Study programme

The courses below are for cohort 2024 onward. If you are already a student at UU and are looking for information about cohort 2023 or earlier, please check our student website. 

Sustainable Business and Innovation is a two-year Master’s programme taught in English and consisting of courses, projects and an optional internship awarding a total of 120 points in the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). On this page you will find information concerning the curriculum, courses, educational methods, examinations and extracurricular opportunities.


In the first year, you learn about sustainability challenges and technological as well as organisational solutions. Your knowledge is deepened by respective natural and social science theories and methods and research skills. The acquired knowledge and skills are applied in a consultancy project at the end of the first year and in a Master’s thesis in the second year.

We provide a combination of natural and social science courses. A basic level of knowledge in natural sciences at a Bachelor’s level is a prerequisite to take part in the programme. Academic skills such as presenting, writing, leadership, negotiation, using computers and software, will be practiced throughout the programme in the different courses.

Natural and social science issues

In order to fulfil a role as a sustainability change agent, you need to have a solid understanding of the main sustainability problems and challenges that modern societies face. This implies knowledge of for instance climate change; air, water, and soil pollution; energy and resource problems; and food- and health-related issues  as well as knowledge on clean and efficient production, sustainable supply chains and closing of material loops  and knowledge on ways to assess whether these practices and products are indeed better for the environment than current products. Moreover, to organise the development and implementation of sustainable product and process innovations in businesses, one needs to have sufficient knowledge of the factors that determine success and failure, and of strategies and business models that can be employed in order to overcome barriers, as well as soft issues such as engaging with leadership, and cultural and lifestyle changes.

Course overview

Year 1

Period 1Innovation ManagementUnderstanding and Assessing Technologies for Sustainability
Period 2Corporate Sustainability and Change ManagementSustainability Assessment and Management tools
Period 3Governance and Sustainability TransitionsSustainable Business Research Methods
Period 4Consultancy project IS and SBI (15 EC)

Year 2

Period 1-4Electives (15 EC) & Master's thesis (45 EC)

Elective courses

Besides the courses named above, you follow 15 EC of elective courses. This allows you to specialise in a field of your interest, possibly related to your graduation topic. You can find a list of recommended electives below. Recommended electives do not need to be approved by the programme leader or the Board of Examiners.

For electives that are not on this list, the most important restriction is that their relevance for the field of Sustainable Business and Innovation has been made clear, and that they are part of a Master's programme or of a comparable level.

Educational Methods

  • Lectures and Seminars
  • Consultancy project (work in a small group on a project assigned by a real-life company, while working part-time in the company)
  • Independent research/thesis and optional internship


The examinations are a mix of exams on theoretical knowledge and case study reports, both of fictive and real cases. The practical-oriented courses have scientific- and consultancy-oriented reports and articles as their end results. Examinations include:

  • Final research papers
  • Short papers or written exams
  • In-class presentations
  • Active participation and concluding reports
  • Thesis

Extra opportunities

Utrecht University offers several honours programmes for students looking for an extra challenge. Honours education is followed on top of your regular Master’s programme and goes beyond the regular curriculum. Honours programmes are available at both faculty and interdisciplinary level and allow you to go deeper into subjects or work on projects that transcend your own discipline.

Read more about the honours programmes