Guide: How to Find Topic for Your Sustainable Thesis

Finding a good topic for your bachelor or master thesis can be really difficult. Maybe your supervisor has an idea or two they advise you to write about. You might even have a few of your own that you’re thinking could be relevant, but you haven’t decided one way or the other.

Well, this article will help you out. I have been in the exact same situation as you are now. Finalizing my bachelors in Business Administration (focusing on Sustainability), I ended up writing my final thesis with a classmate about a topic I never expected I would be interested in. Waste Management in the 28 core EU countries.

But before I decided on that, I went through weeks of research to find a decent topic. This is what this article is about. I will let you know about all the different topics that you might (or might not) want to write about.

Table of Contents

How to find a good topic for your environment thesis

However, the process of finding a suitable topic to write about was quite long. We had to write about something related to environment & sustainability and in the same way, connect that to economic development. Interesting. Very interesting actually, but also quite complex. During this process, we probably came up with and discussed hundreds of potential topics. The ones we threw away were not necessarily bad, but having three people (myself, my classmate and our supervisor) agreeing on how to move forward is quite a difficult process.

So here they are, the topics you can write about in your bachelor or master thesis when you study something related to sustainability or the environment.

Topic 1: Waste management

Waste management might sound boring. But it’s not. There is a lot to write about on this topic.

PS! I have divided every “master topic” into smaller topics. Remember that a school thesis on bachelor/master level should be quite narrow. The biggest mistake you can do is try to cover too much in one project, e.g. “What causes global warming?”.

– Look at the correlation between GDP per capita and solid waste management in various countries. For instance, why do countries with higher population numbers tend to struggle with implementing a solid recycling system?

– Investigate how improved recycling policies and technology affect how much waste that ends up in nature or on landfills. This is a project that potentially could be divided into two groups. The first factor is related to political will. But you could also write about innovation within management system. We are (luckily) handling our trash in a more sophisticated way in 2019 compared to what we did in the 70’s.

A great example is what they do in Sweden where they turn their waste into heating:

– Look into how government regulations will affect certain waste types.*

– Food waste is a hot topic, and you could look into for instance how Denmark has successfully reduced their food waste by 40 % over the last few years. Look at both political factors and how the mindset of Danes have changed. This could be super interesting, but if you wrote a longer bachelor or master thesis on this topic, I would suggest that you did some research with Danish people or be staying in Denmark for a while.

*= A very good example here is the implementation of a tax that the Norwegian and British government both ruled out. The tax harmed consumers that wanted to buy single-use plastic items – and especially plastic bags from shops. In order to save money, people turned towards using reusable bags when they went shopping. And the result for the environment? Less plastic in the UK and Norwegian cost, according to scientists. Quite interesting.

Topic 2: Overpopulation

– You could look into the correlation between overpopulation and pollution. Comparing what happened in the UK during the industrial revolution to what happens in China is a very interesting topic. Many people claim that “it is fair that the developing countries pollute so much as the West did it during the industrial revolution“.

– Look into what causes overpopulation. And based on that, try to make your own projection of how the world’s population will look like in the future. There are even many topics within the topic of overpopulation that could be interesting:

1) Lower mortality rates
2) Improved medical help in developing countries
3) Government regulations
4) And many more.

“Will we even survive?” type of topics

– Try to project how long it will take before we do not have enough natural resources to keep people alive. This could be done on a national or regional level, e.g. look at a developing country that sees a huge population growth, but at the same time got limited clean drinking water.

In 2018, Independent wrote an interesting article. The title of the article was “Humans have used a year’s worth of Earth’s resources in just seven months“. In other words: we are already exceeding the use of natural resources. And it definitely does not help that overpopulation is a huge issue in certain regions of the world.

– Another idea would be to look at different projections for how many people there will be on this planet by year 2050. Hundreds of different scientists have made different projections based on what they believe will happen to humanity. Those can actually be quite interesting.

Topic 3: Food and drink

– How bad is it really to eat meat? A good question would be: what would happen to the greenhouse gas emissions if everyone replaced their beef with chicken? As you might already know, the beef industry is one of the industries that contribute most to global warming. In the famous documentary “Before The Flood”, directed by Leonardo Dicaprio, a scientist says that “if everyone ate chicken instead of meat, that would actually save the world”. Seeing if this quote is correct would be a very interesting bachelor or master topic.

