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System Earth


Admission requirements

This course is obligatory for students of the master’s programme Industrial Ecology.


The course will explore major global sustainability issues related to the use of resources at the global level. All are so-called ‘wicked problems’: they are complex, there are many actors involved, there is a high urgency and the consequences are enormous. The causes are deeply rooted within the technosphere and within society as its driving force. The course focuses on the most important material resources: metals, fossil fuels, biomass and construction minerals. The present state of knowledge on these resources and the implications of their use will be presented in lectures and in the literature and will be explored during classroom exercises.

Course objectives

Knowledge of main resources extracted and used at the global level
Knowledge of main environmental impacts related to resource use
Knowledge of main societal issues related to resource use
Insight in main challenges and potential solutions for environmental and societal issues


See schedules and blackboard TU Delft

Mode of instruction

Lectures, reading, presenting a poster or writing a scientific paper.

Assessment method

Grading based on a written examination and (voluntary) a poster or paper.


The lecturer communicates via blackboard TU Delft.

Reading list

to be distributed during the course


All students have to enroll for course and exam at the start of the course via uSis, Leiden University. For classnumbers see here or here.

Students who are not enrolled to the master’s programme Industrial Ecology have to ask permission from the studyadvisor of Industrial Ecology at least one month before start of the course by use of this form.

Contact information

Mrs. dr. E. van der Voet
Mrs. dr. V. Prado


More information and the description of the course is published in the e-studyguide of TU Delft.