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Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science: Political Ecology and Sustainability

Course · 7.5 credits


The course introduces students to the interdisciplinary field of political ecology as an approach to understand and analyze the interactions between social and environmental change.

The course focuses on the ‘political’ character of sustainability issues, that is, the necessarily power-laden nature of both sustainability problems themselves, and the solutions that are proposed to address them. The course provides an overview of the main theoretical concepts, debates and methodological approaches in current political ecology research. The introduction to theoretical debates is complemented with empirical case studies from different parts of the world to illustrate specific thematic focuses. The knowledge acquired in the course is meant to provide one of the theoretical building blocks that students can draw on for their thesis work, and later apply in future work, for instance teaching, research, journalism, environmental and development work.

The course is structured around four key themes, which aim to both give the student an overall understanding of political ecology as an approach in relation to questions of sustainability, and provide more in-depth engagements with some of the main topics in contemporary political ecology:

  1. Introduction to political ecology: This theme introduces the course and focuses on the emergence and development of political ecology as an analytical approach (rather than a coherent theory) and provides an overview of fundamental assumptions, concepts, key debates and current streams of political ecology research.
  2. Power and social difference in local-global relations: This theme focuses on how multi-scalar analysis can be applied to understand and analyze how environmental degradation and natural resource use at local scales is connected to and influenced by broader political economy conditions and global environmental change processes. It introduces feminist political ecology scholarship and intersectionality as an analytical tool to analyze how overlapping relations of power rooted in class, gender, race and ethnicity shape, and are shaped by, the environment and natural resource use.
  3. Environmental narratives and representations: This theme focuses on critical examinations of environmental narratives and representations of ‘nature’. We will look into questions such as: how are particular sustainability challenges typically represented and who has the power to influence problem framings? How and why have certain narratives on environmental degradation and change emerged and persisted? And what are the consequences in terms of environmental governance and interventions?
  4. Ecology and materiality in political ecology: This theme focuses on potential tensions between material and constructivist perspectives in relation to environmental issues, and ongoing debates on engagements with the ‘political’ and the ‘ecology’ in political ecology scholarship. In this part of the course, we explore the various ways in which political ecology scholarship engages with the biophysical and material dimensions of environmental processes and how these influence how problems are understood and portrayed.


Closed for applications

Application opportunities


LUCSUS (Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies)

Visiting address
"Josephson", "Wrangel", Biskopsgatan 5, 223 62 Lund

Postal address
Box 170, 221 00 Lund

+46 46 222 04 70

Requirements and selection

Entry requirements

Students must be admitted to Lund University International Master's Programme in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science 120 credits, and have fulfilled course requirements of at least forty higher education credits in the programme.

Selection criteria

Seats are allocated according to: ECTS (HPAV): 100 %.

English language requirements

Most of Lund University’s programmes require English Level 6 (unless otherwise stated under 'Entry requirements'). This is the equivalent of an overall IELTS score of 6.5 or a TOEFL score of 90. There are several ways to prove your English language proficiency – check which proof is accepted at the University Admissions in Sweden website. All students must prove they meet English language requirements by the deadline, in order to be considered for admission.

How to prove your English proficiency –

Country-specific requirements

Check if there are any country-specific eligibility rules for you to study Bachelor's or Master's studies in Sweden:

Country-specific requirements for Bachelor's studies –

Country-specific requirements for Master's studies –


Start Autumn Semester 2023

Day-time Lund, part time 50%

In English

Study period

28 August 2023 - 26 October 2023


Can only be applied to within an educational programme.

How to apply

Lund University uses a national application system run by University Admissions in Sweden. It is only possible to apply during the application periods.

When to apply for studies

Step 1: Apply online

  • Check that you meet the entry requirements of the programme or course you are interested in (refer to the section above on this webpage).
  • Start your application – go to the University Admissions in Sweden website where you create an account and select programmes/courses during the application period.
    Visit the University Admissions in Sweden website
  • Rank your programme/course choices in order of preference and submit them before the application deadline.

Step 2: Submit documents

  • Read about how to document your eligibility and how to submit your documents at the University Admissions in Sweden website. Follow any country-specific document rules for Master's studies or Bachelor's studies
    Country-specific requirements for Bachelor's studies –
    Country-specific requirements for Master's studies –
  • Get all your documents ready:
    - official transcripts and high school diploma (Bachelor's applicants)
    - official transcripts and degree certificate or proof of expected graduation (Master's applicants)
    - passport/ID (all applicants) and
    - proof of English proficiency (all applicants).
  • Prepare programme-specific documents if stated in the next paragraph on this webpage.
  • Upload or send all required documents to University Admissions before the document deadline.
  • Pay the application fee (if applicable – refer to the section below on this webpage) before the document deadline.

* Note that the process is different if you are applying as an exchange student or as a part of a cooperation programme (such as Erasmus+).
* If you have studied your entire Bachelor's programme in Sweden and all of your academic credits are in Ladok, you do not have to submit transcripts or your diploma when applying for a Master's programme. However, there may still be other documents you need to submit! See the link below. 

Svensk student? 
Läs instruktionerna om att söka till ett internationellt masterprogram på

Tuition fees

Non-EU/EEA citizens

Full programme/course tuition fee: SEK 15 625

First payment: SEK 15 625

Convert currency –

Citizens of a country outside of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland are required to pay tuition fees. You pay one instalment of the tuition fee in advance of each semester.

Tuition fees, payments and exemptions

EU/EEA citizens and Switzerland

There are no tuition fees for citizens of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland.

Application fee

If you are required to pay tuition fees, you are generally also required to pay an application fee of SEK 900 when you apply at the University Admissions in Sweden website. You pay one application fee regardless of how many programmes or courses you apply to.

*Note that there are no tuition or application fees for exchange students or doctoral/PhD students, regardless of their nationality.

Scholarships & funding

Lund University Global Scholarship programme

The Lund University Global Scholarship programme is a merit-based and selective scholarship targeted at top academic students from countries outside the EU/EEA.

Lund University Global Scholarship

Swedish Institute Scholarships

The Swedish Institute offers scholarships to international students applying for studies in Sweden at Master's level.

Scholarship information on the Swedish Institute website

Country-specific scholarships and funding options

Lund University has agreements with scholarship organisations and funding bodies in different countries, which may allow applicants to apply for funding or scholarships in their home countries for their studies at Lund University.

External scholarships

Information about scholarships from external organisations