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Energy, Societal Safety and Sustainable Development MSA265

This course focuses on the complex relationship between climate change, societal safety and sustainable development. Particular emphasis is put on understanding dilemmas of global food, water, energy and environmental security within the constraints of sustainable development. The course highlights what societal safety and sustainable development entail and how disaster risk and (un)sustainable development mutually affect each other.

Course description for study year 2021-2022

Course code


Credits (ECTS)


Semester tution start


Number of semesters


Exam semester


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Offered by

Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Safety, Economics and Planning

Learning outcome

It is expected that students after completing the course will have attained the following knowledge, skills and general competencies:


  • of key concepts in societal safety and security, including concepts of risk, vulnerability, resilience, and the difference between hazards and disasters.
  • of the meaning of new security referents, more specifically food, water, energy and environmental security, including climate security.
  • of how disaster resilience and sustainable development, or lack thereof, mutually influence each other
  • of key dilemmas, uncertainties and challenges related to societal safety, disaster risk and sustainable development, particularly in light of the food, water, energy and environmental security nexus.
  • of how to analyze risks and hazards from a disaster risk reduction (DRR) perspective


  • Students should be able to reflect critically on prevailing paradigms in societal safety and DRR, with the aim of developing a greater appreciation of how disaster research can be analyzed and problematized by drawing on such worldviews
  • Students should be able to apply relevant DRR tools and frameworks to analyze the relationship between hazards, vulnerability, exposure and disasters
  • Students should be able to approach issues of food, water, energy and environmental security from a nexus perspective, and see this in relation to societal safety and sustainable development

General competence:

  • Students should develop an appreciation of how energy, energy transitions, and energy security relates to issues of food, water and environmental security, with important implications for sustainable development and societal safety
  • Students should become better positioned to engage critically in discussions, reports and projects concerning hazards, risks and causes of disasters
This course focuses on the relationships between societal safety and sustainable development with particular emphasis on food, water, energy and environmental security and climate change. The course critically discusses challenges of vulnerability, gradual and abrupt change, supply, demand and access, with the aim of facilitating understanding and appreciation of competing agendas and narratives in research on these issues. Lastly, students of this course will also gain greater appreciation of the relationship between sustainable development and societal safety in a changing climate, including dilemmas and contradictions between and within these fields. 
Required prerequisite knowledge
Form of assessment Weight Duration Marks Aid
Group project 1/1 A - F

Coursework requirements
Short essay
Students must have completed the following assignments to sit the exam: all students have to actively participate in group works, write a summary of 1-2 articles/book chapters on the curriculum, and present written contributions to the other students.  
Course teacher(s)
Course coordinator: Reidar Staupe-Delgado
Course teacher: Marianne Nitter
Course coordinator: Reidar Staupe-Delgado
Head of Department: Tore Markeset
Method of work
Lectures, seminars, project supervision, presentations and peer-review 
Open for
Open for all master students at UiS (except EVU master's programmes).
Course assessment
Student evaluation will be conducted in accordance with the evaluation system of the Faculty.
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