Master programmeInternational Material Flow Management (IMAT M. Sc.)
DegreeMaster of Science (M. Sc.) from the University of Applied Sciences Trier, Germany
Starting dateFall semester (1st week in October)
Duration4 semesters (full time)
Credits120 ECTS
Established Fall semester 2004
Application deadlinesNon-EU Applicants: May 31st
EU Applicants and EU Residents: September 24th
Fees and costsApplication Fee: 40 EUR
Total Tuition Fee: 12,000 EUR
Semester Fee: approx. 230 EUR per semester
Living Expenses: approx. 850 EUR per month
ScholarshipsThere are various scholarships available for the IMAT M.Sc. programme. You will find detailed information on this page.
Admission requirements1: Educational Requirements
Bachelor degree or equivalent (180 ECTS)
2: Work Experience
Minimum of 6 months full-time work experience (internships are included) at the time of enrolment - preferably in an IMAT-related field.
3: English Language Proficiency
English proficiency test score is required for non-native English speakers.
The minimum requirements are:
- TOEFL® iBT Test 79
- TOEFL® PBT Test 550
- IELTS 6.0
- TOEIC® L&R Test 750

Applicants who do not meet with these requirements should consult the IMAT Management Office.
Note: the IMAT Management Office will be closed from 30th July to 15th August 2021 for Summer holidays. We apologize for the inconvenience.
VisaApplicants who are neither German nationals nor permanent residents of Germany must apply for a student visa. Applicants should contact the local German embassy.
Health insuranceAll students, who are enrolled in a German university must have a health insurance.
The insurance must be valid in the Schengen area and the related fee is covered by the students.
EnrolmentUpon arrival on campus, students are required to submit the following documents to the Students Office:
– copy of residence permit
– health insurance certificate
– proof of payment of the enrolment fee.

Administrative issues (such as opening a bank account, moving into the dormitory, getting a residence permit, etc.) are coordinated and organized with the helpf of student buddies – generally german-native ECB students.
Program StructureEnrolment Semester: Fall (October 1st)
Semester 1 & 2: Theoretical semesters on-site at ECB
Semester 3: Internship semester in a company, research institute or other organization in Germany or abroad
Semester 4: Master Thesis
Academic Calendar The M. Sc. IMAT Programme operates on a two semester per year system.
The starting dates for each semester are as follows:
Spring Semester: Beginning of April
Fall Semester: Beginning of October
Yearly Student Intake 30 (maximum)
Duration4 semesters (full time)
Periods for Completion The period for completion of the M. Sc. IMAT Programme is as follows:
Standard period for completion 2 years
Minimum period for completion* 1.5 years
*Applicants who are interested in completing the programme within the minimum period should indicate their interest when submitting their application. The final decision regarding the period of completion will be confirmed after consulting the faculty supervisor at the Institute for Applied Material Flow Management (IfaS) and the Admission Committee at FH Trier, following a successful enrolment at FH Trier.
CurriculumPlease see below list of modules and their content.
Module: 1 Global environmental challenges and Zero-Emission policy strategies

Within this module the students learn the systemic interaction of ecosystems in order to envisage that man-made issues such as inefficiencies and waste problems are not foreseen in functioning ecosystems. In contradiction, the current man-made environmental challenges based on our current modes of economies as well as infrastructures in (energy and material) supply and (waste water and waste) sanitation systems are analysed in order to sensibilise the students for the new technology concepts taught in Modules 4, 7 and 8. New MFM management concepts, bio-mimicry strategies and industrial ecology attempts as new holistic supply and demand side management of regional and companies are taught in Module 2, 5 and 6.

