Study programme

Study load

Your study load is measured using the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). One EC or study credit equals 28 hours of study. The courses of a Master's programme are generally 7,5 EC, that is 210 hours of study. As a full-time student you normally take 8 courses per academic year, earning you 60 EC. Sustainable Development is a two-year full-time Master’s programme in which you earn 120 EC in total.


Your study programme consists of a general part with compulsory courses (30 EC) and a Master's thesis (30 or 45 EC). The rest of the programme is structured according to the track you choose. Sustainable Development offers four tracks:

  • International Development: focuses on sustainability issues and living conditions in the Global South with an approach based on social sciences.
  • Energy and Materials: focuses on the production and consumption of energy and materials in society.
  • Environmental Change and Ecosystems: focuses on the sustainable use of land and water, with an approach based on natural sciences.
  • Earth System Governance: focuses on steering the social changes required to achieve an environmentally accountable society, with a perspective rooted in social sciences.

Depending on which track you choose, you take compulsory (30 EC) and elective courses within that track. You'll find a complete overview and background of the programme in the Study Guide of the current academic year. 


On your study progress review in OSIRIS you can see which course you have finished and which you still have to take. It also shows your options. Here you can also find your obtained study results, so you can see to what extend you meet the exam requirements to obtain your degree. As such it is a useful tool when you are designing your study plan. The Study Adviser is always available to give you advice.