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.
Students taking part of the Track Islands and Sustainability do (continuous) reading and debating of Islands and Sustainability literature, while they also partake in three distinct Islands and Sustainability research experiences. They start with Joint Multidisciplinary Research Project involving the international Wadden area. Next, they do a research internship at an island of 15 ECTS. They end their two year study with a 30 ECTS Master thesis related to islands and sustainability which commonly involves on-site empirical island research.