• Application Deadline
  • 24 months
The Master in Sustainable Development is a research-driven educational programme, mindful of ethics, gender and diversity, that prepares the sustainability leaders of the future. You will become an agent of change that will imagine, trigger and build the sustainability transition of the 21st century. This interdisciplinary programme bridges societal, ecological and sustainability challenges.


This programme trains future sustainability leaders and acquaints them with the necessary interdisciplinary knowledge, skills and methodologies to address and solve the intertwined socio-ecological challenges that currently hinder the construction of more sustainable paths of development.

This master's programme embraces sustainable development beyond the walls of universities and classrooms to engage with real-world localities in their search for solutions to pressing problems. You will carry out state-of-the-art scientific research in the functioning of geo and ecosystems at different spatial and temporal scales.

The Master in Sustainable Development contains two different tracks: the Erasmus Mundus joint Master in Sustainable Territorial Development and the ICP Master of Science in Sustainable Development. 

Erasmus Mundus Joint Master in Sustainable Territorial Development

This master aims to create experts in the area of sustainable territorial development. More concretely it trains professionals to be able to help organizations acting in the territory (enterprises, local communities, civil society organizations) to draft sustainable development policies for economic, social, environmental, international and intercultural management.

The Master concerns the economic competitiveness, social inclusion, environmental protection, international cooperation and intercultural relation challenges of territorial development focusing not only on local communities, but also on enterprises, non-state actors and civil society organizations. It also aims to offer an example of sustainable territory involving all local organizations, which should have human resources available and able to promote sustainable development. 


This active research-driven education model has five main pillars:

  • Pillar 1: Consists of research-based teaching, taught by experts in different sustainability domains.
  • Pillar 2: Training in research practices, stimulating critical learners, systemic thinking and creativity in the solution of complex socio-ecological problems.
  • Pillar 3: Is informed by the needs of regions in the global south, addressing the economic, social and ecological challenges. 
  • Pillar 4: Is based on the active integration of fieldwork in the Southern hemisphere, internships, thesis and portfolio development.
  • Pillar 5: The KU Leuven Sustainability Living Lab is the real-world platform where the outcomes of the Master will be tested and implemented.

You choose between two specialisations: ‘Space and Society’ and ‘Ecology’.  

Career perspectives

Job opportunities for graduates may be found in all sectors where sustainable development actions should be implemented, in particular at organizations responsible for the creation of sustainable territories (communities, enterprises, non-state actors and civil society organizations, local governments), the central government and international organizations. Potential posts include: environmental adviser; sustainable development manager in local communities, public administrations, civil society organizations & local governments; representative within local public institutions, national and international institutions, enterprises, trade unions & professional bodies.

The extensive experience, international collaboration and multidisciplinary insights gained from the Erasmus Mundus Master in Sustainable Territorial Development, will open up new perspectives on the sustainability of territorial use and organization while introducing you to various policy tools and management strategies in divergent territorial contexts. 

Questions about student life in Belgium, life at KU Leuven or more information about a specific course? Chat with our students: www.kuleuven/be/chatwithourstudents.

Programme Structure

Strengthening Courses

  • Introduction to Geoprocessing
  • Introduction to Cartography

Common Basis Courses

  • The Sustainable Development Challenge 
  • Academic Leveling: Space, Society and Ecology
  • Geography of Development 
  • Global Change, Ecosystems and Sustainability 
  • Current Topics in Conservation Biology
  • Fieldwork in the Global South
  • Sustainable Development Living Lab and Project 
  • Individual Portfolio in Sustainable Development


  • Space and Society
  • Ecology

Optional Courses

  • Space, Society and Policy
  • Culture and Tourism
  • Heritage and Sustainable Tourism Development

Master's Thesis

Detailed Programme Facts

English Language Requirements

  • Minimum required score:


    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

    Schedule IELTS
  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL iBT ® measures your English-language abilities in an academic setting. The test has four sections (reading, listening, speaking, and writing), each with a score range of 0-30, for a total score range of 0-120. Read more about TOEFL iBT ®.

    Schedule TOEFL®
  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL®PBT is administered in a paper format and measures your ability to use and understand English in a classroom setting at the college or university level. It accurately measures how well you can listen, read and write in English while performing academic tasks. Read more about TOEFL®PBT.

    Schedule TOEFL®

General Requirements

This Master programme aims at attracting students from both natural and social sciences, willing to bridge both ecological and societal domains of the interdisciplinary sustainability problematic. 

We expect good candidates with a background in the following fields: geography, ecology, sustainability studies, bio-economy, spatial planning, development studies, environmental management, environmental sciences, biodiversity, conservation biology, landscape ecology, political ecology, human ecology, social ecology, etc. 

Students with a more general background in social sciences (economics, political sciences, sociology, anthropology) and applied sciences (bio-engineering, architecture) are also invited to apply.

Tuition Fee

  • International

    6000 EUR/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 6000 EUR per year and a duration of 24 months.
  • EU/EEA

    938 EUR/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 938 EUR per year and a duration of 24 months.
We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.

Living costs for Leuven

  • 810 - 1280 EUR/month
    Living Costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


Check the programme website for information about funding options.

Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

Sustainable Development
Visit programme website

The Global Study Awards: get funded with up to £10,000 to study abroad

Together with the ISIC Association and British Council IELTS, Studyportals offers you the chance to receive up to £10000 to expand your horizon and study abroad. We want to ultimately encourage you to study abroad in order to experience and explore new countries, cultures and languages.


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