Environment and Resource Management

The Master Environment and Resource Management (ERM) is designed to train the next generation of environmental decision-makers to work on the sustainability challenges of our time. Students learn to work towards finding solutions for societal problems related to natural resource depletion and environmental change.

The programme is highly international in character and is open for students from all disciplinary backgrounds, training them to bring in their disciplinary knowledge while co-operating in multidisciplinary teams. Students will become familiar with several key disciplines and learn to integrate different bodies of knowledge in a problem-oriented manner. Students can determine their own focus by choosing a specialization and further establish their own niche through the Master’s thesis. The specializations have been selected to cover some of the most fundamental environmental problems of our time, notably the provision of sustainable energy and the sustainable governance of water, climate, and ecosystems.

The programme is hosted by the Institute for Environmental Studies, which was evaluated in 2014 as “one of the trend-setting, internationally recognized sustainability-directed research and education centers in the world”.

The Master’s on Environment and Resource Management is a one-year programme that combines exposure to a multidisciplinary theoretical understanding of environmental issues as well as a thorough grasp of different tools to assess environmental problems. Workshops and individual and group assignments play an important part. In many cases you are free to choose subjects that suit your personal interests and ambitions.

The master’s programme provides five compulsory courses, causes and consequences of environmental change, environmental economics, environmental policy, methods of environment and resources
Management and research workshops. It provides an opportunity to specialize in one of the four specializations and to write a thesis at the end.

You can opt for four specializations:

Energy and Climate
Water and Society
Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity 
Environmental Studies

Furter information about the programme of Environment and Resource Management can be found online at year schedules.

MSc. Research Project

Students will round off their Master’s programme with an independent research project at IVM or another leading organization. Former students have carried out their research projects at Alterra, RIVM, ECN, Delft Hydraulics and RIKZ (research institutes), FMO (a development bank), ETC International and Arcadis (consultancy firms), Greenpeace International, Both Ends and Friends of the Earth (NGOs), IEEP and UNEP (international organizations), the Ministry of Transport and Public Works (governmental bodies), and other organizations.

Study guide

Environmenment and Resource Management courses in the study guide.

The Environment and Resource Management Programme offers excellent career prospects in the field of the environment, policy and management. Our graduates find jobs as consultants, policy makers or continue their careers as PhD researchers or employees at ministries, NGO’s and other institutions in the Netherlands and abroad.

Spending part of the study time in external traineeships and research projects is a good way to prepare for and familiarize oneself with the labour market. Through its network, the Institute for Environmental Studies assists its students in finding opportunities for external traineeships. The Alumni network also assists students in finding traineeships and helps them become oriented toward the labour market.
 
In addition, the faculty and GeoVUsie (the student association of the Faculty) organize business days. Seminars are also provided by professionals from trade and industry at IVM and the faculty.

More on alumni careers

ERM: understanding the causes of environmental change and helping to solve environmental problems
In this programme, environmental problems are often discussed from the perspective of environmental economics and governance, i.e. in terms of how to manage the competition for scarce resources and space. Theoretical concepts and analytical tools are applied to practical cases.

Current MSc thesis research topics:

  • Climate change: Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change in Eastern Botswana.
  • Energy market: An energy analysis of ethanol from sugar cane.
  • Biodiversity: Compatibility of Norway’s environmental and whaling policy.
  • Tourism: An analysis of the self-sufficiency of ecotourism projects in the Lake Naivasha area, Kenya.
  • Water pollution: Environmental risks of microplastics in the North Sea.

Research Institute of Environmental Studies

The Master’s programme in Environment and Resource Management is organized by the Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM), which is considered to be one of Europe’s leading research institutes in environmental sciences. Its research projects include adaptation to climate change in the Netherlands and in developing countries, greening the gross domestic product, funding environmental services to farmers, and the use of civil juries to facilitate public participation in water management.
The aim of IVM is to build a critical mass in key disciplines and research themes by training well-rounded, independent and entrepreneurial researchers with a passion for combining scientific and excellence with societal engagement.

Research projects
Research publications 
News and events

Accreditation

Environment and Resource Management is accredited by the NVAO, the Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders. This ensures the high quality of the Master's programme. More information: NVAO

Open and pleasant atmosphere

Staff members of the Institute for Environmental Studies are always available to provide support and guidance, and students experience the atmosphere as open and pleasant. The programme is taught in a modern academic environment.

