Global Sustainability Science

3 Years
Start date:
1st September. For other study start dates see programme website
  • Abitur: Mathematics (Grundkurs) and at least 2 of the following subjects: Biology (Leistungsfach), Chemistry (AbiturPrüfungsfach), Physics (Grundkurs), Economics (Grundkurs). To meet the English proficiency requirement: English (Grundkurs).
  • Check our Website:
Tuition fees:
Please see our tuition fees page
Special remark
Application deadline:

For the 2018-2019 academic year, Global Sustainability Science is a limited enrolment programme. As a result, the application deadline is 15 January 2018. Read more about the selection procedure.
What is this programme about

An innovative Bachelor’s programme of the future

Global Sustainability Science is a new international Bachelor’s programme that starts in September 2016. In this programme you learn how to develop solutions to sustainability issues. This involves studying the interaction between humans and nature at the local, regional and global level. The programme will equip you to make a meaningful contribution to our planet.

A multidisciplinary approach

A sustainable planet is one that is livable for current and future generations. You are of course conscious that we face huge challenges: the distribution of water, food and energy, climate change and the depletion of our resources are only some of these hot topics. Sustainability is a complex concept and it increasingly calls for broad expertise and a multidisciplinary approach. This programme gives you the tools you’ll need to examine sustainability from a number of different perspectives and to come up with solutions that can change the world.

Select a track or put together your own

What’s special about this Bachelor’s is that, after the first year, you have the option of selecting one of four tracks, depending on the specific balance you’d like to have between the natural and the social sciences. Since we certainly don’t want to limit your ambition, you can also put together your own track or choose other subjects, both within and outside this Bachelor’s. The four tracks laid out for you are:

  • Water, Climate & Ecosystems: Consequences of climate change for humans, animals and plants;
  • Energy & Resources: Solutions for the sustainable production and consumption of energy and resources
  • Governance & Societal Transformation: Societal and policy processes and the influences on sustainable choice behavior
  • Business &  Innovation: Innovation processes related to sustainability within and between organizations
Read more about the tracks, here.

Balance between natural and social science subjects

The programme offers you the right balance between natural and social science subjects, preparing you for a future as a professional interlocutor, bridge-builder and problem solver. You acquire an understanding of the natural, biochemical and hydrological processes (water cycle) that maintain the Earth in balance. This means taking science subjects like mathematics, physics and chemistry. You also learn about how socio-economic processes contribute to solving sustainability issues. To this end, you take social science subjects like public administration, economics and innovation. The programme also stresses team-work and communications. You learn how to set up your own research, to work individually and in teams, and to advise organizations as a consultant. If you satisfy the profile, then you’re sufficiently qualified to take all the courses in this three-year Bachelor’s programme.

Studying abroad

A period of study abroad can provide a huge stimulus for your academic and personal development. This programme allows you to conduct part of your studies (six months maximum) in a foreign country; for instance, through an exchange programme. Utrecht University collaborates with several partner universities all over the world. As an exchange student, you remain enrolled at Utrecht University and you pay no tuition fees to the foreign university. You also have the option, for a short period of time, of conducting research abroad.

On you find more Information about the oppertunities to go abroad.

A programme under continuous development

Global Sustainability Science is an innovative programme, in which you learn to anticipate new developments and are exposed to the latest international themes and theories. Experimental teaching methods are also highlighted. For example, video conferencing, which allows you to ‘attend’ the lectures of pioneering international scientists at Harvard, Cambridge, Columbia or MIT: digital travel to the latest insights. The new, sustainable building, where you will often attend lectures, is fully equipped for this form of teaching. It has comfortable lecture and tutorial rooms, inspiring meeting areas and low-stimulus rooms where you can take a break.

The best university in the Netherlands

In the 2015 Shanghai Academic Ranking of World Universities, Utrecht University was ranked as the best university in the Netherlands. With over 30,000 students and more than 6,000 members of staff, Utrecht University is one of the largest general research universities in Europe.

The best research institute in the field of sustainability

Our scientists conduct sustainability research within the university’s Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development. In 2014, international experts declared Copernicus to be the best research institute in the field of sustainability in the Netherlands and among the world’s top institutes in the field. Your lecturers are very active within Copernicus in carrying out research into topical sustainability themes. They are at the Centre of societal concerns, have extensive contacts with international scientists, and are always abreast of the latest developments. As a student, you will thus be exposed to a number of international sustainability issues of current and future relevance. The questions being tackled today by the researchers of the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development define those to be tackled in the future. You’ll find it exciting to be involved at an early stage with themes of future prominence.

Career opportunities

A profession of the future
Governments and businesses are increasingly putting sustainability on their agendas. They need people with your qualifications badly. This new programme provides you with a fantastic basis for an international career, which will be the envy of many. As a broadly trained interlocutor, bridge-builder and problem-solver, you’re thoroughly competent and knowledgeable. You can analyze issues, grasp them from a variety of perspectives, and formulate solidly-grounded conclusions. Your line of reasoning has an impact on organizations and on people with conflicting interests. You’re able to bring them together. Not only thanks to your expertise, but also because you communicate clearly and are an excellent team player. You can really achieve something great!

Managers and administrators of private and government organizations need consultants like you to help develop sustainability policies or organize sustainable production chains. You might also set up your own sustainable production chain, webshop or international sustainability consultancy.
Perhaps in the future you’ll become a ‘Healthy Water Specialist’, ‘Sustainable Business Inspirator’ or ‘Nature-People Mediator’. You can of course also contribute to furthering sustainability by becoming a researcher/scientist.


For questions relating to the content of this Bachelor's programme, contact the Faculty of Geosciences:
Telephone number: +31 30 253 5001
For information on application procedures at Utrecht University, contact Student Services/International Office on:
Telephone number: +31 30 253 7000 

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