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Education Master's and PhD degree programmes Sustainability Management and Controlling profile
Header image Sustainability Management and Controlling profile

Sustainability Management and Controlling profile

Choose the sustainability management and controlling profile in Groningen to learn how to integrate sustainability factors into financial analyses and contribute to socially responsible business practices.

How can sustainability controllers support top management to develop and implement sustainability goals? How can you ensure a continuous pursuit of innovative and sustainable business models? How can you report on sustainability achievements?

As sustainability is becoming increasingly important, over 50,000 companies operating in the Eurozone are required to report on their sustainable practices starting in 2024. The demand for experts in sustainability within the realms of business and society has never been higher. As of September 2024, you can fill this gap by choosing to study the new profile Sustainability Management and Controlling of the MSc Accountancy and Controlling.

The programme will teach you about sustainability management and governance, within the context of financial accounting, management accounting and accountancy. This is a unique opportunity to develop a solid background in the three fields and be trained to navigate challenges businesses face today and in the future.

You will focus on three main components:

  • Environmental sustainability : apply different reporting frameworks (GRI, IIRC, SASB, and EFRAG) to evaluate and compare sustainability performance.
  • Sustainability governance : understand the legal and ethical responsibilities associated with sustainability reporting, including financial disclosure obligations.
  • Social sustainability : create sustainable control practices that integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion into the organizational cycles of planning and control.

As a graduate, you will have the tools and knowledge necessary to actively contribute to a more sustainable society through sound management accounting and reporting practices for businesses. You can take the following career paths: a corporate sustainability controller and manager, a sustainability consultant and auditor, and a chief sustainability officer in the long run.

Facts & Figures
Degree
MSc in M Accountancy and Controlling
Course type
Master
Duration
12 months (60 ECTS)
Croho code
60643
Language of instruction
English
Start
February, September
Faculty
Economics and Business
Why study this programme in Groningen?
  • The demand for controllers and accountants with knowledge about sustainable practices has increased tremendously in recent years. A few competences and skills that set our graduates apart are: critical thinking, problem-solving, creative thinking, initiative and self-direction.

  • The programme prepares you for a role as a controller or an accountancy-related specialist in today's rapidly changing world, where significant advancements in information technology and a growing focus on sustainability are reshaping business practices. Your expertise will be in high demand as you navigate this dynamic landscape and make a positive impact on businesses.

  • This specialization will give you a unique profile in the Netherlands that has been developed in the context of societal sustainability challenges.

  • The Master's programme in Groningen is taught in part by practitioners with practical work experience, it is fast-paced and you will be studying among students who have a background in accounting.

  • The programme has a very active community, FSG, which is run by students for students. With over 1800 members, there is an activity for everyone from socials to get to know your classmates to career activities where you can meet your future employer.

  • Continue with a second Master's degree in Groningen and become a registered controller. â–ºhttps://www.rug.nl/feb/emfc

  • The programme has been internationally accredited by the AACSB and EQUIS, ensuring a high-quality education, which only 1% of universities reach worldwide.

Programme

Your programme starts with a course about sustainability control and management. You will get an introduction to principles and operational methodologies for managing and controlling organizational transformations towards sustainability. In each teaching term, you select one elective course among an array of courses. Further on in your programme, you will take a course that focuses on the impact of big data and data-driven technological innovations on the organization. Simultaneously, you will take a course that prepares you to make a successful start on your graduate thesis. Many different topics are possible; past topics include: do chief sustainability officers reduce opportunistic behaviour? The effect of chief sustainability officers on greenwashing And: How can you measure the environmental burden of the chemical industries?

As you work on your thesis, you can take two additional courses to complete your programme. One example is the mandatory course Corporate and Sustainability Reporting in which you will get acquainted with sustainable reporting practices and challenges.

In summary in this profile, you will learn:

  • how to steer organizational transformations towards sustainability;
  • delve deep into the integration of sustainability principles, policies, and reporting mechanisms within organizational frameworks;
  • and cultivate the skills necessary to strategically deploy reporting and management control methodologies to both advocate for and evaluate ethically sound and sustainable business practices.

