In the fast evolving field of industrial ecology (IE), restrictions, possibilities and critical factors are identified and analyzed in order to find sustainable ways of harmonizing the metabolism of societies with the natural system. The idea of industrial ecology is based upon a straightforward analogy with natural ecological systems. In nature an ecological system operates through a web of connections in which organisms use resources in such a way that very small amounts of available energy or useful material are lost.
This programme will offer a systems analytic perspective on our societies supply, transformation and use of energy and materials. The aim with the programme is to give students knowledge, skills and tools necessary for dealing with the increasingly complex environmental issues. The programme has an upstream perspective. Which means that it focuses on the societal causes of the environmental effects. Therefore, the students should be given knowledge and tools, which are relevant for analysing the environmental impact of the societal use of materials and energy and how to change this use into a more sustainable direction. This includes technological aspects of how to decouple the environmental impact from economic growth. It also include economic and management aspects of industrial systems, including the energy system.
On the completion of the programme the student should be a competent industrial ecologist; ready to take up a position in industry or in a governmental office or to start PhD studies. More specifically, on completion of the programme the student should:
- understand environmental and resource issues in a systems perspective,
- be able to perform Life cycle assessments (LCA), Material flow analysis (MFA), Substance flow analysis (SFA), Energy analysis, Cost benefit analysis cost-efficiency analysis,
- have skills in systems analysis modelling and environmental management,
- have insights into societal and industrial energy and material use, processes that drive and hinder technical development, and management techniques and policy instruments.
This programme in IE gathers the acknowledged system analytic research at Chalmers. The teachers in the programme have all been recognized as fore front researchers in their field, they have been awarded for their teaching skills, and they have a broad web of contacts in academia, industry as well as governmental bodies.
The applicants should have a Bachelor of Science (Engineering) degree or the equivalent. The students' academic background should be applicable to the programme. Swedish applicants should have successfully completed 120 credit units that form a background suitable for the programme. Previous study in environmental science is an advantage. Applicants must also show proficiency in English, e.g., by a TOEFL test (minimum 550).
Courses and Master's thesis
There is a complete set of courses developed for the programme, briefly described below. The compulsory courses comprise 31 credit units. Also required are 9 credit units of elective courses.
The compulsory and elective courses (Quarters 1 to 4 during first year):
Sustainable Development (5 credits)
Science of Environmental Change (5 credits)
Applied Industrial Ecology and Seminar (7 credits)
Sustainable Energy Futures (5 credits)
Technology Evolution (4 credits)
Simulation of Complex Systems (5 credits)
Environmental Policy Instruments (4 credits)
Environmental Management (5 credits)
Life Cycle Assessment (5 credits)
Environmentally Adapted Product Development and Manufacturing (5 credits)
Master's thesis (Quarters 1 and 2, second year):
During a 4-5 months period the second year, the students write their Master's theses, to be presented in a report as well as orally (20 credits).