ICIS education

ICIS offers various opportunities to improve your knowledge and skills in Sustainable Development and Integrated Assessment methodologies. Education is offered on various levels, including Bachelor, Master and PhD level. Also, research internships are offered.


Maastricht University Graduate School of Sustainability Science (MUST), with the research base in the field of Sustainable Development at the International Centre for Integrated Assessment and Sustainable Development (ICIS), linked to a wide (inter)national network, is leading internationally in the interdisciplinary field of sustainable development and integrated assessment.

MUST aims to advance the role of science in the transition toward sustainability, building upon the conceptual distinction between problem-solving and critical research strategies as starting point.  MUST aims to find new ways of integrating knowledge across the divides between social and natural sciences as well as between critical and problem-solving research.

This will be done in the context of major sustainability challenges such as globalisation, climate change, global health, loss of biodiversity, water issues, regional sustainability, tourism, mobility, governance and innovation.

“Sustainability is a MUST”

In 2009, ICIS started the Maastricht University Graduate School of Sustainability Science (MUST)

Research on complex issues is usually best pursued in groups where researchers with different but related expertise investigate different aspects of a joint problem. ICIS – Maastricht University Graduate School of Sustainability Science will offer scientific training and a fruitful learning environment where the exchange of knowledge between younger and more experienced researchers is emphasised and developed. PhD candidates from different disciplinary backgrounds and post-docs work closely together under professional scientific leadership and where research students are supervised in interdisciplinary groups.

The MSc and PhD programme ‘Sustainability Science and Policy’ is offered under the umbrella of ICIS – MUST.

Master Sustainability Science and Policy MSc SSP

There is an urgent need for scholars who are trained in interdisciplinary and integrative approaches towards sustainable development, enabling them to assess and deal with the complexity involved from a system’s perspective. Furthermore, there is a need for professionals that are able to cross ‘boundaries’ between different disciplines and domains, and that can operate at the interface of science, policy and society. The new Master of Science in Sustainability Science and Policy (MSc SSP) provides an intensive programme where students will acquire knowledge and skills (competences) to deal with one of the world’s most relevant and complex questions: how can we balance ecological, economic, and social developments for our present and future well-being?

The Master will create a unique opportunity for students to specialize in sustainability science and policy, and especially in sustainability assessment, through an interdisciplinary curriculum in an international ambience. The MSc SSP can be characterized as a ‘society oriented Master’, with a duration of one-year (60 ECTS).

The Master has its own unique character, composed of its integrative and interdisciplinary approach embedded in an international context, and its focus on methods and tools for integrated knowledge production and sustainability assessment (for policy). None of the already existing Master programmes on sustainable development in the Netherlands combine all these ingredients,  and the need for and value of this new Master programme is clearly expressed by different stakeholders in policy-making (all governance levels), representatives of the business community, non-governmental organisations, international scientific organisations and other institutions for higher education.

Maastricht University (UM) started this new Master programme on Sustainability Science and Policy in the academic year 2011/2012.

Please contact master-ssp[at]maastrichtuniversity[dot]nl for more details and enrollment procedures.

Master Theses

Rachel Brochado Understanding the Development of Global Action Networks. ICLEI’s Development and its Complex Adaptive System
Soo-Kyung Shin Voluntary Sustainability Standard Schemes. Disparities and Governance Challenges
Alexander Göbler Enhanced weathering and mineral carbonation for CO2 sequestration in the Netherlands: a comparative assessment
Melissa Hayes Private Actor Contribution to Urban Development in Enabler-Driven Living Labs. The Case of Maastricht and Antwerp
James Elliot The sustainability of globalisation. Cultural perspectives and the social robustness criterion
Paulo Batistic Agroforestry as a solution for the dual challenge of food security and climate change
Ami Golland Shapes in the Sand: Exploring the Potential Impacts of Debt-money Systems on SES Resilience
Antje Blankemeyer The innovation effects of the EU Directive on End-of-life Vehicles and the EU Directive on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment on the Dutch waste management sector
Dingena Verkerk Design for Sustainable Development. Participation as social practice in the Maastricht A2 project
Christian Twiehaus The effects of innovativeness in organisational structures on mission drift in social enterprises
Momo Chen