I would point out that I have previously written a long article about this topic. It is called: “Why is eating meat bad for the environment?“. It contains a lot of useful information that you could use as inspiration to your thesis.

Another useful inspiration source is the previously mentioned movie “Before the flood”. If you got a couple of minutes, I would really recommend to at least watch the trailer:

– Is veganism good for the environment? Highly controversial and hot topic. Eating less meat is obviously a great thing for the environment. However, some reports have told us that vegan food is often traveling long distances before being sold and that it takes a lot more land to produce such food compared to non-vegan food.

– How bad are plastic straws for the environment? More and more cities and countries try to ban single-use plastic items, but how much damage do they really make? Also, are companies using the removal of single-use plastic items as a greenwashing tactic? We know that McDonald’s swapped out plastic straws with paper straws, but that doesn’t exactly make them an environmentally friendly corporation….

– Study the environmental impact of the global alcohol production. I have previously written an article about the impact that the illegal drug industry has on the environment. Doing research to that article was kind of scary. 🙁

On the positive side, certain beer brands have started to make their packaging more eco-friendly. I actually bought and tried out the “plastic free” packaging from Carlsberg, which you can read about in this article.

– Take a deep look into the avocado farming industry. “Rumors”, say that its huge environmental impact can be connected with high water usage and long-distance transportation to big markets such as Europe, North America, and Asia. Avocados do actually cause huge environmental and social problems in South America. There have been reported several incidents where people have been murdered because they fight against the water usage from the avocado farms.

Topic 4: Climate change

There are so many things to write about climate change. This is probably the number 1 topic when people are writing an essay or thesis about environmental issues. However, if you dig a bit deep into the topic, you might find some sub-topics that can be interesting to cover.

– What do people find difficult with climate change research? This could potentially be a topic that covers both the psychological aspect of accepting human-made climate change. There are some scientists that previously have done excessive research on why people tend to not care about global warming as much as they should, but you could look deeper into this.

– Do people really believe in climate change? And are some people more likely to “believe” than others? This research would be very interesting to do by including people from different occupations, age groups and from different geographical areas. Once they have been identified and contacted, you should invite them to an interview section to find out about their thoughts on climate change. Would probably need to narrow down the topic a bit, but it would be very interesting if done correctly.

– What will be the consequences of a rising sea level and/or rising sea temperatures? Most of our ecosystems will be affected: people living in cities close to the sea, coral reefs that are dependent on a certain and stable water temperature, polar bears, etc.

– Hot topic: climate change refugees. The first people are already forced to leave their homes due to increased temperature and sea level. You could potentially try to map out the most vulnerable groups on the planet and try to figure out how certain areas will become impossible to live in during the next 10, 50 and 100 years. Complex, but very interesting.

– For the economic freaks: how much will climate change cost the different countries in the future? Some scientists have already pointed out various types of costs and the report was published in national geographic: https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/09/climate-change-costs-us-economy-billions-report/

PS! Very interesting read if you got a couple of extra minutes. You could also get some serious inspiration there.

– Could look into new “green jobs” that are popping up due to increased climate issues. Many engineers are now needed to develop solutions that will prepare communities and cities for higher temperatures.

Topic 5: Tourism and traveling

Did you know that about 11 % of the total greenhouse gas emissions globally can be traced back to people traveling? The aviation industry needs to take a huge blame, but other sectors contribute as well.

Some interesting topics to cover would include:

– Make a historical report on how traveling have contributed to global warming over the last XX years. People have not only started to travel more frequently and over a longer distance, but we have also changed the way of traveling. More airplanes, fewer trains (in general).

– Ecotourism is interesting. Destroying the earth has become a billion dollar industry in certain tourist areas. Bad air pollution and destroying of nature are just two reasons why we need less mass tourism and more ecotourism.

– What are the health and environmental benefits of biking to work?

– From a financial perspective, is it a good choice for the government to invest in bicycle infrastructure? You could use Copenhagen in Denmark and Amsterdam in the Netherlands as good examples.