Once you graduate, you will be ready to play a pivotal role in fostering sustainable development and addressing pressing global challenges.

Semesters
Courses1a1b2a2b
Foundations of Sustainable Entrepreneurship (5 EC, optional)
Management Accounting Change (5 EC, optional)
Management Accounting Techniques (5 EC)
Sustainability: Strategy, Innovation & Change (5 EC, optional)
Sustainability Control and Management (5 EC)
Data-driven Control (5 EC)
Research in Accounting, Controlling and Sustainability (5 EC)
Sustainability in Business and Economics (5 EC, optional)
Sustainable Energy Supply (5 EC, optional)
Energy Transition & Innovation (5 EC, optional)
Global Supply Chain Management & Sustainability (5 EC, optional)
Stress, Health and Sustainable Working Life (5 EC, optional)
Master's Thesis Sustainability Controlling & Management (20 EC)
Corporate & Sustainability Reporting (5 EC)
Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Sustainability (5 EC, optional)
Sustainability in Global Value Chains (5 EC, optional)
Programme options
Energy Transition and Climate Change Focus Area (specialization)

Focus on the serious changes within the energy sector by dealing with issues such as how firms adapt to renewable energy, how the higher taxes are managed during this transition and how to deal with the weather dependent production of energy systems. Gain the knowledge and skills to shape a sustainable future in this evolving energy sector.

More information about this option

Healthy Society Focus Area (specialization)

Focus on tackling problems that impact healthcare providers and their societal partners in their day-to-day work. Issues such as scarce human resources combined with a higher, more complex demand for care, and more demanding citizens require solutions, which you will think about and design.

More information about this option

Digitalization and Artificial Intelligence Focus Area (specialization)

Focus on the digital transformation within our society and understand how to successfully implement digital transformation in business. A successful digital transition allows businesses to conquer markets, witness industries converging, and step into the realm of winner-takes-all dynamics, like dominating tech-giants like Google and Facebook.

More information about this option

Double Degree Master International Business and Finance (Shanghai) (specialization)

Are you interested in an international career in or involving China?

Study in Shanghai after your FEB Master's programme in Groningen and gain first-hand knowledge and experience of China and the economy, finance and culture.

More information about this option

Master Internship (specialization)

Opportunity to gain work experience by doing an internship in the second semester of your study.

You will be rewarded 15 ECTS on top of your programme. Your thesis will be postponed to the third semester.

More information about this option

Study abroad

  • Study abroad is unaccommodated

A study exchange semester is not included in the one-year programme. If you wish to spend a semester abroad, you must extend the study period by one additional semester. Please discuss this with the programme coordinator as study exchanges are not arranged by the MSc A&C programme. You would need to arrange the exchange independently. If you choose to apply for the Double degree master Chinese Economy and Finance and are selected, then you can spend one year abroad in Shanghai.

Entry requirements

Transfer options

Transferring from...

Study programmeOrganizationTransition
All Universities of applied sciences

Via a pre-master with a maximum of 60 EC

More information:

Non-standard Pre-Master For students who acquired a HBO diploma in Business Economics, a HBO Finance & Control or a diploma HBO AC without the Overall Test (OAT). Standard Pre-Master For all other HBO diplomas, a standard Pre-Master is offered. For more information: https://www.rug.nl/feb/premaster

AccountancyAll Universities of applied sciences

Via a pre-master with a maximum of 30 EC

More information:

For HBO Accountancy graduates (30 ECTS) The accelerated programme is available for students who acquired a HBO diploma in Accountancy. A necessary requirement to be admitted to the programme is that you have passed the Overall Exam. For more information: https://www.rug.nl/feb/premaster

Study programmeOrganizationTransition
Economics and Business EconomicsRadboud University Nijmegen

Via a pre-master with a maximum of 30 EC

More information:

You might be asked to complete a tailor-made Pre-Master's programme. Every application will be reviewed individually by the Admissions board so the admission decision may differ from the indication in this table.

Business AdministrationRadboud University Nijmegen

Via a pre-master with a maximum of 30 EC

More information:

You might be asked to complete a tailor-made Pre-Master's programme. Every application will be reviewed individually by the Admissions board so the admission decision may differ from the indication in this table.

