General admission requirements

Background degree

This Master programme aims at attracting students from both natural and social sciences, willing to bridge both ecological and societal domains of the interdisciplinary sustainability problematic. We expect candidates with excellent results with a background in the following fields: geography, ecology, biology, sustainability studies, bio-economy, spatial planning, development studies, environmental management, environmental sciences, biodiversity, conservation biology, landscape ecology, political ecology, human ecology, social ecology, etc. However, students with a more general background in social sciences (economics, political sciences, sociology, anthropology) and applied sciences (bio-engineering, architecture) are also invited to apply.

Notions of ecology and biodiversity are required for admission in the ecology track.


Applicants with a university degree earned in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom or the USA: the certified diploma and transcripts suffice, provided they confirm that the entire university study was completed in English. Absolutely no other diplomas will be accepted as evidence even if the applicant has followed an exclusively English-taught programme.

Other applicants should submit a satisfactory score on an internationally recognized test of English language proficiency: TOEFL (minimum score 94 internet-based with at least 19 for reading, 18 for Listening, 19 for speaking and 21 for writing) or IELTS (minimum score 7 overall, whilst at least 6,5 for reading, 6 for listening, 6 for speaking and 6 for writing). No other proficiency tests will be accepted, and absolutely no application will be considered without such a test certificate.

Students with a degree from a Belgian university are exempted from the language test.

VLIR-UOS scholarship

VLIR-UOS offers 12 full scholarships for students from eligible developing countries. Visit the VLIR-UOS website for more information about their eligibility requirements.

Career prospects

Job opportunities for alumni can be found in all sectors where sustainable development actions should be implemented, at the local, regional, national and international levels. These include public, private and third sector institutions such as enterprises, non-state actors, NGOs and civil society organizations, government administrations at the local and central level, international organizations, universities, research centers, among others. Former students of our programme are working as sustainability experts in a variety of institutions.

Practical information

Tuition fee

See KU Leuven site for the most up-to-date fees :

Duration: 24 months, full time (with a part time option)

ECTS: 120

Awarded degree: Master of Science in Sustainable development

Specializations: Space and Society; Ecology

Location of the programme: KU Leuven Faculty of Science. This is a jointly led programme by the Division of Geography & Tourism, and the Division of Ecology, Evolution and Biodiversity Conservation.

Students are expected to contribute financially to participate in the Living Lab project. More specifically, students are asked to fund and book their own ticket (destination for the Living Lab in September 2024 is Hanoi-Vietnam). The subsistence cost (local transport, accommodation, and food) is estimated at 25 euro per day. The programme makes efforts to obtain additional funding to minimise costs for each student, but this funding cannot be guaranteed.

Important dates and deadlines

  • November 1: open call VLIR scholarships
  • February 1: deadline VLIR applications
  • March 1: deadline applications students who need a student visa and who are not applying for a VLIR scholarship
  • June 1: Deadline application for European students who don’t need a visa to study in Belgium