nl en

Energy & Society


Admission requirements

Required course:

  • Energy and Resource Management (100)

Recommended course:

  • Global Challenges: Sustainability (100)


Please note that this course (“Energy and Society”) was previously titled “Energy, Environment, and Sustainability”.

Ensuring a stable and sustainable supply of energy is a global concern, and the focus of increasing attention. The extraction and use of fossil fuels is associated with diverse and long-lasting environmental effects and is responsible for the majority of anthropogenic GHG emissions. Concerns over climate change and security of supply represent a significant driving force for the implementation of alternative energy technologies focused on sustainable energy sources. This course explores various energy-related issues through an interdisciplinary lens drawing on literature from the environmental sciences, communication science, psychology, and sociology. In drawing together the links between energy and society, we will explore the role of greenwashing within the energy sector, the socio-political and environmental impacts of energy infrastructure development (drawing on case studies such as the Shale Gas boom in the US, and oil extraction in the Arctic), and explore questions such as can we engineer our way out of the climate crisis? As an overarching frame for the course, we will also explore how energy and climate issues are communicated to the public, and in doing so will draw on the field of science communication.

Course Objectives


  • Students will learn how to design a communication strategy to convey a complex scientific issue.

  • Students will learn how to identify key evidence within the context of a specific case study.

  • Students will further develop their oral presentation and writing skills.

  • Students will learn how to work together as a group.


  • Students can think holistically about energy issues and their links to sustainable development

  • Students understand the importance of effective science communication

  • Students can discuss and identify the socio-political impacts of resource exploitation for energy purposes

  • Students can apply the knowledge gained in class to explore various contemporary energy issues


Timetables for courses offered at Leiden University College in 2020-2021 will be published on this page of the e-Prospectus.

Mode of instruction

This course is project-based, and you will work in small groups on one project for the block. This course will proceed primarily as a seminar with a mix of lecture, class discussion, and small group work.

Assessment Method

Participation: 15% (ongoing)
Discussion leader (written and oral component): 25% (week 1-6)
Theory and Practice Plan: 30% (week 3/4)
Group science communication project: 30% (due in week 6)

Reading list

A reading list will be made available before the course starts. A book is not required for this course as peer-reviewed journal articles are used.


Courses offered at Leiden University College (LUC) are usually only open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Leiden University students who participate in one of the university’s Honours tracks or programmes may register for one LUC, if availability permits. Registration is coordinated by the Education Coordinator,


Dr. Bríd Walsh,