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Thesis Research Project (MSc IE)


Admission requirements

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

This course is only open for students that are enrolled in the MSc Industrial Ecology.

Requirements for students who have started per or after September 2020
The Thesis Research Project can be started if:

  • 30 ECTS of the core modules of the first semester are successfully completed;

  • The module Thesis Preparation Course is completed;

  • The Individual Study Programme (ISP) is approved by the BoE.

Requirements for students who have started before September 2020
The Thesis Research Project can be started if:

  • At least 48 ECTS of the core modules are successfully completed;

  • The module Thesis Preparation Module is completed;

  • The Individual Study Programme (ISP) is approved by the BoE.

As preparation to the research topic, the involved examiner can ask the student to successfully finish specific Specialisation Modules, this has to be discussed with the student before the Thesis Research Project starts.


The aim of IE is to educate student to become critical researchers or practitioners who are able to meaningfully contribute to developing solutions for persistent sustainability problems, such as related to environmental pollution, resource depletion, and climate change. Industrial Ecology is a scientific field that takes a systemic approach to sustainability problems, integrating a technical, environmental and social perspective. Industrial Ecology studies society’s metabolism, i.e. the material and energy basis of society, from a socio-technical systems perspective in order to identify, design and critically evaluate solutions for sustainability problems and their implementation.

The following criteria would be considered to indicate a ‘typical’ IE thesis:

  • The work focuses on a sustainability problem and/or solution

  • The work shows a critical attitude towards sustainability, and shows awareness of the technical, environmental and social perspective on sustainability

  • The work exhibits a systems perspective

  • The work is interdisciplinary; it synthesizes methods, theories or concepts relevant to the field of IE

  • IE methods and techniques for problem analysis and/or design are used systematically.

Course objectives

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • Independently conduct research that contributes to the field of Industrial Ecology by addressing a specific research question or problem within the context of sustainability challenges;

  • Apply research methodologies and analytical tools to investigate complex industrial and urban systems and their environmental impacts;

  • Synthesize and critically evaluate existing literature, theories, and empirical studies related to the chosen research topic, and identify research gaps and areas for further exploration;

  • Collect and analyze relevant data, employing appropriate quantitative or qualitative methods, to generate meaningful insights and findings that advance knowledge in the field of Industrial Ecology;

  • Integrating perspectives from various disciplines to develop and test innovative solutions or strategies for sustainable practices;

  • Synthesize research findings effectively through academic writing in the form of a written report;

  • Demonstrate the ability to present and defend research outcomes in a professional setting;

  • Reflect on the ethical implications of research in Industrial Ecology and demonstrate awareness of the potential environmental, social, and economic consequences of any proposed solution.


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

The Thesis Research Project is always supervised by two examiners. The first examiner is directly involved with the day-to-day supervision of the student. The second examiner is (at least) involved in the four formal process moments: kick-off meeting, midterm meeting, greenlight meeting and defence. There are three requirements for the composition of the supervision team:
1. One examiner should be on the list of approved IE core examiners. This list can be found on Brightspace.
2. The other examiner should be employed by the TU Delft, or Leiden University, have obtained a PhD.
3. The examiners should be from two different research groups.

Assessment method

The thesis assessment form, including the criteria used for assessment, can be found on the Brightspace page.

Reading list


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.



MSc Industrial Ecology students can register for the course and exam via MystudyMap.