Module 2: Regional Material Flow Management

Regional Material Flow Management is (together with Module 5: Industrial Material Flow Management) the central element of the study program interconnecting the various modules with details in energy, water, waste and resource management. The students learn to analyse regional systems and develop new, innovative energy and material supply and (waste and water) sanitations concepts combining economic promotion with climate protection. Based on the methodological tool kit of material flow management developed in the last ten years of extensive research by IfaS the students learn the procedural knowhow. Using real-life case studies (next-practice examples) of IfaS, the students gain practical insights in conduction and managing regional change processes and implementation of technology induced optimisation strategies. This module is the starting point (right after Module 1) of the study course and provides at the very beginning already an overview on the structure and detail elements of the entire study course. Therefore, the module provides an overview on regional adaptation of political strategies such as 3R society attempts (in Japan) or Industrial Ecology or Circular Economy (in China) as explained in Module 1. The combination of theoretical and methodological as well as practical experiences shall enable the students to develop and proceed with own MFM based research ideas and developed regional MFM or Zero Emission approaches for their native home countries/regions. Despite the managerial aspects of regional MFM the students learn the essential elements of stakeholder management and intercultural communication as an integral part of changing systems and systems behaviour. The module describes and provides the knowledge to determine the regional added value of regional development strategies, while the micro-economic details (and technical foundations) are explained in the Modules 3, 4 and 7 to 8.

Module 3: MFM Project Management and Financing

The module has a twofold approach. Firstly, the module part “MFM business planning and financing” will enable the students to calculate and monetary assess the technological change processes as studied in modules 2 and 5 to 6 and prepare business plans for detailed technology projects such as renewable energy or energy efficiency projects of the modules 4 and 7.
Secondly, the module part “Project Planning and Project Management” will enable the students to plan and execute their own research projects (e.g. Master Thesis). The students are encouraged already prior to the start of the study course to think about a potential research project as a two-page essay on this is already part of the application process. This sub course shall help the students to break their visions down in small and manageable, communicable parts and plan the next steps ahead. The methodological skills and tools provided enable the students to structure regional change processes as studied in Module 2.

Module 4: Economic Aspects of Sustainable Energy Systems

The module aims to provide the students a detailed insight in renewable energies and energy efficiency strategies, two pre-requisites to develop 100% renewable and sustainable energy supply systems supporting a rational use of energy in regional or industrial systems (closely linked to modules 2, 5 to 6). The implementation of Zero-Emission strategies and Circular Economy visions outlined and assessed in Module 2: Reginal Material Flow Management and Module 6: Industrial Ecology & Eco-Industrial Parks depends on our availability to define and maximise the renewable energy potentials in regions and geographic districts. Therefore, the course deals in one parts with the technical aspects and status quo of various renewable energy sources and provides all necessary planning tools and knowledge to design RE parks and integrating them in existing energy distribution and transmission grids. Despite the societies ability (and based on the indigenous RE resources) the sustainability potentials strongly depend on a rational energy usage. Therefore the second part of the module provides insights in latest energy efficiency technologies and strategies for various forms of end energy use (in close cooperation with Cleaner Production parts of module 5).

Module 5: Industrial Material Flow Management

Despite regions (with private and public consumption levels) a second important material and energy consumer is the industry. Within this module the students learn how to develop strategies leading to a reduction of material and energy demand in industry (material and energy efficiency) as well as to increase the economic competitiveness. Practical case studies on the German company management philosophy of Cleaner Production (Product Integrated Environmental Protection) will be used to provide the practical insights to the topic. In the first part of the module, the students get a basic understanding on how to analyse industrial/company alongside their (horizontal and vertical) value-chains and get an appropriate toolkit to measure and monitor the results based on LCA or ISO norms. In the second part the emphasis is placed on the “green transformation and reporting” process of companies focussing on new sustainability management and reporting processes. The entire module is strongly interlinked with module 6 “Industrial Ecology” and the modules 4 and 7 to 8.

Module 6: Industrial Ecology & Eco Industrial Parks

Module 6 aims to provide a theoretical basis and practical introduction to the interdisciplinary research field Industrial Ecology (Management) and its roots in Ecological Economics, Systems Theory, Natural Science and Ecological Engineering. Industrial Ecology offers a basic understanding of sustainability principles from nature and their adaption to techno-sphere and therefore is strongly linked to Module 1. Students reflect on the application of material and energy flow analysis tools like MFA, SFA and LCA, Carbon Footprint as basic tools for the assessment of products and processes sustainability with linkage to Module 5: Industrial Material Flow Management. Industrial Ecology Management has a focus on Eco-Industrial Symbiosis, linking enterprises and organizations to connect their resources and waste flows in inter-firm and neighbour networks to exchange resources and information. While the first part is focusing on industry/company networks, the second part focuses on case studies and regional implementation of sustainability strategies and policies such as Circular Economy (China), 3R society (Japan) and sustainably societies in Europe.