Study programmeOrganizationTransition
SociologyUniversity of Groningen

Via a pre-master

More information:

You need to first complete a Pre-Master's programme. For information about the Pre-MSc application and entry requirements, please check https://www.rug.nl/feb/premaster.

Bedrijfskunde - Technology ManagementUniversity of Groningen

Additional requirements

More information:

For students who follow the profile Technology Management: you need to complete the minor in Management Control If you do not have a minor in Management Control, please contact the study study advisors: https://www.rug.nl/feb/studyadvisors

Industrial Engineering and ManagementUniversity of Groningen

Via a pre-master

More information:

You need to first complete a Pre-Master's programme. For information about the Pre-MSc application and entry requirements, please check https://www.rug.nl/feb/premaster.

Bedrijfskunde - Accountancy and ControllingUniversity of Groningen

No additional requirements

More information:

For students who follow the profile Accountancy and Controlling, there are no additional requirements.

Psychology (NL)University of Groningen

Via a pre-master

More information:

You need to first complete a Pre-Master's programme. For information about the Pre-MSc application and entry requirements, please check https://www.rug.nl/feb/premaster.

Econometrics and Operations ResearchUniversity of Groningen

Via a pre-master

More information:

You need to first complete a Pre-Master's programme. For information about the Pre-MSc application and entry requirements, please check https://www.rug.nl/feb/premaster.

Economics and Business EconomicsUniversity of Groningen

Additional requirements

More information:

You need to complete the minor in Management Control If you do not have a minor in Management Control, please contact the study study advisors: https://www.rug.nl/feb/studyadvisors

Bedrijfskunde - Business and ManagementUniversity of Groningen

Additional requirements

More information:

For students who follow the profile Business and Management: you need to complete the minor in Management Control If you do not have a minor in Management Control, please contact the study study advisors: https://www.rug.nl/feb/studyadvisors

International BusinessUniversity of Groningen

Additional requirements

More information:

In addition to your BSc programme, you will need to complete a set of (extra) courses. For information, please contact the study advisors: https://www.rug.nl/feb/studyadvisors

Study programmeOrganizationTransition
International Business AdministrationVU University Amsterdam

Via a pre-master with a maximum of 30 EC

More information:

You might be asked to complete a tailor-made Pre-Master's programme. Every application will be reviewed individually by the Admissions board so the admission decision may differ from the indication in this table.

Business AdministrationVU University Amsterdam

Via a pre-master with a maximum of 30 EC

More information:

You might be asked to complete a tailor-made Pre-Master's programme. Every application will be reviewed individually by the Admissions board so the admission decision may differ from the indication in this table.

Business AnalyticsVU University Amsterdam

Via a pre-master with a maximum of 60 EC

More information:

You need to first complete the 60 EC Pre-Master's programme. For information about the Pre-MSc application and entry requirements, please check https://www.rug.nl/feb/premaster.

Economics and Business EconomicsVU University Amsterdam

Via a pre-master with a maximum of 30 EC

More information:

You might be asked to complete a tailor-made Pre-Master's programme. Every application will be reviewed individually by the Admissions board so the admission decision may differ from the indication in this table.

Econometrics and Operations ResearchVU University Amsterdam

Via a pre-master with a maximum of 60 EC

More information:

You need to first complete the 60 EC Pre-Master's programme. For information about the Pre-MSc application and entry requirements, please check https://www.rug.nl/feb/premaster.

Study programmeOrganizationTransition
Actuarial ScienceUniversity of Amsterdam

Via a pre-master with a maximum of 60 EC

More information:

You need to first complete the 60 EC Pre-Master's programme. For information about the Pre-MSc application and entry requirements, please check https://www.rug.nl/feb/premaster.

Business AnalyticsUniversity of Amsterdam

Via a pre-master with a maximum of 60 EC

More information:

You need to first complete the 60 EC Pre-Master's programme. For information about the Pre-MSc application and entry requirements, please check https://www.rug.nl/feb/premaster.

