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EducationMaster's and PhD degree programmesIslands and Sustainability
Header image Islands and Sustainability

Islands and Sustainability

Islands and Sustainability is a track within the Research Master in Spatial Sciences. It combines thorough training in scientific research with a thematic specialization on Islands and Sustainability.

Islands are relatively isolated and ‘on their own’ compared to other areas. Islands as a society often have unique social strengths and yet they are also more fragile and dependent compared to mainland areas. Sustainability is particularly challenging for islands. They face economic and social development problems related to (small) scale and (limited) connectivity while also being confronted with environmental issues due to climate change and sea level rise. Furthermore, islands are among the most appreciated recreational and touristic areas, underlining their importance to urban well-being.

Islands thus provide unique sustainability laboratories and allow for seeing the big picture of complex globalization-fueled spatial transformations in a small place. From a spatial science perspective this makes islands ideal cases for studying sustainability in a wider sense.

Being part of the regular Research Master in Spatial Sciences, the programme provides a thorough and multi-faceted training of research skills for social science and environmental research. It includes Individual Research Training by senior staff, training to work in multi-disciplinary research group, it involves taking a series of qualitative, quantitative and multi-method courses, as well courses on Scientific Reading Debating and Reflecting, Scientific English Writing and Research Process.

Uniquely for the track Islands and Sustainability is that students do (continuous) reading and debating of Islands and Sustainability literature, while they also partake in three distinct Islands and Sustainability research experiences at (generally) three different islands or groups of islands. Students start with Joint Multidisciplinary Research Project involving the international Wadden area in the Netherlands and Germany together with our partner the Wadden Academy. Next, they do a research internship at an island of 15 ECTS. Generally this will take place with one of our partner institutes on for instance Malta, Lesvos (Greece) or Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Spain). See our partner page for the full list of partners. They end their two years of study with a 30 ECTS Master thesis related to islands and sustainability which commonly involves on-site empirical island research in cooperation with one of our partners.

Facts & Figures
Degree
MSc in Spatial Sciences (research)
Course type
Master
Duration
24 months (120 ECTS)
Croho code
60660
Language of instruction
English
Start
February, September
Faculty
Spatial Sciences
Why study this programme in Groningen?

› The research master in Spatial Sciences is a top rated master programme (Keuzegids 2018)

  • It is an ideal grounding for a PhD programme
  • You will do fieldwork and evidence-based research
  • You have the opportunity to study or do research abroad
  • The track 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
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 English Writing (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

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
  • IELTS overall band 6.5, no less than 6.0 on each section
  • TOEFL internet based 90, no less than 21 on each section
  • Cambridge English: Cambridge certificate C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency (formerly known as CAE/CPE)
  • University of Groningen LCET: Minimum section scores C2 or C1 (one B2 allowed) See: https://www.rug.nl/language-centre/testing-unit/english-lcet/
  • Please note that TOEFL MyBest Scores are not considered in the Admissions procedure
  • An exemption can be given by the Admission Board.
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.

written request

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).

Transfer options

Study programmeOrganizationTransition
Human Geography & 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 7.0, for Bachelor thesis of at least 7.5.

grade listNo further information
language test
  • IELTS overall band 6.5, no less than 6.0 on each section
  • TOEFL internet based 90, no less than 21 on each section
  • Cambridge English: Cambridge certificate C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency (formerly known as CAE/CPE)
  • University of Groningen LCET: Minimum section scores C2 or C1 (one B2 allowed) See: https://www.rug.nl/language-centre/testing-unit/english-lcet/
  • Please note that TOEFL MyBest Scores are not considered in the Admissions procedure
  • An exemption can be given by the Admission Board.
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 letterNo further information
written request

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 students15 January 202001 February 2020
15 August 202001 September 2020
EU/EEA students01 May 202001 September 2020
non-EU/EEA students01 May 202001 September 2020
Tuition fees
NationalityYearFeeProgramme form
EU/EEA2019-2020€ 2083full-time
non-EU/EEA2019-2020€ 14650full-time
EU/EEA2020-2021€ 2143full-time

Practical information for:

After your studies

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.

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.

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Contact

If you want to know more about the programme Islands and Sustainability, please contact:

  • Onderwijsvoorlichting
    Email: studiekiezers rug.nl
    Telephone: 050-3639011
  • Drs. Nienke Harteveld (Study advisor)
    Email: study.advice.fss rug.nl
    Telephone: 0503633906
  • Saskia Enuma (Study advisor)
    Email: study.advice.fss rug.nl
    Telephone: 0503633906
Student profile

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