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Engaging critically with environmental governance practices

In this course, students will learn how to investigate, assess, and reflect on environmental governance practices. For this, the course creates a solid theoretical and methodological basis, which is applied in a real-world project concerning an ongoing environmental governance practice. Based on their critical engagement, students are encouraged to suggest contributions to this practice.

Information from the course leader

22 Feb 2022

Dear Students,

We have now uploaded a preliminary schedule, which should give you a good overview of the course. If you cannot wait with questions until the course start, please email the course leader (email to the right on larger screens).

We will start the course on Friday, 25 March at 9.00 in Room U, Ulls Hus.

We will open up the Canvas page a few days before the course start. If you would like to get into the mood of the course, please watch the following two videos. They will be used as shared examples throughout the course to discuss key concepts and ideas. We encourage you to watch in the first course week at latest. Film 1: // Film 2:

If you do not intend to take this course anymore for whatever reason, please do reject the offer for your study place as soon as possible. There are quite a lot of students on the waiting list! Thanks!

Best wishes from your teacher team


14 Feb 2022

Dear Students,

With the updated guidelines by the government and SLU's instructions on teaching, we will conduct most course activities on campus at SLU. You cannot pass the course through distance learning.

If you do not intend to take this course anymore for whatever reason, please do reject the offer for your study place as soon as possible. There are quite a lot of students on the waiting list! Thanks!

Best wishes from your teacher team


Hej Students,

Welcome to the course Engaging critically with environmental governance practices.

On this webpage you can find a preliminary literature list. The schedule will be uploaded by the end of February.

The first day of course activities will be Fri, March 25 and we are looking forward to seeing you

Lotten Westberg, Malte Rödl and Fanny Möckel (teachers)

Course evaluation

The course evaluation is now closed

MX0149-40121 - Course evaluation report

Once the evaluation is closed, the course coordinator and student representative have 1 month to draft their comments. The comments will be published in the evaluation report.

Additional course evaluations for MX0149

Academic year 2020/2021

Engaging critically with environmental governance practices (MX0149-40110)

2021-03-24 - 2021-06-06

Syllabus and other information


MX0149 Engaging critically with environmental governance practices, 15.0 Credits

Att förstå samhällets miljöstyrning utifrån ett kritiskt konstruktivt förhållningssätt


Environmental Science

Education cycle

Master’s level


Title Credits Code
Theory and methods for critical engagement 5.0 0202
Group project work on env. governance practices 5.0 0203
Individual research project 5.0 0204

Advanced study in the main field

Second cycle, has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirementsMaster’s level (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.


Communication is crucial for environmental governance practices. These practices include, among others, managing natural resources, organising collective action, coordinating multi-stakeholder initiatives, and creating arenas for public deliberation. The aim of this course is to develop in depth insights into how environmental governance is carried out in practice. In order to understand environmental governance and how it can be assessed and improved, students critically explore ongoing governance practices and suggest improvements together with environmental governance actors such as citizens, professionals and organisations. By taking this course, students are expected to develop their knowledge on a number of social constructionist theories. They will also improve their facilitation skills and refine their ability to collect and analyse empirical data in a way that is useful for both research and practice.

After completion of the course the student will be able to:

- describe different theories suitable to critically understand environmental governance in practice;

- describe qualitative research methods that can be used to investigate, assess and suggest improvements to an ongoing environmental governance practice;

- demonstrate understanding of the use of theory to critically reflect on an ongoing environmental governance practice and vice versa;

- arrange and facilitate activities where they can learn together with other actors and jointly reflect on the results of an investigative project.


The course has two main components; a theoretical and an experiential/practical component. In the theoretical component, theories relevant to environmental governance, for example social practice, discourses, symbolic interactionism, power or framing, are presented and discussed through lectures, literature studies and seminars. Qualitative research methods for example interviews, focus groups and participant observations, including analysis of empirical material through coding are also presented and discussed. Each student writes a short paper on these theories and methods and reviews a paper written by a course mate.

In the experiential/practical component, students conduct an investigative project of an ongoing environmental governance practice or case (e.g. the municipal management of water bodies, the coordination of actions by grassroots organisations, or the mediation of conflicts between multiple stakeholders). As part of their investigative project, students carry out field visits and use the learnt theories and research methods to collect and analyse empirical material. Throughout the process of the investigative project, students interact and critically engage with governance actors involved in their case. Findings and insights from their investigative project are compiled in a written report and presented to relevant actors in a learning activity (e.g. workshop, seminar or webinar) that students design and facilitate. It is expected that the results of the investigative project will be useful for research and include some kind of assessment of the studied practice as well as suggestions for improving it.

Formats and requirements for examination

Examination through:

- individual written exam.

Requirements to pass the course are:

- passed written exam

- passed, active participation in the investigative project work including the report;

- passed, active participation in literature seminars;

- passed paper and peer-review a paper of a course mate.
- If a student has failed an examination, the examiner has the right to issue supplementary assignments. This applies if it is possible and there are grounds to do so.

- The examiner can provide an adapted assessment to students entitled to study support for students with disabilities following a decision by the university. Examiners may also issue an adapted examination or provide an alternative way for the students to take the exam.

- If this syllabus is withdrawn, SLU may introduce transitional provisions for examining students admitted based on this syllabus and who have not yet passed the course.

- For the assessment of an independent project (degree project), the examiner may also allow a student to add supplemental information after the deadline for submission. Read more in the Education Planning and Administration Handbook.
  • 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 participate in teaching and/or supervision only applies for the course instance the student was admitted to and registered on.

- If there are special reasons, students are entitled to participate in components with compulsory attendance when the course is given again. Read more in the Education Planning and Administration Handbook.

Responsible department

Department of Urban and Rural Development

Further information

Determined by: Programnämnden för utbildning inom naturresurser och jordbruk (PN - NJ)
Replaces: MX0116

Litterature list

  1. Preliminary Course Literature [Preliminary Course Literature] (

Course facts

The course is offered as an independent course: Yes Tuition fee: Tuition fee only for non-EU/EEA/Switzerland citizens: 38054 SEK Cycle: Master’s level (A1N)
Subject: Environmental Science
Course code: MX0149 Application code: SLU-40121 Location: Uppsala Distance course: No Language: English Responsible department: Department of Urban and Rural Development Pace: 100%