Sustainable Development

Learn about sustainable development from an interdisciplinary perspective

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Sustainable Development Master - Philipps University of Marburg

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Sustainable Development (Master)

About the study program

The city of Marburg

Photo: Lovie Tey

  • Degree: Master of Science
  • Program length: 4 semesters
  • Program start: winter semester
  • Application period: 01.04.2024 – 15.07.2024
  • Admission mode: Aptitude assessment procedure

Focus on the Sustainable Development Goals

The topics covered in this study program are related to the Sustainable Development Goals, their drivers, and political and societal change.

The objective is to develop an understanding of sustainable development under dynamic and context-specific conditions.

Sustainable Development study program

Photo: Tyler Casey (Unsplash)

  • Background and Core modules (30 CP) 25% 25%
  • Specialization in Economics (12 CP) 10% 10%
  • Specialization in Human or Physical Geography (12 CP) 10% 10%
  • Methods and Analytics (12 CP) 10% 10%
  • Electives (18 CP) 15% 15%
  • Interdisciplinary module (6 CP) 5% 5%
  • Master Thesis (30 CP) 25% 25%

Specialization: Economics

In this field, you take the modules Challenges to Sustainable Development and Pathways to Sustainable Transformation.

Besides, you also have to take one course from our regular Economics program. Here you can choose between a large variety of modules.

Specialization: Geography

You can choose, whether you want to specialize in Human Geography or Physical Geography.

Physical Geography includes courses like Climate Change, Life on Land, or Soil and Water Resources.

Human Geography includes modules about Geographies of Sustainable Transformation, Economic Growth and Sustainability, and many more.

Methods and Analytics

Methods courses are important for equipping you with a variety of tools that enable you to understand interconnected human-natural systems and conduct empirical research projects.

Therefore, you can take methods courses such as Advanced Statistical Methods and Advanced Empirical Social Research Methods.

Practical orientation is a priority for us

Guest lectures & workshops

  • Each semester we are visited by many attractive employers
  • Examples from the past:
    McKinsey, Porsche Consulting, Google, Amazon, Daimler, Siemens Healthineers, and many more
  • This is a great opportunity to make contacts for your career start

Excursions to international companies

  • Get exciting insights into companies
  • For example, we visited the Google headquarters in Hamburg (including dinner together and an evening in the city)
  • Excursions are an excellent opportunity to get to know other students

Great employers nearby Marburg

  • Leading pharmaceutical companies directly in Marburg (e.g., BioNTech)
  • Important automotive suppliers and many „hidden champions“
  • Frankfurt is nearby. With our student ticket, you can take the InterCity Express (ICE) and all other trains for free.

These companies have already given guest lectures at our place:

Deutsche Bahn Logo Gastvortrag
SAP Logo Gastvortrag Marburg
mercedes benz logo gastvortrag uni marburg
kpmg logo gastvortrag uni marburg
commerzbank logo gastvortrag uni marburg
adidas logo gastvortrag uni marburg
amazon logo gastvortrag uni marburg

Study in one of the most popular student cities

Marburg is located in the center of Germany and is one of the most popular student cities. Of the approximately 77,000 inhabitants, about one in three studies at the Philipps University. This high density of young students characterizes the entire cityscape. Countless pubs, restaurants, and cafés await you in our beautiful old town. Most of our students prefer to live in flat-sharing communities.

Excellent semester ticket

With our semester ticket, you can use public transport throughout Hesse. You can even travel with the ICE.

Flat-sharing communities

Our students prefer to live in flat-sharing communities. Studying and living together is the most fun.

Our canteen

In our canteen, you can have lunch with friends at a reasonable price. Vegans and vegetarians will also be happy here.

The old town of Marburg

In our historical town, you will find many restaurants, cafés, and pubs. Here is always something going on.

Free bicycles

Throughout Marburg, you can find bicycles from Nextbike, which our students can borrow for free.

Interactive teaching

Studying in Marburg is characterized by a close relationship between students and professors.

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Photos: Albert Meier (1), Dominik Schöberl (2,3,4), Felix Wesch (5,6)
Video: Philipps University of Marburg

Facts about Marburg



Bars, restaurants and cafés

Where you can learn

Many of our students like to study in one of our libraries. There you will find silence, large desks, and free Wi-Fi. Both libraries are within walking distance of the lecture hall building, so you can easily study there between classes. Free lockers are available.

Bibliothek der Wirtschaftswissenschaften Uni-Marburg

Photo: Leon Pozzi

The Business & Economics Library

Do you prefer a personal atmosphere and want to learn in a beautiful old building? The Business & Economics Library was recently restored in 2018/2019 and is technically up to date. Here you can borrow all necessary books for your lectures free of charge.
Universitätsbibliothek Marburg

Photo: Dominik Schöberl

The University Library

Our new University Library opened in 2018 and is one of the most modern libraries in Germany. There is an inexpensive café in the building, and the canteen is also only a 5-10-minute walk away. The University Library is located right next to a beautiful botanical garden where you can sunbathe during the summer.

