Course of study

Sustainability Economics and Management - Master's Programme

The master‘s programme „Sustainability Economics and Management“ is currently subject to substantial changes. Thus, the examination regulations are subject to alterations for the start of courses in the upcoming winter term (please note that the planned changes may affect the focus areas, study design, and study contents). The new regulations are yet to be published in the official communications.
Further details and information are currently under development and will soon be made available here in the InfoPortal.
If you have any content-related questions on the master’s programme, feel free to contact the student guidance.

Humanity is drawing closer to its ecological limits and faces increasing social risks. Problems such as global warming, loss of biodiversity, poverty, or epidemics are becoming more pressing by the day. To deal with these challenges, leaders with solid economic knowledge and a well-founded combination of expertise in ecological and social issues, as well as a strong sense of responsibility are needed - thus, Sustainability Experts.

Orientation and Goals

The master‘s programme „Sustainability Economics and Management” aims towards training such graduates. It provides them with factual knowledge as well as analytical, interdisciplinary, and social skills in order to enable them to work in businesses, NGOs, or international organisations.
The University of Oldenburg offers an extraordinary setting for imparting these competences, since sustainability is a central teaching and research field.

Study Design and Contents

Information refers to old regulations.

Over the course of four semesters, students will earn a total of 120 ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) points. For each of the 16 modules of study, 6 ECTS points are granted. The master's thesis will count for 24 points.
In the first semester, basic modules in the fields of Environmental Economics, Sustainability Politics and Management, Environmental Law, and Environmental Sciences are mandatory. These modules form the basis for a more comprehensive deepening and linkage of environmental and sustainability aspects in economics, business administration as well as in social and natural sciences.
In the second and third semester, this basic knowledge will be deepened in five obligatory accent modules. Here, further theoretical as well as application-related knowledge for the economic analysis of environmental and sustainability problems are imparted. The accent modules deal with resource, energy, and climate protection economics, instruments of sustainability management, and corporate social responsibility (CSR). In addition, a research or practical project will be carried out. Further, students can choose four extension modules from a variety of electives in order to gain subject-specific knowledge and competences or to enhance their language skills. A fifth elective module is open for courses from other fields, especially from interdisciplinary study programmes of the Master Cluster Environment and Sustainability . An exchange with one of the partner universities worldwide offering similar degrees is possible and recommended either in the second or third semester.
In the fourth semester, the master’s thesis is written. An accompanying research colloquium serves to deepen further competences in scientific methodology.

Focus Areas

Students can concentrate on different specializations of studies by choosing specific combinations of elective modules. Possible types of specialization are:
  • Eco-Entrepreneurship
  • Environmental and Spatial Planning
  • Organizational and Environmental Information Systems
  • Marketing
  • Economics

Planned new specializations of studies:
  • Energy, Climate, and Development
  • Sustainable Innovation, Digitalization, and Entrepreneurship
  • Environmental Management, Planning, and Conservation

Reasons for Studying

The Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg offers perfect prerequisites for studying sustainable business, since sustainability is a central field of research at the University.
An ecological focus in economics, which exists since 1997, is attracting highly motivated students from all over Germany. There is a strong linkage to sustainability research due to the founding of the "Oldenburg Center for Sustainability Economics and Management" (CENTOS) in early 2006. An intensive cooperation with the natural sciences will be further enhanced by, among other things, the strong network within the Master Cluster Environment and Sustainability .
In the field of renewable energy, the University of Oldenburg is one of the leading international univer-sities.

Foreign Language Skills

In order to study this course at the University of Oldenburg as a student from outside of Germany, you need an adequate knowledge of German.

German Language Proficiency
  • Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) Level B2
  • if applicants have a university entrance qualification or a university degree obtained in German

English Language Proficiency see admissions regulations
You can proof your English language proficiency with the following language certificates:
  • Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) Level B2
  • if applicants have a university entrance qualification or a university degree obtained in English
  • by the Abitur (higher education entrance qualification) or a successfully completed test for level B2, see FAQs for the study programme

In general, the proof of language proficiency must be presented for the enrolment. A period of two semesters may be granted for subsequent submission of the German language certificate. For other proof possiblities see: Language requirements

Careers and Areas of Employment

Discussions about strategies for sustainable development and their implementation is becoming increasingly important in politics, society, and businesses. This is also demonstrated by the large number of newly emerging and well-established business initiatives such as the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) or the UN Global Compact. The complexity of these challenges, in which environmental, social, and economic factors play a role, requires experts with corresponding problem-solving skills and an interdisciplinary perspective.
For graduates of the master’s programme in Sustainability Economics and Management, this results in a wide range of employment opportunities in companies, especially in sustainability, environmental, and communication departments, or in special projects, such as the introduction of environmental management systems in large enterprises. Start-ups, small and medium-sized companies (especially those from the steadily growing environmental and renewable energy sector) are also looking for specifically trained staff. Consultancy or reviewer activities are another broad professional field. In addition, there is an increasing demand in various political or public institutions, associations, international organizations and NGOs at the national, EU, or global level. The situation is similar in science, where more and more sustainability oriented research projects are being funded.

Target Group/Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor's degree or equivalent in economic, social, natural or engineering sciences or a closely related field worth at least 180 credit points.
  • Proof of professional competence with at least 5 CP each is expected in the following areas:
    • Microeconomic theory and
    • Introduction to business administration or comparable module and
    • Mathematics for economists or comparable module

  • English language proficiency at level B2 of Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). Possible proof and recognised language tests can be found in the FAQs for the study programme
  • Proficiency of German language skills for international students (see tab Language Skills)

The following special qualifications in the field of sustainability are also an advantage:
  • Proof of relevant professional experience or internships
  • Proof of specialization in previous studies
  • Proof of voluntary work (see admission regulations §4 (2))
  • Overview in tabular form about relevant study-specific experiences, to be submitted with the application
Note: Only qualifications and previous experiences that are fulfilled until 15th of July can be accepted. A corresponding proof have to be presented until that date.

The university's own selection procedure is based on a ranking list which is determined by awarding of points. A maximum of 100 points will be awarded. Points are awarded for the following:
  • the final grade or the average grade of the previous degree programme (maximum 60 points) and
  • professional suitability and special qualifications in the field of sustainability (maximum 40 points).
In case of equal ranking, the lot decides.

You will find further details in the current admissions regulations.

Frequently Asked Questions about admission process

Application/Admission Procedures

This course of studies accepts a limited number of applicants. Application is only possible in the winter semester.
The application deadline for the winter semester is 15 of July.
(Changed: 2021-06-21)