Home \ Overview

The MEL Programme is a one year MSc programme designed to give you outstanding qualifications and to provide you with a wide array of both subject-specific and transferable skills so that you can experience prospects for desired positions and (re)boost your career in the Maritime and Logistics industry. 

Through the MEL Programme you will gain an understanding of shipping, ports, terminal management, maritime logistics, supply  chain management and shipping finance. Following extensive industry consultation, MEL has compiled a curriculum of 10 courses. The courses compose a holistic and tightly knitted, integrated, approach to the understanding and analysis of global maritime supply chains of production-transport-distribution, where ocean transportation and port and terminal management play a pivotal role.  

The MEL Programme is set up in blocks during which you will follow three to four courses at a time. The year is split up in four parts. 

Part 1: October to December

The MEL Programme starts with an introduction to MEL, to Erasmus University Rotterdam, to Rotterdam, and the Netherlands. In this week we also spend time on the practical issues of studying at MEL and the resources that are available to MEL students. Then the real work starts and you will complete blocks 1-3 which consist of the following courses: 

  • Economics
  • Data Science
  • Management Science
  • Sustainability

Part 2: January to March

The second part consists of four blocks (blocks 4-7), and a trip abroad. The courses you will follow are: 

  • Port Management and Economics
  • Shipping Economics and Policy
  • Logistics and Supply Chain Management

Part 3: April to July

In the third part you will complete the final blocks (blocks 8-11). You will choose one of the two minors, Port Management or Maritime Logistics which will determin the third course for each block. The courses in part three are:

  • Shipping and Transport Finance
  • Maritime Law
  • Maritime Logistics
  • Choice Module: Project

Part 4: July to September

The last part of the programme is dedicated to the thesis and graduation. The thesis is a major part of the MEL curriculum. Its objective is to enable students to apply the knowledge acquired in the course, through the methodological analysis of an applied maritime problem. Materials from MEL theses have been published, they are presented at international conferences, and several of them have also led to eventual PhD studies.


This revised programme structure enables an even better implementation of the MEL policy of continuous assessment. The method of assessment varies from a written exam to assignments and term papers throughout and at the end of each block. Relatively short modules provide faster feedback to the students. This facilitates the introduction of students with different backgrounds to the educational system at Erasmus University Rotterdam.

–> Admission Information

Detailed information about the courses can be found below. 

The course Economics (ECO) provides all students with a solid introduction to the principles of micro-, macro- and international economics and builds further on some specific topics. The course discusses certain basic economic cornerstones and serves as a foundation for further courses in the MEL programme.

At the end of the course the student is able to:
1. Understand the basics of micro- and macro-economic tools;
2. Understand economic systems in terms of markets and their structures;
3. Understand the links of micro- and macro-economic systems to international trade.

Course Instructor

During the course Data Science, the student is introduced to the analysis of large and complex data sets. Knowledge of modern software tools is necessary to be effective. The open source software program R (www.R-project.org) is a powerful and popular tool for data analytics, visualization and statistics. In the first part of the course the student gets an introduction to R.

The student then applies these skills to statistical analyses. After a brief introduction to some notions of descriptive statistics, a number of important statistical tests is discussed and applied such as hypothesis testing, ANOVA and (linear and nonlinear) regression. Apart from R also the statistical package Minitab Express is used.

After this course the student knows:

  • how to import, manipulate and visualize data;
  • how to use R and statistics for certain business decisions.

Course Instructors

The course Management Science (MS) provides students with the required tools and analytical skills in Operations Research, Statistics and Econometrics, to enable them to understand, design and critically evaluate business strategy, policy formulation and research/consultant reports.

At the end of this course the student should be able to:

1. Understand relevant tools (linear programming, queuing modals, Monte Carlo simulation) from operations research for
advanced decision making;
2. Understand, design and critically evaluate business strategy, policy formulation and research/consultant reports
3. Assess and propose decisions using advanced modelling and related tools

Course Instructors

Logistics in general and maritime transport in particular are affected by the drive towards a more sustainable economy. This course looks at the challenges (where are the problems?), the solutions (from technology to pricing), and the regulatory frameworks.

At the end of the course, students should be able to:
1. Master the current debate on global sustainability including the adoption of SDG’s globally
2. Understanding the relevance and role of sustainability in shipping and ports
3. Propose and evaluate decisions to increase sustainability in global supply chains

Course Instructors

The course Port Management (PM) equips students with the necessary knowledge and skills required for the efficient management of a port authority, and to enable them to develop and evaluate port policies under a holistic understanding of a port’s significance to the national economy and international supply chains.