Prof. Joyeeta Gupta

Programme Director

Prof. Joyeeta Gupta"This programme aims at providing a problem oriented approach to scientific research. It combines approaches and theories from different disciplines (economics, politics, biology, policy and law) at local through to global levels of environmental governance. ERM includes the possibility to specialise in specific issue areas (e.g. energy, climate & water policy, and ecosystem services & biodiversity) and concludes with a master's thesis in the area of the student's own choice. Furthermore, the exposure to living in Amsterdam, studying in a research institute with high profile research scientists, and meeting students from different parts of the world provides a cosmopolitan and academic experience -- one that students are not likely to forget."

Overview Environment & Resource Management

Language of instruction

English

Duration

1 year

Missing Resource with key: aanmelding

          

Application deadline

1 April:
- Non-EU/EEA students with an international degree who need services from the International Office (housing (optional) and visa procedure).
- EU/EEA students with an international degree who need services of the International Office (housing).

1 June:
-EU/EEA students with an international degree who do not need the services of the International Office.
- Dutch students

Start date

1 September

Study type

Full-time

Specializations

Energy Studies, Climate and Water Policy, Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity, Environmental Studies

Field of Interest

Economics, Business and Law/Behavioural and Social Sciences/Natural Sciences

Corinne Cornelisse

Student

"The Masters programme gave me quite some fresh, new perspectives. Among the 60 students, 25 nationalities were represented, and I enjoyed the discussions that were always really enriching, as viewpoints from all continents were highlighted. A one-year Masters programme. A focus on practical solutions and methodologies. A strong international component. These three factors determined my choice for IVM’s Masters programme in Environment and Resource Management. I chose the Environmental Studies specialization and was introduced to multi-criteria analysis, the use of citizens’ panels and innovative forms of multi-stakeholder participation, like e-participation."

Current MSc thesis research topics

  • Climate change: Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change in Eastern Botswana.
  • Energy market: An energy analysis of ethanol from sugar cane.
  • Biodiversity: Compatibility of Norway’s environmental and whaling policy.
  • Tourism: An analysis of the self-sufficiency of ecotourism projects in the Lake Naivasha area, Kenya.
  • Water pollution: Environmental risks of microplastics in the North Sea.

Overview of thesis research

Information on placements within the faculty and elsewhere:

Thesis research

So far, 266 students have received their Master’s degree in Environment and Resource Management from VU Amsterdam.

Alumni have found jobs at NGOs, ministries, multinationals, universities and consultancy firms. Three alumni have started their own companies. Eighteen alumni are currently working as PhD researchers. Examples of organizations where former ERM students currently work:
Arcadis (environmental consultancy) 

  • Both Ends (environmental NGO) 
  • Circle Partners (financial consultancy) 
  • CMC/T11 Company Amsterdam (law enforcement) 
  • Commissie Regionaal Overleg Luchthaven Schiphol (CROS) 
  • Department of the Environment & Heritage (Australia) 
  • European Parliament 
  • Europe China Power (consultancy) 
  • ETC International (consultancy) 
  • Greenpeace 
  • Haskoning Nederland (environmental consultancy) 
  • Institute of Environmental Technology (Hanoi, Vietnam) 
  • Junkie of Amsterdam (recycled fashion) 
  • Michigan State University 
  • Ministry of Environment (Indonesia) 
  • Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment (VROM) 
  • Milieu en Natuur Planbureau  
  • Philips (Lighting Sustainability Team) 
  • Rail Transport Canada 
  • Rudjer Boskovic Institute (Croatia)  
  • Sea Spring Water (water desalinisation) 
  • State Department of Transport (Queensland, Australia) 
  • Stichting De Noordzee (environmental NGO) 
  • UNEP (Bonn) 
  • University of Leeds 
  • University of Tübingen 
  • URS Corporation (Netherlands; consultancy) 
  • VU University Amsterdam (IVM, Earth Sciences, Spatial Economics) 
  • WSP Environmental (London; consultancy) 
  • Yaskawa Electric Corporation (Japan)  

IVM's management receives requests for good candidates for job opportunities in consultancy firms, ministries and other institutions, and may recommend ERM alumni for these positions.

What is the ERM tuition fee?
The up to date tuition fee for the academic yearcan be found at: http://www.vu.nl/en/programmes/international-masters/tuition-fees/index.aspx.

What title will I obtain if I successfully complete the programme?
Master’s (MSc) in Environment and Resource Management.

Is the Master's progamme accredited?
Environment and Resource Management is accredited by the NVAO, the Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders. This ensures the high quality of the Master's programme. For more information: NVAO

When does the programme start?

The ERM classes start on the First week of September

Can I start in January?

You can only start  at the start of the acadamic year, (First week of September, onwards).

Can I apply for the ERM Master if I obtain my BSc diploma in July or August?
Yes, you can apply if you expect to receive your degree before September 1. Please include a list of grades you have obtained so far instead of your diploma and a grade list in your application documents.

Can I participate in the programme part-time or as a remote learning package?

No, altough, occasionally some students managed to study on a part-time basis with permission of the programme director. The Open University (www.ou.nl/) offers a remote / part-time MSc programme in Dutch.

Are all courses in English?
Yes, all courses will be taught in English, and all products (reports, papers) made during the programme must be presented in English as well. 

As a Dutch student, do I need to take a TOEFL test?

Yes, starting with the cohort of September 2013, all students (including Dutch students) need to take a TOEFL test

I have been working for four years in an English speaking country. Do I need to include a TOEFL test score form?
All students who need a VISA (MVV) to come to the Netherlands to study, are obliged by the Immigration authority to provide a TOEFL test score.  

Can I be admitted if my TOEFL or IELTS test score is too low?
No.

Am I able to work in addition to the courses?
ERM is a full-time programme. Some students who study very efficiently can work for about 8-12 hours per week in addition to their study activities. However, for non-EU students it is very difficult to obtain a work permit.

What possibilities are there for continuing studying in doctoral or research programmes at VU University Amsterdam and at other European universities or research centres after I have finished ERM?
In the Netherlands, PhD positions are usually paid jobs (mostly for 3 or 4 years) for which you have to apply. The supervisor determines the research contents. At our institute (IVM) we have 45 PhD researchers. They devote their time mostly to research (>80%). Sometimes they are involved in teaching. They also follow some advanced courses.

IVM also has a PhD programme for fee paying students who want to define their own subjects. Click the link below for more information.  

IVM PhD programme

 

Holger Gerdes

Student, Germany

"What I liked most was the fact that we had some freedom to follow our own interests. At the same time, the basic coursework ensured that we all developed a very thorough theoretical background. Perhaps the most interesting was a group project in which we focused on the European emission trading scheme. We studied what would happen to the aviation industry if the sector was to be included in the trading scheme, which is currently not the case. This impact assessment was mainly economic in nature, but also quite political: we had to take into account policy and decision making mechanisms.”

Dutch students

Which admission requirements and application procedures apply to you depends on your preparatory education.

 

Admission is based on a strict selection procedure. The Faculty’s Admission Board will decide upon your admission after having evaluated your complete online application. If you have read the admission criteria below and feel you are eligible for admission, please take the following steps to submit your application. Note that the initial application procedure is fully online and that scans of your relevant documents are required.

Step 1: Meet admission criteria

In order to gain admission to the Master Environment and Resource Management, you will need to have at least a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited research university including at least three full years of academic study amounting to a minimum of 180 ECTS or equivalent. Students from all disciplinary backgrounds will be considered, but the following subjects provide a particularly relevant basis for participating in the ERM programme:

  • Environmental
  • StudiesEconomics
  • Political Science
  • Social Science
  • Law
  • Natural Sciences

Application will be assessed by the Admission Board according to the following criteria:

1) Academic results

  • Average grade for the bachelor should be at least a 7.0
  • Quality of bachelor thesis or writing sample (can be requested if necessary)

2) Basic knowledge or affinity with environmental topics:

  • Previous study program, course work, thesis
  • Relevant work experience (volunteer work counts as well)

3) Motivation:

  • Motivation letter
  • 1 recommendation letters

4) Language Requirements

VU University Amsterdam requires all students to pass an English language proficiency test. The Master’s programme Environment and Resource Management has special requirements concerning the subscores of the various languages tests.

IELTS (academic):

  • Minimum Overall Band Score 6.5
    • Minimum Sub-score Listening 6.0
    • Minimum Sub-score Reading 6.0
    • Minimum Sub-score Writing 6.0
    • Minimum Sub-score Speaking 6.0

TOEFL:

  • Paper-based test 580
  • Internet-based test 92
    • Minimum Sub-score Reading 18
    • Minimum Sub-score Listening 19
    • Minimum Sub-score Speaking 19
    • Minimum Sub-score Writing 23

Cambridge English:

  • Cambridge Advanced Exam A, B, C
  • Cambridge Proficiency Exam A, B, C

Copies of your English test results can be sent to the following addresses:

You can begin your application without having the test results. Please be aware of the fact that it can take a long time to receive the results of English proficiency tests, so plan your test on time! In case you haven’t taken a test yet, we advise you to plan a test date as soon as possible. Deadlines for submitting the test results are as follows:

Students who require a visa: June 1
Students who do not require a visa: August 30

Step 2: Prepare documents and apply online

Please prepare the following documents. You can find an explanation of each document on the application page.

  • Copy of your valid passport or ID (only for EU residents)
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Letter of Motivation
  • Transcript  
  • Letter of Recommendation

After having prepared the required documents, please follow the online application procedure.

Step 3: Await decision on admission

The admission board will review your application as soon as it is complete. Normally this takes about four weeks, but it might take longer in busy periods so be sure to apply as soon as possible. If you are admitted, you will receive a letter of conditional admission by email.

Step 4: Finalize your registration and move to Amsterdam!

Make sure to finalize your registration as a student before the start of the programme. You cannot enrol retroactively. This means that if your enrolment is not completed on 31 August 2016, you cannot be enrolled as of 1 September 2016. So please make sure you start and complete your application on time! When you are fully enrolled your status in Studielink will be 'enrolled'. 


For detailed questions about the Master programme or the application procedure you can contact the Programme Coordinator:
Bianca van der Kroon (erm.ivm@vu.nl)

The following information is in Dutch, since the pre-Master's programme is in Dutch and therefore not accessible for students who don't speak Dutch.

Toelatingseisen en aanmelden

Om toegang te krijgen tot de master Environment and Resource Management moeten hbo-bachelors eerst een pre-master volgen.

  • Een hbo-bachelor diploma geeft toegang tot de pre-master, mits aan de overige toelatingseisen is voldaan.
  • De bachelor is afgelegd met een gemiddeld cijfer van 7,5
  • De student heeft het pre-master assessment afgelegd. De resultaten worden meegenomen in het toelatingsbesluit maar zijn niet bindend

De deadline voor pre-master aanmeldingen is 31 mei. Meer over de toelatingsprocedure voor hbo-bachelors lees je hier

Geldigheidsduur pre-masterresultaten

Je moet de pre-master binnen één jaar hebben afgerond. De behaalde resultaten van de pre-master zijn geldig tot 1 september 2017.

Het pre-master programma in het kort

  • De pre-master bedraagt 30 EC. Elk studiepunt staat gelijk aan 28 uur studie. Een vak van 6 studiepunten is dus 168 uur studie, verdeeld over het aantal weken onderwijs in die periode.
  • De pre-master bestaat uit 3 verplichte vakken en 2 keuze vakken zoals hieronder weergegeven. Uit de keuze vakken kies je 1 economie en 1 beleids vak.
  • De studielast van de pre-master Environment and Resource Management is verspreid over het jaar. In totaal worden er zes vakken aangeboden.
  • De colleges van vakken zijn verspreid over de gehele week (maandag tot en met vrijdag).
  • Het tarief is gelijk aan de helft van het wettelijke collegegeld: € 975,50 in 2015-2016.
  • Om toegelaten te worden tot de Master Environment and Resource Management dient men tijdens de pre-master een Engelse test af te leggen.

De vakken binnen de premaster Environment and Resource Management zijn*:

Verplichte vakken

AB_450067Systeem Aarde6 ECPeriode 1
S_MTSWOMethodologie van sociaal-wetenschappelijk onderzoek6 ECPeriode 2
AB_1105Introduction to Environmental Sciences6 ECPeriode 3

 

 Keuzevakken

AB_450214Inleiding Economie I6 ECPeriode 2
S_EMOEconomie, markt en overheid6 ECPeriode 5

Only for students with a Dutch BSc degree: contact the ERM programme by sending an email to erm.ivm@vu.nl

Please contact the Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences Education Office:

Onderwijsbureau Bèta
Mw. Nicole Staalenhoef
E: toelating.beta@vu.nl

International students

Admission is based on a strict selection procedure. The Faculty’s Admission Board will decide upon your admission after having evaluated your complete online application.

In order to gain admission to the Master Environment and Resource Management, you will need to have at least a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited research university including at least three full years of academic study amounting to a minimum of 180 ECTS or equivalent. Students from all disciplinary backgrounds will be considered, but the following subjects provide a particularly relevant basis for participating in the ERM programme:

  • Environmental Studies
  • Economics
  • Political Science
  • Social Science
  • Law
  • Natural Sciences

Application will be assessed by the Admission Board according to the following criteria:

1) Academic results

  • Average grades for your bachelor’s degree should be within the top 30% (i.e. 7 or higher in the Dutch system, B or A in the USA or upper second class in the UK).
  • Quality of bachelor thesis or writing sample

2) Basic knowledge or affinity with environmental topics:

  • Previous study program, course work, thesis
  • Relevant work experience (volunteer work counts as well)

3) Motivation:

  • Motivation letter
  • 2 recommendation letters

4) Language Requirements

VU University Amsterdam requires all students to pass an English language proficiency test. The Master’s programme Environment and Resource Management has special requirements concerning the subscores of the various languages tests.

IELTS (academic):

  • Minimum Overall Band Score 6.5
    • Minimum Sub-score Listening 6.0
    • Minimum Sub-score Reading 6.0
    • Minimum Sub-score Writing 6.0
    • Minimum Sub-score Speaking 6.0

TOEFL:

  • Paper-based test 580
  • Internet-based test 92
    • Minimum Sub-score Reading 18
    • Minimum Sub-score Listening 19
    • Minimum Sub-score Speaking 19
    • Minimum Sub-score Writing 23

Cambridge English:

  • Cambridge Advanced Exam A, B, C
  • Cambridge Proficiency Exam A, B, C

Copies of your English test results can be sent to the following addresses:

You can begin your application without having the test results. Please be aware of the fact that it can take a long time to receive the results of English proficiency tests, so plan your test on time! In case you haven’t taken a test yet, we advise you to plan a test date as soon as possible. Deadlines for submitting the test results are as follows:

Students who require a visa: June 1
Students who do not require a visa:
August 30

If you have read the admission criteria and feel you are eligible for admission, please take the following steps to submit your application. Note that the initial application procedure is fully online and that scans of your relevant documents are required.

Step 1: Meet admission criteria

Step 2: Prepare documents and apply online

Please prepare the following documents. You can find an explanation of each document on the application page. All documents should be provided in English.

  • Copy of your valid passport or ID (only for EU residents)
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Letter of Motivation
  • Transcript (Provide a certified translation if it is not in English)
  • A description of the relevant courses you have taken during your previous higher education
  • A list of all the main literature used during your previous higher education
  • Thesis (or another sample of academic writing)    
  • 2 Letters of Recommendation

After having prepared the required documents, please follow the online application procedure. Once you have completed the application, our international student advisors will contact you via email.

Step 3: Await decision on admission

The admission board will review your application as soon as it is complete. Normally this takes about four weeks, but it might take longer in busy periods so be sure to apply as soon as possible. If you are admitted, you will receive a letter of conditional admission by email. You can start planning your move to Amsterdam!

Step 4: Finalize your registration and move to Amsterdam!

Make sure to finalize your registration as a student before the start of the programme. Here you will find an explanation about what to do after admission. When all conditions of your admission have been met, you will be ready to start your programme at VU University Amsterdam!

You can read more about practical matters and starting your studies in the Netherlands in our ‘Getting Started’ guide.

Further information is also available about:

Scholarships

Accommodation

Visa

Tuition fees

 

There are several possibilities for obtaining funding. Among them are:

  • VU Fellowship Programme (VUFP)
  • Holland Scholarship Programme (HSP)
  • Orange Tulip Scholarship (OTS)
  • Fulbright scholarship
  • STUNED Scholarship Programme
  • Indonesia Endowment Fund of Education (LPDP)
  • Netherlands Fellowship Programme (NFP)
  • Direct Loan Programme 
Information about scholarships, fellowships and grants

For questions regarding your application, registration or general inquiries, please contact the Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences International Student Advisor:

Sandra van Daalen
T: +31 (0)20 59 87459
E: admissionsfels@vu.nl

General information about VU University Amsterdam

Please phone us at +31 (0)20 59 85000 (Monday-Friday 10:00 to 12:00). You may also email us at study@vu.nl.

Philip Bubeck

Student, Germany

“I studied political science in Germany, but decided that I wanted to change my focus. To me, the Master’s programme at IVM was an ideal opportunity to combine science and policy. During the programme, I particularly enjoyed my master’s thesis research. My research project focused on flood risk. I developed a method to simulate dike breaches, and to predict where the land would inundate in case of a dike breach. It involved quite a lot of modeling with a geographical information system (GIS), which I enjoyed very much.”