Geography: Education for Sustainable Development

Master of Arts
Semester fee
71 Euro
Start of the program
Winter semester
Standard length of the program
4 Semester
Place of study
Part-time studies possible

Sustainable development is one of the most important and complex challenges of our time. To implement it successfully, we must initiate and implement comprehensive and far-reaching social transformations. Education is considered the key to sustainable development.

By shaping educational processes in a multi-perspective, participatory and transformative way, Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) enables people to think and act responsibly in a future-oriented manner, and promotes their ability to shape their own lives and developments accordingly. The training of competent multipliers for ESD is urgently needed!

The Master’s degree program in ‘Geography: Education for Sustainable Development’ enhances your ability to shape developments and your own lives and provides you with knowledge and skills needed to shape educational processes in ESD as a multiplier.

The program in detail


acquire sound knowledge of complex and future-oriented phenomena as well as the necessary educational and didactic skills to shape educational processes in ESD.

In addition to required modules from various disciplines that cover the spectrum of sustainable development and ESD, a broad pool of elective modules offers the opportunity to set your own priorities.

Studying across disciplines

The degree program integrates findings and methods from various disciplines such as geography, economics, sociology, religious education, adult education, biology, didactics and ethics. Through combination of all of these disciplines, a holistic approach is opened up, thus ensuring a multi-perspective education.

Research-oriented studies

The scientifically substantiated and reflected theoretical approaches of the different disciplines open a broad research spectrum. Particular importance is placed on the relationships between the environment, the economy, and society, as well as on reflective skills.

Studies with a practical orientation

In addition to theoretical reflection, practical relevance is an essential part of this Master's degree program. The knowledge acquired during the course of study is applied in practice in the context of field trips, project seminars and the required internship.

The close cooperation with non-university ESD players and educational institutions enriches the practical relevance of the Master's program.

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The degree program can be completed in full-time (four semesters) or part-time (eight semesters) and is concluded with a Master of Arts (M.A.).

Semester 1

The first semester examines the basics of sustainable development and ESD.

The courses offer an insight into the different disciplines that deal with sustainability and take an in-depth insight into the interactions between ecology and society as well as global development challenges. In addition, a basic module will examine the concept and didactics of ESD in school and non-school settings. Already in the first semester, you have the opportunity to develop an individual profile within the broad pool of elective modules.

Semester 2

In the second semester, students already have the possibility to put their acquired knowledge into practice and to experience it in a practical context. In addition to project seminars and the professional internship, the large field trip seminar will also take place in this semester, during which students visit institutions with a connection to ESD and sustainability in order to establish practical contacts, e.g. for their Master's thesis, or to get in touch with possible future employers.

Semester 3

The third semester is dominated by a wide range of elective modules that offer you the opportunity to deepen your already acquired knowledge and get to know other areas. This allows you to develop an individual profile, which, in combination with your Bachelor's degree, opens up a variety of career options.

In the seminar "Economic Geography: Sustainable Regional Development and Planning" you will gain a deeper insight into an increasingly important field of work: sustainable regional development.

Semester 4

In the fourth semester, you will devote yourself to your Master's thesis entirely. You compile your final thesis based on an application-oriented research question in cooperation with non-university partners. In the accompanying colloquium, you will learn forms of scientific work and approach methodical and content-related questions with your fellow students in depth.

Module plan


With its orientation towards the concept of sustainability, the KU offers perfect conditions to really integrate ESD into everyday life and to help shape the campus in a sustainable way.

In the KU’s garden Kapuzinergarten, students take care of the University's own beehives and learn the beekeeper's trade. In addition, there is the opportunity to carry out practical work in the garden and to get to know, for example, the principles of recycling management.

Students and initiatives involved in the field of sustainability will find a common hub for exchange, networking, continuing education and other joint activities in the „Green Office – the KU’s sustainability office“. Furthermore, the KU maintains close contacts to sustainability initiatives in the town and region, where students can get involved in sustainable development initiatives in practice and implement what they have learned in theory.

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The program in awards and rankings

The Master’s program in ESD received an award as project for "Learning Sustainability" twice in the framework of the UN World Decade ESD.

The degree program was successfully reaccredited in 2019.

Furthermore, you will study at a sustainable place of learning at the Catholic University Eichstätt-Ingolstadt (KU).

Since 2010, the KU has been pursuing an overall sustainability concept. New objectives are formulated in a continuous process and corresponding measures are implemented. The process of sustainable development – in the fields of governance, research, teaching, campus management, student initiatives & commitment as well as transfer – can be experienced at the KU first-hand and shaped accordingly.

In this context, the KU was honored as an exemplary place of learning for sustainable development in the highest category by the UNESCO in 2016, 2018 and 2019. In addition, the KU bears the title ‘Fairtrade University’ and is the first German university to be certified according to the integrated sustainability management EMASplus since 2019.

Rankings and assessments

The KU is the most popular university in 2022

KU students and alumni have voted for their University to be Germany's most popular university in the 2022 ranking of the online portal StudyCheck. This is the second time in a row, as KU was also voted the most popular university in 2021. The ranking was based on over 70,000 evaluations for more than 500 higher education institutions and universities. 97 percent of students questioned for the ranking would recommend studying at the KU to others.

