Worried about the environment? This Danish uni can make you part of the solution

Are you passionate about environmental issues and want to pursue a career with purpose? The environmental field is competitive, but a master’s degree in Environmental Risk could be your golden ticket.

Worried about the environment? This Danish uni can make you part of the solution
Henriette Selck. Photo: Uffe Weng

34-year-old Talhiya Ali dreamed of becoming a lecturer in environmental science. The Tanzanian already held a bachelor’s degree specialising in teaching chemistry and biology but wanted to deepen her knowledge of environmental risk and its assessment.

“I was recommended the Environmental Risk programme at Roskilde University by my bachelor lecturer and project supervisor,” she told The Local.

Photo: Talhiya Ali

Roskilde University is a research-driven university in Denmark, a country well-regarded for its environmental policies and commitment to sustainability. The university is just half an hour away from Copenhagen, Denmark’s trendy capital city where the UN City complex is located, and the international Environmental Risk master’s programme is solidly connected to the UN’s sustainability goals. The University has a teaching philosophy based on problem-oriented project learning and employ interdisciplinary approaches to solve real-life challenges.

Find out more about the international master’s in Environmental Risk at Roskilde University

The programme’s interdisciplinary curriculum focuses on imparting the skills students need to understand and assess pressing environmental issues. Covering topics such as the evaluation of technologies and chemicals that can damage ecosystems, implementation of environmental legislation and the key disciplines of environmental risk, students use natural and societal scientific methods to assess and manage environmental risks.

Zanzibar. Photo: Roskilde University

“The courses cover different disciplines in the mandatory part and the second semester courses can cover, for example, analytical chemistry, physics and environmental planning and management, which will provide a multidisciplinary approach to environmental risk,” explains Henriette Selck, head of studies for the Environmental Risk master’s programme.

Henriette adds that this is a great advantage for graduates when they apply for jobs as most solutions to environmental issues require a multidisciplinary approach. Only a few students are equipped to tackle problems in this way as the majority of environmental programmes cover either natural or social sciences – but not usually both.

It’s an aspect of the two-year programme that Talhiya found particularly valuable. She appreciated the problem-solving approach and learning to assess environmental issues using tools and techniques from several scientific disciplines.

She explained how this interdisciplinarity worked in practice: “I studied ecotoxicology which is biological but first I learned the overview of environmental components, like what is within the earth, which is a geographical area. I also learned how pollutants introduced into our environment are transferred from generation to generation through feeding level or another physical transport phenomenon which employs biology, chemistry and physics.”

Garbage/plastic pollution from the sea. Photo: Shutterstock

Apply for the Environmental Risk master’s degree scholarship

The programme is taught in English and the cohort is international so Talhiya was able to brush up on her language skills while she studied. Her fellow students hailed from all over the world, their different perspectives enhancing topical discussions around issues such as natural and anthropogenic hazards. Moreover, the university’s open-door policy means there’s always a scientist on-hand to offer their expertise.

Talhiya realised her dream and is now working as an assistant lecturer at The State University of Zanzibar. She frequently consults on student projects, supporting students who are doing their research in the aquatic environment, the topic she specialised in and in which the Environmental Risk master’s programme is particularly strong.

Education is one option for graduates but the career opportunities within the environmental field are endless, says Henriette.

“Jobs could be within academia, environmental protection agencies, the environmental section of industries or NGOs. Our graduates are working within all of these.”

There is one scholarship available for the Environmental Risk master’s programme, starting September 2019. Click here to find out more about fees and how to apply for the scholarship.

This article was produced by The Local Creative Studio and sponsored by Roskilde University.


‘We still have a chance’: Danish minister’s relief after Glasgow climate deal

Denmark's climate minister Dan Jørgensen has expressed relief that a meaningful climate change deal was struck in Glasgow last night, after a last minute move by India and China nearly knocked it off course.

'We still have a chance': Danish minister's relief after Glasgow climate deal
Denmark's climate minister Dan Jørgensen speaks at the announcement of the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance in Glasgow on Tuesday. Photo: Andy Buchanan/AFP/Ritzau Scanpix

“For the first time ever, coal and fossil fuel subsidies have been mentioned. I’m very, very happy about that,” he told Denmark’s Politiken newspaper. “But I am also very disappointed that the stronger formulations were removed at the last minute.” 

Late on Saturday, the world’s countries agreed the Glasgow Climate Pact, after negotiations dragged on while governments haggled over phasing out coal. 

Denmark is one of the countries leading the phase out of fossil fuels, formally launching the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA) with ten other countries and states at the Glasgow summit on Tuesday, announcing an end to oil exploration last December, and committing to phase out coal by 2030 back in 2017. 

Jørgensen conceded that the deal struck on Saturday was nowhere near far-reaching enough to keep global temperature rises below 1.5C, which scientists have estimated is critical to limiting the impacts of climate change, but he said the decision to hold another summit in Egypt next year meant that this goal could still be reached. 

“The big, good news is that we could have closed the door today. If we had followed the rules, we would only have had to update the climate plans in 2025, and the updates would only apply from 2030,” he said, adding that this would be too late. “Now we can fight on as early as next year. This is very rare under the auspices of the UN.” 

Limiting temperature rises to 1.5C was still possible, he said. 

“We have a chance. The framework is in place to make the right decisions. There was a risk that that framework would not be there.” 

Jørgensen said that he had come close to tears when India launched a last-minute bid to water down the language when it came to coal, putting the entire deal at risk. 

“It was all really about to fall to the ground,” he said. “The assessment was that either the Indians got that concession or there was no agreement.” 

Sebastian Mernild, a climate researcher at the University of Southern Denmark, said he was disappointed by the lack of binding targets and global deadlines in the plan, but said it was nonetheless “a step in the right direction”, particularly the requirement that signatories to the Paris Agreement must tighten their 2030 emissions reduction targets by the end of 2022.

“It’s good that this thing with fossil fuels has got in,” he added. “It’s a pity that you don’t have to phase them out, but only reduce.”

He said the test of whether the Glasgow meeting is a success or failure would not come until the various aspects of the plan are approved and implemented by members states.