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LCA Practice & Reporting


Admission requirements

This course is part of the MSc Industrial Ecology (joint degree between Leiden University and Delft University of Technology). MSc-IE students should have attended and successfully completed the ‘Analytical Methodologies and Tools (4413ANMT6Y)’ course or the course ‘Methods: Analysing Physical Processes (4413MAPPT)’. All participants are expected to have basic knowledge of environmental science and basic knowledge of matrix algebra.

For students of the master’s programme Industrial Ecology that intend to do their Thesis Research Project on a topic which involves LCA or is closely related to LCA with a first supervisor from CML, this course is mandatory.”


Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a science- and evidence-based method for quantifying the environmental burdens and impacts related to the whole life cycle of a product or service system. LCA is and has been used to analyze and asses a wide variety of product/service systems, ranging from packaging materials to national waste management or energy scenarios, and from building materials to food products.

Course objectives

This course aims to provide sufficient scientific and practical skills to perform an attributional life cycle assessment study on your own.

After this course, students should be able to individually:

  • Draft a concise, to-the-point proposal for their own LCA research including a brief literature review

  • Perform a methodologically consistent and proper LCA study

  • Create and develop a proper LCA model in CMLCA

  • Present and analyze results, identify problems and propose solutions

  • Plan and monitor research

  • Report an LCA study and its findings transparently and comprehensively

  • Identify, justify and report LCA's key methodological assumptions and choices

  • Critically evaluate and discuss the possibilities and constraints of their LCA study


You will find the timetables for all courses and degree programmes of Leiden University in the tool MyTimetable (login). Any teaching activities that you have sucessfully registered for in MyStudyMap will automatically be displayed in MyTimeTable. Any timetables that you add manually, will be saved and automatically displayed the next time you sign in.

MyTimetable allows you to integrate your timetable with your calendar apps such as Outlook, Google Calendar, Apple Calendar and other calendar apps on your smartphone. Any timetable changes will be automatically synced with your calendar. If you wish, you can also receive an email notification of the change. You can turn notifications on in ‘Settings’ (after login).

For more information, watch the video or go the the 'help-page' in MyTimetable. Please note: Joint Degree students Leiden/Delft have to merge their two different timetables into one. This video explains how to do this.

Mode of instruction

The final grade is based on the research proposal (10%), presentation (10%) and case study report including the LCA model developed with the CMLCA software (80%); the grade of case study report and CMLCA file together should at least be 5.5 to pass the course.

Assessment method

During the period in which students are working on their LCA case study a one-day meeting will be organized at which students present their progress and preliminary results to their fellow students while receiving and providing valuable feedback for finishing their research and report.
While performing their LCA research students will have access to a forum through which they can discuss possible bottlenecks and exchange tips. The instructors will closely monitor the discussions and join when appropriate.

Reading list

Brightspace Leiden will be used for communications and distributing study material.


From the academic year 2022-2023 on every student has to register for courses with the new enrollment tool MyStudyMap. There are two registration periods per year: registration for the fall semester opens in July and registration for the spring semester opens in December. Please see this page for more information.

Please note that it is compulsory to both preregister and confirm your participation for every exam and retake. Not being registered for a course means that you are not allowed to participate in the final exam of the course. Confirming your exam participation is possible until ten days before the exam.

Extensive FAQ's on MyStudymap can be found here.


Coordinator(s): Jeroen Guinée and Bernhard Steubing

Other involved teacher: Reinout Heijungs


MSc Industrial Ecology students can register for the course and exam via uSis. Other students need to contact the study advisors of the programme via

The course starts with two intensive theory weeks (9-10 days). After these weeks students will perform their own LCA study. A minimum of 80% attendance is required for the theory week. Note that this course is a first semester course but has its deadline in the first week of December, and not in January, because the course Sustainability Challenge already has deadlines in January. Students should take this into account in their planning.”