BSc minor Economics of Sustainable Development (WUESD)

The main objective of the BSc minor Economics of Sustainable Development is to provide a profound introduction to the economics of sustainable development, in particular for students from the natural sciences.

Continue to an overview of the courses in this minor

Since the Brundtland report the issue of sustainable development has been recognized as essential issue in science and policymaking for current and future generations. Recently, much concern is expressed about the impact of global warming on societies. Therefore, the mutual link between economic development and the environment is of renewed interest. For students in natural sciences an understanding of this link between economic development and ecological processes is essential to understand the economic context in which their technical and beta studies are performed.

The BSc minor focuses on issues such as: What type of economic development is possible in a changing world of limited resources and with a limited capacity to overcome the negative aspects of increased economic activities? Examples of negative effects of economic growth are resource degradation (e.g., erosion, soil depletion, deforestation), pollution (e.g., pesticides), and climatic change (e.g., higher temperatures, change in rainfall patterns, sea level rise). In short, the main theme of the minor is: what is sustainable development (in economic and ecological terms), how can it be analysed, and how could it be realised? The economic approach is well equipped to contribute to analysing such questions, as it is focused on the allocation of scarce resources and the resulting impacts on ecosystems.

Learning Outcomes

After successful completion of this minor students are expected to be able to:

  • demonstrate the main links and their causes between economic growth and the environment;
  • explain the main issues of economic development in developing countries, including the necessary basic economic concepts;
  • analyse the (economic) causes and effects of climate change, of the effects of climate change on economic opportunities, and relate this to possible policies;
  • analyse the main links and their causes between economic growth and the environment.

Target group

This minor is interesting for WUR-students of the BSc programmes:

  • BBN-B Forest and Nature Conservation- major Ecology and Conservation
  • BBW Soil, Water, Atmosphere
  • BDW Animal Sciences
  • BIL International Land and Water Management
  • BMW-B Environmental Sciences- major Environmental Quality and Systems Analysis
  • BMW-C Environmental Sciences- major Environmental Technology
  • BPW Plant Sciences

Overlapping courses or content with

BBN-A Forest and Nature Conservation- major Policy and Society BEB Economics and Governance BGM Health and Society BIN International Development Studies

BMW-A Environmental Sciences- major Environmental Policy and Economics


Dutch(DEC-10306 Economics) and/or English (all other courses)


First semester (period 1, 2 and 3)

Programme or thematic

Programme minor