– Are there any environmental benefits to people using “shared economy services” like AirBNB instead of hotels? And what about taxi/Uber? Do they contribute equally to the environment? Just to add a thought to the last topic: Uber is a service that is highly dependent on customer demand, where taxis will be driving around regardless of the number of passengers.

Topic: Wildlife population & similar high-intensive research projects

Some topics are more difficult to cover than others. That is not only related to the information you have available, but also the complexity of coming up with something new during your thesis. Let us say that you choose the topic: “Polar bear population – how will it look in the future?”. The only information you could use are some simple projections made by one single source on how it will develop. The chances of you coming up with something revolutionary is very small. Unless you have good connections that can bring you to Canada, Russia or the North Pole to do some hands-on research in these areas.

I would actually strongly recommend finding topics that:

1) Already have a lot of information available from various sources.
2) Presumably, a topic that has not been answered by any other research lately.
3) Something that does not require too much extensive research out in the field.

And if you try to fit your master or bachelor thesis topic into all these criteria, you will probably stay away from anything that is related to the population development of a certain species.

Topic research on Google & additional support

As you might already have noticed, a lot of the “master thesis databases” online can only be accessed behind a payment wall. In other words, you have to pay a certain amount to get access to previous essays and thesis written by former students. That is often a problem. I really like that information online is free, which is partly why I wrote this article in the first place.

If you are still not sure about which topic you should write about, I would suggest that you do one of two things:

1) Write quickly about your “master topic” and your thoughts in the comment section below. I promise to reply you quickly in order to make sure that you find a topic that could suit you.

2) Ask your professor if your school/university got some sort of “thesis database” that you can access for free. When we wrote our thesis, we would be able to access all bachelor thesis that had ever been written at Aarhus University. That helped a lot for inspiration.

Also read: Travel & Tourism Bachelor Master Thesis Topics

Update! And book recommendation

I’ve seen a lot of great students in the comment section reaching out to me. And I’ve tried to answer all of you, which I will try to continue with in the future. 🙂

However, I also wanted to make life a bit easier for those of you who want to invest in a book that will help you out (a lot).

This book is highly interesting for those who want to find an environmental topic to their bachelor/master’s degree:

I know the price tag could be a bit of a boomer for some students. However, I am sure you can convince some of your classmates to go together and buy it. It literally lists an awful lot of the environmental issues that can be used in such a thesis. And it digs a lot deeper compared to what I did in this article.

Similar Posts

90 Comments

  1. I have changes my mind 100 times. I think i am going to do my Masters thesis around the potential for Sustainable Development in Social Housing but i haven’t a clue really haha. I have a Human Geography background rather than science/physical Geography so i’m avoiding anything too science based.
    Your advice was very helpful and i am going to go and have a read about the Environmental impact of the wine industry haha

  2. Dear Amund,
    Your articles are really inspiring! Thanks for that.
    I have to decide my topic for my thesis, and I’m really interested in Circular economy. I was thinking of doing something related to waste management. But as it is too broad, I can’t think a way of narrowing it down.
    Apart from waste management, is there any other topic that I could be looking at for my thesis? I’m finding it so hard to have an ideia out of nothing

    1. Hi Sofia, I am always a big fan of cooperating with one or several companies.

      There are many companies that work with a “circular economy” product cycle. Timberland and Aquazone are probably the most famous ones.

      You can also say it’s a lot of different sub-topics within waste management. Electronic waste, dangerous waste, batteries, food waste, etc.

  3. Hi Amund,
    Thanks for that. Really liked your website and all the tips here! Well done.
    I’m now finishing my master’s degree in sustainable development and I have no ideia what to do for my thesis.
    I’m finding it so hard to come up with an idea. I was thinking of doing something related to carbon taxation, but I don’t know how to narrow it down. Would you have any idea? Any tips?

    1. Hi Ana B, thanks for asking.

      In regards to carbon taxation, I would go for a “real-life example”. In other words: I would contact some Canadian company that has been affected one way or the other.

      The federal carbon tax began in Ontario, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba on April 1, 2019 and companies should have quite a lot of experience in dealing with this now. That could include construction companies using big trucks, airline companies – or someone on the other side of the table (e.g. companies working with renewable energy).

      I think it’s super hard to write such a thesis without actually cooperating with a company, but that’s just my two cents.

      I really hope you succeed!!

