Environmental Management & Sustainability Science



We recieve a lot of intricate questions from prospective students. Here are some of them and their accompanying answers:

Exchange agreements

My home university has no exchange agreement with Aalborg University - is that a problem?
When evaluating applicants, we do no not differentiate between students from universities with exchange agreements and universities without. There may be other issues of tuition and e.g. EU scholarships offered only to guest students through formal exchange agreements.

My home university has no exchange agreement with Aalborg University - and they will only permit me to become a guest student through formal exchange agreements - what do I do?
You are very welcome to contact us to see if we would like to make a formal exchange agreement with your university. They are fairly simple to make.

My home university has an exchange agreement with Aalborg University - do I need to document my English proficiency?
Yes. All students must provide documentation of their English capability. The only exceptions are a) students that are native English speakers (citizens of e.g. UK, Ireland, the US, NZ, Australia) b) students from countries where the official language is English (citizens of e.g. Ghana, non-French part of Cameroon, Kenya) and c) students from countries where good English qualifications are the norm (mainly the Nordic Countries).

Application and requirements

At some universities you need to write a motivation letter or similar. Others require references or recommendations. Is any of this required here?
In general, no. Assuming you have a bachelor's degree in a relevant topic, reasonable grades and documentation for your English proficiency, then the procedure is straightforward and we won't look at any extra attachments. If you feel that you'll need to convince us to admit you, then it is better contacting us asking about your chances.

What are the specific engineering requirements to enter this programme?
As we admit students with very diverse backgrounds ranging from biology and geography to electrical engineering, we do not have any specific courses that prospective students must have before being admitted. We percieve this as students complementing one another rather than as a problem.

Visiting the programme and being guest student

Is it possible to visit the programme to write my thesis for my home university?
This is only possible in rare cases. You will need to apply to the programme and be inscribed in the programme. Before that, you will need to contact us to see if we will accept you as a thesis-writing student - particularly if you go for option A) below. We will only consider admitting you if our regular intake of students is low, if you are highly motivated, up to the task of working independently and have a well-established goal for your study here.

There are a few options to consider:

  • If you stay for one semester only:
    A) You may be inscribed as a 3rd semester student, which is a semester without any course work. Then you will be assigned a supervisor here, and you will write a project here which you defend here. Afterwards you are free to submit your report to your home university for a master's defense (assuming your home university accepts this procedure). You will not get a master's degree from Aalborg.
    B) If you are up to the task, you can also follow either the 1st or the 2nd semester (these are our semesters with courses) while preparing the project at the same time

  • If you stay for two semesters
    C) If you wish to stay for two semesters with the aim of writing your master's thesis for your home university, then you will need to follow either the 1st or the 2nd semester also. You will start with one of these two semesters (your starting date determines which one) where you will be working in a group. Then you'll take a semester without any course work to write your project/thesis. Please note that you need to prepare and defend one project per semester.
    D) Again - if you are up to the task, you can also follow both the 1st and the 2nd semester and submit your 2nd semester report to your home university as a thesis. Please note that you need to prepare and defend one project per semester. For all of the options a to d - please read the question Can I have a supervisor at my home university while studying in Aalborg? below.

If you need to set up a learning agreement before doing thesis work here, please put "Project work within sustainable energy planning and management" and "30 ECTS" in it.

Can I stay at Aalborg University without being admitted into the programme?
You cannot stay at the university as a student without being admitted into the programme. You are of course welcome to make interviews with staff members or anything similar without formally being a student here. If you require supervision or anything equally formal you need to enter the programme. Otherwise you don't release any resources plus it may be an infringement of Danish tuition laws.

If I am admitted as a guest student for one semester would it be possible to extend my stay with an extra semester's guest study - or stay for the entire master's programme?
That is no problem assuming you have performed reasonably. The procedure is fairly un-bureaucratic (see next question also if opting for the entire master's).

