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UiA invests in environmental Master's degree in Asia

UiA has been given academic responsibility for a new master’s programme in environmentally friendly and sustainable business management. The teaching will take place in Indonesia, and the programme will give priority to students from poor countries in Southeast Asia.

The photo shows pollution on a beach in Indonesia.
Southeast Asia has major environmental challenges. The photo shows pollution on a beach in Indonesia. Photo: Shutterstock

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has allocated just over NOK 12 million to the programme, and the University of Agder receives a third of the money for quality assurance of course content and teaching methods. There are 30 places on the master's programme, of which 20 are fully funded for students from countries such as Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, and Indonesia.

The teaching will take place at Gadjah Mada University in Indonesia.

The teaching will take place at Gadjah Mada University in Indonesia.

“We wanted the programme to be international, so there are also 10 places for European students. This first implementation takes four years, with two groups of students”, says Professor Stein Kristiansen at the School of Business and Law at UiA.

The programme opens for applications this autumn and commences in January 2021.

Practical approach

The teaching will take place at Gadjah Mada University (UGM) in Yogyakarta, which is regarded as Indonesia's best university.

UiA has been collaborating with Gadjah Mada for over 25 years. The Master's programme is based on a Master of Business Administration (MBA), but adds a key environmental and sustainability focus. Lecturers from UiA are scheduled to contribute to all the courses. In the second semester, students will choose among six technical subjects, such as urban planning, sustainable agriculture and renewable energy.

“In all the technical courses, we involve companies working on the topic, both from Norway and from Southeast Asia. The companies based in Asia will provide internships for the students in the third semester. Students will collect data for their master's theses during the internship period”, says Kristiansen.

Master in Sustainability Management


  • Marine Resources and Coastal Management
  • Energy Resource Management
  • Urban Management
  • Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture
  • Climate Change Laws and GHG Reductions
  • Forests and Conservation Management

Interdisciplinary programme

The recruitment of Asian students will take place through the ASEAN University Network, a network of the 30 best universities in the region. The Master's programme is for applicants with a Bachelor's degree, and we want to recruit from a variety of disciplines such as engineering, economics and agronomy.

Picture of professor Stein Kristiansen.

Professor Stein Kristiansen hopes to expand the Master's programme to Tanzania and India. Photo: UiA

“This will be an interdisciplinary Master's programme, where the students can choose their focus areas based on their personal interests. After completing the education, the graduates will be equipped to address the environmental problems their home communities face”, says Kristiansen.

“Formidable challenges”

The purpose of the master's programme is to provide students with useful and practical knowledge about sustainable business management in a region that faces major environmental issues.

“UiA wants to contribute where the challenge is greatest, and there are formidable challenges in Asia. Population growth and a very rapid economic development have led to major pollution problems, challenges with clean water, deforestation and climate change. The way we see it, environment and sustainability are natural focus areas for a business school”, says Kristiansen.

Efforts are being made to make this offer permanent and offer the study programme as a joint degree between UGM and UiA. There is also a wish to expand the offer to cooperating universities in Tanzania and India.