      Kind regards,

  4. Master topic is Environmental management of Natural Resources. Need help finding or narrowing down a thesis topic

    1. Illegal logging! 🙂

      That’s my best tip. There’s loads of topics to narrow that down to – and it’s quite an intersting topic to explore as well.

  5. Hi Amund,
    Hope your keeping well.
    I was onto you before about a masters dissertation topic in Marketing and Management. Iv been researching recently and have found myself drawn to influencer marketing and how scandals may have somehow tarnished or lessened the image and impact of influencer marketing, I was wondering would you have any other suggestions or questions that I could have a look into for my dissertation topic around influencer marketing?

    Thank you for your time!

    1. Hi Rhianne, I would look into the “fake reviews problem” highlighted by several publications recently.

      90 % of the reviews on Amazon are bought/fake and influencers are also doing their job in recommending bad products on Instagram.

  6. Hello Amund!

    I am doing my master in Ecotourism and Wildlife Conservation and need to come up with an idea for my thesis asap. My supervisor is not really helpful and there is no database of relevant topics to choose from. So, it is pretty hard to come up with an idea out of nothing.
    Also, It preferably has to be based on primary research, so has to include data collection and then analysis. So would really appreciate your advice. Maybe you have come across with potentially interesting topic on conservation/ecotourism or their interrelations and/or impacts.

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Raul,

      thanks for reaching out. The supervisor that isn’t really helpful when it comes to topic selection – been there, done that. I feel you.

      I haven’t been looking specifically into wildlife conservation myself, but I’ve done a lot of research when it comes to ecotourism. Some things that I would see natural to dig into when it comes to your master’s degree would be:

      1) Have people in rich countries changed the way they travel? We know that people in Northern Europe tend to become more vegan when they become richer, but how does this affect other lifestyle choices like travel?

      2) I would do a full analysis of the projected environmental damage of the booming Chinese tourist industry. What does it mean that they start to go abroad? And do they feel restricted by their government to travel less?

      3) Typical “millenial” master degree: how has Instagram and influencer marketing helped eco-friendly hotels? Many instagrammers are paid quite a lot to take pictures from an eco-friendly resort at Bali – and who earns money on this?

      These are just some points that I came up with. They might not be too well written, but hopefully they can get you to think of something further. 🙂

      All of these can more or less be done without “too much field work”. You might want to set up a survey or two, but that’s it. 😉

      Good luck!

  7. Hi Amund!

    Thank you for your insightful articles, they are really interesting!
    I would like to ask you some advice, too. For my Master Thesis I want to write a systematic literature review in the field of (Environmental) Sustainability/Sustainable Development, but cannot find an appropriate research topic. I’m writing it at the Chair of Innovation Economics, therefore it should be ecomics-centered, linked more to the economic system…sustainability of the economic system than to business.
    Maybe something related to fashion/textile industry could be interesting? But any suggestion is welcome!

    I hope that you could direct me about that.

    Thank you very much in advance for your help!

    1. Hello, and thanks for your comment. I was also considering to write about economy/business when I wrote my bachelor degree. It’s easy to come up with some topics, but (in my opinion) hard to

      Instead of giving you some topic suggestions, I’d rather give you some tips:

      1. Make sure that you collaborate with a company. Preferably someone that have “gone green” or trying to make eco-friendly products.

      Get interviews with them. Ask them about their experiences on pushing sustainable clothes in a trillion dollar industry.

      2. Maybe get into the coost of producing eco-friendly clothes vs the cost of product “normal” clothes.

      3. I would not go directly to big companies like H&M, Walmart, etc. They won’t care about you. It’s also much more interesting to talk to a family business that tries to promote eco-friendly products.

      4. Another approach is to look at what the textile industry does to the environment. If you go into Google and type in “Aral Sea textile industry”, you will see some pictures that you probably won’t believe.

      If none of these topics seem to intersted you, you always have stuff like:

      – Green marketing (how to introduce an eco-friendly product to disrupt a market)
      – Greenwashing (companies trying to appear green without really doing an effort to provide green products or services)
      – Look at how government regulations force companies within an industry to re-think their pollution level (aviation industry is a great example)
      – And a lot more… 🙂

  8. Hi Amund,

    How are you? Found your articles super interesting.
    Im currently in my final year of my masters in MSC marketing and managment, for my dissertation topic im thinking of maybe going down the sustainable marketing route, or maybe sustainability of digital marketing for future business prospects. Maybe if you had any suggestions on digital marketing or marketing in general relating to sustainability.

