The existing economic system is based on the "take, make and dispose of" approach powered mostly by fossil fuels. The assumption is that increasing economic growth produces so much surplus that arising adverse environmental impacts could be dealt with.
However, the system keeps growing only if there are enough resources for transformation, sinks for waste, credit for investments and economic growth.
The circular economy offers an alternative. It aims to keep products, components and materials at their highest utility and value. It aims to decouple economic growth from the consumption of finite resources by closing the loop of product life cycles. The system in which materials are transformed into useful goods and services endlessly is powered by renewable energy systems.
In this Master's programme, you will learn how to replace goods with services if it is more efficient and better for the environment. For example, information technology can offer us access to products and assets which can be utilised to create these solutions.
Another essential circular economy aspect is the inclusion of social capital. You will learn to create sharing economy solutions which are based on the abilities of individuals and communities.
In addition, you will learn how a bio-based materials economy may help us produce systems without waste. In a circular economy, the role of business is central, and therefore, you will also learn how business can create new business models based on the circular economy approach.
The Master's Programme in Circular Economy is offered by LUT University on the Lahti Campus. The programme's face-to-face contact instruction mainly consists of intensive periods in Lahti on Thursdays and Fridays. This Master's programme is also well suited for people already in the working world in Finland or abroad.
Intended learning outcomes
Improving resource efficiency is an important step towards a circular economy.
A circular economy is a regenerative system which aims to keep products, components and materials at their highest utility and value while minimising waste, emissions and energy use by slowing down, closing and narrowing material and energy loops. Its purpose is to decouple economic growth from the consumption of finite resources.
In this Master's programme, you will learn how to improve resource efficiency to promote the circular economy, including issues such as design to recover materials, design for disassembly, design for cleaner material flows and design for remanufacturing. This all can decrease waste and reduce energy use.
The Master's programme prepares you to work as a professional in the circular economy in a wide range of jobs focusing primarily on sustainable business and production.
You will learn how a circular economy can provide added value to companies, how material cycles can be created to be more effective, how a sharing economy can be applied and how individuals and communities can give added value to solutions.
You will be able to:
- understand the necessity of a circular economy;
- understand the requirements of a systematic change;
- apply theories to enable the shift from a linear model to a circular economy;
- apply theories based on the circular economy approach to design more sustainable products;
- apply theories to integrate a sharing economy into a society;
- recognise the most significant environmental impacts of products and processes and their importance in terms of business;
- assess the technical possibilities of industrial, service, community, and primary production processes and systems to minimise environmental impacts;
- explain the complex interdependencies of both local and global environmental problems;
- adopt and innovate new technical solutions to develop the environmental sector.
Degree structure and studies
The Master's Programme in Circular Economy is a two-year programme. It leads to the degree of Master of Science in Technology, M.Sc. (Tech.), which is 120 ECTS credits.
The programme includes core, specialisation, minor and elective studies.
Core studies (28-34 ECTS credits) deal with an introduction to the circular economy, challenges of sustainability, and the food-energy-water nexus.
Specialisation studies (59 ECTS credits) deal with sustainability science and individual sectors of the circular economy, such as the biological and technical cycle in a circular economy, transportation, and solid waste management technology.
The Master's thesis, 30 ECTS credits, is a part of specialisation studies. The thesis is an advanced research project, which requires approximately six months of full-time work. Students complete it during their fourth semester.
Minor studies (minimum of 20 ECTS credits) can be selected from any minor subjects offered by LUT Master's programmes. Minor studies in Energy Technology or Industrial Engineering and Management are recommended.
Elective studies recommended for the programme are e.g. Advanced Course in LCA (7 ECTS credits), Air Pollution Control (6 ECTS credits), Introduction to Business and Sustainability (3 ECTS credits), or Business and Sustainability (6 ECTS credits).
After completing the studies, you will have good competencies to work in international and multidisciplinary environments.
As a graduate, you may find employment in industry, consultancy, regulatory agencies, and governmental and non-governmental organisations, where growing interest in sustainability has created new employment opportunities.
Typical jobs for graduates from this programme:
- environmental specialist in consulting companies
- sustainability specialist in product development
- sustainability specialist in urban planning
- environmental manager in industrial enterprises
- environmental officer for government authorities
- sustainability specialist in the construction industry
- environmental and safety specialist in the industry
- researcher in a research institute
- municipal environmental manager
You will also have a firm basis to continue your studies in doctoral programmes.
How to Apply
Interested in applying to the Master's Programme in Circular Economy?
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You can apply to this Master's programme through either the rolling or the regular admission process:
- Regular admission: 2 December 2019-22 January 2020
- Rolling admission: 1 October 2019-31 May 2020