"There is no better praise for a university than almost 100 percent of students and alumni agreeing: I can only recommend studying at the KU! That is why we are very pleased with the ranking’s outcome, because it expresses the high level of satisfaction of our students," says KU President Prof. Dr. Gabriele Gien.

More ranking results

Studying abroad

Taking a different perspective is a core principle of ESD, which is why you also have the opportunity to complete your professional internship abroad or to spend a semester abroad. The KU maintains a partnership network with around 300 universities worldwide. The KU International Office supports students in the planning phase and provides information on different financing possibilities for stays abroad.

International internship in India

Foto Sina Mixdorf

"I completed my internship with the non-governmental organization “Jeevika“ in Bangalore, South India. The organization fights against modern slavery and works on solutions for sustainable development in rural areas. One project that I was able to help initiate to secure the livelihood of the population was the…

"I completed my internship with the non-governmental organization “Jeevika“ in Bangalore, South India. The organization fights against modern slavery and works on solutions for sustainable development in rural areas. One project that I was able to help initiate to secure the livelihood of the population was the production of spice mixtures, which we now even offer in local stores in Eichstätt. The internship was a great enrichment for me. I met many great people, received a lot of input, gained work experience abroad and was able to get to know the culture authentically through close contact with the locals.”

- Sina Mixdorf(student of MA Geography: Education for Sustainable Development)

Practical connection

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In addition to the project seminars and the Master's thesis, which ensure constant practical contact, the program also includes an internship of at least 8 weeks. For possible internship placements, you can also make use of our cooperation with ESD institutions and associations. These exist for example with:

  • Working group for nature and environmental education and affiliated environmental stations, e.g. at the Rothsee
  • Floodplain Information Center Neuburg
  • bezev - Disability and development cooperation
  • Floodplain educational network
  • The German environmental protection association Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland e.V. (BUND)
  • Eine Welt network Bavaria
  • Engagement Global – Service for development initiatives
  • Information center Naturparkzentrum Altmühltal
  • Bavarian state association for bird protection Landesbund für Vogelschutz, at the Referat Bildung für nachhaltige Entwicklung
  • Misereor
  • and many more

Students also have the possibility to complete their internship abroad; for individual advice and support in finding an internship and financing possibilities, the KU Career Service and the International Internship Service are happy to help.

Career possibilities and professional fields

Career prospects

Fields of work and job opportunities are increasing year by year due to the growing presence in political programs and social initiatives. Thus, the Master’s program in ESD ideally prepares students for a growing job market.

For example, graduates have the opportunity to work in non-school educational areas or in the field of international cooperation work. Furthermore, it offers an additional profile that is increasingly needed in the school sector.

Experience has shown that students develop an individual professional profile through their Bachelor's degree and the choice of internships and seminars.

Possible fields of work with the Master in BNE are:

Environmental stations, Eine Welt centers, national parks, museums, international cooperation work e.g. at the Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), kfW Bank, companies, associations, schools

Graduates interested in research are equipped with all the prerequisites for pursuing a doctorate in areas such as the didactics of geography and ESD.

What students say about the program

Foto Michaela_Spindler

"In my Bachelor's degree program in Geography, my chosen minor subject has already given me a broad, interdisciplinary perspective on global interrelationships. In order to now be able to actively contribute to a sustainable everyday life and society, I have chosen to study in the Master in ESD in Eichstätt. Also the…

"In my Bachelor's degree program in Geography, my chosen minor subject has already given me a broad, interdisciplinary perspective on global interrelationships. In order to now be able to actively contribute to a sustainable everyday life and society, I have chosen to study in the Master in ESD in Eichstätt. Also the great value that the KU attaches to sustainability has convinced me to go study at this University. My main focus here is on adult education, so that I can expand my pedagogical skills even further. The field trips and project seminars require a lot of personal initiative, which of course only has a positive effect on the expertise in turn.

The numerous student initiatives, additional electives and events at the university and in Eichstätt as well as the comprehensive library stocks help to integrate sustainability into the own daily life. Since this Master's program is unique in Germany in this form and both education and sustainable development are absolutely relevant topics for the future, I can only recommend this degree program".

- Michaela Spindler(student (started in 2018/19 winter semester))

"I had the Bachelor of Geography in my pocket! Now what was next? I was already very interested in sociology, psychology and philosophy back then. I was looking for the famous all-in-one degree program. My level of frustration grew and the alternative to become a gardener got closer and closer. One last try: Eichstätt!…

"I had the Bachelor of Geography in my pocket! Now what was next? I was already very interested in sociology, psychology and philosophy back then. I was looking for the famous all-in-one degree program. My level of frustration grew and the alternative to become a gardener got closer and closer. One last try: Eichstätt! Wait, where? But even if I knew the University already, I would not decide differently today: Short distances, people know each other, individuals are heard. During my time there, the study contents changed. By student request – we were given a say! ESD in theory and practice. What I associate with ESD in Eichstätt? It is unique and dynamic!”

