Inspirational theses – University of Copenhagen

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Theses for inspiration

The theses on this page are written on different UCPH faculties and thus serve as examples on the interdisciplinary nature of the sustainability field.

The theses are rated somewhere between a C and an A. Note that they do NOT serve as your guide to writing a succesful thesis, but rather as a source of inspiration, showing examples on how one can integrate different topics that have to do with sustainability.

While most of the theses are originally written in Danish, they all contain English abstracts.

The master's thesis Reconnecting urban citizens to Danish nature - A case study of nature perceptions in a Copenhagen wilderness project was written by Lotte Nymark Busch Jensen.

She says: "The starting point of my thesis is the increasing disconnection between nature and urban citizens. The thesis makes use of nature perception theory to understand inherent perceptions that are communicated by the urban nature project: Wild Campus. The findings are relevant in regards to urban green space management, and the emergence of new potential preferences and perceptions of nature within cities among urban dwellers.

Lotte submitted her thesis in January 2016 at the Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management. She is now employed at the University, in charge of developing the yearly Green Campus Environmental Reports.

The bachelor thesis Psykiske reaktioner på indirekte klimaforandringer (Psychological reactions to indirect climate change) was written by Emma Slebsager Nielsen and Julie Fabrin Storm Erichsen.

Emma and Julie make use of psychoanalysis to better understand the psychological effects of the awareness of global climate change. As a motivation to do this they write: "The psychological reactions to climate change are just as important to understand as are the natural mechanisms that cause the changes in the first place, because our psychological reactions are crucial to how we handle the climate challenge."

The bachelor thesis was made in the spring of 2015 at Department of Psychology.

The master thesis Evaluating Nature Interpretation – Themes, audiences and learning in Lille Vildmose was written by Christina M. Dahl and Mattias L. Nielsen.

This master thesis centers on nature communication in protected areas. Christina and Matias investigate how increasing knowledge of- and communicating about nature can increase people’s awareness and change their behavior towards nature conservation. Using Lille Vildmose as a case study, various methods were employed to assess the visitors’ nature interpretation, and evaluate these against the goals that have been set to conserve the area. It is their hope that this case study can be used to improve environmental interpretation efforts in Denmark and cultivate sustainable behavior.  

Christina and Mattias wrote their thesis in 2013 at the Institute of Biology in the section for Ecology and Evolution.

The bachelor project Network analysis of the grand challenges affecting biodiversity and ecosystem services  was written by Ditlev Damhus.

Ditlev says: "My research interests are wide within conservation, biodiversity, ecosystem services, priority-setting and decision-making. I'm particularly interested in the conflicts between human needs and nature conservation in rural areas of Latin America where I see great possibilities in local involvement and community conservation.

In my BSc project, I aim at synthesizing experts opinions on the greatest challenges within the socio-environmentral spectrum in relation to biodiversity, ecosystem services and food production. By conducting a network analysis on these expert opinions we hope to produce an overview that might take us one step further in the process of decision-making".

The project is interdisciplinary, but had its base at the Faculty of Biology. Originating from a larger collaboration between researchers from Maryland and UPCH, this project illustrates how students can assist scientists in doing larger-scale research.
Ditlev begins his studies in Nature Management in the fall of 2014.

The master thesis Affald og Hverdagsliv – et miljøsociologisk studie af Københavnske husholdningers affaldshåndtering (Trash and everyday life – an environmental-sociological study of waste management in the households of Copenhagen) was written by Kristine Amstrup Jørgensen.

In this thesis, Kristine adopts a practical-theoretical perspective to investigate why different households have different practices when managing waste. While the thesis was written at a natural science-based institute, Kristine makes use of sociological methods: "By focusing on social practices, the aim of the thesis is to understand and assess how the choice of daily waste management strategy is influenced by everyday practices and routines". Kristine deals with an aspect of waste management that has not yet been researched. Thus, she produces knowledge for future researchers to rely on.

The thesis was written at UCPH's Department of Food and Resource Economics in 2013. Kristine now works as an environment- and development consultant at Amager Ressource Center.

Esther Juel Jepsen has written the thesis Lokale løsninger på en global udfordring (Local solutions to a global challenge).

