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.


IES chain blocked from opening four new schools

Sweden's Internationella Engelska Skolan (IES) chain has been denied permission to open four new schools in Gothenburg, Huddinge, Norrtälje, and Upplands-Bro, after the schools inspectorate said it had not provided pupil data.

IES chain blocked from opening four new schools

According to the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper, the Swedish Schools Inspectorate (Skolinspektionen) has denied permission to the chain to open a new planned new school in Norrtälje, north of Stockholm, even though the building that will house it is already half built. The inspectorate has also denied permission to three other schools which the chain had applied to start in 2023. 

In all four cases, the applications have been rejected because the school did not submit the required independent assessment for how many pupils the schools were likely to have. 

Jörgen Stenquist, IES’s deputy chief executive, said that IES has not in the past had to submit this data, as it has always been able to point to the queues of pupils seeking admissions to the school. 

“The fact that Engelska Skolan, as opposed to our competition, has never had the need to hire external companies to do a direct pupil survey is because we have had so many in line,” he told DN.

“In the past, it has been enough that we reported a large queue in the local area. But if the School Inspectorate wants us to conduct targeted surveys and ask parents directly if they want their children to start at our new schools, then maybe we have to start doing that.”


According to the newspaper, when the inspectorate had in the past asked for pupil predictions, the chain has refused, stating simply “we do not make student forecasts”, which the inspectorate has then accepted. 

However, in this year’s application round, when IES wrote: “We do not carry out traditional interest surveys as we simply have not had a need for this,” the inspectorate treated it as grounds to reject its applications. 

According to DN, other school chain have been complaining to the inspectorate that IES gets favourable treatment and was excused some requirements other chains have to fulfil. 

Liselotte Fredzell, from the inspectorate’s permitting unit, confirmed that the inspectorate was trying to be more even handed. 

“Yes, it is true that we are now striving for a more equal examination of applications. Things may have been getting too slack, and we needed to tighten up.”