Econometrics and Data ScienceUniversity of Amsterdam

Via a pre-master with a maximum of 60 EC

More information:

You need to first complete the 60 EC Pre-Master's programme. For information about the Pre-MSc application and entry requirements, please check https://www.rug.nl/feb/premaster.

Fiscale EconomieUniversity of Amsterdam

Via a pre-master with a maximum of 60 EC

More information:

You need to first complete the 60 EC Pre-Master's programme. For information about the Pre-MSc application and entry requirements, please check https://www.rug.nl/feb/premaster.

Business AdministrationUniversity of Amsterdam

Via a pre-master with a maximum of 30 EC

More information:

You might be asked to complete a tailor-made Pre-Master's programme. Every application will be reviewed individually by the Admissions board so the admission decision may differ from the indication in this table.

Economics and Business EconomicsUniversity of Amsterdam

Via a pre-master with a maximum of 30 EC

More information:

You might be asked to complete a tailor-made Pre-Master's programme. Every application will be reviewed individually by the Admissions board so the admission decision may differ from the indication in this table.

Study programmeOrganizationTransition
Business AnalyticsMaastricht University

Via a pre-master with a maximum of 60 EC

More information:

You need to first complete the 60 EC Pre-Master's programme. For information about the Pre-MSc application and entry requirements, please check https://www.rug.nl/feb/premaster.

Global StudiesMaastricht University

Via a pre-master with a maximum of 60 EC

More information:

You need to first complete the 60 EC Pre-Master's programme. For information about the Pre-MSc application and entry requirements, please check https://www.rug.nl/feb/premaster.

Business EngineeringMaastricht University

Via a pre-master with a maximum of 60 EC

More information:

You need to first complete the 60 EC Pre-Master's programme. For information about the Pre-MSc application and entry requirements, please check https://www.rug.nl/feb/premaster.

Econometrics and Operations ResearchMaastricht University

Via a pre-master with a maximum of 60 EC

More information:

You need to first complete the 60 EC Pre-Master's programme. For information about the Pre-MSc application and entry requirements, please check https://www.rug.nl/feb/premaster.

Fiscale EconomieMaastricht University

Via a pre-master with a maximum of 60 EC

More information:

You need to first complete the 60 EC Pre-Master's programme. For information about the Pre-MSc application and entry requirements, please check https://www.rug.nl/feb/premaster.

International BusinessMaastricht University

Via a pre-master with a maximum of 30 EC

More information:

You might be asked to complete a tailor-made Pre-Master's programme. Every application will be reviewed individually by the Admissions board so the admission decision may differ from the indication in this table.

Economics and Business EconomicsMaastricht University

Via a pre-master with a maximum of 30 EC

More information:

You might be asked to complete a tailor-made Pre-Master's programme. Every application will be reviewed individually by the Admissions board so the admission decision may differ from the indication in this table.

Study programmeOrganizationTransition
Business AdministrationErasmus University Rotterdam

Via a pre-master with a maximum of 30 EC

More information:

You might be asked to complete a tailor-made Pre-Master's programme. Every application will be reviewed individually by the Admissions board so the admission decision may differ from the indication in this table.

Economics and Business EconomicsErasmus University Rotterdam

Via a pre-master with a maximum of 30 EC

More information:

You might be asked to complete a tailor-made Pre-Master's programme. Every application will be reviewed individually by the Admissions board so the admission decision may differ from the indication in this table.

International Business AdministrationErasmus University Rotterdam

Via a pre-master with a maximum of 30 EC

More information:

You might be asked to complete a tailor-made Pre-Master's programme. Every application will be reviewed individually by the Admissions board so the admission decision may differ from the indication in this table.

Econometrics and Operations ResearchErasmus University Rotterdam

Via a pre-master with a maximum of 60 EC

More information:

You need to first complete the 60 EC Pre-Master's programme. For information about the Pre-MSc application and entry requirements, please check https://www.rug.nl/feb/premaster.

Fiscale EconomieErasmus University Rotterdam

Via a pre-master with a maximum of 60 EC

More information:

You need to first complete the 60 EC Pre-Master's programme. For information about the Pre-MSc application and entry requirements, please check https://www.rug.nl/feb/premaster.

