Environmental Health and Science, MSc for Teachers, master


Environmental health and science are interdisciplinary academic fields that integrates physical and biological sciences, (including but not limited to Ecology, Chemistry, Biology, Soil Science, Water, Geology and Atmospheric Science) to the study of the environment, and the solution of environmental problems. Environmental science provides an integrated, quantitative, and interdisciplinary approach to the study of environmental systems.

Environmental health includes those aspects of the human health and disease that are determined by factors in the environment. It also refers to the theory and practice of assessing and controlling factors in the environment that can potentially affect health.

Emphasis will be placed on how and why different management strategies can contribute to sustainable use, conservation / protection and the recovery of natural and environmental resources. The study program is research and management oriented and provides thorough experience of laboratory and fieldwork.

We believe that interdisciplinary thinking for increased understanding and wish that the students should have a broad educational background including scientific methods and experience with the use of statistical tools and GIS.

Target Group and Admission Requirements

This Master's study programme is specially designed for students with an educational background in teaching with the natural sciences as a specialisation subject area, or other relevant education. Furthermore, the study programme is relevant as continuing education for teachers with professional experience. The instruction is structured so that it is possible to take the programme on a part time basis. Applicants who have a natural sciences background that is not part of a general teacher programme may also apply to enrol on this programme with the aim of working as a natural sciences teacher in the upper secondary school, if they have a post graduate certificate in education. This may be achieved by including 30 ECTS credits pedagogy in their Bachelor's study programme and 30 ECTS credits subject didactics in their Master’s study programme.

The Master’s study programme will qualify successful candidates to work as a senior teacher in schools, or as an assistant professor at a university college if they carried out scientific research.

Admission requirements

For admission to the Master's degree programme, a Bachelor’s degree (or Cand. Mag. degree), or a 4-year general teacher education qualification is required that includes 60 ECTS credits of the relevant natural sciences/environmental subjects. Alternatively, it is possible to supplement with such subjects as well. The application process will pay attention to the relevant academic background of the applicants in relation to the tutor expertise available. Average mark equivalent with C is required. Exception may be made based on individual evaluation.

Aim of the Programme

The Master’s degree programme aims to provide students with thorough multidisciplinary knowledge about the natural environment, health and/or the environment by allowing them to acquire subject specialisation in how interaction and processes in the natural environment function and the human role in this context. The teaching of natural sciences in schools will be focussed on.

Specific learning goals will vary depending on whether the aim is purely scientific or if it is related to pedagogical activities in schools.

Substantial emphasis will be placed on critical and independent work by the students. This applies particularly to the Master’s thesis. They must be able to understand and critically evaluate information, methods and research results. The students on the programme will practice multidisciplinary cooperation and communication and learn how scientific research and results reporting is accomplished. Students with a teaching background are recommended to choose a topic for their Master’s thesis which relates to the teaching of natural sciences in schools.

Learning outcome

After completing this program, the students should have the following qualifications regarding knowledge, skills, and general competence:

• Advanced knowledge in biological fields such as botany, zoology, microbiology, genetics, biotechnology, ecotoxicology and limnology
• Detailed knowledge of selected topics, processes and mechanisms related to key environmental factors and their effects (see course descriptions)
• Ability to analyze academic problems on the basis of traditions of the academic field

• Be able to use relevant methods for research in an independent manner
• Be able to locate, assess and refer to technical information and present it both orally and in writing
• Ability to use relevant government regulations in administrative tasks, planning and impact assessment
• Be able to carry out independent, limited research project under supervision and in accordance with applicable norms for research ethics

General Competence:
• Be able to apply their knowledge and skills in new areas
• Be able to communicate extensive independent work and master language and terminology of Environmental Science
• Be able to contribute to new thinking and innovation processes

Curriculum and structure

MSc Environmental Health, for Teachers
Code Course title Credits O/V *) Credits pr. semester
  S1(A) S2(V) S3(A) S4(V)
4301 Natural Science Methods 10.00 O 10      
4302 Genetics 10.00 V 10      
4307 Applied Microbiology 10.00 V 10      
4502 Alpine Biodiversity and Climatic Change 10.00 V 10      
4323 Applications in Water Science 10.00 V 10      
4311 Ecological Methods 10.00 V 10      
4308 Ecotoxicology 10.00 V   10    
4325 Boundary Layer and Local Climates 10.00 V   10    
4313 Biotechnology 10.00 V   10    
4324 Georesources and Groundwater 10.00 V   10    
4309 Biogeography 10.00 V   10    
5702 Geographical Analysis 10.00 V   10    
4316 Special Syllabus 10.00 V   10    
4319 Supervised Project 20.00 V   20    
4317 Master’s Thesis 60.00 O     30 30
Total: 30 30 30 30
*) O - Mandatory course, V - Optional course

Mandatory courses
4301 Natural Science Methods is an obligatory course in methods. A foundation in statistics equivalent to 10 ECTS credits is desirable. If this is not included in the admission application, the student should take a course in statistics, either independently or as part of the Master’s degree programme (see below “Approval of Bachelor’s degree courses”).

