Master's Degree Programme, 2 years

MSc in Industrial Ecology

Illustration: industry and environment

Industrial ecology aims at giving students a holistic theoretical foundation and analytical skills to address sustainability challenges of companies and organization and to recognize opportunities associated with a greening of the economy.

NTNU’s IndEcol professors base their teaching on extensive experience in working with companies, government institutions, international and civic organizations, including their contributions to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the International Resource Panel. MSc students are frequently involved in current research programs or case study work with external organizations.

About the MSc Programme

The study program gives students a solid basis in Industrial Ecology methods, in particular life cycle assessment, material flow analysis, input-output analysis, and life cycle impact assessment. Moreover, they receive an insight into the management of environmental issues in organizations and the use of these methods in climate policy. Students conduct their thesis research in areas such as the environmental impacts of energy and vehicle technologies,  sustainable infrastructure, corporate social responsibility, carbon footprinting, ecological impact methods, or strategies for material recycling and reuse.

The MSc in Industrial Ecology is a two-year full-time degree programme enrolling both Norwegian and international students, typically in equal portions. All courses are taught in English.  Read more about the programme structure.

Study Environment

The MSc programme recruits international and Norwegian students with a variety of disciplinary and cultural backgrounds. Through a focus on group work, projects, and contact with industry and government, the MSc Programme provides an exciting learning environment, which extends beyond classroom teaching. Read more about the study environment.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must hold a BSc/BEng/BA degree within Engineering, Industrial Design, Architecture, Natural Sciences, Political Sciences, Social Sciences, Psychology, Economics, Business and Administration, or similar.

The programme has a strong focus on modeling and requires good skills in mathematics. The intensity of the study programme does usually not allow students to take mathematics courses during the programme. Applicants must have obtained at least 7.5 ECTS in mathematics or statistics during their previous studies. Introductory knowledge of environmental science or environmental management is strongly recommended. Read more about the admission requirements.

Job Opportunities

A focus on systems-level understanding and analytical skills, as well as experience applying state-of-the-art environmental assessment methods and policy strategies to real world problems, makes our students attractive to a wide range of employers. Our graduates are now active in research or leading strategic environmental projects in business, industry and governmental agencies. Read more about career prospects.

Competitive Advantage

Students develop skills in systems thinking and interdisciplinary examination of production and consumption systems. They learn to combine the use of theory, analytical methods and practical cases from industry and society at the local, national and global scale. This type of competence is a competitive advantage for those pursuing careers working on environmental improvements in an increasingly complex corporate-political setting.

Examples of Student Projects

Below is a sample of past student projects and theses. Here is the complete list of past Masters theses.

  • Life cycle assessment of CO2 capture and use
  • Arming the global aluminum cycle for 2050 - Future projections and climate change mitigation
  • Communication of environmental impacts through Environmental Product Declarations
  • Life Cycle Assessment of lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles
  • Corporate social responsibility awareness and innovation in global business systems
  • Dynamic analysis of energy use in the Norwegian residential building stock

Interviews

Romain Billy & Matthieu Vachon

Romain and Matthieu are two of three French students in the MSc 2010 class. They are both from Paris, and knew each other before they decided to come to Norway. They have the same background in engineering, and since there wasn`t any possibility taking a specialization in France, they decided to study abroad.

Romain Billy & Matthieu Vachon

Romain and Matthieu are two of three French students in the MSc 2010 class. They are both from Paris, and knew each other before they decided to come to Norway. They have the same background in engineering, and since there wasn`t any possibility taking a specialization in France, they decided to study abroad.

 

Romain searched for a degree in environmental studies in a Scandinavian country, and found the industrial ecology programme by searching on international master`s degrees at NTNU`s website. Matthieu was also searching around, and found first something in Germany, but later decided for Norway: "According to what I read, I found that this looked more interesting, and there was also the choice of going to Norway which seemed to have more stuff to discover."

 

What they enjoy about the programme is the opportunity to study and choose electives in both scientific subjects, like LCA, and non- scientific subjects, like management. "In the scientific courses we have very good teachers who are very good scientist in this field" says Matthieu. They also like the fact that the master students have diverse academic backgrounds: "I think it adds a lot to what we can learn from each other, so far we have been used to work amongst French engineers, but now we work with people from political science and economics etc., and I think that we can teach each other many things", says Romain. What they have learned so far in the programme is the environmental tools, both how to use the tools, but also how implement them in a practical way.

