nl en

Area Study Sustainability Philippines




Admission Requirements

This course is part of the minor ‘Sustainable Development’ and is an elective course for third year bachelor’s students CADS. To take part in the course Area Study Sustainability, students must have followed the previous courses, ‘Big Issues, New Answers’ and ‘Resilient Cities’. Selected Cultural Anthropology students are exempted from these requirements.

Course Description

The Faculty of Social Sciences (FSW) and the Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML) of Leiden University, in cooperation with Isabela State University and the Mabuwaya Foundation in the Philippines organizes an international, interdisciplinary course on sustainability issues in North East Luzon in the Philippines in January 2021. The focus of the course is sustainable development and environmental conservation. Each year a specific theme is chosen. Previous themes have included water management, natural disaster management and plastic pollution.

In January 2021, 30 international students (15 from Leiden University, 15 from Isabela State University) from different disciplinary backgrounds will conduct anthropological fieldwork in northeast Luzon, Philippines. The course will consist of an introduction by various organizations in Manila to sustainability issues globally and in the Philippines, and at Isabela State University an introduction by external and academic presenters to local issues. Several field sites will be visited for an in-depth introduction to issues of sustainable development and environmental conservation and to practise fieldwork techniques. Students will work in interdisciplinary and multinational pairs on the development, implementation, analysis and reporting of a 1-week field study. The results of the study will be presented during a concluding workshop.

For students participating through Leiden University, a number of meetings will be organized in autumn 2020 to discuss the specific theme of field research area and practical matters of doing fieldwork in the Philippines. Before their departure the students must read the mandatory literature on the specific theme. The students must write final reports in the Philippines.
Specific theme 2020-2021: to be determined.

Course Objectives

The objective of the course is to gain experience of working in an international, interdisciplinary team on a problem-oriented research assignment. Apart from gaining knowledge on sustainable development and environmental conservation in a rapidly developing country, students will learn practical fieldwork skills and the application of interdisciplinary research methods and techniques.

Mode of Instruction and Course Load

Preparations in the Netherlands (autumn/winter 2020): 26 hours

  • Introduction meeting in October: 4 study hours

  • Literature; 100 pages: 14 study hours

  • Preparation for meeting October/November: 5 study hours

  • Preparation for meeting in December: 3 study hours

Philippines (January 2021): 254 hours

  • Visits to institutions/projects/field sites including travel: 8 days x 8h = 64 study hours

  • Lectures: 8 lectures/workshops x 1.5 h = 12 study hours

  • Fieldwork preparation: Work groups and teams: 4 days × 8h = 32 study hours

  • Fieldwork (6 full days + 2 days for travel and settlement): 6 × 8h x 2 = 96 study hours

  • Data analysis, report writing, presentation (5 days/evenings): 10 h/day x 5 = 50 study hours.

Total: 280 study hours (10 ECTS)

Assessment Method

  • Active participation during preparation, workshops, lectures and fieldwork – 50 %

  • Written report (4,000–5,000 words) – 40 %

  • Presentations – 10 %


The Brightspace module of this course will be open and available to selected students after the selection procedure has been completed. Brightspace will be used to communicate course-related information, including the schedule, literature, assignment details and lecture notes.

Reading list

Reading list will be announced in Brightspace.


A maximum of 15 places are available. Students are advised to join the information session about this course in September (date to be announced) for information about registration procedure, the draft programme and practical matters of the course. On the basis of motivation letter, a selection from an interdisciplinary group of the best motivated students from those who register for this course. The results of the selection will be announced in mid-October. Registration in uSis is not necessary.


Drs. Merlijn van Weerd

Costs / Remarks

This course has additional costs:

  • The contribution per student for local transport costs, accommodation and food is 650 Euros (still under consideration, the final amount will be announced at the information meeting). This contribution must be transferred to the bank account of Leiden University before 1 December 2020 (details follow for selected students). The course is financially supported by the Waterboard Rijnland.

  • In addition, students must arrange and pay for their own airline tickets to the Philippines, their visa (free for a stay of up to 30 days), insurances (universal health insurance with World coverage, Third party liability, travel insurance) and vaccinations (depending on personal travel history and doctor’s advice). The total cost will therefore differ per person but is estimated to be 850 Euros, on average.


The continuation of this course might be affected by international developments and national circumstances in the Philippines regarding the Covid-19 crisis, and the availability of external funding.