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 (currently based overseas): May 31st.
If your application deadline has passed, kindly contact the IMAT Office or Ms. Aurélie Kono (
EU Applicants and EU Residents: September 1st
Fees and costsApplication Fee: 40.00 EUR
Total Tuition Fee: 12,000.00 EUR
Semester Fee: approx. 230.00 EUR per semester
Living Expenses: approx. 850.00 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.
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.
Module1 - Global Environmental Challenges and Green Business Opportunities

This module offers students an indepth learning opportunity about the system interaction of
ecosystems in order to understand that issues such as inefficiencies and waste/emission prob-
lems are nonexistent in functioning ecosystems but inherent to manmade systems. A spec-
trum of diverse and interrelated topics presents the fundamentals of the complex concepts as

2.1) Global environmental challenges/issues
Discusses manmade problems in ecosystems as well as solutions to these issues based on Zero
Emission (ZE) and Material Flow Management (MFM) concepts. The key issues discussed in-
• Water problems (water pollution, water scarcity, flooding)
• Waste problems (industrial, household, agricultural wastes)
• Energy issues
• Issues of resources and sinks
• Agriculture and food security issues
• Various other current issues such as global warming, ocean pollution, landscape degra-
dation and the loss of biodiversity.

2.2) Introduction to ecosystem theory
Provides clarification of the key terms, concepts and the models of the environment (e.g. spe-
cies, predators, symbiosis, population, biosphere, biotope, biodiversity and resilience in an eco-
system, environmental gradients, limiting factors, potency, biotopes, niches, ecosystem equilib-
rium, carrying capacity, ecological footprint).

2.3) Material flows in ecosystems
Provides a comprehensive overview of the pertinent matter and energy flows in ecosystems,
such as carbon cycle, phosphorous cycle, nitrogen cycle, water cycle, food chain, etc. and also
introduces the terms, concepts and models of photoautotrophic, heterotrophic, decomposers.

2.4) Waste and wastewater in ecosystems
Provides insights into how recycling happens in the ecosystems (e.g. detritus recycling) com-
pared to that of manmade systems. Provides an understanding of the organic loads in water in
ecosystems and compare and contrast that with the manmade systems. Discusses the natu-
ral/bio-based treatment of water pollution, use of bio-indicators for water quality, importance
and application of indicters such as BOD and COD, etc.

2.5) Soil development and function
Discusses the physical, biological and chemical aspects of soil, soil degradation, and sustainable
aspects of soil management such as in the case of black soil (Terra Preta).

2.6) Energy in ecosystems
Provides in-depth knowledge on the application of the 1st and 2nd laws of thermodynamics in
ecosystems. Topics covered include the law of conservation of energy, entropy, exergy, energy
supply and energy balance of natural ecosystems, energy flow in the food chain/web, etc.

2.7) Aspects of CE and related terms
Provides insights into clean technology, efficiency and sufficiency strategies, decentralised ver-
sus central supply of utility and disposal of waste/emissions, product and process integrated
environmental protection.

2.8) Economic aspects of CE
Discusses ecological economics, the steady-state theory, etc.

2.9) An introduction to international policy models
Provides an in-depth understanding of the key elements such as Sustainable Society, 3R Society,
CE, Recycling Economy, Material Flow Society, Zero Emission Communities, etc.

2.10) Case studies with potential solutions/sustainable approaches
Discusses specific case studies from a diversity of domains and provide real-life applica-
tions/practical examples from around the world. The students also get the opportunity to pre-
sent country-specific situations (ideally from their home countries), perspectives, and strate-
gies towards achieving sustainable development associated with the focal concepts discussed
throughout the module.

Module 2 - MFM Project Management and Financing

In terms of value orientation, this course focuses on financial analysis as an instrument for as-
sessing and reconciling green business investment projects on the basis of microeconomic mod-
elling and regional added value forecasts. Accordingly, the course consists of five major parts.
They are:

2.1) Accounting & controlling
Includes the terms and the basics of cost accounting and controlling in companies/institutions,
and provides knowhow in reading and interpreting a balance sheet, financial statement and

2.2) Investment calculations & project/business valuation
Provides an introduction to financial mathematics such as internal rate of return (IRR), return
on investment (RoI), net present value (NPV), real options, etc. and, also presents the basics of
the valuation of projects, e.g. Capital Asset Pricing Model, Discounted Cash Flow Calculation
(DCFC), etc. as well as other valueasset and market approaches.

