''You’ll find different perspectives and critical reflection among students in every class.''
As a soon to be graduate I could not be happier with my choice for the UU’s Sustainable Development Master’s programme. In our first year, me and other students with a social science background like myself worked hard to gain a new perspective in the Energy and Materials track, while students from more technical backgrounds familiarised themselves with the social science. This unique interdisciplinary mix of students is the reason I chose the Sustainable Development Master’s.
You would not only meet a range of ambitious students but the multitude of dedicated and inspiring professors and researchers from the Copernicus Institute. You’ll find different perspectives and critical reflection among students in every class. Even critical reflection aimed directly at our courses is encouraged. In my year, a student group was set up to try to broaden the scope of our perception of Sustainable Development, by discussing alternatives to western sustainable development and working to incorporate them as part of the curriculum.
"Student signs sustainable proteins covenant."
The Master’s multidisciplinary natural science approach, with its focus on interaction between humans, physical and biotic environment, allows you to develop competences for understanding and reducing the impact of production and consumption patterns.
These competences were useful for my work at MatureDevelopment BV, a company focusing on sustainable technology and processes in the food & feed industry. As a representative of that company, I had the opportunity to sign the sustainable proteins covenant (facilitated by MVO Netherlands) together with Minister Ploumen (Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation), Ministry of Economic Affairs, multiple companies and branch organisations.
The goal of this covenant is to advance global sustainable production and promote the consumption of high-quality green proteins; an excellent example of development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
"I liked the diversity of this Master’s in Sustainable Development. There are many interesting guest lectures, all by experts in their specific field."
After my Bachelor’s programme in Public Administration, my goal was to get a multi-disciplinary outlook on societal problems. And to learn the tools for solving those problems in a manner that (hopefully) satisfies everyone involved. For my first choice, which was the Energy and Materials track, I had to do a Pre-Master’s programme. However, after completing the Pre-Master-’s, I decided to switch to the Earth System Governance track, since I felt that the human element was under-addressed in the E&M track.
I liked the diversity of this Master’s in Sustainable Development. There are many interesting guest lectures, all by experts in their specific field. Some teachers asked more questions than we did and there were some really good discussions within the group. The role-playing activities too helped me to understand some fundamental principles of global governance.
My advice for finding a fitting Master’s programme is: take your time to make sure it really is something for you. A Master’s programme is way more intensive and specific, and makes you an expert in one specific field. Without the right motivation, it will be challenging to complete. Your Bachelor's skills are less important than how motivated you are. Attend one or two lectures, or contact a student from the programme to find out more.
''You engage with people in your field as well as people who have set their focus on other tracks.''
I am from Germany where I did my Bachelor’s degree in Cultural Studies, focusing on sustainability sciences. I became really interested in engaging more with the topic of sustainability, especially with an interest in how to get a society more environmentally safe and ensure sustainable development. For this reason, I chose the Earth System Governance track. The learning objectives evolve around policymaking, international relations (for example the UN, Paris Agreement) and the theories behind it.
What I like most about this Master’s programme is its interdisciplinary composition, where you have courses in your track as well as with the whole SD programme. This means that you engage with people in your field as well as people who have set their focus on other tracks. You learn about sustainable development from different angles. Also, you meet people from all over the world, which makes the programme very international! The city of Utrecht completes the package with lots of social activities and things to do.
I came to this study with no background in governance. In the beginning, there was a lot to learn to catch up. But it was very interesting to get to grips with the material. In the end it really didn’t matter that I did not have a governance background.
''If you want people to adopt sustainable practices, it’s important to look further than the engineering side of things.''
I chose to do my Master’s degree at Utrecht University because of its unique programme. My Master's Sustainable Development approaches the subject from different perspectives, utilizing multiple disciplines. I’m taught both socio-economical and engineering courses, which helps me to come to a broader understanding about my field. If you want people to adopt sustainable practices, it’s important to look further than the engineering side of things.
We also frequently work together with students from other tracks from Sustainable Development. While hard in the beginning, we soon learned how to draw from each other’s strengths. During this semester, we work with real clients such as consultancy firms or the municipality of Utrecht. I have the opportunity to use what I learn in real-life practice, which is really cool.
I love living in Utrecht. The city feels very welcoming and it has a great vibe. Since everything is close by, it’s easy to find your way around the city. You can cycle everywhere! I feel completely at home here!