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 for cohort 2022 and earlier, from cohort 2023 onward 45 EC). The rest of the programme is structured according to the track you choose. Sustainable Development offers four tracks:

  • Politics, Ecology and Society: focuses on the political, economic, cultural, material and social structures that underpin social and ecological injustices within and across global regions.
  • Energy and Materials: focuses on the production and consumption of energy and materials in society and the possibilities for sustainable development within energy and material systems
  • Environmental Change and Ecosystems: focuses  the interaction between human activities and the quality of the physical and biotic environment.
  • Earth System Governance: focuses on the governance, policy, and politics of sustainability across all scales from local to global.

You take compulsory (30 EC) and elective courses (15 EC) 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.