Module 7: Economic Aspects of Sustainable Resource Management

While modules 2, 5 and 6 deal with material and energy efficiency strategies at the point of resource extraction and utilisation, this module focuses on the recovery and re-use of materials (and energy) at the end of the product life times. In accordance with the European waste hierarchy different material recovery and re-use technologies and management strategies are assessed. Students learn to consider that the term waste refers to the wrong material flow at the wrong time at the wrong place. By optimising the management concept and using appropriate technologies, various “waste flows” can be turned again into valuable resources minimising the resource extraction and second pollutions. Hence, technologies, management, and financing tools for turning waste into resources and added value are explained within the module in order to enable students to change the existing waste management system into resource providing system. In close cooperation with module 6 different recycling networks, in particular for rare earth metals are evaluated. In close cooperation with module 4 the waste-to-energy section for bio waste is explained in detail. A special focus is placed on the sustainable utilisation of biological residues and the production of biogas and fertilizer as well as wooden-based resources for district heating systems- The module is involving several practitioners explaining the innovative aspects of waste and resource management strategies in Germany, one of the leading countries in the world in this regards. Furthermore, different excursions to innovative technology sites are sharpening the practical relevance of the module.rial- and energy-flow systems.

Module 8: Economic Aspects of Sustainable Water Management

Within this module the students learn the economic aspects of sustainable water management services (freshwater production and distribution as well as waste water treatment) as well as the basic engineering principles of integrated water resource management (IWRM). Furthermore, the module explain the combination or cross-cutting impacts on energy and water management and explores the future global challenges of IWRM with focus on sanitation and sustainable water re-use and nutrient recovery strategies. The course is strongly linked to modules 2, 5 to 6 providing an economical and basic engineering understanding on water related issues.

Module 9 and 10: Selectives (I and II)

The modules 9 and 10 are designed to allow the student to deepen their knowledge in various specialized fields supporting the overall context of developing and executing MFM, ZE and CE projects on industrialise and regional levels. The students can choose their electives from various courses offered within the IMAT MSc and the IMAT engineering program as well courses offered in the master programs at the Environmental campus Birkenfeld.

In the previous years the following courses were offered as electives:

  •  GHG Abatement and Carbon Trading Strategies
  •  Traveling University
  •  Scientific Writing and Research Management
  •  Practical Examples of Factor 10 in Industry
  •  Stakeholder Management and Networking
  •  System Change Management
  •  Renewable Energy Policies within the European Union
  •  Mobility and Sustainable Energy Politics
  •  Fuel Cell Technology
  •  Business Game: Development of Renewable Energy Projects including Technical
  •  Dimensioning and Business Plan Design
  •  Zero Emission Systems for Islands
  •  Solar Architecture and Solar Energy in Buildings
  •  Solar Cooling: Technology, Economy and Design Aspects
  •  Biofuels: Technology, Markets and Trends
  •  Sustainable Land Use Management and Organic Agriculture
  •  Climate Change, Land-Use and Soil Management
  •  “Green Development Perspectives” for the Asia-Pacific Region
  •  KAIZEN and other Forms of Material and Energy Efficiency in Japan
  •  “Green Development Perspectives” for the Middle-East Region
  •  Green Tourism Strategy
  •  German as a Foreign Language

The modules 9 and 10 are created as courses with a workload of 180h (60h in class and 120h self-study) and will be credited with 6 ECTS. Sometimes it can be reasonable to split the modules into two courses, each with a workload of 90h (30h in class and 60h self-study) and will be credited with 3 ECTS.

