Skip to content
Main menu hidden.

Geographies of Tourism and Sustainable Development, 15 Credits

Swedish name: Geografiska perspektiv på turism och hållbarhet

This syllabus is valid: 2023-06-12 and until further notice

Course code: 2KG403

Credit points: 15

Education level: Second cycle

Main Field of Study and progress level: Human Geography: Second cycle, has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements

Grading scale: Three-grade scale

Responsible department: Department of Geography

Established by: Head of Department of Geography and Economic History, 2022-12-14

Revised by: Head of Department of Geography and Economic History, 2023-06-13


The course involves an overview and an in-depth study of human geography and how tourism geography approaches these research areas, especially in relation to sustainability and sustainable development. 


Module 1. Tourism and sustainable development from a human geography perspective, 10 credits 

The position of tourism geography within geographical research and its contribution to research on sustainable development is discussed. Among other things, it is about positioning tourism as an integral part of the geographical research field and critically considering and problematizing how tourism and sustainable development are incorporated into research on mobility and regional development in cities as well as in rural areas. Special emphasis is placed on tourism as an economic activity and ongoing debates within tourism research are problematized and scrutinized. 


Module 2. Thematic in-depth studies, 5 credits 

During this part of the course, the student is introduced to literature reviews with a systematic approach as part of the research process. This is then applied in an individual larger assignment based on the course themes (including sustainability) after agreement with the teacher. 


Expected learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding 

1. explain the relationship between tourism geography and human geography, with reference to central theories in the field 


Competence and skills 
2. summarize and synthesize different themes in tourism geography research 

3. apply human geography theories to tourism, 

4. analyze the research field considering current research questions with a focus on sustainable development, 

5. carry out a study based on sustainability in tourism, and present it in writing and orally, 

6. discuss and present tourism geography theories and themes both orally and in writing, 


Judgement and approach 

7. show the ability to take a critical view on existing knowledge in tourism geography with regard to sustainable development. 

8. show the ability to interact with, argue scientifically, and constructively discuss scientific text 

Required Knowledge

Univ: 120 ECTS, SATHM + 30 ECTS advanced level in Human Geography.

Proficiency in English equivalent to Swedish upper secondary course English B/6

Form of instruction

Instruction is given through lectures, exercises, and seminars, where students are expected to participate actively. Relevant gender issues related to the contents are integrated in the course. The course is given in English.

Examination modes

The course is examined through the following assignments: 


Module 1: 

- An oral exam (0-10 points). 

- Four literature seminars. Presentation of a scientific article on one occasion, as well as active participation on three occasions where other students present, is required. These literature seminars are assessed with 2 points for each approved participation or 0 points for failing. 

- An individual written assignment that is presented orally at a seminar (0-28 points). 


Module 2: 

- A term paper (individual major assignment) presented orally at a seminar (0-24 points). 


To receive a grade of Pass for the entire course, the student must have at least 50 percent of the maximum points on the individually written submissions and on the oral examination and have received a passing result in the literature seminars. Assignments submitted late are given no more than 70 percent of the maximum points for that assignment.  

The grading scale for the course is Pass with distinction (VG), Pass (G) or Fail (U). To receive a Pass with distinction (VG) for the whole course, the student must have received at least 75 percent of the maximum points. The assignments are scored in accordance with the information above. At least 50 percent of the maximum points on each assignment is required for a pass. To pass the entire course, all examinations must be passed.  

If special reasons are presented, the examiner has the right to decide on another examination form. For students in need of special pedagogical support due to disabilities, individual adaptation of examination forms should always be considered based on the student's needs. The examination form is adjusted within the framework of the course syllabus' intended learning outcomes. The course coordinating teacher shall, upon request from the student, consult with the examiner to quickly decide on an adjusted form of examination. The decision shall then be conveyed to the student. 

It is not possible to appeal against a received grade, i.e., to get it examined by a higher authority, but a student can always criticize the grading or ask the examiner to reconsider the examination. 


Students who have passed an examination cannot redo the examination to receive a higher grade. For students who have not passed an ordinary examination occasion, a new occasion for examination (a re-sit) is offered according to Umeå University's Grading and examination regulations for first- and second-cycle studies (Regulation FS 1.1.2-553-14). A re-sit shall be offered no later than two months after the ordinary examination occasion, but no less than ten working days after the results of the ordinary examination have been announced. For examinations conducted during the months of May and June, the first re-sit may be offered within three months after the ordinary examination occasion. 


A student who on two occasions has failed an examination has the right to another examiner if there are no specific reasons for not doing so (HF chap. 6, §22). Such a request shall be processed as soon as possible. A written request for an alternative examiner should be handed to the director of undergraduate studies.  


Academic credit transfer 

A student has the right to apply for a transfer of credits for previous education or activity. Applications regarding transfer of credits are processed by Student Services. 

Other regulations

In case a course syllabus is no longer valid or has undergone significant revisions, students are guaranteed at least three examination sessions (including the regular examination session) according to the course syllabus the student initially was registered on, for a maximum of two years. 


Valid from: 2023 week 24

Part 2

A list of articles will be provided at course start. Individually selected literature is added.

Reference literature

Jennings Gayle
Tourism research
Milton, Qld. : Wiley Australia : 2001 : xii, 452 s. :
ISBN: 0-471-34255-6 (hft.)
Search the University Library catalogue

Conducting research in human geography : theory, methodology and practice
Kitchin Rob, Tate Nicholas J.
Harlow : Prentice Hall : 2000 : xiii, 330 s., tab., diagr. :
ISBN: 0-582-29797-4
Search the University Library catalogue

Qualitative research in tourism : ontologies, epistemologies and methodologies
Phillimore Jenny, Goodson Lisa
New York : Routledge : 2004 : 333 s. :
ISBN: 0-415-28086-9 (alk. paper)
Search the University Library catalogue

Smith Stephen L. J.
Tourism analysis : a handbook
2. ed. : Harlow : Longman : 1995 : x, 326 s. :
ISBN: 0-582-25160-5 (hft.)
Search the University Library catalogue

Veal A. J.
Research methods for leisure and tourism : practical guide
2. [rev.] ed. : London : Pitman : 1997 : 320 s. :
ISBN: 0-273-62052-5 (pbk)
Search the University Library catalogue