Environmental Systems Analysis

The main characteristic of Environmental Systems Analysis (ESA) is its integrated approach. Knowledge from natural and social sciences as well as technology are combined and the experiences and views of different stakeholders are taken into account. Such an integrated approach is necessary to solve complex environmental problems and to make an important contribution to urban environmental management.

More about this thesis track

Problems related to water and waste management in megacities and increasing transport and air pollution in many urban areas are all multifaceted. Environmental Systems Analysis plays an important role in describing and analysing the causes, mechanisms and effects of urban environmental problems, and in identifying the most sustainable solutions.


Students following the master's programme Urban Environmental Management can choose to do a thesis in a topic that is closely related to ongoing research projects within the Environmental Systems Analysis group or focus on applying systems analysis concepts and methods (e.g. scenario studies, MCA or LCA) to a range of urban environmental issues.

Ongoing research projects within the Environmental Systems Analysis Group are in the domains of:

  • (Participatory) integrated assessment
  • Pollution management
  • Environmental modelling
  • Integrated cost-benefit analysis of multifunctional land and water use
  • Decision support systems and ecological-economic modeling
  • Environmental function analysis and conflict analysis
  • The behaviour of large-scale models
  • Adaptation to climate change induced ecological impacts and its related socio-economic impacts

Students can learn more about the education and research related to this discipline by visiting the website of the Environmental Systems Analysis Group.


The following courses are part of the programme Urban Environmental Management when selecting the thesis track Environmental Systems Analysis. 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 subject
Subject Code
Environmental Systems Analysis: Methods and Applications ESA22806
MSc Thesis Environmental Systems Analysis ESA80436
MSc Internship Environmental Systems Analysis ESA70224
Restricted optional: Select at least one
Engaging & Modelling with Stakeholders ESA32306
Regional Environmental Management ESA31306
Restricted Optional: Select at least two
Planning for Urban Quality of Life LUP23806
Governance for Sustainable Cities ENP36806
Managing Urban Environmental Infrastructure ETE32806
Planning and Design of Urban Space ETE33806

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. 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 Urban Environmental Management - thesis track Environmental Systems Analysis