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Education Master's and PhD degree programmes Islands and Sustainability (EM)
Header image Islands and Sustainability (EM)

Islands and Sustainability (EM)

Islands and Sustainability is an Erasmus Mundus master programme. It combines thorough training in scientific research with a specialization on Islands and Sustainability. Scholarships are available.

Please note: All applications are processed and accepted only through our own website at islandsmaster.eu. Applications made through the offical University of Groningen website will not be considered.

Islands are special cases for Sustainable Development. Within the current global economic and social system islands in many cases face economic, social, political and cultural marginalization; unless they cooperate. Cooperation is needed in research and education on the ways to manage islands and raise capacity building in island communities. Understanding the problems and finding effective ways to develop the potential of small islands requires international academic cooperation that looks beyond the specifics of individual islands. There is clearly a demand for a high quality Masters programme on sustainable development on islands that can enhance much required training and expertise in this field. This is why the University of Groningen, the University of the Aegean, the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and the University of Iceland have joined forces to launch a high-level integrated study programme on islands at Master level.

The ISLANDS programme combines thorough training in scientific research with a thematic specialization on Islands and Sustainability. It also provides multi-faceted training of research skills for social science and environmental research, including Individual Research Training by senior staff and training to work in a multi- and interdisciplinary research group. ISLANDS students will be required to study at the University of Groningen in the first semester and the first half of the second semester of the first year of the programme. Then they study at one of the island-based universities of the consortium where they undertake a Research Internship Module. After returning to Groningen, students will again go to an island-based university to undertake their Master thesis project in the second semester of the second year. ISLANDS graduates receive a double-degree from the University of Groningen (including an acknowledgement that this is an Erasmus Mundus Joint Master degree involving all partner universities) and the island-based University. The ISLANDS programme builds on the existing Research Master in Spatial Sciences programme at the University of Groningen (RUG).

For more detailed information, please visit the ISLANDS consortium website.

Facts & Figures
Degree
MSc in Spatial Sciences (research)
Course type
Master
Duration
24 months (120 ECTS)
Croho code
60660
Language of instruction
English
Start
September
Faculty
Spatial Sciences
Why study this programme in Groningen?
  • The master offers a unique combination of research, islands and sustainability
  • You will work with professionals and researchers within the field
  • And gain an international perspective on islands and sustainability
  • It is an ideal grounding for a PhD programme
  • You will do fieldwork and evidence-based research
  • You have the opportunity to study and do research in different countries
Programme
Periods
Courses1234
Advanced Specialized Research Methods (A&SRM) (10 EC)
Joint Multidisciplinary Research Project Islands and Sustainability (Wadden Project) (5 EC)
Scientific Reading, Debating and Reflecting (Islands and Sustainability) (5 EC)
Thematic Theoretical Specialization (TTS) (15 EC)
Individual Research Training (IRT) (10 EC)
Research at a Renowned Research Institute (Islands Partner Institute) (15 EC)
Periods
Courses1234
Advanced and Specialized Research Methods (A&SRM) (5 EC)
Advanced Research Skills (5 EC)
Scientific Reading, Debating and Reflecting (Islands and Sustainability) (5 EC)
Research Process and Proposal Writing (5 EC)
Thematic Theoretical Specialization (TTS) (10 EC)
Individual Master's Thesis (Islands and Sustainability) (30 EC)

Study abroad

  • Study abroad is required

Through internship & excursions

Entry requirements

Transfer options

Transferring from...

Study programmeOrganizationTransition
Human Geography and Urban and Regional PlanningAll Research universitiesNo additional requirements
Spatial Planning and DesignAll Research universitiesNo additional requirements
Liberal Arts and SciencesAll Research universities

No additional requirements

More information:

Direct access with Philosophy, Politics & Economics. Conditional access with Cognition & Behaviour. No access with other majors.

