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

Aim of the specialisation

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. 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) two
Planning for Urban Quality of Life LUP-23806 2 AF M1
Governance for Sustainable Cities ENP-36806 3 WD M1
Managing Urban Environmental Infrastructure ETE-32806 5 MO M1
Planning and Design of Urban Space ETE-33806 5 AF M1
Thesis track-related subject
Subject Code Period Phase
Restricted optional: select (at least) one
Engaging & Modelling with Stakeholders ESA-32306 4 WD M1
Regional Environmental Management ESA-31306 5 MO M1
Environmental Systems Analysis: Methods and Applications ESA-22806 2 AF M1
MSc Thesis Environmental Systems Analysis ESA-80436 1,2,3,4,5,6 M2
MSc Internship Environmental Systems Analysis ESA-70424 1,2,3,4,5,6 M2
*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 Environmental Systems Analysis

Download the Environmental Systems Analysis thesis track PDF