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Area Study Sustainability Philippines

Course 2019-2020

Admission requirements

This course is part of the Minor Sustainable Development and is a selective course for third year BA students Cultural Anthropology. 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.


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 2020. The focus of the course is on sustainable development and environmental conservation.

Specific theme 2019-2020: tba.

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 rapidly developing country, students will learn practical fieldwork skills and the application of research methods and techniques.


IIn January 2020, 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.

Course load

After the selection of participants:
Preparations in the Netherlands (fall-winter 2019): 26 hours
• Introduction meeting in November: 4 study hours
• Literature 100 pages: 12 study hours
• Preparation meeting October/November (6 study hours)
• Preparation meeting in December: 4 study hours
Philippines (January 2020): 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 communicate course related information, including the schedule, literature, assignment details and lecture notes.

Reading list

Reading list will be announced on Blackboard and by email.


There is a maximum of 15 available places. Students are advised to join the information session about this course (date to be announced). Here, you will be informed of the registration procedure, and the draft programme and practical matters of the course. In order to have an interdisciplinary group of motivated students participate in this course, a selection will be made of students who register for this course on the basis of their motivation letter and their major studies disciplines. The results of the selection will be announced mid-October.
Registration in uSis is not necessary.


Drs. Merlijn van Weerd


• The contribution per student for the local transport costs, accommodation and food is 600 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 600 Euro needs to be transferred to the bank account of Leiden University per 1 December 2019 (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 inoculations (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.