IMAT in Germany

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Master programme International Material Flow Management (IMAT M.Sc.)
Degree Master of Science (M.Sc.)
Starting date Fall Semester (1st week in October)
Duration 4 semesters (full time)
Credits 120 ECTS
Language English
Established since Fall semester 2004
Accreditation AQAS e.V.
Application deadlines Non-EU applicants: Depending on visa procedure. For further information please contact IMAT-Office
EU citizens: 30th September
Fees and costs Application Fee: 200 EUR
Total Tuition Fee: 12.000 EUR
Administration Fee: approx. 230 EUR per semester
Living Expenses: approx. 750 EUR per month
Scholarships/loans There are various scholarships available for the IMAT M.Sc. programme. Detailed information on the IMAT tuition fee reduction and scholarship system, you will find here.
Admission requirements Educational Requirements:
Bachelor degree or equivalent (180 ECTS Credit Points). Applicants who do not fulfill this requirement may be accepted in special cases if they have several years of working experience as a researcher or instructor at an academic institution.Language Proficiency Requirements:
All applicants whose native language is not English must submit one of the following language certificates (the results are valid for two years from the test date – expired scores will not be accepted):

  • TOEFL®: paper-based score of 550 points or equivalent
  • (Computer-based TOEFL 213, Next Generation (internet based) TOEFL 79)
  • IELTS (Academic): minimum 6.0
  • TOEIC: minimum 750 points

If you do not have a valid official TOEFL Test Score please contact the IMAT management office.
GRE Score: Applicants are encouraged to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) test.
Interview: Applicants will be required to undertake an interview, personally or electronically, to confirm their oral English language skills. Accepted applicants who are required to undertake this interview will be contacted separately. The IMAT M.Sc. Admission Guide provides you with detailed information on the IMAT M.Sc. Admissions.

Visa Applicants who are neither German nationals nor permanent residents of Germany must apply for “Status of Residence” (visa) as an international student at the University of Applied Sciences Trier. For more information about visa application, please visit the web page of the German Embassy in your country.
Health insurance All students, who are enrolled in a German University must have a health insurance. The insurance has to be valid in the Schengen area. The related fee is covered by the students.
Enrollment The IMAT Management Office will forward your application documents to the registrar’s office for the enrolment. In addition, enrollees have to submit a copy of their residence permit, a health insurance proof as well as the proof of payment of the enrolment fee.

Administrative issues (opening a bank account, moving in to the dormitory, getting a residence permit etc.) will be organized with the help of so called “buddies”. Buddies are higher semester students supporting the freshmen during the enrollment period and the introductory weeks.

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

The Module 2: 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. Part .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

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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 Econology & Eco Industrial Parks

The Module 6: Industrial Ecology & Eco Industrial Parks 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: Masther Thesis and Oral Defence

The students have been enabled to apply independently specific methods, concepts and approaches towards their master thesis case studies. The students have been gathering all essential knowledge to evaluate the economical, technical, social and environmental impacts and draw the necessarz conclusion in a scientific manner. The students have been enabled to write the master thesis in a scientific language and defend their findings.

Application Fee

Purpose of the fee: to cover the costs associated with the processing and screening of applications

Amount: 200 EUR

When to pay: At the time you send your application documents to IfaS. We will not accept your documents without payment of the Application Fee.

How to pay: Please pay the above amount by bank transfer to the appropriate account listed in the Application Guide. Please also include a copy of the proof of payment in your application (receipt issued by the bank).


Enrollment Fee

If you receive a Notification of Acceptance and decide to enroll for the IMAT M.Sc., you have to pay the Enrollment Fee. Please be aware that the Enrollment Fee will not be refunded to you under any circumstances.

Amount: Approx. 230 EUR/semester (the exact amount will be printed on the invoice sent to successful applicants).

When to pay: By the date specified in the invoice sent by the Environmental Campus Birkenfeld (ECB) to successful applicants. Failure in paying the Enrollment Fee by this date will result in a revoke of your acceptance.

How to pay: You will receive an invoice for the Enrollment Fee together with the Notification of Acceptance. You will then be required to pay this fee by bank transfer to the account designated on the invoice. Please note that all bank service charges incurred upon payment are your own responsibility.


Application Guide and Application Form

Please download the Application Guide for more information on the following topics:

Outline of the process leading to enrollment, Starting dates and periods for completion, Fees and charges, Scholarships, Admission qualifications, Application, screening process, Documents to submit and cautionary notes, Submitting documents, receiving results.


Application of Enrollment

Please download the IMAT M.Sc. Application of Enrolment Form here.


Important information for all IMAT M.Sc. students

Starting from summer semester 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 possing a German bank account can transfer the money via e-banking by following the respective instructions of their bank.

Program Coordinator:

Prof. Michael Knaus, PhD

Institut für angewandtes Stoffstrommanagement – IfaS

Umwelt-Campus Birkenfeld, Hochschule Trier
Campusallee 9926
55768 Neubrücke
Postfach 1380



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