MSc Economics and Business - Specialisation in Economics of Sustainability
Erasmus School of Economics - Erasmus University Rotterdam
EUR 2,314 / per year **
01 May 2024*
Earliest start date
* EEA students: 1 May, non-EEA students: 1 April
** statutory fee: dutch / EEA students; institutional fee: dutch / EEA students: € 12.600; non-EEA students: € 16.100
This programme introduces students to what sustainable development is and how economic systems can both support and hinder the Sustainable Development Goals. It is unique because it offers a multi-perspective approach and combines scientific and practical knowledge. By combining the expertise of many Erasmus School of Economics’ high-level researchers, representing a wide set of economic specialisations, the school provides you with the knowledge and skills to understand the complexity behind the SDGs. As we work with external stakeholders like several ministries and Clingendael, this knowledge is directly applied to real-world cases like climate change, migration, health ageing and inequality.
What does this study entail?
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN are challenging and ambitious. How can economics help to reach these goals? How to protect the natural richness of our planet while at the same time supporting economic development? How to decrease socioeconomic inequalities in labour, housing or other markets without creating extensive bureaucracy or violating individual human rights? How to create a cost-effective public health system that divides the costs and benefits equally across society?
In this master's specialisation, students are introduced to what sustainable development is and how economic systems can both support and hinder SDGs.
Worldwide, multiple master programmes in economics delve into either environmental economics, urban economics, education economics, health economics or labour economics. For some societal issues, this single-perspective approach might be sufficient to analyse the causes and consequences. However, for many SDGs, a complex combination of knowledge is necessary to understand the challenges and develop policy interventions, considering both short- and long-term effects, the variety of intervention levels needed and the interconnectedness with other SDGs. This master specialisation combines these elements and thus is unique compared with other masters.
At the end of the course, students are able to:
- Describe the complexity of the SDGs in terms of timeframes, levels of intervention and the intertwining with other SDGs
- Analyse the variety of economic perspectives necessary to understand the SDGs
- Have in-depth knowledge of which economic policy possibilities are present to achieve the SDGs
- Analyse costs and benefits of possible economic policy interventions, including timing effects, levels of interventions and ripple effects
Why study Economics of Sustainability in Rotterdam?
The reason why we were able to build such a unique master programme is because Erasmus School of Economics has a large faculty of high-level experts, representing a wide set of economic specialisations. By combining their expertise, this faculty will provide you with the knowledge and skills to understand the complexity behind the SDGs.
Furthermore, thanks to the school’s leadership in providing economic expertise to external organisations, the programme will not only include our own academic experts but also experts working in policy development and implementation. Through guest lectures and project collaborations, you will meet representatives of ministries and other government branches, NGOs, and the corporate world who will show you how these complex issues manifest themselves in practice.
Finally, as the second largest city in the Netherlands and host of one of the world’s largest ports, Rotterdam offers an exciting and vibrant place to study economics especially economics of sustainability. With sustainability high on the agendas of the university, the municipality, and the port, Rotterdam has become a buzzing hub for organisations and enterprises that produce innovative ideas for a more sustainable city and world. Both on and off campus, you will have the possibility to explore these initiatives and experience first-hand what it means to work towards a more sustainable future.
Is this the right choice for you?
Are you motivated to contribute to a world where over nine billion people are living well within planetary boundaries? Do you think that proper economic analysis can add to reaching a sustainable future? Are you interested in combining knowledge from diverse economic specializations and learning skills necessary to solve complex, societal issues? Do you find it motivating to combine scientific knowledge with expertise from external parties?
Factors that will help you to successfully complete our master’s program Economics of Sustainability are:
- A fondness for developing in-depth and broad economic knowledge
- Enthusiasm for solving societal problems
- I find it motivating to work from science with external experts who work daily on these issues
- A wish to develop your own analytical and professional skills, including working in teams
I successfully completed an MSc in Economics and Business with a specialization in the Economics of Sustainability, earning a total of 60 ECTS credits.
In the first block, you get an introduction to sustainable development (8 ECTS). Here you learn the complex societal issues that are at the basis of the SDGs. What is sustainable development? How are SDGs interlinked? What is the timing problem with respect to short- and long-term solutions? How are solutions related to different levels of policy interventions (corporate, national, international)? Several real-world cases are introduced to illustrate these questions and possible answers like climate change, migration, inequality, and healthy aging. External case owners come to the university to discuss with you what their experience is. In this block, you follow also Applied Microeconometrics (4 ECTS) to improve your econometric skills.
In the second and third blocks, you choose your (seminar-)electives (18 ECTS). You can choose from a set of electives and compose your own program. In these blocks, you are also exploring the cases introduced in the first block. In a team, you are delving into the literature and the case owners (ministries and Clingendael) help you with relevant reports and finding the right experts to interview.
In block four, an intensive seminar is given where policy interventions for sustainable development are central (10 ECTS). The main assignment in this seminar is to prepare a report about the case. Until now you have delved into the case of what the problems are from an economic point of view, but now you are delving intensely into possible solutions. Interaction between the teams guarantees that you learn a lot about all four cases. The knowledge and skills you gained in the mandatory courses, your electives, and the case study come together in your thesis (16 ECTS). To guide you in your thesis process, you will be assigned a mentor and a study group of fellow students working on a similar topic. We hope that this is related to the case you studied during the year, but the choice of the subject is yours.
Economics of Sustainability
- Take-Off Master
- Introduction to Sustainable Development
- Applied Microeconometrics
- Inequalities and Discrimination in Labour Markets
- Seminar 1 (see below)
- Seminar Analysis of Challenges in Sustainable Development
- Master’s Thesis Economics of Sustainability
Program Tuition Fee
Students who complete this program will have gained the expertise and skills to develop, implement, analyze, and evaluate economic policies in relation to sustainable development challenges. This expertise can be used in the following roles:
- Policymaker for regional, national, or international government agencies
- CSR/Sustainability manager at a large or medium-sized firm
- Policy expert at a non-for-profit organisation
- Researcher in economics, sustainable development, or corporate sustainability
- Consultant or advisor for policy implementation