Consumer’s perceptions of Corporate Social Responsibility in China. A case study of Chinese melamine milk formula

Anna Bower

Beyond certification: sustainable climate change adaptation analysis and recommendations for agricultural production

Anika de la Flor Finetti Water-related Ecosystem Services in the Environmental Impact Assessments of the Peruvian mining industry. A case study of the Conga project.
Vanessa Hofeditz Redemption: Exploring the Diversity of Glass Recycling Systems in the EU

Iva Horejsi

Large combustion plants: Development of legislation in the Czech Republic between the communist fall and EU accession

Lucy Hunt Throwing caution to the wind: Assessing and countering obstacles to community-level wind farms in the UK
Chiara Lissandrello The role of Participation in Initiatives towards Sustainability – functions and typology
Michael Matuszak Sustainable urban development – Towards a framework for participation
Max Menkenhagen Discrimination in the European Higher Education Area Area and its Impact on the Sustainability of Micro-Level Student Mobility
Bienfaiteur Mutara The relationship between armed conflict, environmental degradation and peace building processes in the central African region. A case study of the South-Kivu region in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Basil Oswald Toward an Understanding of the Variation Between Deposit-Refund Systems for Glass Containers in Contemporary Europe
Jacopo Peirano Is C2C certification successfully driving the shift of innovation for sustainability from eco-labelling to competitive advantages for companies? A case-studies analysis in the pulp and paper industry sector
Melanie Stralka What are the merits of the Agonistic and Nudging Approach for the governance of urban greening – Case Frontenpark Maastricht?
Lise Swartz Assessing the factors impacting the potential of water partnerships to contribute to water resources management for sustainable development
Joe Thomas Making Maastricht’s Monumental Housing Stock Ecofriendly by 2030 – Municipality, Developer and Homeowner Perspectives
Juan David Guevara  Multilateral Environmental Agreement CITES as potential facilitator for effective articulation of initiatives aimed at combating illegal logging at a global scale
Michael Veale Exploring eco-innovation systems and their boundaries through multi-level modelling
Tinsley  Wolfs Accountability mechanisms in the governance of climate change mitigation – The case of the European Covenant of Mayors
Liza Wood An analysis of certification and NGO strategies for climate change adaptation among agricultural smallholders
Leia Achampong Sustainable Maritime Governance of the North Sea. A sustainability analysis of EU maritime policies to determine theirs sustainability, using an MCA and Perspectives Analysis
Laura Bechthold Managing the Quest for Corporate Sustainability. Sustainability Maturity Models as Tools for Corporate Sustainability Assessment
Cecile Capo Ecovillages as models for making the transition to sustainable lifestyles?
Joaquim Demeyer Encouraging Private Corporations to Adopt Sustainable Practices: the theory and practice behind European Union policy incentives
Sophie von Gagern Improving the Sustainability in Value Chains through Private Meta-Governance. An Exploratory Research on the Structuring Capacity of the Common Code for the Coffee Community and the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership
Verena Hilgers Urban Agriculture as Growing Trend in Developed Countries. An Investigation of the Underlying Motives
Mischa Horning Sustainable Tourism Development at Destination Level. The case of Zuid-Limburg region, the Netherlands
Aishling McGrath Synergies between Education for Sustainable Development and Green Economy? An analysis of their relationship in Ireland
Floortje Mennen People, Planet & the Profitable Zoo: a boundary trilemma of the role of zoos as centers for sustainability and sustainability education. A case study of GaiaZOO, Kerkrade, the Netherlands
Jeffrey Ngari Points of intervention for poverty alleviation and environmental sustainability in the sub-Saharan Africa: A case study of Kenya
Kay Oebels Globalization and the Environment
Anneri Pretorius A Shift towards Sustainable Transportation in Cape Town, South-Africa?
Franziska Rieck What are the underlying principles, motives and claims of city planners when striving for sustainable urban development? On the role and beliefs of urban planners in Freiburg and Wuhan
Rebecca Scholten Sustainability Reporting. A Case Study Perspective on using the GRI Guidelines as Accountability Mechanism for NGOs
Hendrik Smid Towards systemic evaluation approaches in German development cooperation? Perspectives from science, clients and practitioners of evaluations
Mike Sporck

