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Sustainability Assessment and Transformation


This profile  equips students with the skills to become sustainability leaders in their chosen field. It will provide students with a broad understanding of the environmental, material, energy, economic, and regulatory basis of sustainable development.

Through a combination of seminars, exercises, lectures, and practical experience, students will learn to work with the major concepts, tools, models, and indicators to quantitatively assess innovative business, technical, infrastructural, regulatory, policy, or behavioral solutions for a sustainable future.

The focus lies on approaches that enhance analytical systems thinking and the competences for the related methods and models, including legal analysis, policy analysis, material and energy flow analysis, cost benefit analysis, life cycle assessment (LCA), input-output analysis and the System of Environmental Economic Accounting, and the analysis of multi-level perspectives.

Important facts about this study profile

Language: EnglishSAT2

Teaching form: on-campus

Pace of study: fulltime

Study location: Freiburg

Start: only in winter term

Duration: 4 Semester

Application periode: March 20th - May 15th

ECTS: 120 ECTS (80ECTS modules, 10 ECTS Internship, 30ECTS Thesis)

Costs: 161 semester fees, 1.500€ study fees (only non-EU students!)




  • Students will gain the knowledge and skills to assess sustainable development strategies for organizations, communities, and societies.
  • World-Class training in systems thinking, critical thinking, and analytical thinking

  • A number of courses involve modelling and programming in Python.



Programme overview Icon Finger.png pdf


Module details

1)    Ecosystem processes and functioning
    • Understand and model ecosystem processes across scales
    • Carbon and water cycle, nutrient cycling, and community dynamics
    • Understand how ecosystem functions relate to structural components
2)    Material and energy flow analysis
    • Energy supply and use
    • Sustainable Circular Economy
    • Mathematical modelling of material cycles
3)    Environmental and resource economics
    • Price formation with economic externalities
    • Economic effectiveness of transformation policies
    • Resource pricing mechanisms
4)    Supply chain modelling, indicators, and responsibility
    • Leontief input-output model
    • Carbon and other environmental footprints
    • Supply chain management
5)    Systems thinking, planning & transition
    • Complex adaptive socio-ecological systems
    • Planning and governance under uncertainty
    • Transition management
6)    Sustainability law and transformation
    • Basic principles of environmental law
    • Case studies of environmental litigation
    • The role of regulation in sustainable development
7)    Energy system transition
    • Energy technology and economics
    • Energy policy
    • Innovation and transition theory
8)    Project module
    • Interdisciplinary research project
    • Student-driven content
    • Knowledge integration



Target Group

The target group is students with a background in environmental natural sciences, economics, industrial engineering, or environmental social sciences, who want to acquire a high-profile university education in sustainability assessment and transformation.



Career Opportunities

research career

sustainability planning jobs

consulting jobs

management positions in industry, public administration

national and international organizations.





* BSc-Degree with grade point average of at least 2.5
* English C1
* 40 ECTS in natural sciences and ecology
* 10 ECTS in statistics and geomatics
* 20 ECTS in environmental social sciences


Application periode: March 20th - May 15th

Application portal: HISinOne

further information: "Application"


Coordinator & Contact



Prof. Dr. Stefan Pauliuk

Industrial Ecology