Last year I wrote a post about my first semester as a master student in the science for sustainable development programme at LiU, speaking a little about the courses I had and my impressions about them. Today I decided to do the same with the courses I had in my second and beginning of third semester, once this hasn’t been over yet. my general impressions about these two periods are very positive, I felt the topics addressed in those courses became more complex and elaborated, also demanding more from us students. At the same time, the mixture between social and natural sciences were sometimes confusing and overwhelming once we had to conduct both types of approaches in parallel. Nevertheless, I see the outcomes as very rewarding specially given the broad spectrum of content we have covered. Here are some commentaries about the three courses I had during this period:
Analytical Frameworks in Sustainability Studies
I really enjoyed this course because we had the opportunity of going deeper into social sciences analytical frameworks such as political ecology, resilience theory, global chain analysis, life-cycle analysis and degrowth, theoretical perspectives I had not so much structured knowledge about, but that are essential for a critical view over sustainable development. The classes usually consisted of a literature list, which gave a good basis about main concepts and ideas, followed by seminars and group discussions. Besides this part of the course, we had lab activities regarding analysis of soil contamination, which involved group work for the elaboration of a report. There was also secondary assignments involving GIS and life-cycle analysis. The final evaluation was an essay on a chosen topic that could be related to any of those discussed during the course.
Sustainable Resources Management
This course was for me sort of a continuation of one of the courses we had in the first semester, this time going deeper in some issues. We discussed water, soil, food and the nexus between such elements, usually following the same format of seminars and group discussions. There was also laboratory experiments related to biogas production, GIS assignments and field trips, which were very interesting since we visit the Swedish forestry and an organic farm near Linköping. The examination was based on two assignments related one to biogas and one to water, and a final paper that should address topics concerning resources management. I, for example, wrote about the aspects many related to organic agriculture. An interesting thing was we had to do a Pecha Kucha presentation about our paper (I had no ideia what it was before this course) which consists of five slides in five minutes, pretty challenge right?
Designing Environmental Studies in Sustainable Development
The autumn semester started with a short yet very relevant course about methods concerning research design in environmental sciences. During approximately one month we covered topics such as interviews, focus groups, statistics and text analysis, including assignments related to such methodologies. The final examination included designing a research proposal, indicating the field of study, its relevance and how the research would be approached and conducted. I took this chance to already develop my thesis idea, and possibly it will serve as the basis for my studies in the final semester next year.
The rest of the third semester I am spending in an internship (which I will talk more about in another post) and developing research skills liked to qualitative methods I hope to apply for my thesis.
Now you guys can have sort of a complete overview of the masters in science for sustainable development. Hope I can help someone out there in their decision of pursuing a masters in this field. If you have any doubts just reach me out in the commentaries.