This is what our alumni say:

An der Universität Marburg absolvierte ich sowohl meinen Bachelor als auch meinen Master im Bereich Innovation Management. Die hohe Qualität der Lehre, insbesondere in Kursen von Professoren wie Herrn Stefan und Herrn Wulf, bereitete mich optimal auf meine berufliche Laufbahn vor. Marburg selbst, mit seiner lebendigen Studentenkultur und historischen Umgebung, bereicherte meine Studienzeit enorm. Ein besonderes Highlight war mein Austauschjahr an der Tongji University in China, das meine interkulturellen Kompetenzen erweiterte. Dank Marburgs Renommee und meinem aufgebauten Netzwerk konnte ich nach meinem Abschluss beruflich durchstarten. Ich bin stolz, ein Marburger Alumni zu sein.

Jonas Herzer
Consultant @ VDI/VDE Innovation + Technik GmbH

„The International Political Economy program offers diverse interdisciplinary courses in economics and political science, providing comprehensive knowledge of political economic models, theories, and methods. My year abroad provided profound insights into the United States‘ economics, culture, and politics—a pivotal player in international relations. Both Marburg and Dallas enriched me personally and academically. Marburg’s medieval charm contrasts Dallas as a modern metropolis. Throughout my journey, I received exceptional support and guidance from the university staff in both cities, fostering my personal and academic development.“

Tilmann Waffenschmidt
M.Sc. International Political Economy

Vor meinem Masterstudium in Kopenhagen und Berufseinstieg in der Unternehmensberatung habe ich marktorientierte Unternehmensführung in Marburg studiert. Marburg als Universitätsstadt hat mit seinen vielen Kneipen, Cafés und Parks einen einzigartigen Flair, der mir besonders positiv in Erinnerung geblieben ist. Noch heute habe ich einen engen Draht zu einigen meiner Kommilitonen, aus denen gute Freunde geworden sind. Unvergessen sind die zahlreichen Tage in der (ehemaligen) Universitätsbibliothek, lange Nächte im Till Dawn oder Bundesliga-Nachmittage in der Oberstadt. Auch methodisch hat das Studienkonzept überzeugt – durch den modularen Aufbau des Studienplans konnte ich so individuelle Schwerpunkte nach meinen Interessen setzen.

Christian Brand
Manager @ Strategy&

The interdisciplinary nature of this master’s program is strengthened by the wide range of interesting courses and the excellent support provided by the professors. In Marburg, you will receive a high-quality education in economics, whereas in Dallas, you will have the opportunity to deepen your knowledge in political science. Student life also offers a lot: in Marburg, you will experience a vibrant and youthful German student city. The university is situated in the beautiful old town, and you can spend your free time by the river Lahn or in the numerous charming cafes and bars. At UTD, you will have the chance to immerse yourself in the typical American campus life while enjoying the advantages of the bustling city of Dallas.

Franziska Auch
M.Sc. International Political Economy

Als Marburger durch und durch entschied ich mich, meiner Heimatstadt treu zu bleiben. Diese Entscheidung hat sich mehrfach ausgezahlt. An der Universität Marburg vertiefte ich mich in die Marktorientierte Unternehmensführung und fand besonderen Gefallen an Kursen wie Absatzwirtschaft und Quantitative Forschungsmethoden. Abseits des Lernens genoss ich das pulsierende Leben der Oberstadt. Mein Studium lehrte mich nicht nur Fachwissen, sondern auch die Bedeutung von Praktika und zielgerichtetem Lernen. Heute, als Strategic Global Account Manager bei Nike, blicke ich dankbar auf meine Jahre in Marburg zurück.

Masi Babak
Strategic Global Account Manager @ Nike

Become active and make friends

Orientierungswoche im Wintersemester 2021 am Fachbereich Wirtschaftswissenschaften

The orientation week

At the beginning of the first semester, the student council arranges the orientation week. During this week, you will get to know your fellow students, the city, and the university. The agenda includes a city rally, a breakfast with the professors, a faculty party, and many other activities. Experienced students will help you with questions you may have. There is no better way to start your studies!

Photo: Karolin Spies

Get to know people

Discover Marburg

Sign up for your courses

University sports

At the University of Marburg, you can choose between more than 100 sports. Not only popular sports like soccer, volleyball, and tennis are part of our course program but also many less-known sports. We even offer, for example, ski excursions and sailing courses. For many students, our fitness room is a great alternative to a gym membership.

