Admission and Application

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Entry requirements

You are welcome to apply for the Sustainable Development Master’s programme. Please take into account that this is a selective master. You will be considered for admission to the programme if you hold a University bachelor degree and can demonstrate a high level of knowledge, motivation and command of methods and skills in the field.

With regard to the educational requirements you should possess knowledge on:

  • Sustainability issues (drivers, pressures, impacts, responses)
  • Mathematics (basic algebra, functions, powers and roots)
  • Natural processes (earth system processes in soil, water, atmosphere, ecosystems)
  • Academic and research skills
  • Statistics (means, variance, probability tests (T-test), correlation)

Next to the educational requirements we consider:

  • Motivation and talent (also on the basis of average grade, past performance in relevant coursework and studies progress)
  • Subject of your Bachelor’s thesis
  • Experience with sustainability outside your Bachelor’s
  • Command of the English language (see below)

If you are missing one of the educational requirements the admissions committee might propose an extra test before the start of your programme in order to prove your knowledge on the subject.  

In exceptional situations a pre-Master’s programme will be proposed to compensate for deficiencies in your previous education. Please note: a Pre-Master’s programme is only available for students with a Dutch educational background and proficiency of the Dutch language.

Selection procedure

The Admissions Committee reviews all requests for admission and selects students that meet the entry requirements. The Admissions Committee also assesses whether you will be able to successfully complete the Master’s programme within the set time frame. This means the decision on your application is based on a thorough, case-by-case analysis. If you are admitted you will be notified if you still have to fulfil certain conditions, such as a pre-masters.

English language requirements

In order to successfully participate in this programme, you must be proficient in English. Please note, it is not necessary to have passed the English test at the time of your application. The results can be submitted later. More information. The following requirements apply*/**:

  • IELTS, Academic Module. Minimum score: 6.5 overall band, at least 6 for writing.
  • TOEFL, iBT. Minimum score: 93, institutional scores are not accepted. Please tell ETS to send your original results report to Utrecht University (the TOEFL institution code for Utrecht University is 9062).
  • Cambridge Certificate:
    • ​Cambridge English C1 Advanced (CAE). Minimum score: 176 total, 169 writing
    • Cambridge English C2 Proficiency (CPE). Minimum score: 180 total, 169 writing

*Exceptions: You do not have to submit proof of proficiency if you obtained your secondary school diploma and/or Bachelor's degree in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, UK, USA or South Africa, or you obtained an IB Diploma or EB Diploma (taught in English).

**Chinese students have to take the IELTS or TOEFL test.

When to apply

We will begin accepting applications on October 1. We recommend that you apply as early as possible. The absolute latest date by which we can receive and process your application is June 1.

Complete your application in time

When applying online you are asked to submit a number of forms and documents. Please submit your application with all required documents well before the latest date of application. If your file is incomplete and/or your application fee has not been paid at that time, we will be unable to consider your application.

When can you expect a decision?

The Graduate School of Geosciences strives to inform you of their decision within two to three weeks after receiving your application documents and fee. 

Application procedure

The following steps will help you submit a complete application for this programme:

  1. Check the entry requirements for this Master’s programme.
  2. Apply in a timely manner, preferably well before the deadline; see ‘When to apply’.
  3. Download the Instructions for applying to a Master’s programme.
  4. Go to Studielink and complete the online application.
  5. You will receive an email with login details for OSIRIS Online Application, where you can upload the required documents and pay the application fee (if applicable). In OSIRIS Online Application you can also check the status of your application.
  6. For applicants from China only: apply for a Nuffic Certificate.

If you are conditionally accepted, you will be asked to send certified hard copies of your diploma and transcript to the Admissions Office by post.

Find out more about application and visa, in relation to the coronavirus developments.

Required documents

During the online application process, you will be asked to submit documents that support your application to study at Utrecht University. You will find an overview of these documents below. The underlined forms can be completed on the computer:


Questions about the application procedure?

Please check our FAQ or contact the Admissions Office.