At the end of this course the student is able to: 
1. Understand the economics and managerial issues of ports;
2. Understand and evaluate port policies;
3. Propose decisions for improving port management

Course Instructors

The course covers market economics in shipping (identification of supply and demand, ownership of vessels and related regulation), market analysis and pricing, and policy analysis as its main components. In addition, to strengthen the ability of students to perform market analysis themselves, this course will also spend time on advanced statistical techniques, such as regression analysis and time series analysis. For the quantitative work, students will work with the data analysis package R, that is used throughout the MEL programme.

Shipping Economics & Policy (SEP)
At the end of this course the student should be able to:
1. Master the economic and managerial theories and concepts that are relevant for understanding the economics and management of MEL sectors.
2. Analyse and critically assess trends and economic and managerial issues in Maritime Economics and Logistics by applying the relevant theories and concepts at hand
3. Propose research-based solutions in (parts of) complex maritime supply chains with limited information.

Course Instructor

The course Logistics and Supply Chain Management (SCM) offers students a thorough understanding of the complexities of international transport logistics as well as of the methods in Decision Support Systems (DSS) required to optimize it. DSS are introduced and some successful applications of DSS related to supply chain design, inventory management warehousing and product distribution are taught.

At the end of this course the student should be able to:
1. Understand international supply chains in terms of their main drivers;
2. Apply basic theories from network design (for distribution and transportation) and inventory optimisation;
3. Recognise the trade-offs between transportation and inventories.

Course Instructors

The Shipping and Transport Finance Course aims to provide students with the understanding of the key issues in the financing of ships, ports, transport and other infrastructure projects. At the end of the course students will be able to develop, appraise, negotiate and choose among alternative investment proposals under conditions of risk and uncertainty.

At the end of this course the student should be able to:
1. Apply basic techniques from corporate finance to help assess investments;
2. Develop, appraise, and choose among alternative investment proposals under conditions of risk and uncertainty;
3. Recognise the important roles of financing for shipping companies.

Course Instructors

Maritime Law (MLW) deals with the legal issues in the maritime field, such as contracts of carriage, casualties and insurance. The course aims to develop an awareness of the problems and risks arising from the operation of the ship, and a basic understanding of the law in general and maritime law in particular.

At the end of the course students should be able to:
1. Explain the fundamentals of maritime law as they pertain to authorities, rights, duties and responsibilities in the commercial
operation of sea going merchant ships;
2. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of maritime laws and rules governing merchant shipping and transport activities.

Course Instructor

The course Maritime Logistics (ML) provides students with a deep understanding of the interrelations between terminal design and operations on the one hand, and liner shipping networks on the other. The emphasis is on container terminals as the interface between the maritime and hinterland transportation. We consider both terminal operator strategy/marketing and terminal operations.

At the end of this course the student should be able to:

1. Understand the basics of maritime logistics chains in terms of their main drivers
2. Analyse the strategic position of a container terminal operator in the market place;
3. Analyse the performance of manual and automated container terminals at the tactical and operational levels.

Course Instructors

This course lets the students work on a project in groups. It is an opportunity to apply all the research skills, in a controlled environment, and as a group effort. As such, students are optimally prepared to carry out their own thesis project in the final stage of the program. The program offers the students a choice of either a more quantitative project, or a more qualitative project.

At the end of the course students should be able to:

  1. Carry out a research project independently,
  2. Apply critical research skills such a project formulation, literature review, qualitative or quantitative analysis and reporting, as well as presentation
  3. Apply research skills to a current problem in the maritime domain.


Course instructors

Dr. K. Bel (quantitative project)

Dr. W. Jacobs (qualitative project)


  • The Thesis is a major part of the curriculum to enable students to apply their acquired knowledge during the course in solving transport & logistics problems/issues through appropriate theories and methodologies
  • Internships are encouraged. The student has to take initiative.
  • Research topic is decided by the student (in consultation with a faculty member, an internship host, or with the student’s own affiliation)
  • Independent assessment by a thesis committee

At the end of this course the student should be able to:
1. Formulate a research design for a moderately complex research question, in the context of the field of Maritime Economics and
Logistics, and given a large amount of available literature and prior research;
2. Execute the research design;
3. Document and defend the outcomes of the research in the thesis document.