Master in Resource Economics and Sustainable Development

University of Bologna

Program Description

Master in Resource Economics and Sustainable Development

University of Bologna

Are you interested in tackling the environmental challenges of tomorrow and the issues of sustainable development?

We will offer you a solid preparation in environmental economics, a critical understanding of the issues involved in sustainable development both from a theoretical and practical perspective and of the complex interactions between economic decisions, market forces, governmental policies and the environment.

Programme objectives

RESD graduates will be able to critically evaluate the qualitative and quantitative implications of environmental policies and to autonomously produce, research and forecast concerning the evolution of markets for natural resources and to contribute to the design, production, and marketing of products compatible with the sustainability of natural resources.

RESD courses will provide an in-depth analysis of natural resources, taking into account the institutional setup of markets and the competitive strategies of firms.


The Paris Climate Agreement reached during COP21 last December 2015 reinforced the objective of keeping global temperature rise well below 2 C - and even further to 1.5 C above pre-industrial levels. According to the Copenhagen-based European Environment Agency (EEA), Europe has improved air and water quality, cut greenhouse gas emissions and improved waste recycling and waste management practices in recent years.

But new, more courageous policies have to be implemented by the European Union to reach the ambitious goals of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% compared with 1990 levels by 2030, and by 80-95% by 2050. Moreover, by 2030 the European Union aims to increase energy efficiency by at least 27% and to increase the share of consumption from renewable energy sources to at least 27%.

The European Commission has estimated that the long-term shift to a greener, low-carbon economy by 2050 will require investments of an extra 270 billion euros a year (1.5 percent of EU gross domestic product). These investments, together with national policies and investments aim at turning Europe into a low-carbon and highly energy efficient economy and will boost the economy, create jobs and strengthen the countries’ competitiveness.

Environmental economists with a strong background in economics and management, able to interact with engineers and chemists, thus with an interdisciplinary educational background, will play a crucial role in this process. This is the profile of RESD graduates, who are able to employ tools and standard methods in economics and management to environmental and resources related issues.

The main fields in which the environmental economist can be involved are the followings:

Waste management will become an ever-important regulatory function at the local level. Agencies that manage waste both in Italy and in other European countries are facing increasing legislative and legal actions. Some of these agencies have sophisticated staff structures that employ environmental economists along with the usual unit of planners, and accountants.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) refers to companies that take responsibility for their impact on society. Empirical evidence suggests that CSR is increasingly important for firms’ competitiveness. In 2014 the European Parliament ruled that disclosure of information on environmental, labor and human rights impact becomes mandatory for large companies. This will further the diffusion of CSR practices and enlarge CSR units in companies.

Environmental protection/natural resource economics, such as the introduction of environmentally friendly processes and practices within the local area to safeguard the economic sustainability of the businesses against rising expectations and the awareness of local inhabitants and companies for environmentally friendly behavior is commonly conducted by both, local governments and private enterprises; these activities necessitate of decision-makers with the knowledge of decision-making tools and environmental valuation methods.

Environmental and eco-innovation consulting has become a lucrative field and today some of the larger firms are hiring environmental economists. In some cases, an environmental economist can have an impact on the planning outcome and on project mitigation where some development features have an adverse environmental impact. Moreover, in several situations, eco-innovation and firms redesigning of their production process require a careful life-cycle assessment of products.

Project management/Strategic planning specialist/Urban economist opportunities arise for environmental economists within some of the international agencies such as World Bank and its subsidiaries; some other opportunities lie in far-off units of the non-profit world (conservation organizations and NGOs).

Food and agricultural economics is one area where sustainability issues of practices related to food safety, crop fertilization and food production are of strategic importance and environmental and resource economists will play a crucial role in this field.

Energy economics and policy: An Energy Economist plays a crucial role in the area of energy- economy-environment. S/he provides authoritative and objective information on supply and use of energy and highlights the opportunities and risks in today’s energy world.

