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Industrial Ecology

Industrial Ecology is an interdisciplinary scientific field aiming at analysing sustainability problems and designing and implementing solutions for such problems. Industrial Ecology field studies the technosphere, also known as the physical economy. In almost all cases, flows of energy and materials are the connection between economic activities and environmental problems. These energy and material flows are the core object of Industrial Ecology, as well as the technologies generating those flows and the socio-economic context driving technology development. The educational programme focuses on the analysis, design, and implementation of industrial systems on the analogy of ecological systems and with the least possible adverse sustainability impacts.

The master’s programme Industrial Ecology consists of three parts, providing basic concepts and theories:
1. Natural Sciences of Industrial Ecology – Environmental science, Industrial Ecology analysis of technosphere systems and their relation with biosphere systems, in view of ecological sustainability, using tools such as Life Cycle Assessment, Material Flow Analysis, and ecological models.
2. Technical Sciences of Industrial Ecology – Design of technological systems, with a view on sustainable development, using tools from the realm of Design for Sustainability, Ecodesign, and Complex Adaptive Systems.
3. Social Sciences of Industrial Ecology – Implementation of sociotechnological systems, among others eco-industrial parks, and implementation of sustainably sound industrial practice.

Overview of the curriculum (120 EC, two years of 60 EC):
First year: Core Modules (54 EC) + Specialisation Modules (6 EC)
Second year: Specialisation Modules (12 EC) + Interdisciplinary Project Groups (12 EC) +Thesis Preparation Module (6EC) + Thesis Research Project (30 EC)

1st year

The first year is composed of 9 Core Modules of 6 EC. The Core Modules form the central part of the programme and are compulsory for every student. Students are free to choose Specialisation Modules with a total of 6 EC. For more information see “Specialisation Modules”.

Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2
Closed loop supply chains 6
General Introduction to Industrial Ecology 6
Renewable Energy Systems 6
Fundamentals of Systems, Data, Models and Computational Thinking 6
Analytical Methodologies and Tools 6
Urban Environments and Infrastructures 6
Sustainable Innovation and Social Change 6
System Earth 6
Design of Sustainable Technological Systems 6

2nd year

The second year is composed of 3 compulsory courses with a total of 48 EC.
Students have to fill in 12 EC with Specialisation Modules.

Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2
Interdisciplinary Project Groups 12
Thesis Preparation Module 6
Thesis Research Project 30

Specialisation Modules

During the study Industrial Ecology, students have to choose at least 18 EC of Specialisation Modules. 6 EC can be done during the first year, and 12 EC during the second year. All Specialisation Modules have to be approved by the Board of Examiners before start of the course. More information can be obtained from Blackboard TU Delft (Master’s Programme Industrial Ecology: Information for Students) and from the studyadvisor.

  1. Specialisation Modules are at master education level, i.e. for Leiden University with a level 400 or higher, or for Delft University of Technology or other universities the course has to be from a master’s programme or comparable.
    1. The knowledge and skills obtained from at least 12 EC of the Specialisation Modules have to be relevant for the field of Industrial Ecology, and preferably, to the topic of the Thesis Research Project. 3. The master’s programme Industrial Ecology offers some Specialisation Modules as presented below.
    2. Admission criteria for Specialisation Modules offered by other programmes can obtained from those programmes i.e. the e-study guide of the module.
    3. The choice for Specialisation Modules has to be approved by the Board of Examiners before the start of the course or study component. A request for a Specialisation Module should be submitted by the student to the BoE via the studyadvisor. This request should be accompanied by a letter of motivation and course description, except for courses that are on the list of approved Specialisation Modules that is provided by the Board of Examiners. The BoE shall reach its decision within twenty days of receipt of the request, and the student will be notified of the board’s decision as soon as possible by the studyadvisor.
Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2
Environmental Input-Output Analysis 6
LCA Practice & Reporting 9
Industrial Ecology Capita Selecta Module 2,3,4,5,6

Meer info

The Master’s Programme Industrial Ecology is a co-operation between Leiden University (Faculty of Science) and Delft University of Technology (Faculty of Applied Sciences and Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management).
Leiden University is resposible for the administration of this programme. Students have to apply via Leiden University

Admission Requirements
1. A bachelor’s degree in any of the Natural Sciences, Engineering Sciences, or Social Sciences from an accredited university programme and comparable with three years of Dutch Academic Education. The application for admission shall be reviewed by the Board of Admissions.
2. For Dutch HBO students: a bachelor degree in any of the Natural Sciences, Engineering Sciences, or Social Sciences from an accredited programme and a grade point average of the entire curriculum of 7.5 or higher.
3. An additional requirement for all students is that students have a demonstrable affinity with multi-disciplinary education and research by showing course modules, summer courses, internships, or other relevant experiences that are within the endterms of the bachelor’s degree, or at least at sufficient academic level, but clearly outside the main field of the bachelor’s degree.
4. An additional requirement for all students is that students have a demonstrable interest in the field of Industrial Ecology and can show in a motivation letter to the Board of Admissions at least one relevant example of the relation between his/her bachelor’s education or previous experience and an academic contribution to the field of Industrial Ecology.
5. Proof of sufficient proficiency in English: IELTS test level of at least 6.5 or TOEFL score of at least 570/230, evidenced by appropriate test. This requirement does not apply if you have:
a. completed your education in Canada, USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand or Australia.
b. or an International Baccalaureate
c. or, for Dutch students, completed VWO level English