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Area Study Sustainability Philippines


Admission requirements

Admission after selection in October 2017. For application procedure see below, under Registration.
There are 15 available places.


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 is organizing an international, interdisciplinary course on sustainability issues in North East Luzon in the Philippines in January 2018. The focus of the course is on sustainable development and environmental conservation.

Specific theme 2017-2018: The expected impact of a new road in the Northern Sierra Madre

Course objectives

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


In January 2018, 30 international students from different disciplinary backgrounds (anthropology, biology, forestry, public administration, civil engineering etc.) will conduct fieldwork in northeast Luzon, Philippines. Fifteen of these students will be from Isabela State University and the other 15 students will participate via Leiden University. The course will consist of an introduction to environmental conservation in the Philippines by various organizations in Manila. A series of lectures will be given at Isabela State University by external and academic presenters. Several field sites will be visited for an in-depth introduction to issues with sustainable development and environmental conservation and to practice field work techniques. The students will work in couples (interdisciplinary, multi-cultural) on the development of a small field study. Fieldwork will be conducted by these couples during one week. Data will be analyzed and a field report will be written and presented during a concluding workshop to which external participants (representatives of academic, government and societal organizations) will be invited.

For students participating through Leiden University, a number of meetings will be organized in which an introduction will be given on the field research area as well as on practical matters of doing fieldwork in the Philippines. Literature on the topic will be distributed and read by the students before departure. A final report will be written by the students in the Philippines. The written reports of the field studies will be compiled and printed as a booklet. A colloquium will be organized in which students will present their experiences and the outcome of their field studies.


  • Information session + application: 18 September 2017, apply before 6 October, decision by 9 October 2017

  • Three preparatory meetings in Leiden: 1 November, 29 November and 4 December.

  • Philippines: 5 January - 2 February 2018

Mode of instruction

Preparations in the Netherlands (fall-winter 2017):

  • Introduction meeting 1 November (2 hours)

  • Literature 60 pages (10 study hours)

  • Role play on 29 November (whole day)

  • Preparatory meeting (December, 2 hours)

Philippines (January 2018):

  • Visits to institutions/projects/field sites

  • Lectures

  • Fieldwork (research proposal, field research, data analysis and report, presentations)

Course Load

After the selection of participants:

Preparations in the Netherlands (fall-winter 2017): 26 hours

  • Introduction meeting in November: 4 study hours

  • Theme day role play 29 November: 8 study hours (whole day)

  • Literature 60 pages: 10 study hours

  • Preparation meeting (December): 4 study hours

Philippines (January 2018): 254 hours

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

  • Lectures: 8 lectures 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, writing the report, presentation (5 days/evenings): 10 h/day x 5 = 50 study hours.

Total: 280 study hours (10 ECTS)

Assessment method

  • Active participation in the meetings, lectures and fieldwork – 50 %

  • Written report (3000 – 5000 words) – 40 %

  • Presentations – 10 %


The Blackboard module of this course will be open and available to selected students after the selection procedure is completed. Blackboard will be used to spread the course related information, including the literature and time table.

Reading list

Reading list will be announced on Blackboard.


In order to have a multidisciplinary group of students a selection will be made of students who register for this course on the basis of disciplines (in case there are more than 15 students expressing an interest in participating). The preference goes out to 3rd year Bachelor students at Leiden University but if there are vacancies, students from other universities are also welcome.

Students are advised to join the information session about this course. Date: 18 September.

(Students who cannot attend the information session can contact Merlijn van Weerd in order to receive the powerpoint presentation by e-mail.)
Registration deadline: 6 October 2017

NB: Usis-registration for this course is NOT necessary. Blackboard registration is required.


Drs. Merlijn van Weerd
Tel: 06 24747896


  • The contribution per student for the local transport costs, accommodation and food is 500 Euro. This covers about 66 % of the total costs per student. The remaining costs and all costs for the Philippine students (who are generally from poor families) is covered by Leiden University and by the Water board Rijnland. This amount of 500 Euro needs to be transferred to the bank account of Leiden University before 15 November (details follow for selected students).

  • In addition, students have to arrange and pay for their airline ticket to the Philippines, their visa (free for a stay up to 30 days, 27 Euro for stays up to 59 days), insurances (universal health insurance with World coverage, Third part liability, travel insurance) and innoculations and malaria profylaxes (depending on personal history and doctor's advice). The total costs of these differs per person but is estimated to be on average 1000 Euro.