Please note! Course description is confirmed for two academic years, which means that in general, e.g. Learning outcomes, assessment methods and key content stays unchanged. However, via course syllabus, it is possible to specify or change the course execution in each realization of the course, such as how the contact sessions are organized, assessment methods weighted or materials used.


After the course a student is able to...

  • analyse and assess how global water resources are distributed in relation to human population and how this has changed over time
  • recognise the connection between food production and use of water
    • analyse the water stress and water scarcity in various scales by using spatial datasets and estimate their impact on human society
  • apply GIS software (R, R Studio) on global water challenges
  • use different kind of spatial datasets as a part of scientific research
  • recognise the basics of visual scientific communication, and create informative maps and graphs

Credits: 5

Schedule: 22.10.2024 - 28.11.2024

Teacher in charge (valid for whole curriculum period):

Teacher in charge (applies in this implementation): Matti Kummu

Contact information for the course (applies in this implementation):

CEFR level (valid for whole curriculum period):

Language of instruction and studies (applies in this implementation):

Teaching language: English. Languages of study attainment: English


  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    Food security and the overall wellbeing of human kind are threatened by the overexploitation of our water and land resources. Water scarcity is not only a threat to people, but also to many of the planet's key ecosystems. But how have we ended up in this situation, and how does the future look like?

    In this course, the aim is to investigate how the world has changed over time, and how these changes have impacted on our water and land resources. Moreover, as the pressure on natural resources is expected to only grow in the future, an overview on future pathways is given.

    Within the course, a student will explore and assess these changes using various spatial analyses methods of R, over different openly available global datasets. Moreover, advanced graph and map making is practised with Adobe Illustrator.

Assessment Methods and Criteria
  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    Course consist of lectures, hands-on trainings and workshops. Students do each week individual home assignment, which will be collected to a final presentation at the end of the course. In both, main emphasis is on illustrations and graphics.

    Grading: participation in lecture-training sessions (1/8), home assignments (5/8), individual final presentation (2/8)

    Note: lecture-training sessions are compulsory and student need to attend to minimum five out of six of them, in order to pass the course.

  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    Contact teaching (lecture-training sessions): 24h (6x4h)
    Pre-assignment, orientation to lectures: 24h (6x4h)
    Home assignments: 48h (6x8h)
    Final presentation: 35h
    TOTAL 131h


Study Material
  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    Will be given during the course

Substitutes for Courses
SDG: Sustainable Development Goals

    2 Zero Hunger

    6 Clean Water and Sanitation

    13 Climate Action

    15 Life on Land


Further Information
  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    Teaching Language: English

    Teaching Period: 2024-2025 Autumn II
    2025-2026 Autumn II

    Registration: Registration for Courses registration for courses will take place on Sisu ( closes one week prior the course starts. Within the enrollment you are asked to write short motivation letter; this will be used for student selection if needed. Note Max 25 students can attend to the course; priority is given to WAT Master's students.