Admission requirements

Specific requirementsMore information
assessment interview

Generally, an interview with the applicant, in which attitude, motivation, orientation and competence for a career in (scientific) research are evaluated, forms part of the admission procedure. The interview is scheduled after the required documents have been received and evaluated by the Admissions Board.

grade average

Excellent study results and high grades at university level (A range, typically top 10%); Comparable to Dutch grading system: average grade of at least 7, for Bachelor thesis of at least 7.5.

knowledge minimum

Applicants should have some background knowledge in the Spatial Sciences field (Urban or Regional Studies, Human, Economic or Cultural Geography, Spatial Planning, Environmental and Infrastructure Planning, Demography or Real Estate).

language test

English on VWO level or one of the following equivalents:

  • IELTS overall band 6.5, no less than 6.5 on each section
  • TOEFL internet based:

Overall: 90 Reading: 21 Listening: 21 Speaking: 21 Writing: 24

  • Cambridge English: Cambridge certificate C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency (formerly known as CAE/CPE)
  • European Baccalaureate, English level L1 or L2
  • Please note that TOEFL MyBest Scores are not considered in the Admissions procedure
previous education

Students should have a Bachelor's degree in a discipline related to Regional Studies, such as Human Geography and Planning, Environment and Infrastructure Planning, or Urban Studies. Students with a Bachelor's degree in the social or economic sciences also have direct access, preferably with a Minor worth 30 EC in human geography and/or urban and regional planning and/or demography and / or development studies. For those with a different Bachelor degree, the possibilities for admission are discussed with the coordinator The direct access is conditional on sufficient English command, the knowledge minimum and the required grades.

(motivation-) letter

All applicants have to submit a detailed CV, list of grades, motivation letter and and one or two reference letters to dr. Frans Sijtsma (f.j.sijtsma rug.nl).

Application deadlines

Type of studentDeadlineStart course
Dutch students01 May 202301 September 2023
EU/EEA students01 May 202301 September 2023
non-EU/EEA students01 May 202301 September 2023

Deadline for applicants who would like to apply for a scholarship is March 15

Admission requirements

Specific requirementsMore information
assessment interview

Generally, an interview with the applicant, in which attitude, motivation, orientation and competence for a career in (scientific) research are evaluated, forms part of the admission procedure. The interview is scheduled after the required documents have been received and evaluated by the Admissions Board.

grade average

Excellent study results and high grades at university level (A range, typically top 10%); Comparable to Dutch grading system: average grade of at least 7.0, for Bachelor thesis of at least 7.5.

grade list
language test

English on VWO level or one of the following equivalents:

  • IELTS overall band 6.5, no less than 6.5 on each section
  • TOEFL internet based:

Overall: 90 Reading: 21 Listening: 21 Speaking: 21 Writing: 24

  • Cambridge English: Cambridge certificate C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency (formerly known as CAE/CPE)
  • European Baccalaureate, English level L1 or L2
  • Please note that TOEFL MyBest Scores are not considered in the Admissions procedure
previous education

Academic bachelor degree in human geography and/or urban and regional planning or comparable qualifications, including at least 10 ECTS in statistics or equivalent statistical knowledge.

professional experience

Not required

reference letter
(motivation-) letter

All applicants have to submit a detailed CV, list of grades, motivation letter and and one or two reference letters to dr. Frans Sijtsma (f.j.sijtsma rug.nl).

Application deadlines

Type of studentDeadlineStart course
Dutch students01 May 202301 September 2023
EU/EEA students01 May 202301 September 2023
non-EU/EEA students01 May 202301 September 2023

Deadline for applicants who would like to apply for a scholarship is March 15

Tuition fees
NationalityYearFeeProgramme form
EU/EEA2022-2023€ 4500full-time
non-EU/EEA2022-2023€ 9000full-time

Erasmus Mundus Scholarship

A limited number of Erasmus Mundus scholarships are available. The deadline for scholarship applications is 15 March.

Regular students

The final application deadline for regular students is 1 May.

Practical information for:

After your studies

Academic careers, business consultants, tourism planners and managers, environmental/sustainable management consultants, environmental tourism consultants, local economic development consultants, careers in international organizations/NGOs in the fields of environment and sustainability.

Job prospects

The graduates from the programme are well trained for academic careers, business consultants, tourism planners and managers, environmental/sustainable management consultants, environmental tourism consultants, local economic development consultants, careers in international organizations/NGOs in the fields of environment and sustainability.

The close contacts with URSI researchers and PhD students (as mentors or teachers) in the graduate school allow an easy transition to a PhD position. The Research Internship at a Research Institute is specifically introduced to let the student experience the work atmosphere at a research institute.

