Approaching the Environment in India

Students at the 2014 inaugural of the course

The summer course "Approaching the Environment in India: Issues and Methods in the Study of the Nature-Economy-Society Interface" is organized at the Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC) in Bangalore. India has one of the fastest growing economies in the world and this, among other things, put tremendous pressures on the country's natural resources. One can read about increasing pollution in urban areas, water shortage, shrinking forests and depletion of biodiversity, as well as about conflicts relating to mining, big dams and other energy projects. But what is actually the present state of India's environment? What are the main environmental problems today, how have these come about and who are the main sufferers? How can the environmental costs of economic development be mitigated? What would "sustainable development" entail in India? During the summer course the students will address questions like these. The course begins with an overview of present developments within the field of South Asian environmental history in order to create a contextual understanding. Among other things, the students will discuss the effects of colonialism on nature and to which extent the colonial rule became an "ecological watershed" and shifted towards an exploitative form of resource use in India. The students will also learn about the ways in which the postcolonial rule has altered the management of nature with particular attention given to forests management, wildlife conservation and the politics of water. The summer course is open for graduate students from the member universities of NCI.


The cost of the summer course is 90000 INR (currency converter). The amount covers all local costs, including the course fee, board and lodging at the Guest House, basic course material, shorter excursions, and the use of medical facilities and the library at ISEC. The cost does not include expenses for travels to and from Bangalore, visa fees, or medical and travel insurance, for which the students need to pay by themselves.


Students apply to the summer course at ISEC by submitting an application to the International office at their university. The application should include the following documents:

A letter providing information about previous university studies, expectations and motivations for attending the course, as well as contact information.
A certificate of previous studies and a proof of the current registration at the university (a copy of the student card or any other documentation).
A CV or other related material to support the application.

The admission procedure is conducted by nomination, i.e. after the International offices have received and reviewed the applications they will nominate students qualified for the summer course to the Nordic Centre in India (NCI). Based on the nominations, the NCI suggests students to be admitted and assists them further with the formal admission procedure. The final selection of students is made by ISEC. In case the number of nominees exceeds the maximum number of students who can participate in the course, the NCI and ISEC select students based on their qualifications and university affiliation. The students admitted to the course will be given a letter of admission from ISEC and can apply for study visa through the Indian embassy in their home country.

Course Description and Material

Course name: Approaching the Environment in India: Issues and Methods in the Study of the Nature-Economy-Society Interface

Educational institution: The Centre for Ecological Economics and Natural Resources, Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC), Bangalore, India

Course credits: 7,5/10 ECTS

Language of instructions: English

Study period: summer, 25th June to 22nd July 2017

Rate of studies: Full time

Maximum number of students: 25

Admission: Master level course that requires 2 to 3 years of college or university studies with minimum grades equivalent to 3.0 GPA on a 4-point scale or grade C according to ECTS.


The course has three educational components:

Lectures: Three hour lectures in the morning five days a week. On demand a few additional lectures may be organized on topics of interest for students. Field visits: There will be four to five field visits in the weekends or in the afternoon sessions during the first three weeks. Examples of field sites include rural watershed development projects, urban green buildings, community based joint forest management projects, sacred groves, etc.
Student seminar presentations: 4 to 5 afternoon sessions during the fourth week.
The teachers of the course are researchers from ISEC and invited lecturers from other prominent Indian research institutions and universities.


Upon successful completion of the summer course, the students receive a certificate from the Nordic Centre in India that can award them 7.5 ECTS at their respective home university. For students who wish pursue 10 ECTS it is also possible to do additional assignments during the same period of time. Since the course is designed to suit students from Nordic universities with European and national credit systems, students are requested to consult the International offices for information about how to translate and register the course credits at their home university.

International Grade Converter online

European Grade Converter online


PdfCourse information booklet 2015

PdfCourse description and information

PdfProgramme schedule ISEC-NCI 2015

PdfCourse poster 2017

Pdf2015 Practical information manual

Google MapMap to ISEC campus

Coordinator at ISEC

Dr. Sunil Nautiyal
Address: Centre for Ecological Economics and Natural Resources, Institute for Social and Economic Change, Nagarabhavi, 560 072 Bangalore, India.

