Leisure, Tourism and Environment (MTO) / MSc


Increasing numbers of people around the world are spending a growing proportion of their leisure time and money on tourism related activities. It is widely acknowledged that tourism is a constitutive force assembling economic, cultural, social, political, technological, environmental and spatial processes, but also an entry point to improve our understanding of the social world and how it is transforming. The economic, social and environmental impacts of tourism services have grown dramatically in recent years, and these impacts are expected to become even more profound in the next decades.

The two-year MSc program Leisure, Tourism and Environment at Wageningen University & Research is a social-science programme with a strong research focus. Students examine the rationale behind the transformation of certain locations into tourism destinations. The core of this program enables students to obtain in-depth knowledge and critical awareness of the role tourism plays in contemporary society, to understand the workings of different scientific paradigms and to appraise the relevance of a range of academic disciplines, to demonstrate the ability to complete a scientific research project independently, and to translate related outcomes into innovative approaches and tangible solutions for sustainable tourism development.

Connected to the core of this program, students can choose between four thematic trajectories that each focus on a specific research domain, related societal questions and optional courses. The four themes are:

Tourism & Development:
This trajectory discusses a number of fundamental issues related to tourism's potential for socio-economic, socio- cultural and environmental development and provide a conceptual foundation by examining theoretical frameworks from tourism studies and beyond for the study of these issues.

Tourism & Natural Resources:
This trajectory discusses the dynamic interplay between tourism and natural resources, on related processes of environmental governance, and the contemporary theoretical and methodological approaches that assist in understanding and analysing these dynamics.

Tourism & Global Mobilities:
This trajectory discusses travel and tourism mobilities alongside questions of immobility and exclusion, migration, transportation, mobility rights, crises and risks as well as virtual connectivity.

Tourism, Experiences and Place-making:
This trajectory discusses the complex and dynamic interplay of various place-making practices, related motivations for travel, and complex place-based experiences in tourism.

Learning Outcomes

After successful completion of this MSc programme graduates are expected to be able to:
- understand and interpret advanced theories and practices of leisure and tourism and their influence on the social and physical environment;
- appraise the usefulness and relevance of concepts, theories and approaches of sociology, social psychology, human geography, anthropology, political economics and philosophy for a multidisciplinary analysis of leisure and tourism and to compose and reflect on a theoretical framework for research;
- assess social science research methods for data collection and analysis and construct an appropriate quantitative and/or qualitative design for advanced empirical research independently;
- independently define issues in leisure and tourism in order to develop and execute a complete research project and defend it;
- assess needs and opportunities for different (policy) interventions, translate own research outcomes into advice and suggest new and more effective and sustainable solutions in the field of leisure, tourism and environment independently;
- assess issues in leisure, tourism and environment from a comparative point of view and can work in an international and multicultural context;
- independently acquire new knowledge and skills in order to analyse complex issues and reflect on his/her academic and professional development;
- clearly, argumentatively and unambiguously communicate research results and the knowledge and rationale underpinning of these in a way that reflects the needs and interests of specific audiences;
- integrate ethical responsibility in his/her academic and professional practice at all times;
- demonstrate a scientific (research) attitude of life-long learning as well as an open mind and a critical and (self-) reflective working style.


- Tourism & Development;
- Tourism & Natural Resources;
- Tourism & Global Mobilities;
- Tourism, Experiences and Place-making.

Programme Director

Drs J.F.B. Philipsen
Phone: 0317-(4)82771
Email: jan.philipsen@wur.nl

Study Adviser(s)

L.S. van der Zouwen MSc
Phone: 0317-(4)84384
Email: mle.msc@wur.nl

Consultation hours: weekly based on reservation at http://appointments.owi.wur.nl/mle. For urgent questions, please send an email

Programme Committee

Chair: Dr. K. Peters
Secretary: M. Holleman



Study Association

PO Box 47, 6700 AA Wageningen
Facebook : @licerewageningen