The transformation to sustainable and just societies needs contributions from everyone – from activists occupying highways and demanding change, to visionaries experimenting to create new solutions and imagine a better future, to historians learning from the past, to scientists creating new insights and informing debates, entrepreneurs creating new business models for circular and sharing economies, to dedicated public  servants working to steer governments towards sustainable decisions. All these perspectives matter, and with this Master’s programme you are on board with that.

In-depth knowledge
Analytical skills to think scientifically
Grafische weergave van een onderwijssituatie
Inter- and transdisciplinary
Become proficient at integrating disciplines and perspectives

Become an expert: contribute to shaping a sustainable and just future

Sustainable Development is a two-year programme aimed at students who want to contribute to the design of the solutions needed for a transformation to more sustainable and just societies. Through studying this Master’s, you will become an expert in Sustainable Development. Through studying courses on theory, methods and research design the programme equips you with strong analytical skills. It furthermore prepares you to work in inter- and transdisciplinary ways to tackle unsustainability, integrating both social and (bio)physical aspects. All for you to become an agent for positive change.

See the full study programme
Critical thinking
Learn to tackle complex problems
Impactful careers
90% of alumni find relevant jobs one year after graduation

Breadth of knowledge & in-depth expertise

Our programme will help to create a solid common knowledge foundation, while at the same time offering opportunities for some specialization. It is designed to develop a ‘T-shaped’ profile that equips you with breadth of knowledge across different disciplines - ranging from the (bio)physical to the social sciences - combined with more in-depth expertise and specialization through four tracks. Select one to suit your specific interests and tailor your own study programme. As the programme adopts  interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches, you will work with students from all four tracks. After all, sustainability challenges cannot be met single-handedly. Therefore we develop your skills to work in teams e.g., through problem-based group assignments.

Read more about the tracks

You’ll find different perspectives and critical reflection among students in every class.

Joël, student Sustainable Development

Why in Utrecht?

Studying Sustainable Development at Utrecht University has several advantages and benefits:

  • This Master’s programme is closely affiliated with the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, which comprises a large and vibrant international research community working to accelerate the transition to a sustainable and just society and to educate the change agents of the future. The Copernicus Institute is recognized internationally as a leader in sustainability debates.
  • The university’s extensive international network will make a wide range of research projects available to you and takes you right into the heart of scientific practice. Your training will be informed by current research in the field and students are closely involved in research activities within the University. Furthermore, you can conduct your master’s thesis and fieldwork in countries all over the world.
  • Your program will prepare you for societal engagement, for example through advisory work for policy-makers and the business sector, collaboration with civil society, and by sharpening your writing and public speaking skills.
  • Your work field is international by definition. Over 100 students from all over the world are welcomed into the programme each year, voicing a variety of views. Our international classroom will help you to acquire the specialised knowledge, professional attitude, and skills that will help you to become a first-class expert working in global sustainable development .
  • To facilitate the connection and relevance to the labour market we invite guest speakers from outside academia in many of our courses, during the Consultancy Project course we give you the opportunity to work for real clients (industry, government, research institutes, NGOs etc), and you can organize to do your master’s thesis project in combination with an internship.

Key facts

Environmental Sciences (MSc)
Language of instruction: 
Mode of study: 
Study duration: 
2 years

Dutch & EU/EEA students: 1 June

Non-EU/EEA students: 1 April

Tuition fees: 
Dutch and other EU/EEA students (statutory fee, full-time) 2024-2025: € 2,530

Non-EU/EEA students (institutional fee) 2024-2025: € 23,765

More information about fees
Croho code: 
Accredited by the NVAO
Graduate school: 
School of Geosciences
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