    1. Hi Rhianne,

      sorry for late reply. Had my first week in a new job this week, which delays “everything”.

      However, I do have a huge interest for both digital marketing as well as for the envirnoment. Therefore, I got a couple of suggestions to what you could work with:

      1. Look into how e-commerce companies use “sustainability” as a marketing campaign. I have written a piece on that topic here:

      https://sustainabilitymattersdaily.com/what-is-the-marketing-strategy-for-green-products/

      2. See how much of an environmental impact it has that we are using the internet as much as we do. One thing that has popped up is so-called “green hosting”, where you offset the carbon footprint of your own website. This might be a business model to look further into.

      3. One hot topic is the overall environmental impact of online sales. In other words: how bad is it that Amazon are shipping billions of packages around the world to end-consumers?

      It’s just some sub topics that might be interesting to look further into in regards to digital marketing and the environment. Hope that helped.

  9. Dear Amund,

    I just stumbled upon this article and it really inspired me. I have been interested in food waste since I came back from my exchange where I was part of a Food Recovery Network. I was thinking about writing something about waste in the various steps of the supply chain.
    Do you have any advice or ideas on what a possible research question could be?

    Thank you very much!

    Nicole

    P.S. I find your articles amazing!

    1. Hi Nicole,

      thanks for your comment. Glad to hear that you’re a “fan” of my website. 😉

      Food waste is super interesting – and a very “under communicated” topic when it comes to sustainability. I am not really good at digging all the way down and giving research questions, but I do have some thoughts about what you could write about:

      1) Several countries have already implemented laws against food waste from shops. You could potentially contact one of the supermarkets in France and see how the new laws and regulations have helped them save money and the environment.

      2) People always talk about plastic as a pollution problem. And don’t get me wrong: it is. However, it’s also a super useful material to prevent food waste as it keeps fruit, veggies, bread, and meat fresh for a long period of time.

      3) Personally, I would look into how technology and user-driven apps like Too Good To Go are helping restaurants and cafes all over the world to reduce their food waste. I wrote an article about Too Good To Go on this website, which you can read here:

      https://sustainabilitymattersdaily.com/too-good-to-go-food-app-review-save-money-and-reduce-food-waste/

      I hope this helped to get your mind going a bit! 🙂

  10. Hi

    Thanks so much for your article it has been so helpful in choosing a topic.

    I’m want to do my BA Human Geography Undergrad Thesis on climate refugees. However I am situated in Manchester, UK, so am struggling to come up with research questions and methods that would work with this. Do you have any advice or ideas for this?

    Thanks again,

    Katy 🙂

    1. Hello Katy, nice to hear from you.

      I actually wrote an article related to climate change refugees:
      https://sustainabilitymattersdaily.com/climate-change-refugee-what-will-happen-in-the-future/

      From when I did research on that topic, I remember that the following sub-topics would be the most interesting ones:

      – Make some type of analysis based on the current projections on how many climate change refugees we will see in the future
      – You could also try to get in touch with some people that are struggling at the moment to see if you could get an interview. Look at what they are most afraid of, how climate change already impacts their lives, etc.
      – What interested me a lot is the political differences from countries that are already struggling with increasing sea levels, and most other countries. You could also see this from a political perspective.

      These are just some of the things that pop up in my head, but I am sure there are loads of other things to look at. 🙂

  11. Hi
    Thank you so much for your article it has been incredibly helpful!

    I’m currently choosing a topic for my BA Human Geography undergrad thesis. I’m particularly interested in climate refugees. However I am situated in Manchester, UK so am not sure how to come up with research questions or methods that are suitable to undertake here. Do you have any advice or ideas for this?

    Thanks again,

    Katy 🙂

  12. Hello Amund,

    I just saw your reply and believe me I am beyond happy for your propositions. They all sound very interesting and I will definitely make further research on them. Thank you!

    After reading your idea on backshoring, I found a paper that said that only 4% of companies engage in backshoring.

