Our Goal

An academic programme that prepares the sustainability leaders of the future

By attending the shortage of experts in the sustainability field, the Master of Science in Sustainable Territorial Development has been designed as a research driven education programme that prepares the sustainability leaders of the future.

The main objective is to train students to become the agents of change that will imagine, trigger and implement the sustainability transition of the 21st century, both in the Global South and Global North. The distinctive strength of this Master programme is its interdisciplinary character bridging societal and ecology sustainability challenges, and by doing so, going beyond the dualistic perspective on “nature” and “society”, which is still prevalent in education, research, development cooperation and public policy.

Our Vision

A research driven education programme with a societal impact aiming at creating sustainable development agents of change

This Master connecting social and ecological realms of the sustainability problematic is innovative in its vision, content, methodology and societal relevance. Key innovations include:

  • A unique academic programme and interdisciplinary approach on sustainable development that goes beyond the society-ecology divide.
  • An active research driven education model mindful of ethics, gender, diversity and Global South needs.
  • A programme led by internationally recognized sustainability experts and which connects academic research, education, outreach and policy-making.
  • A research driven education programme designed to train the future sustainable development agents leading change.
  • A programme that not only navigates sustainability from an interdisciplinarity perspective but also transits towards transdisciplinarity efforts with societal and policy impact.
  • A programme reflecting and addressing the sustainability needs of the Global South but from a multi-scalar perspective that connects southern and northern challenges and transformations.

Our Methodology

An active research-driven education model with five main pillars


Pillar 1 : Research based teaching courses taught by academic experts leading research in different sustainability domains and parts of the world.

Pillar 2 : Training in research stimulating critical learners, systemic thinking and creativity in the solution of complex socio-ecological problems and triggering real change.

Pillar 3 : A programme informed by and serving the needs of Global South regions facing economic, social and ecological challenges.

Pillar 4 : The active integration of fieldwork in the South, internship, thesis and portfolio development in the professional preparation of the students.

Pillar 5 : The KU Leuven Sustainability Living Lab as the itinerant platform through which the vision and goals of this Master will be tested and implemented in a real world setting. All contents and activities in the Master are connected to the priorities of the Lab, which will be in tune with international institutions agendas and contemporary sustainability debates.

In simple words, this Master programme embraces sustainable development beyond the walls of universities and classrooms to engage with real world settings and localities in their search for solutions to their most pressing problems.