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Master's Programme in Environmental Management and Physical Planning

Environmental issues are complex. A systems perspective is required in order to understand today’s multidisciplinary environmental problems, and to identify both long-term solutions and alternatives.

The programme focuses on environmental science and physical planning. It provides students with a systems perspective on environmental issues, focusing on planning processes, international and transboundary issues, and practical training in tools such as systems analysis.

Members of the teaching staff are drawn from Stockholm University, KTH and other universities, as well as from authorities, organisations, NGO´s and companies. This programme is important for professions related to national and international environmental management by governmental agencies, municipalities, companies and NGO´s.

The programme includes four compulsory courses and up to 30 credits optional courses, allowing students to individually profile their education. The four mandatory courses are:

  • Applied Environmental Modelling - provides students with an introduction to system thinking, systems analysis and system dynamics
  • Case Studies of Environmental Impact Assessments
  • Environmental Management in Planning - investigates the roles of local and regional planning authorities and their work modes
  • International Environmental Mangement - focuses on international and transboundary environmental issues


  • Programme overview

    The two-year Master´s Programme consist of 120 credits

    60 credits Mandatory advanced courses
    0-30 credits Optional courses
    30 credits (alternatively 45-60 credits) mandatory Master thesis

    The programme includes four, 15 ETCS credits, mandatory advanced courses: Applied Environmental Modelling (which gives a basis in systems analysis and modelling without requiring prior experiences of modelling), Case Studies of Environmental Impact Assessment, Environmental Management in Planning, International Environmental Issues, Up to 30 ETCS credits optional courses, e.g. including an internship course, allows the student to individually tailor the education depending on interests, background and needs.

    The programme concludes with a thesis of 30 ECTS credits (recommended setup) during spring year two. (Writing a thesis of 45 or 60 ETCS credits can be possible after discussion with and approval from your programme responsible).

    Year 1

    Autumn term

    Applied Environmental Modelling, 15 credits

    Case Studies of Environmental Impact Assessments, 15 credits

    Spring term

    Environmental Management in Planning, 15 credits

    International Environmental Issues, 15 credits

    Year 2

    The number of optional courses taken will be dependent on the period of time devoted to the Master thesis. You will write your thesis during your last year, 30 credits during spring is the recommended setup. (Writing a thesis of 45 or 60 ETCS credits can be possible after discussion with and approval from your programme responsible). Degree Project in Environmental Science and Physical Planning 30/45/60 credits.

  • How to apply

    All applications must be sent through January 16 2023 - last date to apply for all applicants.

    Required supporting documentation

    In addition to the documents required by, the following documents must accompany all applications to this master’s programme:

    1. Personal letter/Letter of interest (maximum one page). Please indicate how you fulfill the specific requirements for the programme in the letter.
      Further information: Frequently asked questions about admissions.
    2. CV
    3. Brief summary of the grading system of your university (if other than ECTS).

    If you are still studying for your Bachelor degree when making the admission application then please write in the personal letter which courses and credits are yet to be completed.

  • Meet us

    Meet our teachers

    Our researchers. Your teachers.

    Education and research are closely linked at Stockholm University. As a student, you will have direct contact with leading researchers in your field and access to the most recent scientific findings.

    Questions and Answers
    Meet Salim Belyazid, Programme responsible

    Nature based solutions to meet society’s and the environments needs

    Who should apply to this programme?  
    The programme is for candidates looking for to contribute to sustainable physical planning making smart use of nature based solutions to meet society’s and the environments needs. 

    What is specific for this programme? 
    The programme is multidisciplinary and has at its core the systems analysis methodology. It is also predominantly applied, relying equally much on theoretical and methodological training as on real life problem-based learning. The programme attracts students with mixed backgrounds and usually a considerable number of international students. 

    Is there an opportunity for studies abroad and internships? 
    The programme includes elective traineeships and courses for up to 30 credit points. These can be chosen by the students in consultation with the programme and can be located in Sweden or abroad.

    How do you think the students should consider when choosing optional courses within the programme? 
    The elective courses can be chosen either to broaden the knowledge base of the student (into any subject area of relevance to the outcomes of the studies not covered by the mandatory courses), or to strengthen the profile within one of the subjects or methods used in the programme (e.g. GIS, system dynamics, international environmental management, physical planning, nature based solutions…). 

    What skills do students acquire after graduation? 
    The programme trains the candidates in system analysis and system thinking, including dynamic modelling, to be able to deal with complex, multidimensional challenges in physical planning. It also includes specific training on the process of Environmental Impact Assessment, environmental management in physical planning, and international and national environmental management frameworks. 

    What kind of jobs do the students usually get after their studies? 
    Graduates find work outlets in different fields, though primarily within physical planning as consultants or within municipalities and agencies, at regional, national or international levels. Some graduates continue their education into the PhD level. 

    What is the hardest part of the education? 
    According to students’ evaluations and teachers experience, three components of the programme are considered most challenging, but also most rewarding: the first is adapting systems thinking, the second is working in groups and the final is the thesis project. 

    What is most fun with this education? 
    Based on student evaluations, the following points are repeatedly highlighted as fun: 

    - Interactions with other students with different international and educational backgrounds 

    - The consistent balance between theory and real-life application  

    - Pedagogical and creative teaching methods 

    What do you want students in the future to tell us about the time they had at the department? 
    That they remember the time as challenging but enriching and fun. That they learn to think critically and know that each and every one of them can make a difference. 

    How is it to teach on this programme?
    Fun, challenging, engaging, and at the same time constructive.  

    What do you do when you're not researching/teaching? 
    Spending time with my family, my wife of 20 years, our two children and our animals. Take care of my children's horses. Training. Cooking. And when I have a moment for myself, read books. 

    What is your research subject? 
    Sustainability of environmental resources. I am aware of the need to use natural resources, and in my research I want to quantify the sustainable measure. I also try to identify nature-based solutions to our challenges, such as climate change, clean water and air, and opportunities for ethical and equitable access to nature and its services. 

    What education did you choose?  
    I first studied to become a civil engineer in instrumentation, i.e. systems for machines to control themselves to achieve a purpose while keeping track of the environment in which they operate. I then worked as a production engineer, it was this training and work that first gave me insight into causation and feedback systems. Then I studied an interdisciplinary master's degree in environmental science, where the same causal relationships and feedback systems appeared in environmental systems. This is where I was introduced to systems analysis, and it has characterized my way of working ever since. After that, I did my PhD in chemical engineering, and tried to apply the same principles within the interconnected chemical cycle in the environment. 

    Your best tip for an aspiring student? 
    Open mind, willingness to step outside the comfort zone, and knowing that you can make a difference and be involved in shaping the future. 

  • Contact

    Student Counsellor
    Maria Damberg

    Program responsible
    Salim Belyazid