    Regarding the “greenwashing”: I love to be critical when it comes to things that are praised. This is the case with Greenwashing. Do you know how I could combine a survey on “are you willing to pay more for a green product” with a company’s attempt to present their products greener than they are?

    The last days I had spend a lot of time to search for sustainability rankings on companies and SME’s, such as the German Institute for Ecologic Research (IÖW) or the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). Is there anything you can recommend regarding quantitative research? Both institutes analyse sustainability reports by companies, however I found a commentary on a website criticizing the GRI and saying it is not about sustainability, since it is lacking on thresholds and allocations.

    What is your idea or opinions on this behalf?

    Thank you so much and have a great day 🙂

    1. Hello Ebru,

      good to hear that you got something out of my feedback. That’s great to hear. 🙂

      Next step is to find good sources.

      This is what I usually did:

      1. Used the “thesis library” of my university. It was a library filled with scientific articles and previous master and bachelor thesis from people who had studied at Aarhus University. I guess your school should have something similar?

      2. Spent a lot of time downloading scientific papers online. If you use Google in a smart way, I am sure that you will find a lot of quantitative information just by googling your topics.

      Kind regards,

  13. Hello Amund,

    first of all, thank you for this very insightful article. I am very happy to be stumbled on it :).

    Currently I am writing my Master thesis and I wanted to combine the topic (European/German) SME’s and sustainability. Since the greendeal, all companies – especially the largest stake which are SME’s are ought to go “green”. Is there any tips you can give me on research questions? Something that I can look up by doing quantitative research with easy access to data and information?

    Innitially I tried to check for a correlation between EU funded SME’s and their sustainability, since funded SME’s have higher profits and less risks of bankrupcy. However, there is no way that I can prove that these firms are also more “sustainable” and I also don’t know much about finances, which is why I skipped the idea. I looked up rankings of sustainable SME’s, however I do not know how I could use them to contribute to my thesis.

    I am very grateful for any tips that you can give me, or any opinion on my thoughts above. Thank you very much in advance 🙂

    1. Hello Ebru,
      thanks for leaving a comment. Sounds like you’re already finding your path towards a very good topic.

      I got a couple of suggestions for you:

      1. The positive environmental impact of backshoring.

      “Backshoring” is a term that describes what happens when some company (often SMEs) are taking their production home. In other words: some American company produced previously in China/Vietnam, but chose to take production back to the US.

      This is mainly done in order to save costs, be closer to production for innovation purposes, etc. However, it also has a clear environmental benefit as products do no longer have to be shipped across the world.

      I am sure this is the case for many German companies as well. It would not take a lot of effort to contact a couple of those and interview them over phone, meeting or e-mail – and you would have an awful lot of data for your thesis within a couple of days. 🙂

      2. Greenwashing and/or consumers’ willingness to pay for green products.

      Another topic that is related to business and sustainability.

      Many companies do tend to promote their products/services as “greener” than they really are, which creates a huge trust problem for consumers.

      A huge report from the US in 2019 concluded that consumers were willing to pay up to 5 % more for eco-friendly products:
      https://www.environmentalleader.com/2019/11/research-shows-consumers-willing-to-pay-up-to-5-more-for-environmentally-friendly-products/

      You could,for instance, single out one specific product in Germany and see what people were willing to pay for a “greener” alternative. For instance:

      – Are people willing to pay more for their gym membership if the gym runs 100 % on renewable energy?
      – Do people want to buy a recycled & ethical produced Coca-Cola bottle that costs 1€ more?
      – And so on.

      Not sure if this helped you in the right direction. If not, feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll try again. 😉

      Best,
      Amund

  14. Hi Amund, thank you so much for the article!
    I’m currently a first year masters student in Japan. My research proposal was based on studying the environmental impact of social housing. The idea got me in, but now that I actually need to do the work…nothing!!! My lab is specialized in social engineering and EIA but No one of my lab mates is doing a related research to mine. I’m having trouble “downsizing” my topic , I’ve been taking sustainable finance classes and I’m enjoying them very much, hence, I would love to include it somehow in my research. I don’t want to make my supervisor think I’m incompetent by backtracking on my social housing theme, but at the same time I can’t figure out a practical approach that won’t require a ton of fieldwork. To make things worst, I have to present my research topic and methodology in a couple of months as part of my interim presentation.
    I hope you can make sense of my comment, and I would really appreciate any advice you can give me.
    Thank you!! Hana

    1. Hi Hana, thanks for your comment. I have actually studied a couple of years in Asia myself – but in Beijing/Shanghai. 🙂

      And relax. Two months is more than enough time to find a suitable topic for your thesis.

