Environmental Economics and Natural Resources

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

Research focus

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. Besides these courses, for the common part of the programme several supporting courses are available which have to be taken if your study adviser deems it necessary (these are not listed in the table below, but summarized in the programme outline). Also, there is room for optional subjects which you may use to broaden your scope or to deepen your knowledge on a topic in your specialisation. For more information visit the study handbook or contact the study adviser.

The common part
Subject Code Period* Phase
Compulsory unless advised otherwise
Environmental Quality and Governance ENP-35806 2AF, 5AF M1
Principles of Environmental Sciences ESA-20806 1AF, 4WD M1
Research Methods in Environmental Science YRM-20306 1MO, 2MO M1
Restricted optional: select one out of these three options**
European Workshop Environmental Sciences and Management ESA-60312 1WD, 6WD M1
Environmental Education and Learning for Sustainability and Teaching, Learning and Capacity Building for Sustainable Development ELS-31806+ ELS-32806 6WD M1
Academic Consultancy Training and Modular Skills Training (MOS) YMC-60809+ YMC-60300 1WD, 2WD, 3WD+4WD, 5WD,6WD M1
Thesis track-related subjects
Subject Code Period* Phase
Compulsory unless advised otherwise
Environmental Economics for Environmental Sciences ENR-21306 2MO, 5AF M1
MSc Internship Environmental Economics and Natural Resources ENR-70424 1,2,3,4,5,6 M2
MSc Thesis Environmental Economics and Natural Resources ENR-80436 1,2,3,4,5,6 M2
Restricted optional: select (at least) two
Economics and Management of Natural Resources ENR-31306 4WD M1
Advanced Environmental Economics and Policy ENP-32306 5AF M1
Theories and Models in Economics YSS-35306 4WD M1
Cost-Benefit Analysis and Environmental Valuation AEP-32306 6WD M1
*MO = morning; AF= afternoon; WD = whole day
**The restricted optional subjects have to be selected in consultation and agreement 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 might look like:

MSc Environmental Sciences - Environmental Economics and Natural Resources.jpg