Modules for Students 2019/20 and earlier

Scottland by L. Michelsen

Most modules have 6 credit points (ECTS), equivalent to a workload of 180 hours. However, there are a few modules in our catalog that do not have 6 credit points, so please check in the PDFs.

A - Core modules

All students take the following 3 mandatory modules:

  • MNF-Geogr.-201: Concepts of Sustainable Development and Environmental Management - PDF
  • AEF-EM035: Project 1 (scientific project or change project) - PDF
  • AEF-EM038: Project 2 (scientific project or change project) - PDF


B - Knowledge and Analysis

Students take 6 modules from the B section; they are free to combine modules from all sub-sections.

  • B3 - Environmental Management
  • B4 - Coastal Systems
  • B5 - Systems Theory and Ecosystem Services
  • B6 - Ecohydrology and Geoecology
  • B7 - Human Development in Landscapes
  • B8 - Functional Ecology


B3 - Environmental Management

The modules in this section are tailored to provide information and skills required in various fields of environmental management. The required socio-economic background is addressed in the module AEF-EM009 and AEF-EM039. Important skills on how to acquire and to manage environmental data on variant spatio-temporal scales are trained in the modules AEF-EM013, MNF-Geogr.-332, MNF-Geogr.-333 and AEF-EM036. The resolution ranges from local and site specific data acquisition during field work (modules MNF-eco-110 and AEF-agr078) up to the analysis and interpretation of satellite images. Having attended either the module offered during the first term (AEF-EM009) or being equipped with the respective knowledge already during preceding studies students have the opportunity verify their theoretical background during the field trips offered in the summer term (MNF-eco-110 and AEF-agr078) and/or to advance their methodological skills advanced modules on remote sensing (MNF-Geogr.-333) and/or GIS applications (AEF-EM036).

  • AEF-EM009: Principles in Environmental Economics and Environmental Planning - PDF
  • AEF-EM039: Economic Aspects of Environmental Management - PDF
  • MNF-eco-110: Terrestrial Ecosystems - Field Studies - PDF
  • AEF-EM013: Digital Spatial Analysis - Practical Exercises - PDF
  • MNF-Geogr.-332: Remote Sensing and Environmental Modeling - PDF
  • AEF-agr078: Integrated Management of Rural & Woodland Regions - PDF
  • MNF-Geogr.-333: Remote Sensing Applications - PDF
  • AEF-EM036: GIS and Population Dynamics in Landscapes - PDF


B4 - Coastal Systems

The coastal zone is an area directly affected by physical, biological and biogeochemical processes with aquatic and terrestrial mechanisms. This area usually comprises the coastal waters as well as the hinterland adjacent to the coast that influences the coastal area. Coastal systems are highly productive areas, offering a wide variety of habitats and ecosystems services. The beauty and richness of coastal zones have made them major settlement areas and tourist destinations as well as important business zones. The modules in this section provide the necessary background to analyse abiotic and biotic aspects as well as the impact caused by variant anthropogenic land and sea use activities (MNF-Geogr.-341, AEF-EM012, MNF-ftz-geo-S125, MNF-ftz-geo-S129). Furthermore, the modules MNF-ftz-geo-S122, MNF-Geogr.-342, and MNF-ftz-geo-S128 provide an in depth training in relevant methods to create the needed data basis to develop integrated management options for the coastal zone (AEF-EM032, MNF-ftz-geo-S126).

  • MNF-Geogr.-341: Coastal Zone Dynamics - PDF
  • MNF-ftz-geo-S122: Principles of Nutrient Dynamics in Coastal Areas - PDF
  • MNF-Geogr.-342: GIS and Remote Sensing Applications in Coastal Zones - PDF
  • AEF-EM012: Coastal and Marine Ecosystems - Field Studies - PDF
  • MNF-ftz-geo-S125: Abiotic and Biotic Interactions in the Wadden Sea - PDF
  • MNF-ftz-geo-S126: Coastal Evolution and Protection - PDF
  • AEF-EM032: Integrated Coastal Zone Management - PDF
  • MNF-ftz-geo-S128: Coastal Environmental Surveying - PDF
  • MNF-ftz-geo-S129: Wind Energy: Technological Challenges and Environmental Impacts - PDF


B5 - Systems Theory and Ecosystem Services

The focal objective of this study area is to enable students to analyze, understand and manage human-environmental systems. The general techniques and tools of systems analysis are taught and applied in order to cope with the high complexity of these systems at different scales. Therefore, the modules provide a strong relation between theoretical approaches and practical applications in an interdisciplinary context. As the courses are based on the ecosystem approach, the techniques and outcomes of ecosystem analysis, ecosystem theories, ecological indication, ecosystem protection, ecosystem modeling and ecosystem service assessments are focal points of the modules. They are based on ecological interrelations and include strong linkages with socio-economic features, particularly stressing the ecosystem services approach. All courses are conceived to increase practical skills and theoretical knowledge on landscape management for sustainable development.

