Environment and Resource Management (ERM)

Environment and Resource Management (ERM) is a 1-year (60 ECTS) master’s program which aims to ensure that students acquire theoretical concepts, practical skills and operational techniques that allow them to find solutions for societal problems that relate to natural resources and the environment.

Students are trained to bring in their disciplinary knowledge and co-operate in multidisciplinary teams so that they can contribute to an integrated approach towards problem analysis and problem solving in private, public, national, and international organisations dealing with natural resources and the environment.

There is a strong emphasis on writing and presentation skills. Some courses use games and role-play to make the students aware of the positions of stakeholders in relation to environmental problems.


This master provides an opportunity to specialize in one of the four tracks and to write a thesis at the end:

  • Energy Studies
  • Climate and Water Policy
  • Eco-system Services and Biodiversity
  • Environmental Studies

For more information on each individual track see the specialisations page for this master on the VU website.

Study components

The Master’s on Environment and Resource Management combines exposure to a multidisciplinary theoretical understanding of environmental issues as well as a thorough grasp of different tools to assess environmental problems. Workshops and individual and group assignments play an important part. In many cases you are free to choose subjects that suit your personal interests and ambitions.

The master’s program provides four compulsory courses, introducing sustainability and growth, environmental economics, environmental policy, and tools for environmental research. Within these courses, students have the opportunity to match their personal scientific interest with existing scientific research at the Institute. In turn each specialisation provides specialized courses.

Students will round off their Master’s program with an independent research project at IVM or another leading organisation. Former students have carried out their research projects at Alterra, RIVM, ECN, Delft Hydraulics and RIKZ (research institutes), FMO (a development bank), ETC International and Arcadis (consultancy firms), Greenpeace International, Both Ends and Friends of the Earth (NGOs), IEEP and UNEP (international organisations), the Ministry of Transport and Public Works (governmental bodies), and other organisations.

For more information on the study program see the study program page of this master on the VU website and for a more detailed overview of the courses see the yearly schedule of this master on the VU website.


New applicants must at least hold a Bachelor’s degree from a university or an institute of higher vocational education (with a minimum of three years of full-time study). Please note that a Bachelor’s degree with lower Second division does not meet the requirements. All applications will be assessed by the Examination Board. Students from all disciplinary backgrounds will be considered, but the following subjects provide a particularly relevant basis for participating in the ERM program:

  • Economics, Social Sciences (especially Political Science, Law and Policy Studies)
  • Natural Sciences
  • Engineering
  • Environmental Studies and Environmental Sciences
  • Environmental Law

Dutch speaking students with a diploma from a higher vocational education (HBO) cannot be directly admitted into the Master ERM program. They first have to be admitted into the premaster and one of the criteria to achieve this is to do a premaster assessment. Another criterion to be admitted into the premaster is an average HBO grade of 7.5.

This premaster program and a more detailed overview of the admission criteria and process can be found on the admission and application page on the VU website.

Please note the following:

  • VU University Amsterdam requires all international applicants to pass an English language proficiency test.
  • In order to contact this master’s master coordinator please email to Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM) at erm.ivm@vu.nl . For more information see the contacts page of this master.
  • The deadlines for application are 1st of June for all students with a Dutch degree, 1st of April non-Dutch students with an international degree and 1st of March for non-EU/EAA and EU/EEA students who wish to apply for a VUFP grant. More information and how to apply can be found on the admission and application page on the VU website.

Further information

  • The year schedule 2013 – 2014 can be found at the FALW-website.
  • Further program information can be found at www.environmentmaster.nl.
  • A complete program description can be found at the FALW-website.
  • A more detailed description of the courses can be found in the study guide on the VU website.

Disclaimer: This page contains a consolidation of information found on the VU, FALW, VUmc and master specific websites; hence no rights can be derived from the information on this page, for more up to date, detailed and accurate information please refer to aforementioned websites!