Possible ways to improve the Ecological Footprint calculator as a learning tool for sustainable living

Yvette Sweringa How to become a Sustainability Professional. Sustainability Traineeship: necessity or luxury?
Camille Vandenkerckhove Moving towards sustainability in the event sector. Application in the context of Brussels
Franzis Wimmer Pathways of Transitions Towards more Sustainable Lifestyles in Germany. The Role of Cohousing
Ursula Zampieri Environmental NGOs pursuing access to justice in Brazil: Legal avenues and obstacles to implementation, inspired by the Aarhus Convention
Stefano Boi Measuring what? A Discourse Analysis of the adequacy of the GDP as an indicator of societal progress
Lieuwe Dragt Is Microfinance Shaking the Financial System? Developing an evolutionary perspective on microfinance to explore its potential impact on the incumbent financial regime
Savina Istas The HIV/AIDS epidemic in Zimbabwe. The underlying dynamics
Silke Jenssen Sustainability at Universities. An Explorative Research on Assessment Methods and Tools for Sustainability Implementation at Universities
Laura Kurth Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria – A Sinking Ship or the Gateway to Sustainable Tourism
Thijs Maartens The contribution of a transition experiment to a transition towards a sustainable system: a case study of the INZET project
Jane Prieto Communication for Sustainable Development. Role of communication strategies for sustainable development projects
Sofie Spijkers Together we can make it? The potential of local governance projects in energy transitions
Tassilo Stiller An Energising Drama – On the influence of policy interventions to stimulate energy efficiency in the residential housing sector


PhD Programme

The interdisciplinary Ph.D. programme in Sustainability Science and Policy (SSP) is designed to educate researchers, university teachers, and world leaders in the social, economic and natural science disciplines that underpin sustainable development. Sustainability science is a new multi-disciplinary approach to science that recognizes the limitations of traditional scientific inquiry in dealing with the complex reality of social institutions interacting with natural phenomena.

The research produced by the program’s doctoral dissertations will focus on integrative, interdisciplinary research that is needed to explore science and policy issues in sustainable development. Integrated Assessment methods and concepts (e.g. transitions, modeling, scenario analysis) will be instrumental to provide answers to the central questions of sustainable development. Applicants should demonstrate an ability to pursue independent research through their prior work and academic distinction. Upon graduation it is expected that the candidates will play an important role as scholars, policymakers and professionals in their home countries and in the international community, taking leadership roles in government, international organizations, non-profit organizations and business.

Click here for more information about ICIS PhD

Bachelor Programme

Introduction to Sustainable Development
The main objective of this course is for the students to understand the principles of sustainable development by understanding the possibilities, constraints and interactions of its academic definitions, decision-making tools and practices.

University College Maastricht
University College Venlo

Globalisation, Environment and Society
The main objective of this course is for the students to improve their understanding of the different interpretations of globalisation, to identify the principal forces and processes at work, to explore the significance and implications of globalisation processes, to adopt an interdisciplinary and integrative attitude towards handling the complex interrelationship between global developments, the environment and society, and to appreciate the different accounts in the globalisation debate.

University College Maastricht

Hands on Sustainability
In this course, the theoretical knowledge and insights from course ‘Introduction to Sustainable Development’ and ‘Globalisation, Environment and Society’ are further deepened, and applied to a specific case.

University College Maastricht

Science & Sustainable Development: An Introduction
This course is aimed at developing the students’ understanding of sustainable development as a complex concept and one that may mean something different to different people. It takes an interdisciplinary and integrative perspective to treat the most pressing sustainability issues. This basic understanding is then applied in a specific ‘sustainability assessment’ case study. Originally developed for students with a natural science background, a final course objectives is to reflect on the role of science in sustainable development and understand that sustainability is more than calculation.

Maastricht Science Programme

ICIS coordinates courses in three different Bachelor programmes
University College Maastricht
University College Venlo
Maastricht Science Programme