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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 Brightspace 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 Brightspace TU Delft.

Reading list

To be distributed during the course


Because this course is part of a programme of Leiden University and TU Delft, all students have to be enrolled to both universities.

All students have to enroll for course and exam at the start of the course via uSis, Leiden University.

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.

Exchange students can only enroll for this course if their home university has an Exchange agreement with both Leiden University and TU Delft. Exchange students have to ask permission from the studyadvisor of Industrial Ecology as soon as possible, preferably six months before the start of the course.

Contact information

Dr. S. Cucurachi (


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