment and society;
  • Reflect and comment on the assignments of other students;
  • Present and defend viewpoints among a group of students.


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.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

No obligatory prerequisites beyond the minimum requirements for entrance to higher education in Norway.

Recommended previous knowledge

SGO1001 – Innføring i Samfunnsgeografi or

Overlapping courses

10 credits overlap with SGO2301 – Environment and society (discontinued)


Seminars and lectures.

Compulsory instruction and coursework

It is required of the student that he/she writes a feature article relevant to the course. The student must be present in the first seminar where he/she will be assigned to a group.

Completed and approved compulsory course work is valid until the course is no longer offered. Students who have failed to complete the compulsory course work cannot take the exam.

General information

  • This course will be taught at The University of Oslo, Blindern campus. Other location in Oslo may be used. The e-learning tool Fronter will normally be used.
  • The teaching is organized as lectures and seminars, which will be given in English. The course is part of the regular course provision at The Faculty of Social Science.
  • Application for change of seminar group
  • Teaching is mainly held during daytime. Teaching is organised as a combination of lectures and seminars throughout the semester.

Absence from compulsory tuition activities

If you are ill or have another valid reason for being absent from compulsory tuition activities, your absence may be approved or the compulsory activity may be postponed.

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.


The exam is a 2-week home exam in English. The minimum length of the home exam is 10 pages (excluding references) and maximum 14 pages, using 12 point letter size and a spacing of lines 1 1/2.

The exam question is handed out in Fronter at 10.00 am on the day of the exam and must be submitted at 2.00 pm 14 days later.

Previous exam texts

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.You may submit your response 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:

  • home exam


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






Every spring

This course is replaced by SGO2302


Every spring

Teaching language