After completion the student is able to:
- translate a relevant issue in the field of sustainable development into a research question, based upon the state of art in the scientific literature;
- elaborate a research strategy, using existing theories and methodologies;
- develop a research plan, choosing and justifying appropriate methodologies for data collection;
- conduct the empirical work needed and analyse the collected data;
- interpret the finding in the light of the existing scientific literature;
- write a scientific report about the findings;
- orally present the findings to an audience of both specialists and non-specialists;
- conduct a full research cycle showing adequate autonomy, creativity, time management and cooperation with supervisors.
The Master’s thesis is the final research project in which the student will show that he/she is able to conduct independent research, in which new methods are developed and/or applied or existing methods are applied to a new problem. The research should be relevant from both a scientific point of view (it should expand the body of scientific knowledge) and a societal point of view (it should produce knowledge that can contribute to a better understanding or the solution of a problem). Learning-by-doing is part of the project. The student is encouraged to attend conferences and Copernicus-seminars etc. that are relevant or related to the research work.
Extensive and important information on the procedure (attending presentations, approval, supervision, handing in, presenting, assessment etc.) can be found in the Master’s thesis course manual.
The student proves his specialist knowledge of an issue related to his track and/or one of the other environmental themes of the research programme of the Copernicus Institute or International Development Studies and his mastering of the relevant research methods. The Master’s thesis is the optimal preparation for a further research career as PhD-student at a university or as a research-worker in a company, research institute or other organisation. The thesis can be based on the wide variety of research methods that are taught in the various courses of the Master’s programme. Whereas the work is generally not expected to be experimental in character, it should not be ruled out that experimental work may be part of the research project.
The research may be carried out at Dutch or foreign university departments, but also (partly) at research institutes, consultancy firms, or government agency, etc. (provided that the work has an acknowledged scientific status).
The students need to motivate their choice for either a 30 EC or 45 EC thesis (GEO4-2321 whether or not in combination with GEO4-2322) and this motivation needs to be approved by the supervisor.
At least 60 EC passed within the programme, including:
- Perspectives on SD (GEO4-2301)
- Sustainability Modelling & Indicators (GEO4-2331)
- Research Design (GEO4-2314)
For track E&M:
- at least two track-specific courses of which 1 methods course (at least 15 EC in total). These are specified per track:
And 1 out of 3:
- Tools for E&M Analysis (GEO4-2326)
For track ECE:
- Sustainable Energy Supply (GEO4-2312)
- Energy & Materials Efficiency (GEO4-2324)
- Policies for E&M Transitions (GEO4-2311)
For track ESG:
- Environmental Systems Analysis (GEO4-2303), and
- Environmental Change Theories (GEO4-2310)
And 1 out of 2:
- Research Strategies ESG (GEO4-2304)
For track ID:
- Policy Analysis or Foundations of ESG Research (GEO4-2306)
- Governance theories (GEO4-2332)
And 1 out of 2:
- Advanced M&T Development Studies (GEO4-3518)
Students in the SUSD-Joint Programme will need to have passed 60 EC, including one of the mobility tracks.
- Development Themes (GEO4-3510)
- Development Theories (GEO4-3505)