2.3) Finance & investment
Includes an introduction to and an evaluation of financial performance indicators to interpret
and measure profitability, solvency, liquidity and stability of businesses.

2.4) Business plan design
This segment covers aspects of the key attributes of and content of business plans, managerial
budgeting and prediction of business potentials, market and competitor analysis, and case stud-
ies in business plan design.

2.5) Prediction of (regional) added value
Presents insight into the investors perspective to societal “value”, (macroeconomic) methods
and tools to “determine” the additional values of ZE/CE projects throughout all value chains
and life cycles.

2.6) Project planning and project management
The segment provides insight into the structuring, planning, execution and control of a project
(temporary endeavours) including the definition of objectives, deliverables and milestones.
Students learn to reduce complex tasks into comprehensive, measurable work packages and
assign budget and resources. Students learn to apply basic project planning and management
tools in their own research projects.

Module 3 - Research Management and Applied Material Flow Management

This is a refresher course on the principles of the scientific method, academic writing and com-
munications. A key objective is to help students plan/prepare for their research undertaking
and the subsequent synthesis of the master thesis. As a requirement of this module, the students
will continuously and in a stepwise manner work on their research and their master thesis.
Regular webinars will also be conducted as the need be to include all students from the IMAT-
NU partner universities. IMAT-NU faculty that includes well published and reputed professors
will coach the students in this endeavour throughout the course. A third of the module includes
theoretical work whereas the remainder is dedicated to hands-on praxis of technical/academic
writing and other forms of communications. Accordingly, this module contains:

2.1) Undertaking scientific research
Provides an introduction to/a refresher on the scientific method, applicable tools, latest trends,
formulating research queries/hypothesis, etc.

2.2) Structuring the thesis/Academic writing
Discusses how to survey of literature, relevant tools and databases, the structure of a master’s
thesis and related technicalities, the language of technical/academic writing, etc.

2.3) Communications
Presents the aspects of both oral—targeting the colloquium—and other forms of communica-
tion—academic papers for peer-reviewed journals, conferences, etc.—of scientific findings.

Module 4 - Economic Aspects of Sustainable Energy Systems

This course provides engineering background information on current renewable energy and
energy storage technologies and the futureoriented sectorcoupling options. Therefore, the
transmission of basic engineering knowledge and equations to rudimentary design renewable
energy systems are focused. Students are provided with an overview of essential economic and
ecological questions and methods to predict the potentials and regional added value of renew-
ables on industrial, regional and national levels.
This module also enables students to develop the knowledge and skills to understand, articu-
late, create and critique 100% REN systems, and develop their own renewable energy projects
including potential analysis and business planning aspects.
In addition, students understand the basic engineering formulas, methods and practices of
crosssectoral energy efficiency technologies such as compressed air, cooling, steam and pump
systems. The details of the key areas covered in the course are as follows.

2.1) Basic engineering principles of energy systems
Provides the basics of energy (physics) and electricity: units, mechanics, (electrodynamics),
basic principles of the “First and Second Law of Thermodynamics” (internal energy, enthalpy,
entropy, emergy, exergy). Provides the energyrelated definitions: from primary energy to end
use energy and from enduse energy to useful energy and also discusses the basics of electric
power systems: features and structure of power (supply, transmission and distribution) sys-
tems as well as design and operation of power systems and grids (operating reserve, voltage
and frequency stability). Also, provides some insights into the electricity demand characteris-
tics and Demand Side Management options.

2.2) Indepth analysis of REN (Wind, Solar, Hydro, Biomass, Geothermal Heat)
Discusses the basic physical principles of different REN, the analysis of current technology op-
tions, level of innovation and mode of operation, the economic aspects of renewable energy on
a micro and macroeconomic level and the impacts of RE on industrial/regional/national Zero
Emission concepts and case studies.