 

Asked of future plans, none of them have anything specific lined up. Matthieu says that he maybe wants to start a company of his own, but not directly after finishing his degree. A PhD is another option, or doing some consulting for companies who want to make a better environmental business. For Romain it is more or less the same thoughts: "I have the same ideas, but I don`t know if I want to stay in Norway or go back to France or another country. If I should take a PhD it would preferably be in Norway, because in France you don`t get paid."

Matthieu and Romain are very good friends, and they also share an apartment in Trondheim. They admit to like the snowy weather, but say they have more problems adjusting to the few hours of day light they get during the winter months. They think Norwegians has a different way of living then the French: "people are very nice, and you feel a bit like home everywhere. It is a small city, and the way of living is slower, nice and very "cozy"."  Since they are from the gourmet country France, one has to ask what they think of the Norwegian food: "The food is not so good, we buy cabbage because it is cheap – so really there are only two problems about living in Norway, the food and the prices."

 

On their free time they are busy playing underwater rugby, go hiking and skiing. They also socialize with other students, and think that the student organization Symbiosis is very important and good at arranging social activities. They have also talked about Norway and NTNU to their friends in France: "maybe more people from our school will come next year, we are the first from our school, so now people know that they can come also."

Karoline Petersen

Karoline Petersen was born and raised in Oslo, the Norwegian capital city. She originally started a 5 year long study programme in environmental physics and renewable energy at the Norwegian university of Life Science at Ås. However, after being at NTNU as an exchange student, taking LCA and industrial ecology subject, she decided to take her master degree there instead. "It was a coincidence that I chose the industrial ecology subjects at NTNU, I hadn`t even heard about the term "Industrial ecology", but I found out that this was just perfect for me."

Karoline Petersen

Karoline Petersen was born and raised in Oslo, the Norwegian capital city. She originally started a 5 year long study programme in environmental physics and renewable energy at the Norwegian university of Life Science at Ås. However, after being at NTNU as an exchange student, taking LCA and industrial ecology subject, she decided to take her master degree there instead. "It was a coincidence that I chose the industrial ecology subjects at NTNU, I hadn`t even heard about the term "Industrial ecology", but I found out that this was just perfect for me."

She likes that the programme involves a lot of things into the environmental issue: "It`s nice that they don`t just focus on renewable energy, but discuss other issues that are equally important."  Being a first year student she hasn`t decided on what to specialize in yet, but she leans toward Life Cycle Assessment: "I think that my background from the University of Life science at Ås will come in handy within the system analysis direction, but I also think that environmental management and politics are really exciting as well, so I don`t quite know how to combine that."

She thinks the industrial ecology subject is very good:" In this subject we went through all those thoughts you sort of had about the subject, but hadn`t managed to put together, and you saw that your thoughts were important. " She also thinks that the programme benefits from having students from different countries and disciplines, but maybe one down side is that some of the subjects might be simplified a bit. " If you want a study that is more general, that is not just biology, ecology or technology, then this is a great study programme which brings up a variety of aspects."

In the future Karoline wants to work in place where she can do" the most" for the environment, but she does not know what place that would be yet. She enjoys living in Trondheim, and thinks it is a nice city. In her free time she is exercising, and also thinks about beginning in a choir. 

Simon Loveland

Simon Loveland is now a second year master`s student, and the only one from the UK.  He grew up just outside London, but took his bachelor in politics and philosophy in Manchester. Having travelled to and fro Trondheim since 2004 due to his Norwegian wife, they decided to move to Norway after having a daughter last year.

Simon Loveland

Simon Loveland is now a second year master`s student, and the only one from the UK.  He grew up just outside London, but took his bachelor in politics and philosophy in Manchester. Having travelled to and fro Trondheim since 2004 due to his Norwegian wife, they decided to move to Norway after having a daughter last year.

