Course code PAE301

PAE301 Agroecology: Working with the complexity of farming systems

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Showing course contents for the educational year starting in 2015 .

Course responsible: Geir Lieblein
Teachers: Tor Arvid Breland
ECTS credits: 5
Faculty: Department of Plant Sciences
Teaching language: EN
(NO=norsk, EN=Engelsk)
Limits of class size:

Minimum 5, maximum 20 students.

Teaching exam periods:
This course starts in Spring parallel. This course has teaching/evaluation in Spring parallel.
Course frequency: <p>Annually</p><p><br/></p>
First time: 2004V
Preferential right:

Master´s degree students in Agroecology.

Course contents:

With a concrete case as starting point, the course deals with structure and functioning of agroecosystems as whole entities seen from different perspectives. Examples of such are ecological, economic, social, time and spatial scale, and organisational level perspectives. The students will also learn about and practice methods for describing and analysing the case and its goals, and they are expected to suggest improvements.

Learning outcome:

After completing the course the students should be able to: 

  • After completing the course the student should be able to:
    • Apply a systemic approach to evaluating a complex farm situation
    • Make priorities on feasible and desirable improvements of an agro-ecosystem
    • Make an action plan for such improvement proposal 

Learning activities:

The course is web-based, and faculty resources and students will be located in several countries (Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland). In order to effectively deal with the interdisciplinary nature of agroecology, teachers from the Nordic network of agroecology (Agroasis) will provide guidance and feedback to the students.



Provided at course start.


Bachelor´s degree or its equivalent in agriculture, plant science, economics, natural resources, human nutrition or other relevant social or natural sciences.

Recommended prerequisites:

Details for the portfolio assessment will be given at course start. Students will be assessed on written assignments, on understanding of the materials, on ability to conceptualise the course content and on making application to the case and to their current local situations. Their papers, short assignments, and contributions to discussions will be the basis for a grade.

Nominal workload:

150 hours during eight weeks

Entrance requirements:

Minimum requirements for entrance to higher education in Norway (generell studiekompetanse)

NB! Course registration before January th, 2016. The course is based on collaboration between universities in Norway (NMBU), Sweden (SLU), Denmark (KU) and FInland (HU), and participating students will come from all of these institutions.

An external examiner approves the course plan, literature and chosen parts of the student portfolio.

Examination details: Continuous exam: A - E / Ikke bestått