During the programme at the University of Groningen we offer support for your career preparation.

Throughout the year we offer support for practical career preparation and employability skills. Workshops are given about leadership, job interviews and how to present yourself. More information about the FSS Career Services.

See where our Research Master alumni end up in this infographic!

Research

Research

The programme of the Research Master in Spatial Sciences is intertwined with the Faculty's Research Program, towards Wellbeing, Innovation and Spatial Transformation (tWIST). In courses such as Individual Research Training (IRT) and Master Thesis, students participate in ongoing research projects of the senior academic staff, which are all embedded in tWIST.

The research themes Wellbeing, Innovation and Spatial Transformation are studied in the broad field of geography and spatial planning, which investigates the role which space, place, location and distance, play in our communities and societies. We employ a range of qualitative, quantitative, micro and macro research methodologies to uncover these issues and to help improve wellbeing, to encourage innovation, and to increase our understanding of spatial transformation processes. The research work undertaken in each of the departments within the Faculty is also supported by the use of advanced geographical information systems (GIS). The research themes of the Faculty of Spatial Sciences complement all three of the University of Groningen’s research themes; Healthy Ageing, Sustainable Society and Energy. Major issues tWIST addresses range important societal shifts such as population growth and decline, aging, economic transformation and sustainability transitions are affecting space, health and well-being. These are major issues faced by contemporary society for which the Faculty of Spatial Sciences is uniquely placed to provide coherent policy analysis, design and impact assessment.

The Study Programme consists of different courses in the field of Spatial Sciences, related to the topics in tWIST. The specific courses depend on the individual student’s interests. Students have the opportunity to develop their own educational pathway according to their preferences and motivations.

Top researchers

Students work closely together with our experienced staff members, who carry out excellent research in the four different research clusters within tWIST: 1) Place, Identity & Wellbeing; 2) Population & Wellbeing in Context; 3) Economy & Place; 4) Institutional Innovation & Spatial Transformation. The researchers who participate in the programme are actively working on international and national research projects and bring their experiences to their teaching.

Apply nowBrochureEventsContact

Contact

  • Drs. Nienke Harteveld (Study advisor)
    Email: study.advice.fss rug.nl
    Telephone: 0503633906
  • Reinier Schoep (Study advisor)
    Email: study.advice.fss rug.nl
    Telephone: 050-3633906
  • Saskia Enuma (Study advisor)
    Email: study.advice.fss rug.nl
    Telephone: 0503633906
  • 
						Testimonial of Sissal Dahl

    Studying islands gives you unique perspectives and practical tools

    – Sissal Dahl
    Read more

    My name is Sissal and I am currently studying the Islands and Sustainability track within Spatial Sciences at Groningen University - now the new International ERASMUS Mundus Joint Master Programme ISLANDS.

    I am an islander myself, originally from the Faroe Islands, and was introduced to the world of studying islands during my bachelor studies in human geography. It is therefore both a personal and academic interest in sustainable development trajectories on islands that has led me to this master programme. I know that islands are special places that hold so much knowledge, and studying islands gives you unique perspectives and practical tools that are useful beyond island geographies. When I was looking for master programs and came across the Islands and Sustainability track that is now ISLANDS I instantly knew this was exactly what I want to study. Now, engaging with islands and sustainable development and the community that shares this interest makes me feel like home although being abroad.

    The programme has given me the amazing opportunity to do an internship with the University of the Aegean on Lesvos this spring. I am looking forward to experiencing an island environment very different from my home, and challenge myself to put my knowledge into practice. I will definitely share more about the internship and my experiences with you later!

    Close

Study associations

Ibn Battuta

Ibn Battuta is the Faculty Association of Spatial Sciences
Becoming a member of Ibn Battuta means you can join the social drinks, foreign trips, lectures and all other activities organized by the Association. At these events you come into contact with students from all years, which is a great way to make friends that can last a lifetime! Ibn Battuta also organizes informative and career-focused activities. Our informative activities, such as lectures, In-Housedays and the Career Day will help you to orient on your future.
https://www.ibnbattuta.nl/
Read more
Student profile

Islands and Sustainability is suitable for people with a background in geography, environmental sciences, regional development and planning, social sciences, policy planning, international relations and tourism.