Urban Systems Engineering

A thesis track in the discipline Urban Systems Engineering enables students to carry out research on technological aspects related to the management of energy, water and materials in urban settings by either focusing on individual components or taking an integrated approach.

More about this thesis track

The ever increasing urbanisation in combination with the depletion of natural resources and environmental degradation pose a major challenge to the professionals in the field of urban environmental management worldwide. Their contribution is called upon to ensure that resources are used wisely, resilience of natural systems is guarded, and the benefits for the city dwellers are distributed equitably. The diversity in terms of urban typologies and scales of intervention require creative and flexible solutions that are appropriate to these different settings. Professionals in the field of urban systems engineering develop and implement suitable technologies, infrastructure and management systems that enable recovery of resources, close energy, water and materials cycles, create a healthy urban environment, and thereby contribute to the quality of urban living.

These studies comprise questions concerning:

  • Resource flows (energy, water, and materials) through cities and surrounding rural areas;
  • Development of new appropriate technological solutions responding to specific urban environmental challenges;
  • Integration of elements from different systems for optimization of resource use (for example, the co-treatment of sludge from septic tanks and municipal organic waste);
  • Development of tools for strategic technology assessment and selection based on sustainability criteria;
  • Application of the tools in selection of sustainable infrastructure and/or management schemes for specific cities;
  • Integration of environmental technologies into the design of urban spaces at different scales (building, neighbourhood, district, city).

Depending on the focus of the chosen research, the major thesis in Urban Systems Engineering can be co-supervised by staff of the Environmental Systems Analysis (ESA), Environmental Policy (ENP), Land Use and Planning (LUP) or other groups. Students can learn more about the education and research related to this discipline by visiting the website of the Environmental Technology Group. 

The following courses are part of the programme Urban Environmental Management when selecting the thesis track Urban Systems Engineering. The listed courses include the compulsory and restricted optional subjects specific for this thesis track and those that belong to the common part of the programme. Also, there is room for optional subjects which you may use to broaden your scope or to deepen your specialisation. For more information visit the study handbook or contact the study adviser.

The common part
Subject Code Period* Phase
Compulsory subject unless advised otherwise
Principles of Urban Environmental Management ETE-22806 1 AF M1
Research Methods in Environmental Science YRM-20306 1, 2 MO M1
Academic Master Cluster (AMC): select one out of these two courses**
European Workshop Environmental Sciences and Management ESA-60312 6 WD M1
Academic Consultancy Training and Modular Skills Training (MOS) YMC-60809 / YMC-60303 1WD, 2WD, 3WD+4WD, 5WD,6WD M1
Urban courses: select (at least) one
Planning for Urban Quality of Life LUP-23806 2 AF M1
Governance for Sustainable Cities ENP-36806 3 WD M1
Planning and Design of Urban Space ETE-33806 5 AF M1
Thesis track-related subject
Subject Code Period Phase
Compulsory unless advised otherwise
Energy, Water and Nutrient Cycles in the Built Environment ETE-34306 3 WD M1
Managing Urban Environmental Infrastructure ETE-32806 5 MO M1
MSc Thesis Urban Systems Engineering ETE-81836 1,2,3,4,5,6 M2
MSc Internship Urban Systems Engineering ETE-70824 1,2,3,4,5,6 M2
Restricted optional: select (at least) one
Basic Technologies for Urban Environmental Management ETE-25306 2 MO M1
Chemical and Biological Resource Quality in Circular Economies ETE-34806 4 WD M1
*MO = morning; AF = afternoon; WD = whole day
**The restricted optional subjects have to be selected in consultation with the study adviser.
This course overview is based on the Wageningen University study handbook. The study handbook is guiding in case of any discrepancy.

Below you can see how your schedule may look like:

MSc Urban Environmental Management - thesis track Urban Systems Engineering.jpg