DR432E Ethics, nature and society

Bodø, May 4 – 8, 2020

​ECTS credits: 7,5
Level of course: PhD
Course type: Elective
Study location: Nord university/Bodø.
Course coordinator: Ove Jakobsen
Teaching language: English
Teaching semester: Spring 2020
Costs:  No tuition fees. Costs for semester registration and course literature apply. 
Course evaluation: Evaluation using final survey.

Course description:

We stand at a critical moment in history; humankind has to decide if its future lies down a track anchored in models based on the exploitation of nature, a track which is driving humankind towards ever more serious environmental, social and economic problems; or a track towards a future characterized by the protection and valuing of the vitality, diversity and beauty of the Earth's eco-systems. The course focus on some of the most challenging ethical problems in the modern society, concerning sustainable business, individual and societal wellbeing and resilient ecosystems. Ethics, nature and society is based on inter- and transdisciplinary scientific understanding. 


Professor Ove Jakobsen (course manager), HHN; Nord universitet
Professor Lars Kirhusmo Pharo, FLU; Nord universitet
Professor Ketil Eiane, FBA, Nord universitet 
Associate Professor Vivi ML. Storsletten, Nord universitet
Professor Knut Ims, NHH
Professor Aril Vatn, NMBU
Professor Nina Witoszek, UiO
Professor Terje Traavik, UiT 

Learning outcomes: 


  • The student will gain in-depth insights into challenges, theories and methods relevant for understanding the interconnectedness of nature, society and economy. 
  • The student will be in the frontiers of mastering the subject area describing and analyzing ethical issues relevant to their theoretical and practical field of study.
  • The student will gain in-depth knowledge of the challenges of sustainable development. 


  • The student will be able to identify, analyze and implement practical solutions to ethical challenges of the interaction between nature, society and economy.
  • The student will be able to address complex academic questions and challenge established knowledge and practice in the field of study.
  • The student is able to facilitate processes for the common good.

General competence: 

  • The student will achieve a general understanding of his or her own research in a larger natural, social and economic context 
  • The student will be able to participate actively in the public debate about sustainable development
  • The student is able to contribute in developing and implementing change processes towards sustainable development.


Must fulfill the requirements for admission to the PhD program

Recommended previous knowledge: 

Not applicable.

Mode of delivery: 

Interactive seminar

Learning activities and teaching methods:

Theoretical and case based introductions to dialogues, reflections, and excursions 
In order to participate in the dialogues the students should be familiar with the course literature  


The participants enrolled in a PhD program qualifying for 7.5 ECTS credits must write an individual essay (of up to 12 pages, 1,5 line spacing, wide left margin) on a topic chosen within the course framework. The deadline is 1 month after end of session. The essays are graded on the scale "Passed" - "Failed".

Course literature and recommended reading:

Curry, Patrick (2011): Ecological ethics: an introduction, Oxford, Polity Press
Jonas, Hans; (1984): The Imperative of Responsibility – In search of ethics for the Technological Age, Chicago, The University of Chicago Press
Hassle, Hans (2012): Business as usual is over
Readings: (eds. Ove D Jakobsen and Lars  F Pharo)

Application deadline: 25.03.2020
Participants from Nord university are prioritized.

Practical information

The city of Bodø

Bodø is home to around 50,000 people and is one of the fastest growing cities in the country, with a lively urban scene.


Photo: David Grandorge

Getting to Bodø

  • Bodø is the hub of Nordland and can be reached by plane, train and boat. 
  • Bodø's airport is located in the city itself, making it quick and easy to fly in and out. Oslo Gardemoen is a 90 minute flight away.

Photo: Ernst Furuhatt / www.nordnorge.com

Transport in Bodø

  • The main campus is located at Mørkved, about 9 kilometers from the centre of Bodø.
  • It is easy to take the bus from the airport or city center to campus.

Accomodation in Bodø

  • At campus there is a student hotel “Nordavind” which offers short-time rent. For more information. 
  • You may also stay at a hotel in the centre of Bodø.
  • We advise you to book accommodation as early as possible as hotels in Bodø at times are fully booked