  • AEF-EM011: Principles of Ecosystem Analysis - PDF
  • AEF-EM022: Ecological Indicators - PDF
  • AEF-EM019: Advanced Ecosystem Analysis in Environmental Management - PDF
  • AEF-EM033: Ecosystem Development and Ecosystem Protection - PDF
  • AEF-EM025: Theory of Ecosystem Dynamics and Decomposing Systems - PDF
  • AEF-EM031: Modelling Ecosystems - Practical Exercises - PDF
  • AEF-EM037: Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services: Linking Ecological and Philosophical Approaches - PDF
  • AEF-agr852 Ecosystem Services in Agroecosystems - PDF


B6 - Ecohydrology and Geoecology

Ecohydrology is a transdisciplinary and applied science. It uses the understanding of relationships between hydrological and biological processes at the catchment scale to achieve water quality improvement, biodiversity enhancement and sustainable development. The modules organised in this section provide the necessary geoecological background to identify and to understand abiotic and biotic interactions (AEF-EM002, AEF-EM034). The field trips offered during the summer term offer the necessary space to apply the gained theoretical background during the previous training (AEF-EM016, AEF-EM023, AEF-EM024). The advanced courses AEF-agr076 and AEF-EM143 have the purpose to synthesise different data and information to integrated management options. Students who want to strengthen their methodological skills in modeling, hydraulics and/or ecotoxicology can receive the respective training in the modules AEF-EM027,AEF-agr826 and/or AEF-EM021.

  • AEF-EM002: Hydrology and Climatology - PDF
  • AEF-EM034: Principles of Soil Ecology - PDF
  • AEF-EM008: Identifying and Modelling of Chemical Chemical Key Processes - PDF
  • AEF-EM016: Ecology of Soils - Practical Exercises - PDF
  • MNF-eco-111: Freshwater and Wetland Ecosystems – Field Studies - PDF
  • AEF-EM023: Fieldtrip Hydrobiology Poland - PDF
  • AEF-EM024: Fieldtrip Limnoecology Lake Baikal - PDF
  • AEF-agr076: Integrated Management of River Basins - PDF
  • AEF-EM018: Integrated Management of Wetlands - PDF
  • AEF-EM027: Hydrological Modelling - PDF
  • AEF-agr826: Principles of Hydraulics of Rivers and Lakes - PDF
  • AEF-EM021: Managing Matter Fluxes and Eco-toxicological Effects - PDF


B7 - Human Development in Landscapes

The global theme of human development in their cultural and natural environment is linked to the detection of cross-linkages between different factors: the influence of man on nature and vice versa. At present, the natural change of environmental conditions needs to be uncovered at more precise timescales, while the human impact on the environment needs to be better understood. Both natural conditions (eg. individual: health and genetics; ecological: soil, climate, vegetation; technological: wind and waterpower, or natural resources), and social constants (social hierarchies, ideologies) play a decisive role in the formation of landscapes.

Highly dynamic spatio-temporal processes underlie the data collected by multiple disciplines. The understanding of these processes requires expertise in palaeo-climate, palaeo-ecology, palaeo-demography, as well as cultural research. Though the processes involved are of global character and apply to the entire human history, case studies presented in the modules concentrate on the Holocene, which is the key era of interactions between humans and landscapes, and mainly in Europe and adjacent regions. 

  • MNF-eco-101: Geo-ecological Regional Processes - PDF
  • MNF-eco-102: Climate and Landscape Changes – Past and Future - PDF
  • MNF-eco-103: Long Term Development of Landscapes – Field Studies - PDF
  • MNF-eco-104: Field Studies in Environmental History - PDF
  • MNF-eco-105: Long Term Analysis of Environmental Trends - PDF
  • MNF-eco-106: Geoarchaeology and Holocene Palaeoecology – Reconstruction of Natural and Human Processes in Ecosystems - PDF
  • MNF-eco-107: Terrestrial Ecozones and Ecosystems - PDF
  • MNF-eco-108: Analysis of Environmental Processes - PDF
  • MNF-eco-109: Geoarchaeological and Holocene Palaeoenvironmental Field and Laboratory Analysis - PDF


B8 - Functional Ecology

Functional ecology covers the mechanistic understanding of ecological patterns and processes from the individual organism to the ecosystem scale. Areas of emphasis integrate genomics with ecology, examine how key aspects of physiology (i.e. stress) impact on the ecology of animals and plants or vice versa and how evolution shapes interactions among function and ecological traits. The modules AEF-EM001 and AEF-EM006 also welcome students who are not familiar with ecological principles so far. Modules offered by the Department of Biology (courses listed below that begin with MNF-biol) allow students with sufficient skills in biology to deepen their knowledge in different areas of functional ecology.

