Faculty of Chemistry and Earth SciencesGovernance of Risk and Resources – Master, continuing education

Natural disasters hit societies unprepared, and conflicts over the access to scarce natural resources are increasing worldwide. Students enrolled in ‘Governance of Risk and Resources’ learn how and why nation states fail in dealing with human-environmental problems in a hierarchically regulated manner, and where alternative, more participatory forms of coordinated collective action are promising, particularly at the sub-national, regional and local levels.

Note on the start of the study

This master's program starts in the first semester of each academic year in Chile. Lectures begin in March.

Facts & Formalities

DegreeMaster of Science
Type of programmeContinuing
Start of programmeWinter and summer semester
Standard period of study3 semesters
Language(s) of instructionSpanish and English
Fees and contributions
2,500.00 € / Semester
Application procedureContinuing-education master’s programmes, Governance of Risk and Ressources
Application deadlinesInformation about deadlines can be obtained after you have put together a degree program.
International degree programYes

Course Content

The Master’s degree program ‘Governance of risk and resources’, taught at the Heidelberg Centre for Latin America (HCLA) in Santiago de Chile is an interdisciplinary academic program that focusses on intersecting topics associated with natural sciences, economics, and social sciences. It is a continuing education, fee-based course with places for up to 25 students per year. The study program focuses on the analysis, design and monitoring of governance processes, i.e. processes that serve to coordinate distributed interests and resources in order to achieve consensual goals. Governance combines various forms of collective decision-making processes, whereby participatory coordination of action plays a key role. Governance empowers the actors in society to collectively find solutions to human-environmental problems, to bear them together and to steer themselves in the process. Students of the Master's program are trained to recognize and master the diverse context-specific challenges involved in implementing risk and resource governance.

Course Structure

The program is divided into a compulsory component and a compulsory elective component, and concludes with a Master's thesis:

Compulsory component
The following courses of the first two semesters are obligatory for all students and convey the basic knowledge, central theoretical issues, and methodological skills in the three subject areas of Governance; Risk; Resources:

  • Governance of human-environment relations in theory and practice (Students receive an introduction to theories of governance research, an overview of current theoretical perspectives on human-environment relations and related policy areas)
  • Resource governance (The module teaches the basic theoretical concepts for assessing and evaluating natural and economic resources. Political-economic approaches to resource management are contrasted with political-ecological approaches to resource justice).
  • Risk governance (The module teaches the basic theoretical concepts of risk research and imparts knowledge of scientific methods for assessing and modeling natural, social, and economic risks and their social and environmental consequences).
  • Research Methods (The module introduces questions of scientific theory, network analysis, geoinformatics and statistics, and practices the application of related research methods and evaluation techniques on the basis of selected topics).
  • Student Research Project (The module follows the course of a scientific research project in its individual phases and imparts the competence for independent and project-related research).

Compulsory elective component
All students must also complete the modules of the elective course. Within the modules, however, students have the choice between different courses. Each module is composed of lectures and exercises and aims to deepen students' understanding of conceptual debates in the natural and social sciences and to evaluate existing governance practices through case-based analysis. The courses in the elective modules address topics such as the sustainable use of natural resources, the management of environmental and social crises, energy and water management, climatic and seismic risks, etc.

Master’s thesis
In the Master's thesis, students deal with an independently selected scientific problem. The thesis must be presented and discussed in a subsequent colloquium.

The case-based topics of the modules are related to one of the following areas:  

Sustainable use of natural resources, environment and society, energy and water resources, climatic and seismic risks.  

Master’s thesis 

In the Master's thesis, students deal with an independently selected, scientific problem. The thesis must be presented and discussed in a subsequent colloquium.