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Large Scale Challenges to the Climate and the Environment

This course is the common starting point for the two Master Programmes in Environmental Science. The course explores the composition and function of the environment, and how natural environmental systems are perturbed by anthropogenic disturbances.

The course consists of three course units:

  1. Global Challenges: This unit will give you an overview of global environmental challenges and the impact on the natural environmental system from society. You will become familiar with several basic concepts like biogeochemical cycles, the hydrological cycle, and large-scale energy balances. In addition, this unit introduces ethical and philosophical issues in human-environmental interactions.
  2. The Environmental System: This unit will give you an overview/review of the large-scale perturbations such as: contaminated water systems; air pollution; land use and land cover change and terrestrial ecosystems; climate change; contamination from synthetic chemicals; effects on ecosystems, organisms and human health. These perturbations will be evaluated from four perspectives: observed effects (problem description), sources, dispersion, and actions to be taken.
  3. Statistical methods: This unit will give you tools to evaluate environmental data
  • Course structure


    1: Global Challenges 3,5 hp.

    2: The Environmental System 8 hp.

    3: Statistics, research and communication tools  3,5 hp.

    Teaching format

    Instruction consists of lectures, group instruction,  exercises, project work, field trips. Participation in projectwork, field trips, and excercises is compulsory.


    The course is examined as follows:
    Part 1 (Global Challenges) is assessed by mandatory attendance.
    Part 2 (Statistics, research and communication tools) is assessed by written reports.
    Part 3 (The Environmental System) is assessed by written assignements and written exam.


    Your rights and responsibilities

    Your rights and responsibilities as a student

  • Schedule

    The schedule will be available no later than one month before the start of the course. We do not recommend print-outs as changes can occur. At the start of the course, your department will advise where you can find your schedule during the course.
  • Course literature

    Note that the course literature can be changed up to two months before the start of the course.

    Relevant littérature will be handed out

  • Course reports

  • More information

    This course is compulsory in both Environmental Science master’s programs, but may also be taken as an separate course.

  • Contact

    Study counsellors

    Course coordinator

    Matthew MacLeod,

    Department of environmental Science, unit of Contaminant Chemistry