Sustainable Development is a two-year Master’s programme taught in English and consisting of both courses, projects, and research 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.
You will be taking courses throughout the whole first year and the beginning of your second year. The remainder of the second year is devoted to Master Thesis research. The programme offers considerable scope to design your own personal ‘Master’s plan’ matching your interests and competences
Following admission to this Master's programme you can choose one of four tracks. Tracks are recommended, coherent combinations of courses from the programme. They are meant to help you design your own curriculum based on your preferred specialisation based on your interests in the field. As well as working in your chosen track, you will work in research teams with fellow students from the other tracks.
The four tracks are:
- Energy and Materials (EM)
The transformation to the sustainable use of energy and materials
- Environmental Change and Ecosystems (ECE)
The sustainable use of land and water
- Earth System Governance (ESG)
Governing the transformations needed for a sustainable world
- Politics, Ecology and Society (PES)
Exploring the political implications of ecology and the ecological basis of politics
There are three kinds of courses in the programme: general courses, track courses, and elective courses.
Bold = mandatory Sustainable Development programme
Normal = mandatory track course
EM: Policies for Energy & Materials Transitions
Electives (15 EC)
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 more information about this on the student website.
- Lectures and seminars
- Case study (work in a small group on a project assigned by a real-life company)
- Master’s thesis/Independent research
- Optional internship
- Final research papers
- Short papers or written exams
- In-class presentations
- Active participation and concluding reports
Students go to countries all over the world to do fieldwork for their Master’s thesis, see overview below.
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.