Practical Information

About Bangalore

Bangalore, also called Bengaluru, is the capital of the state of Karnataka. Famously called the Garden city of India, Bangalore is now India's third most populous city and fifth-most populous urban agglomeration. It has recently become a hub for India's information technology sector and is considered to be among the top preferred entrepreneurial locations in the world. The citizenry consists of a cosmopolitan cross section of people and cultures from around the world. Bangalore city is an interesting study of contrasts with a very fascinating juxtaposition of tradition and modernity. Located 949 meters above sea level in South India on the Deccan Plateau, Bangalore enjoys a salubrious climate throughout the year. The city boasts of spacious gardens, parks, tree-lined avenues, a profusion of flowering trees, lakes and parks. With its booming economy and racy lifestyle, the capital of Karnataka has metamorphosed from a sleepy Garden City into one of India's fastest growing, accommodating, technophiliac, and cosmopolitan cities. For information about sites to see in and around Bangalore please click here. For information about places for shopping please click here.

About ISEC

The Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC) is an autonomous multi-disciplinary research institution in social sciences. ISEC was established in 1972 by Professor V K R V Rao and works as a catalyst of social and economic transformation by undertaking analytical and applied studies, employing an inter-disciplinary approach. The Institute is devoted to research and training, and also contributes to policy reform at Central, State and Local levels through both macro- and micro-level studies of the economy, polity and society. Besides the PhD program, ISEC also conducts training courses for researchers, research scholars, government officials and NGOs.

ISEC Campus

ISEC is situated in a green 16-hectare campus at Nagarbhavi, abutting the Bangalore University's “Jnanabharati” premises on the south-western outskirts of the city. Besides the academic and administrative complex, the hostels for the students and guesthouse for the visiting scholars, the campus has a residential facility for 77 faculty and staff of the Institute. It also has well-equipped seminar halls and a 300-seater auditorium. The Institute's campus is well maintained with sprawling gardens and lawns and a variety of flora and fauna.

Students are allotted a seminar hall as their classroom for the entire duration of the course. The room is air-conditioned with Wi-Fi access. Students can use their laptops in the classroom and continue to use it as a study room throughout the duration of the course. A computer room, with 10 computers with network and internet, printing and scanning facilities, is also accessible to students

The Dr. V K R V Rao Library is located on campus and it is one of the major social science resources in India. The library functions Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Reprographic and photocopying facilities, E-Journals access service, Internet access service, E-mail service and CD-ROM journals databases access service are provided to the students.

ISEC also has a small health center for basic needs and is connected with larger corporate hospitals in case students are getting ill. For information about health care options around ISEC, please click here.

There is also a small bank and a post office on campus. Students can find ATMs within walking distance of the campus. The campus is connected to the city by auto rickshaws, buses and cabs. Students can also book a cab from the institute if required.


Students are accommodated at the Visitor’s hostel on campus. Each room is a single room with attached shower and toilet. A room typically has a single bed, table, two chairs, cupboard, television, and intercom. Hot water geysers are also fitted in every bathroom. A common room is allotted to NCI students where a washing machine and iron are kept for the students’ convenience. A lounge on the first floor is available to all students and students also have access to the sports facilities on campus. Students retain the keys for the duration of their stay. Regular cleaning of the rooms is arranged and students are provided with a comprehensive list of resource persons to handle their various requirements. Security is assured as the campus is well guarded.


Students will be provided breakfast, lunch and dinner along with mid-morning tea in the dining hall. The meals are typical of the area and are primarily vegetarian. High on rice, pulses and locally sourced vegetables, the meals are nutritious. Furthermore, the meals are specially cooked according to the needs of Nordic students and special care is taken of students with food allergies. Breakfast is usually served at 8:30 am, followed by tea at 11:00 am, lunch at 1:30 pm and dinner at 7:30 pm.

Check out a typical menu at ISEC

Bangalore, being a cosmopolitan city, also provides a lot of options in terms of food. There are several restaurants dotting the city that meet various requirements in terms of price, ambience and cuisine.

To read about some popular restaurants, please click here.

To find restaurants, check Buurp and Just Eat.