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Thesis Research Project Industrial Ecology


Admission requirements

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

The Thesis Research Project can be started if:

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

  • The module 4413INTPGY Interdisciplinary Project Groups is successfully completed;

  • The module 4413GRPMDY Thesis Preparation Module is completed and the TPM grade form, research proposal and plagiarism report have been uploaded to the TPM Brightspace page;

  • 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.

Learning goals

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

  • collect, study and evaluate the relevant scientific literature;

  • develop, execute and if necessary, adapt a research plan;

  • independently conduct a research project on an academic level;

  • independently report on an academic research project;

  • think in a critical and creative way;

  • reflect on her/his own work.

Teaching methods/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.

Type of assessment

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


This course is only open for students of the MSc Industrial Ecology.
Students that have started their TRP have to enrol for the course via Brightspace.


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