  • AEF-EM001: Principles in Ecology for Environmental Sciences - PDF
  • AEF-EM006: Principles in Ecosystem Protection and Management - PDF
  • AEF-EM010: Nutrient Cycles and Sustainability - PDF
  • MNF-eco 114: Plant x Environment Interactions PDF
  • MNF-biol210: Principles in Aquatic Ecology - PDF
  • MNF-biol224: Applied Aquatic Ecology - PDF
  • MNF-biol221: Acclimation Reactions of Plants - PDF
  • MNF-biol227: Evolution, Ecology and Genetics - PDF
  • MNF-biol269: Methods in Ecology - PDF
  • MNF-biol263: Lab Studies Symbiosis - PDF
  • MNF-biol211: Introduction to Experimental Plant Ecology - PDF


C - Communication and Empowerment

Students learn how to create their own innovative solutions for challenges of sustainable development and how to use media, communication and education to empower other people to solve such problems. The study area integrates the "yooweedoo changemaker programme" that enables students to plan and implement an own "change" project as part of their masters programme. The following elements are offered:

  • The module "Changemakers and Social Entrepreneurs" is offered in the winter semester (October - January). It allows students to plan their own change project. Projects are planned in teams of 2-4 students. Each team develops a detailed concept for a six months project which can be implemented in the summer term in the Kiel region.
  • The "yooweedoo idea contest" takes place at the end of the winter term (February - March). Students can submit the project concept developed in the module "Changemakers and Social Entrepreneurs" to the idea contest for funding. Projects can gain up to 2.000 Euro in support.
  • Teams who are successful in the yooweedoo idea contest will implement their project in the module "Change Project" in the summer term (April to September). Project implementation is supervised by the yooweedoo team. Students can participate in further workshops on aspects such as project management, fundraising or business plan development. These workshops are offered in German language so it is worthwhile to develop your German language skills. Teams who want to develop their change project into a non-profit organization or a social business will be supported through coaching.
  • Change projects can be further developed into a master's project or within the scope of the modules "Project 1" and "Project 2".
  • The modules "Sustainability Communication and Marketing" and "Video Production" allow students to develop media and communication strategies related to change projects or with an independent focus.
  • Students of the Master in Sustainability, Society and the Environment can expand an interest in social innovation, communication and empowerment with the modules "Volunteer Work" (6 or 12 ECTS) and "Internship" (6 or 12 ECTS) in the study area E - Open Studies. 
  • The module "Planning and Managing Science Projects" allows research focused students to learn methods for planning and managing research projects.

Further information on the yooweedoo changemaker programme is available in German language at:

Students take 2 of the following modules:


D - Complementary Methods

Students take 1 of the following modules:

  • MNF-Geogr.-205: Spatial Data Handling - PDF
  • AEF-EM030: Statistical and Mathematical Tools - PDF
  • MNF-Geogr.-206: Social Research Methods - PDF
  • MNF-ftz-geo-S025: Engineering Mathematics - PDF


E - Open Studies

Students take 3 further modules of their choice equivalent to 18 credit points (only graded modules count).

  • MNF-Geogr.-141: Urban Development and Governance - PDF
  • MNF-Geogr.-142: Political Ecology - PDF
  • MNF-Geogr.-105: Economic Geography and Sustainability - PDF
  • VWL-MiFi-PED: Poverty, Equity and Development - Link
  • VWL-MiFi-SuEc: Sustainability Economics - Link
  • VWL-EnRe-ReEc: Resource Economics - Link
  • VWL-EnRe-EnVa: Environmental Valuation - Link
  • VWL-EnRe-EnEc: Environmental Economics - Link
  • VWL-EnRe-DiJu: Theories of Distributive Justice - Link
  • VWL-EnRe-Sem: Seminar in Environmental and Resource Economics - Link
  • MNF-Geogr.-307: Integrated Environmental Management - PDF
  • PHF-hdil-Envi1: Theories of Sustainability and Sustainable Development - PDF
  • PHF-phil-sust1: Theories of Human Relationship to Nature - PDF
  • MNF-ftz-geo-S174: Decision Support Systems for the Governance of Coastal Ecosystems - PDF
  • MNF-ftz-geo-S175: Long Term Evolution of the North-Sea Coast - PDF
  • MNF-eco 113: Reconstructing Quaternary EnvironmentsPDF


Alternatively students can receive credits for the following items, only if approved by the board of examination:

  • Courses not chosen yet in the sections B, C and D.
  • Other courses offered by the Kiel School of Sustainability as long as no capacity restrictions apply.
  • Courses offered by an institution of higher education in the Federal Republic of Germany or an equivalent institution of higher education abroad.
  • Courses from the overall offer of Kiel University (CAU).

Courses offered by other study programmes with learning content similar to modules already accounted in the study programme Environmental Management will not be recognized.