Home university

If I am admitted as a guest student for one or two semester would it be possible for me to go back and do a few semesters at my home university and then re-join the EMSS programme and do the actual master's?
In most cases that is no problem. There may be a few exceptions - mainly if we have deviated from our normal entry requirements - but just ask us. You will need to apply formally a second time but some of the attachments won’t be necessary the second time, so it is less bureaucratic.

Can I have a supervisor at my home university while studying in Aalborg?
We have had some poor experiences with students also having supervisors from their home university during their studies in Aalborg. At Aalborg University we use the principle of problem-based learning which basically entails that projects contain what is pertinent to answer a research question. Bad experiences include home universities requiring a chapter on some specific topic to fullfill a syllabus requirement - or requiring X pages of equations. This leads to projects that end up unsatisfactory for both of the universities - and leads to frustrated students.
When we send our students to other universities, they are free to immense themselves in the study culture of their host and we expect the same of incoming students.

Can I write my thesis in a different city or country?
Yes, you can write your thesis whereever as there is no course work on the semester, however don't underestimate the value of a close contact with your supervisor.

About the students

What is the fraction of international students in the programme?
Probably around 80%. Most are from the EU as there is no tuition for these students.

How many of your students had previous working experience before coming?
We don't keep records of this - but most come directly from another university though it is by no means uncommon to have students here with a few years’ of working experience.

What is the students’ educational background?
The students’ educational background differs, since many bachelor programmes are relevant for studying environmental management. We have social science students, especially within political science or administration studies, and we have students with a technical engineer bachelor, e.g. within construction or geoscience.

Groups versus my own interest

Can I be certain that I can write my semester project on a specific topic?
During the 1st and the 2nd semesters you will be working in groups, so this means that there must be at least approximately three students interested in a subject before it is approved. This means that we cannot guarantee that you will get to work on a specific subject as it depends on the other students wishes. You are welcome to contact us to hear about what the likelihood of a specific subject attracting sufficient student is.

During the 3rd semester, students are not expected to work in groups and the situation is hence very flexible.

During the 4th semester, students are encouraged to work in groups however some do not. This means there is a large flexibility here.

The situation surrounding guest students admitted to write their master's thesis (see the question "Is it possible to visit the programme to write my thesis for my home university?") is more flexible during their last semester here.

Formal issues

Can I combine the programme with courses offered at a different programme at Aalborg University?
The university operates with predefined course packages for the individual semesters, and there is no coordination between different programmes in terms of scheduling of courses making it difficult combining programmes. Taking a course in another programme will either mean missing lectures in courses or will mean that you will not be present for group work - neither of which is satisfactory. All students must therefore take the entire package.

Can I get a double degree (a degree from both Aalborg University and my own university)?
As a general rule no. The system for setting up joint degree programmes is too complex for us to do so on an ad hoc basis.


Does the programme have any contacts for the traineeships during the third semester of the programme?
We have a good network of contacts - but most students find something on their own that fits them. We do not operate with a set of choices to choose from - but we offer inspiration.


Can I make a "traineeship" project in a specific country even though I may not obtain a company contact?
Yes, you can always make a 3rd semester project in another country as there is no course work on the semester and as traineeships are not the only allowed option. You should obviously make use of the opportunities for collaboration with other companies and institutions in the country, and there are always the possibility to conduct interviews and collect empirical data.


I am a Ph.D. student - can I join the programme?
You are welcome - as long as you fulfill our normal requirements.
You may also contact one of the staff-members directly and ask to become a visiting ph.d. student.

I already have a master's degree. Do you have Ph.D. programme I can join?
Yes and no. We do have a Ph.D. programme but we do not very often have vacancies. Ph.D. positions are well paid jobs in Denmark, so there is only a very limited number of positions as we have to locate approximately €265,000 of funding for each position. Securing this funding is a long process and time consuming and often to no avail. It is therefore usually only something we do when we have a large research application, where Ph.D. positions may be included. Once financing has been found, however, positions are offered openly for more candidates to apply to.


How to apply