Course in Global Environmental Studies


Program Description

Course in Global Environmental Studies

Study location: Cape Coast, Ghana

This course gives a social science introduction to the most important fields within global environmental studies in general and West Africa in particular. It digs into the causes and dynamics of environmental challenges and dynamics, and different perspectives on management of natural resources. It is a full semester course, 30 ECTS, and is offered in cooperation with Oslo and Akershus University College.

Learning Outcome

The course presents various ways that major environmental issues are seen as global challenges and are discussed in global fora. Furthermore, the students learn about specific cases of such issues in Ghana and other West-African countries. In these cases, the course provides insights to concerns by various actors at local and national levels. The students gain a basis for critical analysis and reflection upon the causes, dynamics and proposed solutions to environmental conflicts. The course places a significant focus on field experience, including three field trips during which the students will be able to engage directly with some of the major environmental concerns facing Ghana.

At the end of the course the student has obtained the following learning outcomes:


The student has attained knowledge about:

  • Key concepts in environmental studies, such as ‘sustainable development’;
  • Ways that various types of ‘power’ is applied in environmental conflicts;
  • The role of institutions, organisations and other stakeholders in managing and regulating human impact on the environment;
  • The manner in which social and economic dynamics of development interact with the biophysical environment at multiple scales;
  • What the approach of political ecology entails;
  • The social constructions of the environment and environmental issues;
  • The political nature of important contemporary environmental issues, with a particular focus on West Africa, in general, and Ghana, in particular;
  • The contingent nature of truth.


  • The student has gained skills in:
  • Critical reading and reflexivity on environmental issues and conflicts;
  • Basic skills in primary data collection (largely qualitative);
  • Writing skills and argument formulation.

General competence:

The student is able to:

  • Interrogate accounts of environmental problems and appreciate the politics involved in their formulation;
  • Discuss environmental issues in so much as they impact on development concerns;
  • Engage with geographical, sociological and anthropological literature documenting environmental challenges in West Africa;
  • Understand better the complexities involved in resolving some of the major global environmental challenges.

Core subjects

  • The complexity in major current environmental challenges
  • Institutions, organisations and other agents´ different roles within international environmental management
  • Central ideas, perspectives and debates within environmental management and planning
  • Modern society´s challenges in planning and administering environment and development
  • Economic, legal and social factors influencing decisions and actions in the relationship between human activity and environment
  • The relationship between economic conditions, social development and environmental challenges on local, national, regional and international level
  • Models for effective sollutions to different political and practical management dilemmas
  • Procedures and techniques developed to solve complex international environmental questions

You can find a complete outline of the course in the course description

The students

The majority of the students are from Skandinavia, with an increasing number of participants from other European countries. Kulturstudier offers scholarships to students from Ghana. This is to make our program accessible to local students, that might not otherwise have the financial means to participate.The scholarship students helps the visting students connect with, and understand their environments.

The differences in the students' social, academic and professional backgrounds also make for interesting debates and seminar groups. Approximately one third of the students come directly from college, one third has started their bachelor programs and the last third is made up of experienced students.


The main objective of the program is to bring to life the academic theory, and enable the students to make real life comparisons. While it is up to the students to make the most out of the experience, we organize field studies where the students will encounter relevant real life examples that challenge the more abstract concepts of the curriculum.

The structure of the semester

  1. The self-study period: before you travel to Ghana you are expected to get acquinted with the curriculum and write an introductory assignment.
  2. The main periode: consists of ten weeks in Cape Coast with lectures, seminars, field trips and group assignments.
  3. Home exam: at the end of the ten weeks you have three weeks to write your home exam.

The self study assignment and the home exam can be done anywhere in the world, why not in Ghana?

Further studies

The course is worth 30 ECTS and can be included as part of a bachelor degree.

You can also combine the course with any of our other programs in India, Vietnam or Argentina.


Environmental degradation is one of the major challenges of our time. Still, expertise in environmental policies and global context remains in short supply, and we see large institutions forming as an answer to the hunt for sollutions.

The application process

To apply for the courses you must be eligible for university training.

Fill in the application form. If there are still places available we will send you an offer with an invoice for the deposit of 250 Euro. By paying the deposit you confirm your place on the programme. Leading up to the start of the programme we will keep you informed about the preparations for travel and studies.


Programme facts

Duration: One semester
Semester: Autumn
Credits: 30 (European Credit Transfer System)
Examination: Examination in Ghana/academic papers
State loans: Yes, in most European countries
Programme fee: 5400 euro
Includes: Accommodation, breakfast, lunch
Language of instruction: English
Academic prerequisitions: University eligibility

Last updated Dec 2017

About the School

Kulturstudier was started in 1997 by a group of social scientists and humanists from the University of Oslo. The idea has since been to offer education of high academic and pedagogical quality in envi ... Read More

Kulturstudier was started in 1997 by a group of social scientists and humanists from the University of Oslo. The idea has since been to offer education of high academic and pedagogical quality in environments that offer experiences that bring to life and challenge the academic content. Besides consistently good academic results and new friends, our students gain a new experience of a country that many return to. Read less
Oslo , Cape Coast , Buenos Aires , Puducherry , León , Hội An + 5 More Less