Climate Change: Both industrialized and developing countries are increasingly focusing on the need for mitigation and adaptation strategies in relation to climate change. This course aims to present, discuss and analyze different perspectives on global environmental change in general, and climate change, in particular. It covers themes such as (1) the vulnerability of communities in different parts of the world to the combined impacts of environmental and non-environmental stress, (2) international, regional and national adaptation policies, (3) interlinkages between environmental change mitigation and adaptation.

Access requirements

To be able to profitably follow the 2nd CycleDegree Programme in Resource Economics and Sustainable Development, students must possess the following knowledge:

- English language (B2 level).

Admission to the 2nd cycle degree program is also subject to the possession of the following curricular requirements:

  • A 1st cycle degree in one of the following classes, or other suitable qualification obtained abroad::

- ex Italian Ministerial Decree no. 270:

L-13 Biological Sciences

L-18 Economics Sciences and Business administration

L-21 Town, regional and environmental planning

L-25 Agriculture and Forestry

L-27 Chemical Sciences

L-29 Pharmaceutical Sciences and technologies

L-32Environmentale and natural technologies

L-33 EconomicSciences

L-36 Political Sciences and international relations

L-41 Statistics

L-43 Conservation and restoration of cultural heritage

- ex. Italian Ministerial Decree no. 509/99 :

classe 7 (Town, regional and environmental planning)

classe 12 (Biological Sciences)

classe 15 (Political Sciences and international relations)

classe17 (Economics Sciences and Business administration)

classe 20 (Agriculture, food industry and forestry)

classe 21 (Chemical Sciences)

classe 24 (Pharmaceutical Sciences and technologies)

classe 27 (Environmental and natural technologies)

classe 28(Economic Sciences)

classe 37(Statistics)

classe 41 (Technologies for conservation and restoration of cultural assets)

  • Previous four-year degree programme system:

4-year degree achieved in any Faculty ofEconomics or other qualification with the same legal value

  • Three-year university degree :

D. U. achieved in any Faculty of Economics or other qualification with the same legal value.

If no degree certificate and/or above-mentioned credits have been obtained, admission to the 2nd Cycle Degree Programme is subject to the assessment by a Board to ascertain the required skills and competencies through the evaluation of the candidate's curriculum and any other useful documents.

The Board, appointed by the Degree Council, will schedule deadlines for intakes from February through December. The schedule will be published on the University of Bologna website.

If the Board considers the candidates' level of knowledge and skills to be satisfactory, graduates will be allowed to enroll in a test to assess their personal competencies and skills as follows.

Assessment of knowledge and language skills

Admission to the degree program is subject to the assessment of knowledge and skills in the English language, attested withB2 level certification.

Students holding: a corresponding language certification, graduates in a degree program taught in English, English native speakers and graduates in English language and literature and equivalent, and graduates with a minimum of 30 cfu in the transcript of records, for teaching activities taught in English may be exempted from sitting this exam.

The Degree Program may require students to recover any initial deficit by December 31, if they are assessed to below levelB2 on admission.

Assessment of personal competencies and skills

Admission to the 2nd Cycle Degree Programme is subject to the possession of the described curricular requirements and to the passing of a test to assess the students' personal competencies and skills, which will be done as follows:

- The assessment of the candidate's curriculum, the evaluation of the previous degree, motivation letter and any other useful documents that the candidate may submit to the previous mentioned Board.

Second Cycle Degree Programmes may include a specific session for international students, appointing a Board to assess personal competencies and skills, compatible with the schedule laid down in the call for applications for study grants (the deadline of which is indicatively in May).

International students who pass the above-mentioned entrance exam are exonerated from the following assessment of their personal competencies and skills required for students generally.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated March 27, 2018
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Oct. 2019
Full time
Fees are per year. Exemption or reduction according to family income.
Italy - Rimini, Emilia-Romagna
Start date : Oct. 2019
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Oct. 2019
Italy - Rimini, Emilia-Romagna
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info