      A couple of topics that springs to mind when I read your background:

      1. You could look at the environmental impact of so-called “ghost cities” in China

      Wade Shepard wrote a brilliant book about this topic back in 2015 – it’s called “Ghost Cities of China”.

      2. You could look at how new building materials are more eco-friendly compared to before.
      e.g. more and more people start to use recycled steel & bamboo

      3. Another topic related to buildings & the environment are “green cities”.
      e.g. several studies conclude that green lungs are crucial to combat global warming in megacities, for instance this one:
      https://www.kit.edu/kit/english/pi_2019_057_green-lungs-for-a-good-urban-climate.php

      We do now have to do city planning in a totally different way as the need for trees is significant. You can also check up how many “urban trees” that are cut down in the US every year – the number is frightening.

      If you would dare to go into a more financial perspective, I got a couple of topics for you as well:

      1. The environmental impact of using cash.
      As we swap physical cash with credit cards and electronic transactions, the banks do no longer need to use all that paper. I tried to write an article about this topic previously, but it was quite hard to do research on as there aren’t really too many scientists who has looked at this.

      2. How insurance companies HATE global warming.
      More and more people get their house crushed from extreme weather. And it’s not the government nor the house owner who got to pay, but the insurance companies. You could easily find a topic that investigates how insurance companies need to increase their price on home insurance in certain areas of the world simply because they now see the danger of global warming (more extreme weather, increased sea levels, more flood, etc.)

      Not sure if this started to lead you in the right direction, but please let me know if you got other questions as well. And of course: good luck with your thesis! I am sure you will succeed. 🙂

    2. Thank you so much for your reply!! Your suggestions are very interesting and helpful. I’ll make sure to update the comment when I decide on a topic.
      Have a blessed day!!!!

  15. Hi Amund,
    I;m currently deciding my undergrad Geography dissertation topic. I would be interestsed in looking at the role of the financial sector in climate mitigation – as the huge economic size of the financial sector and potential for implementing change can’t be ignored. I would be interested to look at key reforms/policies which could be implemented to help transition the financial sector to an economy based on renewable energy, away from fossil fuel investment. While this area interests me – I have little knowledge of economic research techniques – and was wondering if you may be able to point me to any more specifically geographic questions related to this area?
    The other area that is interesting me at the moment is the potential for ecocide to be introduced as an international criminal law – another way to potentially act decisively on climate change and biodiversity loss. it is however another big area – and again kind of interdisciplinary – looking more to law this time. And just wondered if you had any thoughts on these?
    Thanks very much! Eleanor

    1. Hi Eleanor, thanks for your comment.

      Good choice! As a matter of fact, I had my environmental courses as a part of an MBA program, which means that I was “forced” to write something related to economy.

      I would focus on your first topic suggestion: how climate change might impact the financial sector. More specifically, I would suggest that you are looking at Norway in regards to the geographical area. Highly interesting case.

      Norway is one of the countries who came the furthest in implementing eco-friendly practices like how we handle our trash, how many people that drive an electric car (it’s a MENTAL number of Teslas on the road), how we made the first car-free capital (Oslo) in the world, how we invest in renewable energy projects around the world…however, there’s one big elephant in the room: oil. A huge part of Norways’ economy is oil based, and it’s political pressure from left-winged parties to stop oil production in Norway once and for all.

      This could be a highly interesting topic to look further into.

      This article from New York Times is actually very interesting – it’s called “Both Climate Leader and Oil Giant? A Norwegian Paradox”

      https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/17/world/europe/norway-climate-oil.html

    2. It might not have been too clear, but I try again:

      I would look further into how Norways’ economy would look if we stopped the domestic oil production. Might be difficult to say, but there are loads of projections already being made.

      A more interesting question: is Norwegian oil ACTUALLY eco-friendly because the Norwegian way of pumping oil is greener compared to what they do in the Middle East..?

