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.