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Introduction to environmental communication - Society, social interaction and communicative skills

If the environmental problems will be managed or not, is dependent of the thinking and acting of people and their ability to learn from earlier mistakes. How a natural resource will be used (or misused) is decided in oral and written exchanges between humans. In this course we will investigate how people make up their minds about environmental issues, how they chat, understand and misunderstand each other. How do attitudes develop? How does knowledge develop? What is happening when someone learn something? We will investigate the dynamic of a working group and the communication within and between groups. This course is an introduction to a social psychological understanding of the natural resource management. We focus on the experiences of the students and theories about communication, learning, group dynamics, changes of attitudes, action and reflection will be illustrated in exercises and applications.

MX0115 Introduction to environmental communication - Society, social interaction and communicative skills, 15.0 Credits

Introduktionskurs till miljökommunikation-Samhälle , socialt samspel och kommunikativa färdigheter

Syllabus approved



Environmental science

Education cycle

Master’s level


Title Credits Code
Report project work 7.50 1002
Home exam 7.50 1003

Advanced study in the main field

Second cycle, only first-cycle courses as entry requirements(A1N)

Grading scale

5:Pass with Distinction, 4:Pass with Credit, 3:Pass, U:Fail The requirements for attaining different grades are described in the course assessment criteria which are contained in a supplement to the course syllabus. Current information on assessment criteria shall be made available at the start of the course.



Prior knowledge

Knowledge equivalent to English 6 from upper secondary school.
Equivalent to 180 credits and specialized studies comprising 90 credits within one of the following subjects/disciplinary domains: natural sciences, technology or social sciences.


The aim of the course is to develop an understanding of environmental communication as a social process which is simultaneously dependent of, and affecting, society, and to develop basic skills in facilitating constructive dialogue in small groups with relevance for natural resource management. Both macro and micro sociological theories are needed in order to understand environmental communication and its’ relevance in society and natural resource management.

After the course is finished the student should be able to:
- Describe theoretical approaches to understanding the relation between people and the environment.
- Discuss the role of communication in the development and resolution of environmental challenges.
- Describe methods for facilitating constructive dialogue.
- Reflect on their own experience of communication situations.


This course introduces students to sociological, social psychological and epistemological theories and concepts, among others to the theory of symbolic interactionism, which is used to understand human action in natural resource management. It also gives opportunities to develop practical skills in facilitating constructive dialogue in small groups.

Social and epistemological theories are presented in lectures and literature, and the students are in exercises facilitated to apply these theories in reflection and analysis of ongoing social processes, own experience and in case studies. The pedagogical idea of the course is pending between 1) observation of concrete environmental communication relevant situations, including both narrated case studies and own, immediate experience, which will generate a demand for theory, 2) presentation of theory, 3) analysis and interpretation of concrete cases through applying social science theories to the situation, 4) considering normative aspects of the situation (what could be changed and how to change), including structural changes as well as changes of individual action and thinking. Consequently there is a relation between lectures, literature and exercises. The students also carry out a small project connected to a situation/problem of relevance for environmental communication.

Formats and requirements for examination

Examination through:
- Home-exam
- Report on project work

To pass the course it is compulsory to:
- Participate in the project work
- Participate in facilitation work-shops.
  • If the student fails a test, the examiner may give the student a supplementary assignment, provided this is possible and there is reason to do so.
  • If the student has been granted special educational support because of a disability, the examiner has the right to offer the student an adapted test, or provide an alternative assessment.
  • If changes are made to this course syllabus, or if the course is closed, SLU shall decide on transitional rules for examination of students admitted under this syllabus but who have not yet passed the course.
  • For the examination of a degree project (independent project), the examiner may also allow the student to add supplemental information after the deadline. For more information on this, please refer to the regulations for education at Bachelor's and Master's level.

Other information

  • The right to take part in teaching and/or supervision only applies to the course date to which the student has been admitted and registered on.
  • If there are special reasons, the student may take part in course components that require compulsory attendance at a later date. For more information on this, please refer to the regulations for education at Bachelor's and Master's level.

Responsible department

Department of Urban and Rural Development

Further information

Determined by: Programnämnden för utbildning inom naturresurser och jordbruk (PN - NJ)
Replaces: MX0068, MX0066, MX0072, MX0100
There are no Grading criteria posted for this course

Course facts

The course is offered as an independent course: Yes The course is offered as a programme course: Environmental Communication and Management - Master´s Programme EnvEuro - European Master in Environmental Science Tuition fee: Tuition fee only for non-EU/EEA/Switzerland citizens: 38054 SEK Cycle: Master’s level
Subject: Environmental science
Course code: MX0115 Application code: SLU-10074 Location: Uppsala Distance course: No Language: English Responsible department: Department of Urban and Rural Development Pace: 100%