Having a background in art subjects and non-technical subjects he found it hard to find anything relevant in the UK that he could do, so when he moved to Trondheim he looked through all the courses at NTNU in English, found the Industrial Ecology program and got really excited. He enjoys the fact that it is such a broad program:"you can do something as technical as LCA and then doing something completely different, like working with a construction company and environmental policy". He also enjoys doing group work with people from all over the world who has different academic backgrounds, and different perspectives.

Some of what he has learned in his first semester is that there are no obvious answers with environmental issues, and that there are always many points of view. "Studying LCA for example, it is not always easy to work out what the best thing is, there are solutions, but it takes a lot of work."

Simon says he loves Trondheim: "I love the fact that, in compare to London it is very small, but it has a lot going on for such a small place. I also love the fact that it is really easy to get out of the city and out in the nature. And I like that it is so far north, so that you get proper seasons."

Having a little daughter takes up a lot of Simons free time, but he tries to get out and walk, and he hopes to do more cross country skiing in the future. He also plays the guitar and is a keen follower of Manchester City football team, not Manchester City! Simon also has a small business on the side – doing English language editing.

Asked of the future, Simon knows that he will continue living in Norway. He would like to work with policy implementation, and at the moment he is interested in working in the public sector, but that can change: "That is one of the exciting and frustrating aspects of industrial ecology; there are so many different directions you can go, so it is best to keep an open mind."

Oddbjørn Dahlstrøm

Oddbjørn Dahlstrøm grew up in the city Larvik, located in the southern part of Norway. For him Trondheim has always been "the place to go" after high school, and since his brother and many of his friends was there, the choice was easy. In 2004 he started his bachelor degree in Logistics Engineering at Sør-Trøndelag University College

Oddbjørn Dahlstrøm

Oddbjørn Dahlstrøm grew up in the city Larvik, located in the southern part of Norway. For him Trondheim has always been "the place to go" after high school, and since his brother and many of his friends was there, the choice was easy. In 2004 he started his bachelor degree in Logistics Engineering at Sør-Trøndelag University College

After his bachelor he wasn`t quite sure what he wanted to do further, so he moved back home and worked at "Findus" – making fish au gratin and fish fingers for six months, saving up money so he could travel in Asia. In Asia he felt that people threw litter all over and didn`t think about the environment. On a ferry trip he saw that people gathered litter in plastic bags, and thought "finally, someone who is doing something good" – just to discover that they threw the bags overboard.

After spending a year of thinking on what to do next, he felt that he wasn`t finished with Trondheim, and knew that he wanted to take a master degree. Searching the internet, it was a coincidence that he came across the Industrial Ecology Program.   With an interest in the environment, he felt that this program was a good match with his background in Logistic, where he had studied the flow of goods around the world.

Oddbjørn is currently writing a project thesis on how to calculate life-cycle impacts of making modern highly-efficient windows.  LCA is one of Oddbjørn`s favorite subjects in the program. He finds the use of matrixes and math in environmental analysis very exciting, mostly because one can see more specifically what part of an industry or a factory that is responsible for the highest emissions.  Another thing he have learned from the program is to have a more overall picture, to not only study a single product or a company, but follow the whole process, from raw material to waste management.  

Another useful experience has been the chance to cooperate and discuss in English with international students, most of them from different disciplines. "One does not only look at things from one side, like one usually does on the Civil engineering line – where everyone is kind of raised the same way – but here you have people from all over the world, and some with non-technological backgrounds as well – this is very exciting". 

Oddbjørn mentions the Symbiosis, IndEcol`s own association for students, as an important contributor to the close and social study environment at IndEcol. Trondheim overall has a reputation for being a great city for students, and Oddbjørn confirms this. He has for the two past years been active at Samfundet – Trondheim`s biggest arena for student activity, and with the international student festival in Trondheim, Isfit, which is the world's largest student festival with a thematic focus.

Oddbjørn graduated in the spring of 2011.