- Steven Mainka( student (started in 2017/18 winter semester))

The KU

Sommerresidenz Luftbild


Short distances on campus at the KU save time and avoid stress. The KU is a campus University with modern facilities. The buildings on campus are located close to the Eichstätt old town. Although the University and its campus has grown, it is still characterized by short distances: In Eichstätt, everything can be reached within ten minutes’ walking distance. On campus, green spaces such as the Hofgarten are the perfect places to relax. The garden of the Kapuzinerkloster is also used by different student initiatives for their projects. The canteen is located at the heart of the Eichstätt campus and has a sun deck and cafeteria that leave nothing to be desired.

Studierende vor der Zentralbibliothek

What sets the KU apart

Studying at the KU is more than just acquiring specialist knowledge. We broaden our horizons together and take on responsibility in and beyond the individual degree programs. The KU has a particular focus on topics such as personal development, sustainability, social skills and social commitment.

It offers its students the possibility to study and work in a welcoming atmosphere and benefit from outstanding support and comprehensive service offers, a well-stocked library, a broad range of sports and leisure activities and a large global network of approx. 300 partner universities. Our team at the International Office helps you to plan your semester abroad and the KU Career Service provides comprehensive advice and support for embarking on your professional career.

Do I have to be Catholic in order to study at the KU? Do I have to deal with Catholic contents during my studies?

No, the KU is open to students of all faiths and beliefs.

At the KU, just as at all state universities, there is freedom of research and teaching. This means that our degree programs focus on the subjects for which you have enrolled – free from external influences.

As a student at our University, you will notice what our understanding of being a Catholic University means for us in one thing in particular: The University’s focus is on the individual person. The talents and potential of all those who teach, study, work and carry out research at the KU form our most important foundation – regardless of their religion or beliefs, nationality, ethical, cultural or social background, disabilities, gender, sexual orientation or age.

This is why we promote your best possible academic education through personal support and an ideal staff-to-student ratio. At the same time, the KU is more than just a place for earning your degree: We attach particular importance to imparting social skills and advancing our students’ sense and value orientation in addition to providing them with a high level of academic and methodical qualification.

Our aspiration for our University is to build bridges between science and society and to make knowledge available for society as well as to integrate impulses from outside the University into our research and teaching practice. We aim to make a valuable contribution to social coexistence, to the free democratic basic order and to preserving creation. 

Isn’t Eichstätt quite small for a university town?

With a population of around 15,000, it is probably the smallest university town in Europe. For our students, this means living and learning in a friendly and informal atmosphere. Whether it is on the way to a lecture in the morning, at the canteen for lunch or in the pub in the evening, you will often come across people you know. It is easy to meet people in Eichstätt! By the way, the KU’s “living room” is the Theke, a bar run by students for students. Here, people meet for parties, jam sessions, karaoke evenings or a cozy round of table football.

A small town also means short distances: The library, the swimming pool, the cinema or the supermarket – everything can be reached in a few minutes on foot or by bike. The town is located right in the heart of the Altmühltal natural park – a real paradise for climbers, canoeists, hikers and cyclists just around the corner.

Should you still reach a point when you feel too cooped in, you can breathe big city air easily near Eichstätt. Ingolstadt with its 135,000 inhabitants is only a few kilometers away and offers a variety of shopping and nightlife options.

The location

Ortsschild Eichstätt
University town of Eichstätt
Bootsfahrer auf der Altmühl
Canoeing on the Altmühl river
[Translate to Englisch:] Biergarten
Relaxing and celebrating in beer gardens

Eichstätt and the surrounding Altmühltal natural park are not only a popular destination for culture enthusiasts and nature lovers, but also for cyclists, climbers, canoeists and fossil collectors. Located between Munich and Nuremberg, the city impresses with its Baroque setting and southern flair combined with modern and prizewinning architecture as well as a broad variety of cultural offerings and leisure activities. 

The Baroque park at the heart of the campus and the nearby banks of the Altmühltal river are the KU’s “green living room”. Another big advantage: all University facilities are just a short walk away from each other.

More on the study location Eichstätt

Advisory Service

Some offers and study conditions are different for international students – our International Office is happy to provide help and support. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our team. We are happy to accompany you on your way to the KU and hope that we can welcome you in person soon!

David Guevara
David Guevara
Coordinator Welcome Services and International Campus
Building Domplatz 8  |  Room: DP8-203 | Campus Eichstätt


Selection procedure: see examination regulations
Language requirements
Application period winter
May 01 - Jul 15
Admission restriction
Selection procedure

The application process for international applicants is now completely digital. You can register online in our application portal and carry out and submit your application. After you have carried out the application and uploaded your documents, you do not need to send your documents to us again by post. You do have to submit certified true copies only if you are admitted at the time of enrollment.

Depending on the course of study, you may be asked for information on internships, professional experience, etc. Please upload the relevant documents in the upload area for all the information you provide, even if these are not mandatory fields!

Before you start the application process, please read the additional information on this page, in particular the information on the respective (German) language requirements and university entrance qualifications.