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The minor ‘Science for Sustainability’ is a minor programme (30 ECTS) for science Master’s students who are eager to apply their scientific knowledge and make a contribution towards a sustainable future for humanity. The minor combines scientific knowledge with insight into economics and politics.
MSc-minor: Science for Sustainability

Working towards long-term change 

Students are challenged to come up with strategies and innovations to support long-term change towards a sustainable society. The ultimate aim is to find science-based solutions to issues related to the global demand for energy, water and food, and the pressure this puts on our climate and natural resources.

  • About the programme

    Meeting the growing demand for energy, clean water and sufficient food without depleting natural resources and while maintaining the earth’s biodiversity - these are some of the most complex global challenges that we are facing today.

    In order to ensure our future on earth, we need to deal with these challenges proactively and find innovative and sustainable solutions. In searching for these solutions, various kinds of knowledge need to be brought together:

    •     knowledge from the domain of the natural sciences about energetic and ecological systems and cycles;
    •     interdisciplinary knowledge, i.e. in which scientific knowledge is combined and integrated with knowledge about and economics;
    •     knowledge from the domain of the social sciences to provide insight into how we can improve the current situation and realise long-term social change.

    Core programme (18 EC)
    The minor has three core courses:

    •     Current Sustainable Energy Technologies
    •     Energy & Climate Change; Science, Policy & Economics
    •     System Innovation & Transition Management

    Elective (6 EC)

    Besides this core programme, you can choose an elective from various courses on energy, climate change, environment, water and food issues. This elective can either have a pure scientific focus or a more interdisciplinary or socially oriented focus.

    Project (6 EC)

    In the final project, a comprehensive approach is adopted in order to clearly identify the problems and develop promising scenarios for the future. You will work with other students on a case study in which you bring all your knowledge and expertise together, integrating the available knowledge from both the natural and the social sciences to come up with a viable solution for that particular issue.

    An example of a case is an imaginary project in which the Dutch government has hired you - a consultant in an advisory agency specialised in sustainability issues - to develop a strategy to cope with future phosphorus scarcity issues. You must develop your recommendations based on your knowledge of the science and technology of phosphorus and on quantitative considerations of sustainability. But you should also take into account uncertainties and risks related to the different technologies and strategies and how these weigh in the decision process of policymakers.


  • For whom

     Student profile

    •     You are aware of the importance of coherence and interdependence in producing effective solutions for a sustainable world, and you want to learn more about how to realise this goal.
    •     You would like to join a group of fellow science students with a broad range of backgrounds who want to learn about sustainability issues without losing their focus on one specific domain.
    •     You want to learn about interdisciplinary approaches for designing sustainable solutions for urgent social challenges, and the economic and policy aspects related to these issues.
    •     You enjoy collaborating actively on an interdisciplinary student project.

    The minor is open to students enrolled in several two-year Master’s programmes at the Faculty of Science of the UvA.

    Please, contact the coordinator of the minor and make an appointment to talk about your personal whishes and ambitions.

  • How to apply

    In order to ensure a good match between your individual learning goals and the aims of the programme, an interview is part of the application.


    •     Please send an email to this address: with the name of the minor in the subject line. Please list your name, student number and  master programme. Please enclose a motivation (of max one A4 page).
    •     You will be contacted about the possibility to participate in the minor.
    •     Use SIS to register yourself for all courses and examinations. Please note: The dates for registering for courses and examinations can vary per faculty.


  • Contact

    For more specific questions about the minor Science for Sustainability, please contact Kelly van Leeuwen.


    Coordinator: Erik Cammeraat