Hilde Kristine Iglebæk

Second year master`s student (graduated in  spring 2011) Hilde Kristine Iglebæk has just returned from a half year stay at the Norwegian embassy in the capital city of Slovenia, Ljubljana. Here she got a taste of the working life, and admits that she liked it: "It was a very beautiful city and country, and a good feeling to end work at 16 O`clock  - and don`t have the student "anxiety" feeling all the time".  At the embassy she did a variety of tasks, like preparing reports, arrange different events and keep the webpage up to date. She did not have a special focus on environmental issues in her work, but she got some insight into Slovenia`s environmental policies. The   general impression was that environmental policies were developing, but during her stay Slovene politics were overshadowed by financial  worries.

Hilde Kristine Iglebæk

Second year master`s student (graduated in  spring 2011) Hilde Kristine Iglebæk has just returned from a half year stay at the Norwegian embassy in the capital city of Slovenia, Ljubljana. Here she got a taste of the working life, and admits that she liked it: "It was a very beautiful city and country, and a good feeling to end work at 16 O`clock  - and don`t have the student "anxiety" feeling all the time".  At the embassy she did a variety of tasks, like preparing reports, arrange different events and keep the webpage up to date. She did not have a special focus on environmental issues in her work, but she got some insight into Slovenia`s environmental policies. The   general impression was that environmental policies were developing, but during her stay Slovene politics were overshadowed by financial  worries.

Hilde has a background in European Studies from NTNU. She ended up at IndEcol at a coincidence, hearing about the program through a friend and wanted to check it out. With an interested in EU policies, especially in regards to the environment, she found that the IndEcol program was very interesting and relevant.  It was however quite a challenge to come from a non-technological background and start doing LCA and Matlab. Hilde took the challenge, and discovered that she found it exciting to learn technical subjects, and that she worked well in groups that had many different academics backgrounds. 

 

Hilde is now writing her master thesis on "The Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) and the exclusion principles", where the purpose is to evaluate the exclusion principles and suggest improvements especially connected to sustainable development and environmental performance. She is also exploring what environmental criteria are used for excluding companies on an environmental basis. Asked of what she wants to work with after she finishes, Hilde mentions several possibilities, but mainly she wants a job dealing with environmental politics and/or management. 

 

The thing Hilde likes the most about Trondheim is its volunteering community;

"You never have to get bored here if you don`t want to, because you get volunteer duties thrown after you, and I don`t think this exist in any other city". Hilde has herself been active with NTNUi Handball, and has for several years been, and still is, active within ISFiT - the international student festival in Trondheim, which is the world's largest student festival with a thematic focus.  On her free time Hilde likes to go hiking, skiing and socialize with the other students through Symbiosis events. She thinks Symbiosis is a great initiative, and hope that future students will keep develop and enjoy it.

Facts about the programme

Degree type:
International Master's (MSc) - 2 years

Language of instruction:
English

Programme code:
MSINDECOL

Number of students admitted:
20

Host Faculty:
Engineering Science and Technology

Application Deadlines


15 JANUARY: International applicants
The online application is now open for self-financed and Quota Scheme applicants.

1 MARCH: Nordic applicants
The 1 March deadline may apply if you have a bachelor's degree from a Nordic country or are a Nordic citizen. See
 admission procedures.

15 APRIL: Norwegian applicants
If you are a Norwegian citizen and hold a bachelor's degree from Norway. See admission procedures.

Industrial Ecology Programme (IndEcol)

Telephone:
(+ 47) 73 59 89 40
Fax:
(+ 47) 73 59 89 43
Email:
msc@indecol.ntnu.no
Web:
http://www.ntnu.edu/indecol

Student links

Symbiosis is the student organization for the Masters students in the Industrial Ecology Programme.

List of master's theses 1998 - present.

Student representatives to the IndEcol advisory board 1999 - present.

Industrial ecology is ...

"Industrial ecology is the study of the flows of materials and energy in industrial and consumer activities, of the effect of these flows on the environment, and of the influence of economic, political, regulatory and social factors on the flow, use and transformation of resources. The objective of industrial ecology is to understand better how we can integrate environmental concerns into our economic activities. This integration, an ongoing process, is necessary if we are to address current and future environmental concerns."

—Robert White, US Academy of Engineering

NTNU ranks No.2 in Engineering Education for Sustainable Development

The Engineering Education Observatory has evaluated the sustainability-oriented education and research of 56 Technical Universities in Europe and ranks NTNU as the second best in a report, confirming our leading role in the field.