Earth, Energy and Sustainability (BSc)

Currently at 7 billion, the Earth’s population is on target to reach 8 billion by 2027. What are some of the key sustainability challenges confronting society at the moment, and in the future? Are there solutions for some of these challenges? And what can you do to make a real change in this world? Leiden University College’s major Earth, Energy and Sustainability might be what you are looking for.

Students on a field trip visisting an ecosystem restoration site near The Hague

Students on a field trip visisting an ecosystem restoration site near The Hague

Creating a sustainable society

What is sustainability? How do we achieve a sustainable society? This major is focused on Ecosystems, Earth systems and Resource Management. At Leiden University College we train you in finding your own answer. Examples of topics you will work on, are:

  • The challenges and opportunities when feeding 7 billion people
    What are GMOs and what are the opportunities and risk associated with using them? How are nutrients related to dead zones in river deltas?

  • The hunt for new fossil fuel sources
    What are the risks of fracking? And why is one of the richest countries in the world (Canada) destroying complete ecosystems?

  • The global loss of biodiversity
    Should we care about biodiversity? Why are panda bears important to save? And how is biodiversity related to biofuel production?

  • Environmental change and human health
    How are pesticides related to cancer rates? And how are reductions in IQ related to contaminants in breast milk?

Programme structure

The BSc Earth, Energy and Sustainability operates at the forefront of environmental sciences, with a balance between understanding key concepts within a classroom setting, and applying the gained knowledge in real-life situations. It focuses its courses around three major themes (tracks), including:

  • Ecosystems Health

  • Earth Systems Science

  • Energy and Natural Resources

At LUC we also emphasize that sustainability ultimately exists within a human context. Therefore there are many cross-links within the major to social sciences, with courses such as public policy, environmental law, and international development. Additionally, the major includes methodology courses in Quantitative Methods, Geographic Information Systems, Environmental Modelling, and Field Methods. For a full overview of courses have a look at our Earth, Energy and Sustainability e-prospectus.

Research around the world

Being an international community of scholars, LUC gives you the opportunity to participate in research around the world. These research opportunities are available to students at LUC majoring in Earth, Energy, and Sustainability:

  • Chasing turtles in the USA

  • Understanding the long-term impacts of the Deepwater Horizon spill on the Gulf Ecosystem

  • Doing an internship at a consultancy company

  • And much more

Field Methods in Environmental Sustainability (2015)

The course introduces students to field methods and techniques used in environmental sciences such as making qualified field observations, using field equipments, collecting, analyzing and presenting various kinds of environmental data.

Amongst others, students record and reconstruct past peak flood flows using field evidence from gleaned, from observing sediments, measuring channel shape, and identifying overbank flood impacts.

For this, the course uses the example of the spectacular high-mountain environment in the Kleinwalser Valley (northern Alps, Austria).

The setting is also perfect to train students in systems thinking while exploring the non-linear system working and spatial complexity of interlinked debris flow and flood activity.

The background to this is that climate change has already begun to alter the frequency and magnitude of alpine hazards resulting in the need to reconsider hazard risk for a variety of places in the Alps.

Hands-on activities on the excursion

Hands-on activities on the excursion

Career in Earth, Energy and Sustainability

Choosing this Major is a great place to start your career in this highly dynamic and fast moving field. We prepare you for the next steps, whether graduate school or a professional career. Graduates proceeded in master programs such as environmental science, earth science and sustainable policy.
Jobs include working for NGOs, environmental consultancy or as a researcher. 

Read more about the other Bachelor of Science Majors we offer at LUC: 



Last Modified: 16-09-2015