Elective courses
Please note: In order for an elective subject to be offered, a sufficient number of students must sign up for the course. This is evaluated for each separate course. If too few students have signed up, the course may be postponed until the following academic year. Under special circumstances, an elective course may be discontinued. Such decisions will be taken up with the students so that the quality of the programme is maintained.

Master’s degree programmes from other institutions may be accepted if they are relevant. We encourage students to take advantage of student-exchange arrangements with foreign universities and colleges.

It is also possible to choose some courses form the joint Master’s degree study programme, Inland Water Quality Assessment; please refer to the course catalogue on our home page (with the reservation that the study programme has been approved by NOKUT, the Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education).

Limitation regarding some courses
Some of the courses only accept a limited number of applicants, for instance 4307 Applied Microbiology and 4313 Biotechnology.

Approval of Bachelor’s degree courses

Up to 10 ECTS credits of Bachelor’s degree level courses may be approved as part of a Master’s degree, if the Master’s degree supervisor recommends this in order to strengthen the subject profile of the thesis. Normally, such approval concerns courses from the third year of a Bachelor’s degree. However, mandatory courses from Bachelor’s degree programmes which are included in a student’s application to the Master’s degree will not be approved.

Approval of practical work experience (course code 4320)

Students who can document relevant practical experience can apply to have up to 30 ECTS credits approved for at least one year’s work; this must be thoroughly documented and reported, or students must submit a certificate from employers. The practical experience must be directly relevant to the Master's thesis. The supervisor will determine if the work experience is relevant or not by considering its content, scope and quality; in other words, the practical experience must constitute more than just “routine” work.

The practical experience must be concluded and approved before the student may submit his/her thesis.

Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PPU)

Students who wish to gain a teaching qualification and do not have a formal qualifications in teaching should include 30 ECTS credits subject didactics (PPU) as an elective course in their Master’s study programme.

This study programme was developed in cooperation with the Faculty of Arts and Sciences in Bø and the Faculty of Art, Folk Culture and Teacher Education in Notodden and will be carried out in cooperation with the academic staff of these faculties.

The study program consists of various courses comprising in total 60 ECTS and a Master’s thesis (60 ECTS). The teaching is largely based on one-week modules, and laboratory and field-oriented teaching. It provides a flexible study program, and places high demands on students’ ability to work independently.


An exchange period (30 ects/one semester) abroad may be accepted as part of the degree. For more information, please visit: http://www.hit.no/eng/HiT/Student/Student-Exchanges

Teaching and Learning Methods

Practical teaching
The programme puts great emphasis on laboratory and field-oriented teaching. Students are also expected to work independently to a large extent, because much of the teaching in based on presentations, problem-solving and problem-based learning.

Teaching in periods

As far as possible the teaching of the individual courses will be based on module-weeks. It provides a more flexible study situation for students in relation to working on assignments and if necessary combining with a student’s job. Study material will be available on the university college’s homepage and may be accessed using a password.


Legitimate absence (sick leave) of as much as 20% of the obligatory part of a course will be accepted. A student’s absence for more than 20% of the obligatory course will not be approved, and the student will not be eligible for preferential treatment with regard to applying for a place on the field/laboratory course the next time the course is given.

Theory and Practical Training

Our aim is to educate graduates with good multidisciplinary knowledge in the field of Environmental Science.

Independent work will be emphasized especially for the Master thesis. The student will be trained to understand and critically evaluate information, methods and research results. Students will also learn interdisciplinary collaboration and communication, and how scientific research and reporting is accomplished. Completion of this program will qualify for PhD studies.

Assessment Methods

Master's degree courses will be awarded individual grades which will be entered on the diploma. Please refer to the individual course descriptions for assessment criteria. When the Master's thesis has been submitted and evaluated, a final oral examination related to the student’s thesis will be held. The mark for the thesis will be adjusted after the oral examination, and a final grade will be shown on the diploma.

Students who have set up a special syllabus for themselves will submit a written assignment. In this case, a separate grade will be entered on the diploma.

In addition to the Master’s degree thesis the final examinations for the Master’s degree courses will be assessed individually using an external examiner and a supervisor from the Department of Environmental and Health Studies.

Minor adjustments may occur during the academic year, subject to the decision of the Dean

Publisert av / forfatter Mona Sæbø <mona.saboSPAMFILTER@hit.no>, last modified Anette Norheim Fredly - 16/02/2012