Study programmeOrganizationTransition
Economics and GovernanceWageningen University

Via a pre-master with a maximum of 60 EC

More information:

You need to first complete the 60 EC Pre-Master's programme. For information about the Pre-MSc application and entry requirements, please check https://www.rug.nl/feb/premaster.

Management and Consumer StudiesWageningen University

Via a pre-master with a maximum of 60 EC

More information:

You need to first complete the 60 EC Pre-Master's programme. For information about the Pre-MSc application and entry requirements, please check https://www.rug.nl/feb/premaster.

Study programmeOrganizationTransition
AccountancyNyenrode New Business School

Via a pre-master with a maximum of 30 EC

More information:

You might be asked to complete a tailor-made Pre-Master's programme. Every application will be reviewed individually by the Admissions board so the admission decision may differ from the indication in this table.

Business AdministrationNyenrode New Business School

Via a pre-master with a maximum of 30 EC

More information:

You might be asked to complete a tailor-made Pre-Master's programme. Every application will be reviewed individually by the Admissions board so the admission decision may differ from the indication in this table.

Study programmeOrganizationTransition
International Business AdministrationUniversity of Twente

Via a pre-master with a maximum of 30 EC

More information:

You might be asked to complete a tailor-made Pre-Master's programme. Every application will be reviewed individually by the Admissions board so the admission decision may differ from the indication in this table.

Study programmeOrganizationTransition
International Business AdministrationTilburg University

Via a pre-master with a maximum of 30 EC

More information:

You might be asked to complete a tailor-made Pre-Master's programme. Every application will be reviewed individually by the Admissions board so the admission decision may differ from the indication in this table.

EconomicsTilburg University

Via a pre-master with a maximum of 30 EC

More information:

You might be asked to complete a tailor-made Pre-Master's programme. Every application will be reviewed individually by the Admissions board so the admission decision may differ from the indication in this table.

Econometrics and Operations ResearchTilburg University

Via a pre-master with a maximum of 60 EC

More information:

You need to first complete the 60 EC Pre-Master's programme. For information about the Pre-MSc application and entry requirements, please check https://www.rug.nl/feb/premaster.

Entrepreneurship and Business InnovationTilburg University

Via a pre-master with a maximum of 60 EC

More information:

You need to first complete the 60 EC Pre-Master's programme. For information about the Pre-MSc application and entry requirements, please check https://www.rug.nl/feb/premaster.

Fiscale EconomieTilburg University

Via a pre-master with a maximum of 60 EC

More information:

You need to first complete the 60 EC Pre-Master's programme. For information about the Pre-MSc application and entry requirements, please check https://www.rug.nl/feb/premaster.

Study programmeOrganizationTransition
Economics and Business EconomicsUtrecht University

Via a pre-master with a maximum of 30 EC

More information:

You might be asked to complete a tailor-made Pre-Master's programme. Every application will be reviewed individually by the Admissions board so the admission decision may differ from the indication in this table.

Study programmeOrganizationTransition
Computer ScienceLeiden University

Via a pre-master with a maximum of 60 EC

More information:

For students following the profile Computer Science & Economics: you need to first complete the 60 EC Pre-Master's programme. For information about the Pre-MSc application and entry requirements, please check https://www.rug.nl/feb/premaster.

Public Administration ScienceLeiden University

Via a pre-master with a maximum of 60 EC

More information:

For students following the profile Economics, Public Administration and management: you need to first complete the 60 EC Pre-Master's programme. For information about the Pre-MSc application and entry requirements, please check https://www.rug.nl/feb/premaster.

Admission requirements

Specific requirementsMore information
previous education

To be eligible for admission to this Master's, you need to hold an academic Bachelor's or Master's degree from a research university in the field of Business Economics or Business Administration with a specialization in Accountancy and Controlling; the content of the programme has to meet specific requirements; for instance, it needs to include courses in Accounting Internal Control.

Registration procedure

Students with a Dutch diploma can apply directly to Studielink. More information on the  steps to apply .

