Environmental Economics and Natural Resources (ENR)

The Environmental Economics and Natural Resources Group (ENR) aims to contribute to a more sustainable and circular economy, and low-carbon, climate-resilient socio-ecological systems. We do so by working closely together with other scientific disciplines, such as ecology, policy science, and climate science, in research and education.

More about this thesis track

Our research focuses on three core themes:

  • Transition to a low-carbon economy;
  • Resilient and sustainable social-ecological systems;
  • Understanding human behaviour and technological progress.

Addressing climate change and its adverse impacts on society requires finding the right mix of mitigation, adaptation, and development policies. How do we trade off the sacrifices of current generations for a greener economy against the reduced climatic impacts on future generations? What is the most effective and efficient pathway to phase out fossil fuels? We address such questions through empirical analyses, simulation models as well as theoretical models to study mechanisms and interactions.

Social-ecological systems, such as marine systems, forests, or semi-arid grazing lands, are systems where human activities and natural systems are closely linked. Addressing the mounting pressure on these systems from drivers such as climate change and overexploitation requires a thorough understanding of the socio-economic actors and institutions, as well as the biotic and abiotic factors at play in the natural system. We address this challenge by developing bioeconomic models and carrying out surveys and behavioural experiments.

Understanding human behaviour is fundamental to addressing both of these challenges. How do people trade off material consumption against a clean environment? How do incentives such as taxes and subsidies change human behaviour? Is material wealth really what makes people happy? The economics discipline is evolving towards a more empirical and interdisciplinary science that integrates insights from behavioural psychology to understand what determines human decisions. We contribute to this development through surveys and behavioural experiments.

Students can learn more about the education and research related to this discipline by visiting the website of the Environmental Economics and Natural Resources group.


The following courses are part of the MSc programme Environmental Sciences when selecting the thesis track Environmental Economics and Natural Resources. Next to these thesis specific courses, you will follow courses from the common part and electives as summarized in the programme outline. For more information visit the study handbook or contact the study adviser.

Thesis track-related subjects
Subject Code
MSc Internship Environmental Economics and Natural Resources ENR70224
MSc Thesis Environmental Economics and Natural Resources ENR80436
Compulsory unless your study adviser indicates differently:
Environmental Economics for Environmental Sciences ENR21306
Restricted optional: Select at least two
Natural Resource Economics ENR31306
Economic Modelling of Sustainability ENR32806
Economic Urban Environmental Challenges UEC32306
Cost-Benefit Analysis and Environmental Valuation AEP32306

In order to prepare well for your thesis track, you can additionally choose supporting courses. These courses focus, for example, on quantitative and data sciences or laboratory skills. You can find the exact list in the study handbook at the section “Restricted Optionals (2) in Common part”.

This course overview is based on the Wageningen University study handbook, where you can find a more detailed course and programme description. The study handbook is guiding in case of any discrepancy.

Below you can see how your schedule might look like for your whole study programme:

MSc Environmental Sciences – Environmental Economics and Natural Resources