In this case study of the local climate efforts in Køge, Esther investigates " local initiatives can help reducing global warming, and how citizens are being motivated to make their own effort in limiting green house gas emissions. The thesis is based on the assumption that local efforts are necessary, but not sufficient, in the struggle to reduce climate change. Everybody has to act, since the solution to the climate challenge can not be expected to come from the international society nor from single states alone".

Esther wrote her thesis at UCPH's Department of Political Science in 2011. Today, she works at Det Grønne Hus (The Green House) – the place, she used as her case in the thesis.

The thesis Conservation Psykologi - En undersøgelse af strategier til fremme af miljøvenlig adfærd (Conservation Psychology – an investigation of strategies for promoting enviromental friendly behaviour) was written by Malaika Thomsen.

Foto af MalaikaShe uncovers which psychological theories are fruitful to use when researching the influence of social institutions and culture on individuals, groups and organizations with regards to adopting sustainable behaviour. The thesis investigates some of the implicit assumptions that shape the current practice in informing about sustainability, and provides some more rewarding perceptions.

Malaika wrote the thesis at Department of Psychology i 2011. She now works as a consultant in business psychology at HR7 and as a private psychologist. Malaika is involved in a number of initiatives aiming at moving Denmark towards a sustainable society. She does presentations on psychology and sustainable development and she is a co-founder of the network, which deals with sustainable leadership development and strategy development.

Jonas Colling Larsen has written the thesis Befolkningens opfattelse af rewilding i  naturgenopretningsprojekter (The people's perception of rewilding in restoration projects).

The thesis deals with people's attitutes towards rewilding in the Danish nature, and why these attitudes differ with regards to different species.
Thus, Jonas combines biology and sociology, and the thesis is a an example of working across different disciplines on Master level.

Jonas wrote the thesis in 2014 at Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate.

The thesis Som vinden blæser? En politologisk analyse af Danmarks omstilling til vedvarende energikilder i elforsyningen (A politological analysis of the Denmark's transition towards renewable energy sources) was written by Ingeborg Koling Michelsen.

Foto af IngeborgThe starting point for this thesis is the political decision that half the Danish electricity supply must come from wind power in 2020. Ingeborg sheds light on how different political actors in Denmark influence this transition.

Ingeborg wrote the thesis at Department of Political Science in 2013.

Jennie Kaae Ferrara has written the master thesis Et Mærkbart Klima - Affekt og politik i klimakultur (A noticeable climate – affect and politics in climate culture).

In the thesis, Jennie investigates affections and emotions, as they are expressed through art regarding climate change and environmental changes.

"Man is still more affected by environmental changes, and emotions have a central role in the debate – personally, socially, and politically", Jennie says.

Jennie wrote her thesis at Department of Arts and Cultural Studies in 2012.

The thesis The Environmentality of Forest Conservation - The case of REDD+ in Tanzania was written by Julie Leth.

Foto af Julie"I am interested in how considerations on climate change and environment continues to play a bigger role in the Danish development aid. In my thesis, I investigate a REDD+ pilot project in Southeastern Tanzania, and I take a closer look on the possible benefits and obstacles of REDD+ (and similar forest management programmes) for climate and environment as well as for the local peoples".

Julie wrote the thesis at Centre of African Studies in 2013.

Irina Papazu has written the thesis Ballerup Kommune skal jo ikke redde den sidste pingvin! (It's not like the city of Ballerup is expected to save the penguins!).

The thesis deals with how municipalities can encourage it's citizens to take part in fighting climate change.

The thesis was written at Department of Political Science in 2012. Today, she is a PhD student researching how to transform Denmark into a sustainable society.

The thesis Den mentale flugt fra klimakatastrofen (The mental escape from climate catastrophe) was written by Frederikke Oldin.

Foto af FrederikkeIn her thesis, Frederikke investigates how the ordinary citizen reacts on campaigns that aim at making people behave in a more climate- and environment friendly way.
She deals with a number of questions such as: How does citizens perceive their own role in the climate problem? What is the effect of scaremongering? Is the ordinary citizen able to properly relate to the threat of climate change?

Frederikke wrote the thesis in 2012 at Department of Nordic Studies and Linguistics.

Emilie Hvidtfeldt has written the thesis Den globale by – en analyse af Københavns Kommunes engagement i transnationale bynetværk (The global city – an analysis of the City of Copenhagen's engagement in transnational networks).

Forside, Emilies specialeEmilie has investigated how and why cities engage in transnational networks of cities to collaborate on dealing with climate change.