Environmental Policy & Rural Development Studies

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The social sciences are strongly expected to respond to increasing concerns about environmental and food security by providing a basis for knowledge, practices and governance in sustainable development. Sustainable development is a process that requires a holistic way of looking at ourselves and the world around us, i.e. our relationship with each other, with the ecosystem, and with future generations. We are faced with complex problems, which require complex solutions. We therefore need to study and acquire multidimensional and multidisciplinary approaches. Globalisation demands that issues be tackled using international perspectives, but at the same time actual problems are quite likely to arise at the local level. We therefore need to nurture a sense of reality on the ground. These approaches and perspectives are crucial especially in environmental, agricultural and food-related social sciences and policy studies.


The objective of this module is to provide an in-depth and comprehensive understanding of the dynamics and processes of sustainable development in the environmental, economic, social and political spheres with a keen focus on the governance of energy, food and natural resources.

Area of Study

This module covers the field of environmental, agricultural and food-related social sciences and policy studies. It is designed for any and all graduate students with an interest in the globally pressing issues of environmental, agricultural and food governance from a wide range of social scientific perspectives, including environmental policy and governance, international political economy of agriculture, international relations, food policy, rural sociology, environmental sociology, development sociology, economic geography, and environmental economics.

Students of this module will be encouraged to take an exchange programme at Wageningen University, The Netherlands, one of the centres of excellence in the field of environmental, agricultural and food-related sciences.

Learning Goals

Students participating in this module are expected to acquire the knowledge and skills to analyse the complex and dynamic processes of environmental management, agricultural production and food consumption. It is our educational goal that our students enhance their understanding and critical sense of reality of ecological, economic, social and political systems from a multidimensional and multidisciplinary perspective.

Examples of Courses

  1. Comparative Business Ethics (GSE)
  2. Comparative Development Studies (GSE)
  3. Critical Consumption Studies (GSE)
  4. Critical Food Studies (GSE)
  5. Environmental Economics (GSE)
  6. International Agribusiness Studies (GSE)
  7. International Agri-food Studies (GSA)
  8. International Development Assistance Policy (GSE)
  9. International Political Economy of Agriculture (GSE)
  10. Qualitative Research Design and Analysis (GSA)
  11. Sustainable Development Studies (GSE)*
  12. Sustainable Industry Development (GSE)

*Only available for GSE-EA programme students

Core Teaching Staff

(Module Leader, Professor, GSE)
AKITSU, Motoki
(Professor, GSA)
(Junior Associate Professor, GSA)
MA, Teng
(Senior Lecturer, GSE)
FONTE, Maria
(Project Professor, AGST /Adjunct Professor, American University of Rome)
(Project Professor, AGST / Associate Professor, Wageningen University)
JUSSAUME, Raymond,Jr.
(Project Professor, AGST / Professor, Michigan State University)