Environmental Governance

Study mode:On campus Study type:Full-time Languages: English
Deadline: May 15, 2024
83 place StudyQA ranking:2001 Duration:2 years

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Sustainable development and, accordingly, sustainability in the manifold relationships between humans and the environment have become integral rules of conduct in politics and society. This is also true in economics, where for many companies a commitment to the principles of sustainability has become a central strategic competitive advantage.
One of the major challenges to the implementation of the overall concept of sustainable development concerns effective governance processes between various stakeholders regarding the wise use of environmental resources within companies, administrations, organisations, and society at large.
The MSc programme "Environmental Governance" (MEG) addresses this special need. Unique on a worldwide scale, its focus is on facilitating the institutionalisation of context-effective environmental governance arrangements that combine the regulation of market, state and civil society for sustainable development.

The study programme comprises:
  • Development of a sound knowledge base on the most pressing environmental issues facing the planet and their underlying social causes
  • Comparative discussion of different analytical frameworks from social, economic and political science perspectives
  • Provision of methodological knowledge and skills for the context-sensitive design and management of the environmental governance process

The programme does not limit itself to a special regional context, but rather focuses on environmental governance processes in a representative, worldwide perspective, from local to international level.

Educational organisation

All teaching modules are divided into blocks of three weeks to facilitate in-depth coverage and exploration of the topics. The modules are classified as either core or elective. In addition, students can take up to two selected topics instead of a regular elective to conduct individually supervised research projects. Students earn five ECTS credits upon successful completion of each module. In total, 120 credits are required. Included is a practical training of at least seven weeks (10 ECTS) and a Master's thesis of six months (30 ECTS).

Modules of the first semester:
Sustainability and Governance
Global Environmental Changes
Global Societal Changes
Managing Human-Environment Interaction
Knowledge Management and Organisational Learning
Regional Studies (Integrated Case Study I)

Modules of the second semester:
Economics, Institutions and the Environment
Environmental Policy Analyses
Sociology and Psychology of Environmental Knowledge
Ecosystem Management
Sustainable Planning and Assessment (elective)
Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship (elective)
Urban Transformation and Planning Responses (elective)

Semester break: Internship

Modules of the third semester:
Research Skills
Rural Development (Integrated Case Study II)
Environmental Conflict Management and Participation (elective)
Environmental Movements and NGOs (elective)
Technology Assessment and Sustainable Development (elective)
Economics of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (elective)

Study abroad unit(s)

None, but most of the students go abroad for their internships.


An internship lasting for a minimum of seven weeks is to be completed during the summer break between the second and third semesters (10 ECTS credits). The MEG internship supervisor will assist students in finding an appropriate internship.

Forms of assessment

Written exams at the end of each module and/or papers and oral presentations (5 ECTS credits per module)
Master's thesis (30 ECTS credits)

Course objectives

Graduates will be in a position to reflect critically upon the manifold relationships between humans and the natural environment, as well as on the various methods and approaches for careful handling of natural resources as the basis of feasible development for the future. Where appropriate, graduates will be able to work towards enhancing these natural resources. They can plan, implement and evaluate social negotiation and decision-making processes in a context-sensitive manner, i.e. they are sensitive to space, structure and culture. The objective is to provide students with the opportunity to obtain an exceptional education in the field of environmental governance. Upon their return to their native countries, the acquired knowledge can be implemented in concrete actions, exercised from central positions.

Language requirements

Applicants must provide proof of their English skills: TOEFL iBT 100 (internet-based); IELTS band 7 or Cambridge Advanced Certificate of English (CAE)

Academic requirements

BSc (or equivalent first degree) well above average in the fields of social sciences, environmental sciences, economics, law, or engineering. At least some of the courses taken in the aforementioned degree must be relevant to Environmental Governance.
Applicants for DAAD scholarships from developing countries must have two years' of work experience.

Enrolment fees

Approx. 150 EUR per semester

Costs of living

Participants must make sure in good time that sufficient funds are available to finance their participation in a course of study. The average cost of living in Freiburg for one month is currently approx. 800-900 EUR. Some details:
  • Student accommodation costs approx. 280-450 EUR (monthly).
  • Private expenses amount to around 350 EUR (monthly).
  • Health insurance is available for approx. 45-90 EUR (monthly).
  • Transport: A special student fare for regional transport costs approx. 89 EUR (per semester).

Job opportunities

As a student, you are allowed to work up to 120 days per year and 85 hours per month. A limited number of positions as a student research assistant or tutor are available in the department.

Arrival support

Pre-departure information available on the programme's website
Pick-up service on request
Buddy programme
Support in finding accommodation and with administrative procedures
Three orientation days prior to the start of the programme (introduction to the programme, administrative issues, workshop on intercultural communication and German culture)

Services and support for international students

In addition to services and support offered by each coordinator of a course of study, the International Office organises a special four-day orientation session which generally takes place two weeks before the beginning of the semester. This orientation session includes information about various aspects of everyday life (e.g. accommodation, work opportunities, etc.), presentations and visits to important institutions (e.g. the university library), and opportunities for socialising with other international students. During the semester, the "International Club", coordinated by the Studentenwerk (students' social services), offers a great variety of events, trips, and services for international students in cooperation with the International Office. Furthermore, the UNIKOS team, a group of international students who have been studying at Freiburg University for some time, give practical advice and can be approached for help in several languages.


As Freiburg is an attractive city, finding a suitable place to live can take a little time. Only a small number of students can be offered a room in a student dormitory. The Studentenwerk (students' social services) is in charge of the student dormitories. Applicants must expect a waiting period. In addition to these dormitories, several independent dormitories are listed on the university website. The Studentenwerk also offers a list of available private rooms and the International Office can be contacted for further assistance in finding accommodation (http://www.international.uni-freiburg.de).
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