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Transdisciplinary skills


Admission requirements

Students of the MSc Governance of Sustainability


The governance of sustainability deals with problems that originate from different, but highly interrelated realms (e.g., biophysical phenomena, human behaviour, economical dynamics). Understanding these interrelations and the diversity of language that is particular to each of the realms is crucial to tackle these problems and address complex sustainability challenges. To navigate this complexity, it is necessary to go beyond disciplinary boundaries and to find innovative and tailored solutions. Transdisciplinarity is acknowledged as the appropriate methodological approach to advance the science of sustainability. It entails the integration of different kinds of knowledge, not only from scientific disciplines but especially also from societal actors, who are practitioners, citizens and/or users of scientific outputs and involved in the real-word problems. How can we make sure that all these stakeholders work together and understand each other effectively? To this goal, transdisciplinary skills are needed. The main goal of this course is to provide students with a mind-set, a lexicon, communicative skills and operational tools to connect dots from the different disciplinary fields they are going to encounter during the Master Governance of Sustainability and to link these concepts with real world actors.

Course objectives

At the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Recognize and understand transdisciplinarity meanings and epistemological premises

  • Use transdisciplinarity lexicon and concepts in presentations and written outputs

  • Create a collaborative workgroup environment by using a team-oriented communicative approach based on active listening, peer-feedback, verbal and non-verbal language use and group dynamics management

  • Analyse sustainability problems and challenges from a transdisciplinary perspective with the help of transdisicplinary tools

  • Use and assess a variety of sources of information including scientific articles, governmental and non-governmental reports, media outlets and interviews with local stakeholders

  • Create different presentation outputs including audio-visual outputs, story-telling and policy briefs for scientific and non-scientific audiences


You will find the timetables for all courses and degree programmes of Leiden University in the tool MyTimetable (login). Any teaching activities that you have sucessfully registered for in MyStudyMap will automatically be displayed in MyTimeTable. Any timetables that you add manually, will be saved and automatically displayed the next time you sign in.

MyTimetable allows you to integrate your timetable with your calendar apps such as Outlook, Google Calendar, Apple Calendar and other calendar apps on your smartphone. Any timetable changes will be automatically synced with your calendar. If you wish, you can also receive an email notification of the change. You can turn notifications on in ‘Settings’ (after login).

For more information, watch the video or go the the 'help-page' in MyTimetable. Please note: Joint Degree students Leiden/Delft have to merge their two different timetables into one. This video explains how to do this.

Mode of instruction

The course will consist of theoretical plenary lectures, lectures on skills and tools, guest lectures and workgroup assignments. Workgroup outputs will be presented in various ways (video, stories, policy brief). Students will be asked to take part in debates, interactive exercises and role plays. Guests, from both academic and civil society organizations, will be invited to present ideas and case studies.

Assessment method

One examination with multiple choice and open questions (25%), two peer reviews of workgroup assignment outputs (25%) and an assessment of workgroup outputs supplemented by an individual assessment by the course lecturers (50%).

Reading list

See Brightspace


From the academic year 2022-2023 on every student has to register for courses with the new enrollment tool MyStudyMap. There are two registration periods per year: registration for the fall semester opens in July and registration for the spring semester opens in December. Please see this page for more information.

Please note that it is compulsory to both preregister and confirm your participation for every exam and retake. Not being registered for a course means that you are not allowed to participate in the final exam of the course. Confirming your exam participation is possible until ten days before the exam.

Extensive FAQ's on MyStudymap can be found here.