As an example the selective “Greenhouse gas abatement and carbon trading” is shown in order to illustrate the interconnection of the selectives with the overall modules of the courses.

Module 11: Internship / Study Semester Abroad

The practical period intends to deepen the theoretical knowledge in a practical internship at a company, research institute and/or (non-) governmental entity. Alternatively, the students can opt for a study semester abroad at an IMAT partner university to deepen their intercultural skills and theoretical knowledge by attending courses at the partner university.

Module 12: Master´s Thesis and Oral Defense

The master thesis is an independent final student work. The students create scientifically solutions for a specific case/problem using the gathered scientific knowledge and tools (theoretical, experimental, empirical or practical). The results of the master thesis will be defended in an oral colloquium with an estimated length of 30 minutes.

Application Deadlines for 2020 Enrolment:Non-EU Applicants: May 31st
EU Applicants and EU Residents: September 24th
Application ProcessThe process for applying to the master's program is as following:
1. Submit the online application
2. Submit the required application documents (by email or via the online application uploads)
3. Pay the application fee by the application deadline
Applications screening is conducted once the application fee payment and all application documents have been confirmed.
Admission results can be expected within 4 weeks once screening has started.
Application Documents:Below is the list of the required application documents.
The documents can be either uploaded when submitting the online application or sent by email to the IMAT Management Office.
– Certified Copies of Academic Degrees and Grade Transcripts
– Research Proposal. Guidelines on how to write your research proposal can be found here.
– Personal Statement
– Curriculum Vitae
– Certificate of Employment
– Sample of Written Work (ex: Bachelor’s Graduation Thesis Summary)
– Two Letters of Recommendation (a template can be downloaded here)
– Passport Copy / Identification Card
– One Passport-Sized Photo

Additional documents if applicable:
– For Non-Native English Speakers: English Proficiency Test Score
– For Applicants who wish to apply for the IMAT Sholarship:candidates should submit and independent scholarship application letter explaining how the scholarship would help them reach their educational and career goals.
– For International Applicants Residing in Germany: Copy of Residence Permit
– For Chinese Applicants: Original APS Certificate

Should you have any question or concern, please contac the IMAT Management Office.
Note: The IMAT Management Office will be closed from 30th July to 15th August 2021 for Summer holidays. We apologize for the inconvenience.
Application FeeAmount: 40.00 EUR
The payment should be made by bank transfer to the account below.
A copy of the receipt/payment proof must be sent to the IMAT Management Office.

Bank Account Details:
Bank Name: Deutsche Bundesbank Filiale Mainz
Account Holder: Landeshochschulkasse Mainz
IBAN: DE25 5500 0000 0055 0015 11
Bank Identification Code: 550 000 00
Account Number: 550 015 11
Reason for Transfer: IMAT M. Sc. Application Fee (6671-BIR-60131199)

Important notes:
• All bank service charges incurred upon payment of the application fee must be borne by the applicant.
• The application fee is non-refundable.
Semester FeeSuccessful applicants will receive a Notification of Acceptance to the IMAT program. To confirm their enrolment, applicants must pay the semester fee (also called university registration fee). The semester fee is non-refundable.
Failure in paying the semester fee by the deadline will result in a revoke of the applicant´s acceptance. The amount of the semester fee is approximately 230 Euros per semester. The bank account details will be given on the semester fee invoice.
Important information for all IMAT M.Sc. studentsStarting 2010, the re-enrollment details is communicated to the students through the ECB homepage. There is no additional written letter to the students asking them to re-enroll. Please check the ECB homepage for further information. Students possessing a German bank account can transfer the money via e-banking.

Program Coordinator:

Dr. Michael Knaus
Head of International Department
Institute of Applied Material Flow Management

Institute for Applied Material Flow Management – IfaS
Umwelt-Campus Birkenfeld, Hochschule Trier
Campusallee 9926
55768 Neubrücke
Postfach 1380
Tel.: +49 6782 / 17-1221
Fax.: +49 6782 / 17-1264

Institute for Applied Material Flow Management
Trier University of Applied Sciences


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