2.3) Systematic approach to 100% REN
Presents the concepts of calculatory and physical energy autonomy, energymix, seasonal/geo-
graphical balance, grid operation and management, requirements for storage systems, etc.
Also discusses the storage systems, physical capabilities and optimization strategies for storage
infrastructure on a macroeconomic level, identification and use of processes with inherent
storage capabilities (water tower, desalination, mechanization, heating/cooling), aspects of be-
yond counting kWhs: intended excess production of REN a paradigm shift in grid operation
from supply shortfall to abundance of energy, and powertogas, powertomobility, powerto
heat systems.

2.4) Market drivers and barriers of REN
Presents the aspects of economic drivers and market/legal incentives of REN (feedin tariffs,
subsidies, power purchase agreement, investment and financing, etc), grid parity and cost of
energy (services) of different RENs, international legal and institutional frameworks for REN
[quotas for renewable supply, ratification of (inter) national agreements (e.g. KyotoProtocol),
grid access and feedin codes, etc.].

2.5) Energy system design: future challenges & strategies
Provides an understanding of the futureoriented smart grids and their design requirements
and components, including metering, demand response, virtual power plants, dynamic pricing,
demandside management, network integration, etc. and also presents the methods of analysis
of risks to the smart grids and discuss protective measures to ensure the system integrity and
supply reliability.

Module 5 - Industrial Material Flow Management

Through this module, the students have the ability to analyse regions from cultural, economic, historic, political and ad-
ministrative points of view where, in doing so, they are capable to deploy the method of Material
Flow Analysis. They also have a thorough understanding of the different forms of value creation in
regions along the social, economic, and ecological dimensions. They understand how regions com-
municate internally and externally and knowhow regions are governed.
Furthermore, they have a firsthand overview/exposure of the key Zero Emission technologies to
implement in regional Zero Emission strategies. The students also have the competence in using
microeconomic tools to evaluate the regional added value (RAV) potentials and compute the busi-
ness and development opportunities. They are able to analyse regional MFM projects and identify
the weaknesses and potentials for improvement. Students are capable of developing systemic
change management strategies for regions while factoring in stakeholder management, networking,
and knowledge management. The students have the knowledge and competence on how to use the
MFM tools to develop and subsequently implement MFM master plans in international contexts and
to deploy this knowledge in their own countries/regions to design and undertake regional MFM
projects during the master thesis semester and after the completion of their master qualifications.

1) Introduction to regional MFM and urban metabolism processes
Provides an introduction to the regional MFM tool kit, the definition of regions and system bound-
aries including cultural, historical, political, administrative and the aspects of regionalization
and globalization, etc. Also improves the understanding of the new strategies for regions in a glob-
alised economy.

2) Regional key person analysis (i.e. Stakeholder Analysis)
Provides knowledge on the process of analysing key persons, ranking systems of the stakeholders
according to their importance/criticality for change management in the region.

3) Regional stakeholder management
Discusses the evaluation methods of the stakes of key persons in a system, check their potential
influence for new technologies, and how to identify losers and winners of a system change.

4) Regional Material Flow Analysis (rMFA)
Provides insights into the analysis of the most important/critical material and energy streams in a
system such as waste, water, wastewater, energy, agriculture, tourism, traffic, mobility, etc. Also
provides indepth knowledge on how to turn questions and data into project information, and how
to communicate system change, etc. and also the aspects of modelling material streams in a system.
Also discusses the process of analysing regional development processes including the drivers, pull
and push dynamics, barriers and obstacles of regional changes, etc.

5) New regional MFM based management strategies
Indepth exploration of new management strategies and technologies for regional energy produc-
tion and distribution management, management strategies and technologies for regional waste
management, management strategies and technologies for regional water management, manage-
ment strategies and technologies for regional transportation management, etc.

6) Local added value strategies on a regional scale
Presents new business models for regional investments and provides an introduction to economic
modelling of regional MFM projects. In addition, the aspects of carbon management, carbon trading
and carbon finance, green financing (e.g. contracting, cooperatives, etc.) and fundraising strategies
for MFM Master Plan development are discussed.

7) Student assessment and presentation of international best practice examples on regional MFM
projects. Students analyse an international case study (or studies) employing their recently acquired
knowledge on rMFM and critically assess the project/projects and present, in a seminarstyle forum,
their findings.

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 1st
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
– Proof of work experience (ex: confirmation letter from a former or current employer)
– Sample of Written Work (ex: abstract of the bachelor´s thesis)
– 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.
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 - Applicant Name (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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