Environmental Governance and Transitions to Sustainability

Third-cycle level | 7.5 credits | Course code: SFGS341
HT 2021
Study period: 2021-10-11 - 2021-11-14
LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION: The course is given in English
Application period: 2021-06-02 - 2021-09-15
HT 2022
Study period: 2022-10-10 - 2022-11-13
LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION: The course is given in English
Application period: 2022-06-30 - 2022-09-20

Course description

The course’s focus is on recent developments in research on environmental governance. The course takes account of current debates on governance and raises critical questions on the potential of theories and methods on governance to address sustainability objectives e.g. on climate and other environmental issues.

The course elaborates on how the literature views the role of governance in facilitating change and transition toward sustainability. It asks how such theories envision society’s potential to organize its relations to the environment and natural resources in a manner that is sustainable. The course literature takes stock of different arrangements for societal steering with particular attention to the challenges of diverse contexts, of different governance levels, of the possibility of scaling up and transferring successful solutions. The course is organized through the following themes:

  • Transitions, change and pathways to sustainability
  • Multiple scales/levels of environmental governance
  • The role of the state and government in environmental governance
  • Power and environmental governance
  • Knowledge, expertise and science for sustainability governance
  • Experimentation, adaptation and collaboration in the governance of transitions
  • Governance and social sustainability

Target group

The course is compulsory for PhD students in Environmental Social Science at the University of Gothenburg. Other doctoral students are also welcome on the course.

Requirements and Selection

Entry requirements

In order to be eligible for the course the applicant must fulfil the general entry requirements for postgraduate studies.


The course is open to students enrolled in a PhD program in Environmental Social Science, Peace and Development Research or another relevant subject, or equivalent. PhD students at the School of Global Studies will be given priority. Other applicants are assessed and ranked based on the relevance of their PhD project.

Other information

The course is taught through a mixture of lectures, individual studies, seminars, exercises and written assignments. The course will be given mainly on Campus.

Course syllabus



School of Global Studies


Social Science

Type of course

Generic skills courses


multiple scales of governance, pathways to sustainability, transition and change, the role of knowledge, science and experimentation

CONTACTAnnica Kronsell