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Methods: Analysing Physical Processes


Admission requirements

This course is obligatory for students of the MSc Industrial Ecology (joint degree TU Delft and Leiden University).


The course provides knowledge of the core tools used in the area of Industrial Ecology, their philosophy and their position in the field. Students are trained in the applicability of these tools by working on case studies with the aid of specific software-tools. Prior to the course, please make sure the software-tools STAN ( and CMLCA ( can be run on your computer. Apple users should make sure they can run MS windows. For tips on this see for example: (

Course objectives

After completing this course, you will be able to:

  • DESCRIBE the most important tools in IE, their philosophy and position in the field.

  • DISCUSS the applicability of these tools (incl. possibilities and limitations).

  • DEFINE and refine research questions for the analysis.

  • WORK WITH 3 families of analytical tools (incl. supporting software & databases), namely: MFA/SFA, LCA, EIOA for pre-treated cases in a societal /policy /business context.

  • transparently REPORT on the findings.

  • DEMONSTRATE analytical thinking and critical thinking.


You will find the timetables for all courses and degree programmes of Leiden University in the tool MyTimetable (login). Any teaching activities that you have sucessfully registered for in MyStudyMap will automatically be displayed in MyTimeTable. Any timetables that you add manually, will be saved and automatically displayed the next time you sign in.

MyTimetable allows you to integrate your timetable with your calendar apps such as Outlook, Google Calendar, Apple Calendar and other calendar apps on your smartphone. Any timetable changes will be automatically synced with your calendar. If you wish, you can also receive an email notification of the change. You can turn notifications on in ‘Settings’ (after login).

For more information, watch the video or go the the 'help-page' in MyTimetable. Please note: Joint Degree students Leiden/Delft have to merge their two different timetables into one. This video explains how to do this.

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures and discussion with key articles as background.

  • Practical group work with software tools for MFA/SFA, LCA and EEIOA.

  • Consultation offered for each group work, with compulsory attendance of each group member.

The lecturers communicate via Brightspace. Further information on the course, reading materials, grades, etc. will be available at Brightspace Leiden University.

Assessment method


  • Individual written exam (5,5 out of 10 points). By the end of the course, there is a 3-hour digital exam held on campus. The examination uses a mixture of closed questions (e.g. multiple choice) and short open questions.

  • Group assignments (4,5 out of 10 points). During the course, there are three group assignments: MFA/SFA, LCA and EEIOA. Each assignment counts 1.5 points, which is determined by the quality of group reports and accompanying models. Besides, every assignment has two compulsory work sessions. Absence of the work sessions would cause up to 10% lower individual mark per assignment.


The final mark for the course is established by the weighted average of the mark of written exam (55%) and that of group assignments (45%).
The final mark of the course is expressed by means of a figure between 1 and 10, rounded to the nearest half. The rounding process is done, only at the end, for the final calculation. The interim mark (of written exam, group assignments) will keep two digits after the decimal point. To succeed the course, the minimum unrounded mark of the written exam and that of the entire course should be 5.50. The mark 5,5 cannot be granted. Marks between 5,01 and 5,49 are rounded to 5,0 and marks between 5,50 and 5,99 are rounded to 6,0.


A resit is offerred for the individual written exam.

Inspection and feedback

A inspection and feedback session is offered within 3 weeks from the publication of the grading results of the written exam.

Reading list

Jan J. Boersema and Lucas Reijnders (eds). Principles of Environmental Sciences, ISBN 978-1-4020-9157-5. Key chapters used in the course are:

  • Helias Udo de Haes and Reinout Heijungs, Chapter 12.4 Material Flow Analysis: A Tool for Analysing the Metabolism of Materials and Substances

  • Helias Udo de Haes and Reinout Heijungs, Chapter 12.5 Life Cycle Assessment: A tool for the Analysis of Product Systems

  • Reinout Heijungs, Chapter 17A An illustration of the LCA technique

  • Analytical Tools for the Environment-Economy Interaction. . . . . . . . 177

  • Paul Ekins, Chapter 11.2 Input-Output Analysis


From the academic year 2022-2023 on every student has to register for courses with the new enrollment tool MyStudyMap. There are two registration periods per year: registration for the fall semester opens in July and registration for the spring semester opens in December. Please see this page for more information.

Please note that it is compulsory to both preregister and confirm your participation for every exam and retake. Not being registered for a course means that you are not allowed to participate in the final exam of the course. Confirming your exam participation is possible until ten days before the exam.

Extensive FAQ's on MyStudymap can be found here.


Coordinator(s): Mingming Hu and René Kleijn
Other involved teachers: Nils Thonemann, Ranran Wang, Lauran van Oers, Reinout Hijungs and Stefano Cucurachi


MSc Industrial Ecology students can register for the course and exam via MystudyMap. Other students need to contact the study advisors of the programme via