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Environment and Resource Management: Global Food Challenges

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
1 year
Full time
Master's degree
Scholarships available

About this program

Environment and Resource Management: Global Food Challenges

Work on the sustainability challenges of our time

If you want to work towards finding solutions for societal problems related to natural resource depletion and environmental change, then this is the Master's programme for you.

The Environment and Resource Management (ERM) Master's trains you to become part of the next generation of environmental leaders who work on the sustainability challenges of our time. From the role of climate change in migration, to the impact of food supply on the environment, to analysing the transition to sustainable energy systems. You will start on the path to becoming an interdisciplinary environmental expert who is skilled in developing effective solutions for a more sustainable world.

During this programme, you'll become familiar with several key Environmental Sciences and Resource Management disciplines and learn to integrate different bodies of knowledge in a solution-oriented way.

The specialisations cover some of the most fundamental environmental problems of our time, notably the provision of sustainable energy and the sustainable governance of water, climate, food systems and ecosystems. You can determine your own focus.

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Admission requirements

Admission is based on a strict selection procedure. The Faculty's Admission Board will decide upon your admission after having evaluated your complete online application.

Specific admission requirements for the MSc Environment and Resource Management

  • Average grade for the bachelor should be at least a 7.0 or equivalent (A bachelor thesis or writing sample can be requested if necessary to confirm quality);
  • Affinity with environmental sciences or sustainability, proven by previous study program, courses, thesis or relevant (volunteer) work experience, expressed in a motivation statement or curriculum vitae;
  • ERM requirements for English language proficiency, including sufficient scores for each test component;
  • Strong motivation statement addressing:
  • Interest for environmental and sustainability issues
  • Specific interest for ERM
  • Future ambitions after graduation

Language requirements

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam requires international students and students with a HBO degree to pass an English language proficiency test. This requirement can be met if no longer than two years before the start of the programme the applicant has successfully completed one of the following examinations with the minimum scores indicated:

  • IELTS (Academic): 6.5 (due to Covid-19 the IELTS Indicator will also be accepted for admissions in 2020)
  • Minimum Sub-scores 6.0
  • TOEFL paper based test: 580
  • TOEFL internet based test: 92
  • Minimum Sub-score Reading: 18
  • Minimum Sub-score Listening: 19
  • Minimum Sub-score Speaking: 19
  • Minimum Sub-score Writing: 23
  • VU TOEFL ITP: 580
  • Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE): A, B, C
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): A, B, C

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Program content

1st year

  • Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity
  • Global Food Challenges
  • Global Water Challenges
  • Energy and Climate
  • Global Sustainable Futures

Scholarships & funding

With our own scholarship, the VU Fellowship Programme (VUFP), we offer highly motivated students with excellent study results the unique opportunity to pursue a Master’s degree with financial support provided by the university. The VUFP scholarship is a tuition fee waiver. The Holland Scholarship Programme (HSP) is meant for students from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) who want to follow a Master’s programme in the Netherlands. VU Amsterdam embraces diversity as an enrichment to our teaching, research and our contribution to society. This scholarship is specifically intended for excellent students who contribute to the diversity at our campus. As an international student planning to study at VU Amsterdam, you can apply for a variety of grants and bursaries.


  • Tuition fee for EU: € 2,209
  • Tuition fee for NON-EU/EEA: € 16,730

Career paths

There is a growing need for versatile, all-round environmental experts who can analyse and develop solutions for local national and global sustainability challenges.

As of today, more than 1,250 students have received their Master's degree in ERM from VU Amsterdam. Many have embarked on exciting sustainability careers as consultants, NGO leaders, entrepreneurs, ministry officials or international civil servants. Some students continue in academia by starting a PhD.

When you graduate, you will be able to determine which assessment tool is applicable in specific situations, and you can critically reflect on the outcomes of such tools. In addition, you should be able to (co-)design effective decision-making processes for complex or ambiguous problems.

Graduates may expect to find employment in organisations such as (environmental) consultancies (like KPMG, Arcadis, Royal Haskoning), NGOs (like World Wildlife Fund [WWF], Greenpeace), the private sector (TATA Steel, Philips, Unilever, Nuon, Shell), or the public sector (European Parliament; The World Bank, United Nations Environmental Program, World Health Organisation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Local water authorities).

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About this institute

Welcome to Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (‘VU Amsterdam’) is an internationally renowned research university founded in 1880. The university offers over 175 English-taught programmes at Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD level to more than 26,000 students from all over the world. Students and staff...

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Why study at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

With more than 24,000 students, of which 4,088 are international, VU Amsterdam conducts cutting-edge research into problems of societal and scientific importance.

They distinguish themselves in research and education through four interdisciplinary themes:

  • Human Health and Life Sciences
  • Science for Sustainability
  • Connected World
  • Governance for Society

As a student this will help you to look beyond the boundaries of scientific disciplines, and to seek for tangible solutions for a better world.

In addition, VU Amsterdam regards diversity, whether in culture, conviction, nationality or prior education, as source of innovation and progress, and hence as special strength.

The Dutch higher education system has been ranked in the top 10 by Universitas 21. In the first Times Higher Education University Impact Ranking, VU Amsterdam is ranked 16th worldwide. In this ranking, universities are assessed based on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in order to measure the impact of the universities on society. In the Academic Ranking of World Universities 2018 (Shanghai Ranking) VU Amsterdam holds the 104th position. The international QS World University ranking 2021 places the Vrije Universiteit at number 236 in the world, which means the Vrije Universiteit belongs to the top 20% of the world.

At VU Amsterdam, the teaching style can be described as student-centred: they encourage students to develop their own opinions through independent and creative thinking. This means that teaching is mainly conducted in small tutorials, where interactivity is the norm rather than the exception. At every opportunity, students are encouraged to engage in constructive dialogue with their professors.

Contact info

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

De Boelelaan 1105
1081 HV Amsterdam
Netherlands, the

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