      🙂

    3. Thank you very much for your quick reply!!
      Some interesting ideas to think about, so thanks, that’s very helpful, I would have never thought of that question!
      I’ll have a read of the article and some other stuff around the topic of Norwegian oil.
      Thanks again, Eleanor

  16. Dear Amund
    First of all thank you for the interesting article above.
    My master’s thesis will be on the topic of the Circular Economy.
    Within this topic I thought it would be interesting to look at electronic devices (or the waste they generate) or batteries (above all from electric vehicles).
    I struggle to find a research question and data.
    Do you have any idea or another tip on how to proceed?
    Thank you so much,
    Noi

    1. Hello Noi,

      I believe that batteries is a super interesting topic. One specific case you could look into is how Norway as a country have given super good tax benefits to people who purchased an electric car. By looking into what type of benefits that have given to the local areas (less air pollution, less noise pollution, etc.), that would be something to look into. I am not 100 % sure how the angle would fit, but there’s loads of information to find online about that.

      There’s a lot of people who have already written thesis on the basis of batteries. In order to stay relevant and unique, I would recommend to look into electric cars.

  17. Hello please Dear? My Name is Yihunie Erigetu from Ethiopia, currently MSc first year Environmental science student in( Debre Markose University) one of the government universities here my country Ethiopia and I would like to say thank you very much for your explanations about how to select and do research topics. I swear in GOD that It is a very interesting idea dear and I got many useful directions how can I prepare myself for my thesis after a Year. So I am thinking now doing my thesis on Environmental issues related with sustainability but I am not clear and sure of that what title is best suitable for me. But I am so much motivated young man to do what I am able to do. Please direct me about this???
    Best regards,
    Yhunie Erigetu

    1. Hello Yhunie, thanks for your comment.

      As a general rule, I would say that your title should explain your thesis content as well as possible. Now that you are saying that your thesis will be in regards to “Environmental issues related with sustainability”, I would argue that that’s quite a broad topic. You could potentially try to narrow down the topic a little bit, e.g.:

      – Go local. See what the biggest environmental issues are in Ethiopia and how they can be solved.
      – “What are the biggest envirnomental issues for the planet by year 2050”
      – What is the biggest environmental issue of cutting down the Amazon rainforest?

      …the idea would be to find a more specific topic like that in order to make things a bit easier. And based on whatever you choose to go with, I am confident that you are able to find a good head title for your thesis. 🙂

      Good luck young man.

      Best,

  18. Hi! First of all, I thank you for your article and your work. I’m currently studying design- and innovation management B.A in Germany. I’m interested in writing about sustainability in combination with business developing or something similar. If you have therefore any input I would be really thankful.

    Kind regards,
    Eli

    1. Hello Elias,

      thanks for your comment. I have a couple of ideas to your bachelor thesis:

      1) See how greenwashing are (cynically) used by companies to push their products or services.
      2) Go into depth how businesses develop new products specifically to hit a new and growing eco-concious segment. I was actually a part of one of these marketing efforts myself, which you can read about in this article:

      https://sustainabilitymattersdaily.com/what-is-the-marketing-strategy-for-green-products/

      3) Write about how important it is for jobtakers to see companies recruit the best talents out there. Luckily, the young generation seem to be more and more eco-concious, and we will at some point reach a point where the best talents say no to large corporations because they don’t have a “green enough profile”.

      These are just some of the ideas that came from the top of my head.

      Kind regards,

  19. Thank for the inspiration! Really helpful article I appreciate. I am going to do my Masters in Sustainable Development this year and will surely use some of the ideas.

  20. Thanks a lot for the information! Will write my bachelor degree in Sustainable Economics this year and will try to find a topic that is related to economic development in areas that struggle as a result of global warming.

    It might be really difficult right now as we don’t have much historical data. But I am not sure if this is a good topic to choose at all…maybe make some projections about how expensive it will be when New York will be under water, blab la bla.

    1. No worries, Kooli!

      Nice that you could use some of the information that I gave. Your topic sounds great and super interesting. As you mention, it might be difficult to find a country or region that has already been struggling financially due to climate change. However, making projections is also a very good way of writing a thesis! 🙂

      Good luck!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *