Environment and Resource Management

TACKLE TODAYS CHALLENGES IN SUSTAINABILITY

Master's Programme in ERM

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 one-year Master programme Environment and Resource Management aims to ensure that students acquire theoretical concepts, academic skills and operational techniques that allow them to find solutions for societal problems related to natural resources and the environment. 

Components of the programme: 

For a schematic overview of all courses please have a look at the year schedule

Theoretical foundation (18 EC)
The program starts with Causes and Consequences of Environmental Change, a course in which students are presented with the breadth of environmental problems, using different disciplines to examine causes and effects. 

In the 2 parallel courses that follow, Environmental Economics and Environmental Policy, students learn about economic policy instruments for managing environmental problems and delve into the theory and practice of environmental governance and the role of different political actors.

Specialization (12 EC)

Students can determine their own focus within the programme by choosing one of the pre-designed specialization tracks: Water and Society, Energy and Climate, or Ecosystem services and biodiversity. Students can also opt for the specialization ‘environmental studies’ providing them the option to select their own combination of specialization courses. 

Skills (12 EC)

In the second semester the attention shifts to the development of specific skills such as research methods, research design, academic writing, and employability skills. In the research methods and research design courses students get acquainted with the relevant methods and techniques for assessing sustainability challenges and environmental problems. 

Research Project (18 EC)

The programme ends with the ‘Research Project’, integrating all previous course work in one condense activity in which the specialization knowledge, theoretical foundation and research skills are combined.  This is the moment to demonstrate that you can link theory to practice and use proper academic methods and tools. In preparation of the Research Project the programme organizes the ERM thesis/internship market in December. During this market, students are presented with the thesis positions that are available at IVM and at a large number of external organizations in the Netherlands and abroad. Students are invited to choose a research topic and a supervisor of their choice. Students also have the freedom to develop their own project instead of applying for one of the presented projects.

More information

Environment and Resource Management courses in the study guide.

Students can determine their own focus within the program by choosing one of the pre-designed specialization tracks: Water and Society, Energy and Climate,  or Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity. Students can also opt for the specialization ‘Environmental Studies’ providing them the option to select their own combination of specialization courses. 


Specialization Ecosystems Services and Biodiversity

Nieuw: ComponentEcosystem services are 'the benefits people obtain from nature’. The concept of ecosystem services underscores the inextricable links between biodiversity, ecosystems and human well-being. By putting ecosystem services central in the debate on nature conservation and resource management, the ecosystem services approach stresses the societal benefits of nature conservation and the need to align conservation and development goals. This specialization covers methods for assessing societal values with economic and socio-cultural methods. It also examines the theoretical tools for analyzing the governance of ecosystem services and the management options from local to global level as well as from the public to private sector.

  • Value of Ecosystem Services
  • Governance of Ecosystem Services



Specialization Water and Society

manWater is central in many dimensions: vital for ecosystems, crucial for human wellbeing, key for agricultural and energy production, a scarce resource subject to cooperation and competition but also a destructive force. People exerted deep modifications to most of the earth’s hydrological systems; societies and ecosystems need to be protected from excess, scarcity and contamination of water. It is thus necessary for the planet’s socio-environmental sustainability to govern water resources wisely. In this specialization we will address the multiple dimensions of water from management and governance perspectives. The specialization provides expertise to scientifically assess the interactions of water and human systems and the tools to address complex interdisciplinary water issues that involve multiple stakeholders.

  • Water Management
  • Water Governance

Specialization Energy and Climate

windmolenEnergy is central to nearly every major challenge and opportunity  the world faces today. Be it climate change mitigation, job creation, security, food production or increasing incomes. The transition towards an affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy system can be accelerated by investing in renewable energy resources, prioritizing energy efficient practices, and adopting clean energy technologies and infrastructure. In this specialization we will address the multiple dimensions of the climate-energy nexus from socio-economic and governance perspectives. The specialization provides expertise to scientifically assess the transition to sustainable energy systems and to critically evaluate the range of policy options to accelerate this transition. Attention is also paid to national regional, international and transnational efforts to mitigate climate change. 

  • Sustainable Energy Challenges
  • Energy and Climate Governance


Specialization Environmental Studies

strandThis specialization offers students the opportunity to mix and match different courses offered by IVM and other faculties and departments at VU University Amsterdam while specializing with a clear focus on environmental and sustainability themes. The choice depends on the specific interests and capabilities of the student.


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 projects. The Alumni network also facilitates students in finding traineeships and helps them become oriented toward the labour market.

Examples of MSc thesis: will follow soon.

There is a growing need for versatile, all-round environmental experts who can analyze and develop solutions for local national and global sustainability challenges. By now, more than 1,000 students have received their Master’s degree in Environment and Resource Management from VU Amsterdam. Many of our alumni have embarked on exciting sustainability careers as consultants, NGO leaders, entrepreneurs, ministry officials or international civil servants. Some of our students continue in academia by starting a PhD. 

Graduates may expect to find employment in organizations such as:

(Environmental) consultancy: KPMG, Arcadis, Royal Haskoning, ETC International, Ecofys, 

NGO: World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Greenpeace, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), 

Private sector: TATA Steel, Philips, Unilever, Sungevity, Engie, Nuon, Ahold Delhaize

Public sector: European Parlement; Ministry of Economic Affairs, United Nations Environmental Program, World Health Organisation, Ministry of Forreign Affairs, Local water authority


Are you curious about how our alumni are getting on? Read the story of Nilushi

The program is problem-oriented and solution-driven, preparing you to tackle real-world problems
The ERM programme recognizes that environmental problems and sustainability challenges do not stop at national borders, and their solutions require professionals who have the ability to build bridges and go beyond their own disciplines. Therefore, the ERM programme offers an ‘international and interdisciplinary’ classroom: the programme is taught in English and is open to students from all disciplinary and national backgrounds. It actively teaches students to cooperate in interdisciplinary teams and to contribute their disciplinary knowledge while looking for possible solutions for specific environmental problems. Graduates are able to assess which assessment tool is applicable in specific situations, and that they can critically reflect on the outcomes of such tools. In addition, they should be able to (co-)design effective decision-making processes for complex or ambiguous problems.

ERM is hosted by the Institute for 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.

Open and personal atmosphere
Class sizes are relatively small, allowing a personal and open 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. 

Location

We are located at the Zuidas campus in Amsterdam, which is very well connected to the inner city of Amsterdam, Schiphol international airport, and the rest of the Netherlands.

"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." 
Corinne Cornelisse, the Netherlands

"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.” 
Holger Gerdes, 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.”  
Philip Bubeck, Germany

Overview Environment & Resource Management

LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION

English

DURATION

1 year

APPLICATION

          

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

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

Admission Requirements

Please scroll down for details on admission requirements for Dutch and International students.

FIELD OF INTEREST

Economics, Business and Law
Behavioural and Social Sciences
Natural Sciences

What is the ERM tuition fee?
The up to date tuition fee for the academic year can be found at: http://masters.vu.nl/en/application/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?
No, you can only start at the beginning of the academic 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, although, occasionally some students have managed to study on a part-time basis with permission of the programme director. The Open University (https://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 assignments (reports, papers) produced 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 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

Admission with a Dutch DegreE

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 our Master’s programme, 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.

Specific admission requirements for the MSc Environment and Resource Management:

• Average grade for the bachelor should be at least a 7.0 or equivalent (A bachelor thesis or writing sample can be requested if necessary to confirm quality);
• Affinity with environmental sciences or sustainability, proven by previous study program, courses, thesis or relevant (volunteer) work experience, expressed in a motivation statement or curriculum vitae;
• ERM requirements for English language proficiency, including sufficient scores for each test component;
• Strong motivation statement addressing:
      - Interest for environmental and sustainability issues
      - Specific interest for ERM
      - Future ambitions after graduation


Language Requirements
 

The ERM programme requires all students to take an English test. You can, however, 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 August 30. 

Below you will find the minimum English test scores for the ERM programme: 

IELTS (academic)
Minimum Overall Band Score  6.5
• Minimum Sub-scores  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 address: toelating.beta@vu.nl

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 our Master’s programme, students with a bachelor degree from a University of Applied Sciences (HBO) need to follow the pre-master programme. Students from all disciplinary backgrounds will be considered. The deadline for applications is May 31.

Specific admission requirements for the pre-master Environment and Resource Management:

• Average grade for the bachelor should be at least a 7.5 or equivalent (A bachelor thesis or writing sample can be requested if necessary to confirm quality);
• Affinity with environmental sciences or sustainability, proven by previous study program, courses, thesis or relevant (volunteer) work experience, expressed in a motivation statement or curriculum vitae;
• ERM requirements for English language proficiency, including sufficient scores for each test component;
• Strong motivation statement addressing:
    - Interest for environmental and sustainability issues
    - Specific interest for ERM
    - Future ambitions after graduation


Language Requirements 
The ERM programme requires all students to take an English test. You can, however, 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 August 30.  

Below you will find the minimum English test scores for the ERM programme: 

IELTS (academic): 
Minimum Overall Band Score     6.5
• Minimum Sub-scores              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 address: toelating.beta@vu.nl

More information on the application procedure for HBO-bachelors can be found here.



The pre-master programme

The premaster starts in September and  consists of 5 courses of each 6 credits. The courses are part of the minor Sustainability: Global challenges, interdisciplinairy solutions.  The courses all take place in the first academic semester. The pre-master follows the logical order of first defining the Grand Challenges of Sustainability (course 1), after which the three pillars of sustainability (People, Planet and Prosperity) are addressed separately, in respectively course 2 (Governance of Global Sustainability), course 3 (Assessing a Sustainable Planet) and course 4 (Sustainable Supply Chain Management). The minor ends with course 5 (Designing Solutions for Sustainability) in which students complete their personal case study.
You have to complete the pre-master ( 30 EC) within 1 year. After you have finished the pre-master you can be admitted to the master of Environment and Resource Management.  

premaster afbeelding

Dutch students can find all general information on admission and application to Master's programmes here.

Contact the ERM programme coordinator by sending an email to erm.ivm@vu.nl

Please contact the Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences Education Office: Onderwijsbureau Bèta toelating.beta@vu.nl

Master’s day: 10th of March 2018
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Admission with an International Degree

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 our Master’s programme, 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.

Specific admission requirements for the MSc Environment and Resource Management:

• Average grade for the bachelor should be at least a 7.0 or equivalent (A bachelor thesis or writing sample can be requested if necessary to confirm quality);
• Affinity with environmental sciences or sustainability, proven by previous study program, courses, thesis or relevant (volunteer) work experience, expressed in a motivation statement or curriculum vitae;
• ERM requirements for English language proficiency, including sufficient scores for each test component;
• Strong motivation statement addressing:     
    - Interest for environmental and sustainability issues
    - Specific interest for ERM     
    - Future ambitions after graduation

Language Requirements 

The ERM programme requires all students to take an English test. You can, however, 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:

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

Below you will find the minimum English test scores for the ERM programme: 

IELTS (academic):  
Minimum Overall Band Score     6.5 
• Minimum Sub-scores              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 address: toelating.beta@vu.nl 

Did you get interested in joining our programme? The procedure you should follow in order to apply for our programme is explained in detail here. To apply for the programme please prepare the following documents. You can find an explanation of each document here.

• 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

Once you have completed the application, our international student advisors will contact you via email.


Further information is also available about:

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 Science International Student Advisor:

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


Contact the ERM programme coordinator by sending an email to erm.ivm@vu.nl

General information about VU 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.

Contact our student ambassadors
If you are wondering what it is like to live and study in Amsterdam from a current student perspective, do not hesitate to contact our student ambassadors; they would love to share their experiences with you!

Master’s day: 10th of March 2018