Career prospects

On this page you will find information about possible career prospects for both academic and non-academic careers. Many of graduates from the Sustainable Development programme go on to find employment in research. Career prospects are broad, and include positions such as consultant, project manager, policy maker, and entrepreneur.

Academic careers

The Sustainable Development programme prepares students for a PhD-programme, which will ultimately lead to professions in scientific research. Our graduates work as first-class researchers in the field of sustainable development in academic organisations. 

Non-academic careers

The world needs people with comprehensive knowledge of environmental challenges. In this Master's programme you will become familiar with analytical and practical research skills, as well as strategies for intervention. This combination prepares you for academic-level position at consultancies, at research institutes, in government, in business or at NGOs. Career prospects are excellent: 90 percent of our graduates are in paid positions at an academic level.

Government services

NGOs

Trade and industry

Career development

Academic and professional knowledge and skills

As a Sustainable Development student, you will learn to:

  • analyse, describe, and explain sustainability issues in terms of cause and effect, and place these issues in their societal context;
  • apply scientific instruments in the areas of analysis, evaluation, and design;
  • engage in a scientific debate on the issue of sustainable development and the international dimension of it;
  • understand the often complex path to achieve sustainability, dealing with diverse interests, parties, and organisations; and
  • communicate knowledge from the fields of natural sciences or social sciences on the issue of sustainable development verbally and in writing to a wide audience.

Learning outcomes per track

  • Energy and Materials
    To a large extent, this track makes use of knowledge, methods, and techniques derived from the natural sciences. To a lesser extent, the track also applies knowledge and methods derived from the social sciences. As a graduate, you will have insight in the importance of both the natural and social science aspects of sustainability issues and you will have the skills to work in a multidisciplinary environment. You will learn to conduct independent research and design strategies to make energy and materials systems sustainable.
  • Environmental Change and Ecosystems
    As a graduate of this track, you will be able to apply the knowledge, methods, and techniques (for instance mathematical simulation models) of the natural sciences in an effort to improve the quality of the environment and ecosystems by way of changes in human activities. Furthermore, you will have insight into the importance of conducting social science analyses of sustainability issues and have the skills to work in a multidisciplinary team.
  • Earth System Governance
    As a graduate of this track, you will be able to apply concepts, paradigms, and theories from the social sciences to analyse and explain issues of sustainable development, and to design socially acceptable solutions for those issues. Furthermore, you will have insight into the importance of conducting both social and natural science analysis of sustainability issues and you will have the skills to work in a multidisciplinary team.
  • Politics, Ecology and Society
    As a graduate of this track, you will be able to apply the knowledge, methods, and critical approaches of the social and natural sciences to practical and policy issues of sustainable development across geographical contexts. You will combine a solid grasp of natural resource management with the ability to analyse and assess global socioecological interconnections and injustices, as well as interventions (e.g., policies, social mobilizations, social innovation, business models) seeking to transform them. An important feature of the track is a concern with developing the skills to combine theory-informed thinking and practical engagement through field work.

Career services

UU Career Services

UU Career Services offers training related to career orientation and job application skills; examples include writing an application letter and CV and conducting a job interview. You can find more information about career support on UU Career Services for Dutch students or UU Career Services for international students.

UU Careers Day

Once a year Utrecht University organises a Careers Day. The Careers Day offers the opportunity to sign up for workshops and trainings, and to meet recruiters at the careers fair. It’s also possible to join a job application training or have your resume checked.