Application deadlines

Type of studentDeadlineStart course
Dutch students15 October 202401 February 2025
01 May 202501 September 2025
15 October 202501 February 2026
EU/EEA students15 October 202401 February 2025
01 May 202501 September 2025
15 October 202501 February 2026
non-EU/EEA students15 October 202401 February 2025
01 May 202501 September 2025
15 October 202501 February 2026

Admission requirements

Specific requirementsMore information
previous education

To be eligible for admission to this Master's, you need to hold an academic Bachelor's or Master's degree from a research university in the field of Business Economics or Business Administration with a specialisation in Accountancy and Controlling; the content of the programme has to meet specific requirements; for instance, it needs to include courses in Auditing and Accounting information systems (or Internal Control).

To assess whether your educational/academic background meets the specific programme requirements, we will consider the level and curriculum of your previous studies. For more information, please visit: https://www.rug.nl/feb/apply-msc.

If you have any questions concerning admission to this programme, please contact our Admissions Office: https://www.rug.nl/admissions.

certified competences

A GMAT/GRE test is required from all candidates who obtained their bachelor's degree from a university in a non-EU/EEA country. For specific scores and exemptions, please see https://www.rug.nl/feb/gmat-gre.

language test

IELTS Academic overall score 6.5 (Speaking 6, Writing 6.5); TOEFL internet-based overall score 90 (Speaking 20, Writing 24); Cambridge C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency (overall score 176, Speaking 169, Writing 176).

Registration procedure

Students have to apply via Studielink and the Progress Portal (replacing the previous system, Online Application System OAS) of the University of Groningen. After you apply for the programme of your choice, the Admissions Office will evaluate your educational background and assess your eligibility. Your application will be assessed on an individual basis. More information on how to apply.

Application deadlines

Type of studentDeadlineStart course
Dutch students15 October 202401 February 2025
01 May 202501 September 2025
15 October 202501 February 2026
EU/EEA students15 October 202401 February 2025
01 May 202501 September 2025
15 October 202501 February 2026
non-EU/EEA students15 October 202401 February 2025
01 May 202501 September 2025
15 October 202501 February 2026
Tuition fees
NationalityYearFeeProgramme form
EU/EEA2024-2025€ 2530full-time
non-EU/EEA2024-2025€ 20800full-time

Practical information for:

After your studies

As a graduate of this programme you will have a broad choice of employment opportunities such as: positions as controller sustainability in various industries, such as banking, production and services, or in non-profit organizations. You will prepare budgets and reports, assess investment proposals and design performance measurement systems which are related to sustainability subjects. You can also take the role of an auditor who checks the reports prepared by a controller. Our graduates are well-equipped to work at an accountancy firm as part of sustainability assurance teams. Last but not least you may want to consider a position as a consultant to advise other businesses and organizations.

As a controller, you may want to pursue a Chartered Management Accountant qualification (optional). You can follow the Executive Master of Finance and Control (EMFC). This part-time programme lasts two years, and – after completion – allows you to use the title Executive Master in Finance & Control and the Dutch equivalent 'registercontroller'.

As an auditor, you may want to follow the Executive Master of Accountancy (EMA). The direct admission to this programme depends on your prior education. The effective teaching period of the programme is one and a half years and is combined with a three-year practical internship at an auditing firm. On completion, you can use the title Executive Master and the Dutch qualification of 'registeraccountant'.

Job examples

  • Financial controller sustainability
  • Financial controller - sustainable manager
  • ESG controller
  • Auditor climate change and sustainability
  • Consultant sustainability
  • Strategy and ESG consultant for SME's
Research

Linking education to research and career preparation

Your courses are taught by a mix of practitioners, bringing a wealth of practical experience, and academics. The latter are engaged in cutting-edge research in your field and bring the newest insights. For example, their projects include:

  • Connecting the Dots: Do Financial Analysts Help Corporate Boards Improve Corporate Social Responsibility?
  • How social imbalance and governance quality shape policy directives for energy transition in the OECD countries?
  • Board gender composition and waste management: Cross-country evidence.

The scope of research is wide, so there are bound to be domains that will particularly interest you. Many courses like sustainability controlling and management are designed to provide you with important practical and research insights.