Studierende spielen Beach-Volleyball

Photo: Ildar Garifullin

Studierende stehen um Tisch herum und arbeiten gemeinsam an einem Projekt

Student initiatives

You can engage in one of several student initiatives and gain valuable experience for your future. Since most student initiatives have a distinct community life, they are a perfect opportunity to meet other students.

Photo: Sanuas

The Student Council

The Student Council advocates for the students of our department and organizes the orientation week.

The Finance Club

Are you interested in capital investments and financial markets? The Finance Club offers exciting discussions and excursions.


AIESEC is the largest student initiative in the world. It arranges social projects and internships abroad for young people.


The student consultancy Phlink conducts exciting consulting projects and has good connections in our region.

And many more!

Do you want to spend a semester abroad?

The School of Business and Economics has many well-known partner universities abroad. You can get financial support through the ERASMUS program. The semester abroad is voluntary and can easily be integrated into your studies. Our International Office supports you with the entire planning process and can answer all your questions about studying abroad.

Marie-Therèse was in Italy

Marie-Therèse was in Italy

I spent my semester abroad at the Università degli Studi di Perugia in Italy.
At the university, I took modules such as „Development Economics“ and „Private Banking & Wealth Management“, which were quite interesting. The Italian students have always been very helpful, so do not hesitate to get in touch with them! 
The relationship between students and lecturers also quickly became familiar, which made it easier to ask questions in order to get the content across in a targeted manner.
I had a great time in Perugia and can recommend it to everyone to spend a semester abroad there.
Marie-Therèse Radetzky

Master's student

Photo: Marie-Therèse Radetzky

Where do you want to go?



University of Texas at Dallas


Universidad de Extremadura
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Università degli Studi di Perugia
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Kobe University


Shanghai University of Finance and Economics
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Cracow University of Economics


Athens University of Economics and Business


University of Kent
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Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense


Marmara Üniversitesi

And many more!

Where do you want to go?



University of Texas at Dallas


Universidad de Extremadura
Flagge Italien Icon


Università degli Studi di Perugia
Flagge Japan Icon


Kobe University
Flagge China Icon


Shanghai University of Finance and Economics
Polen Flagge


Cracow University of Economics


Athens University of Economics and Business


University of Kent
Flagge Frankreich Icon


Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense


Marmara Üniversitesi

And many more!

Visit the Silicon Valley

Vortrag in großem Raum in Silicon Valley

Photo: Gregory Axmann

Prof. Armbrüster about the Silicon Valley excursion

In May 2018 and May 2019, we visited Silicon Valley with about 60 students. The excursion aimed to learn about the characteristics of start-ups from the information technology sector and to get to know the atmosphere of the Valley. Through several talks by founders, technology specialists, venture capitalists, and university professors, the participants could gain deep insights into the functioning of start-ups and the prevailing corporate culture.

As the excursion received excellent feedback, we plan to offer it regularly after the pandemic.

Prof. Dr. Thomas Armbrüster

Research Group of Knowledge Management, Human Resources and Leadership

Are you interested in founding a startup?

We support your idea!

Startups are an essential driver of technological and societal progress. MAFEX is an institute at the University of Marburg that supports you in starting your own business. No matter whether you need support with the development of a promising idea, the business plan, financing, or the choice of an appropriate organizational form. We can even help you with your patent application.

Profilfoto des MAFEX-Teams, Björn und Julian mit Marburger Oberstadt und Schloss im Hintergrund

Consulting & lectures

The services of MAFEX are free of charge for our students. Furthermore, our department offers lectures and seminars on entrepreneurship.

Great success stories

Did you already know that Blinkist, one of the most successful startups in Germany, was founded by graduates of our faculty?

Idea contest

MAFEX regularly hosts an idea contest where you can pitch your business idea. Maybe you will be the winner of attractive prize money.

Founder grants

Founder grants can make it much easier to start a business. MAFEX supports you in the application process.

Coworking space

We offer cost-free coworking space for our students. There you can find everything a startup needs (including a foosball table).

Startup environment

Marburg stands out for its high activity in business founding and is ranked among the top regions in Germany in the NUI ranking.

Photo: Albert Meier

Any remaining questions?

Studienberatung Wirtschaftswissenschaften

Ask our Student Advisory Service

If you still have questions regarding the Sustainable Development study program, the Student Advisory Service is pleased to help you.

Your contact person

Prof. Dr. Björn Vollan


Phone: +49 (0) 6421 28-23725

Photo: Free-Photos (Pixabay)

What are you waiting for?

The Sustainable Development study program is aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. You will attend modules in both economics and geography and have a lot of freedom of choice here. Marburg is a beautiful student city where you will have a great time.

Application deadline for the winter semester 2023/24:

July 15, 2024

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