From MSc to PhD, Hakan is pursuing academic excellence to combat environmental issues

There are many reasons to study MSc Environmental Engineering and Management at TalTech. For Hakan, it is the allure of the most innovative university, the medieval town, the academic challenge that keep him at TalTech for the past five years and en route receiving his PhD soon.

Hakan, what brought you to TalTech and Estonia? How long have been living in Tallinn?

Receiving education at a university with a positive study environment and values that align with my own was my top priority while choosing TalTech for my Master’s studies. I have always been enamoured of such a lovely city, which is the best-preserved medieval city in Northern Europe. Words are powerless to express how joyful it has been living in Tallinn already for 5 years!

What is the most memorable moment during your studying at TalTech?

I believe that the essential ingredients for creating beautiful and unforgettable moments are expanding your circle of friends and getting involved more in social life. The fun I have had with my Estonian and international friends with whom I felt as if I was home, will always remain alive in my heart! What is more, it was a great honour and an unforgettable moment to have been invited in the reception of then President of Estonia Toomas Hendrik Ilves as a Cum Laude graduate.

What are your favourite courses or subjects in the study program? Why?

My favourite courses were Air Pollution Prevention and Control (EKK0170) and Statistics (TES0020). Understanding the challenges of atmosphere protection along with the characteristics of main air pollutants is one of the key elements for the successful future Environmental Scientists to explore state-of-art engineering applications. With the dawn of data-driven digital world, the next generation of Environmental Scientists will be in need to have competence in organizing and analysing large amounts of environmental data to answer the increasingly complex questions Environmental Scientists are facing.

If you need to describe Estonia in one sentence to a total stranger, what would you say?

You only live once, so why not exploring where “Estonia” would locate in your heart?

Would you recommend TalTech and MSc Environmental Engineering and Management to other students? Why?

I strongly suggest TalTech and the MSc program in Environmental Engineering and Management for prospective students. TalTech is a most innovative university in Estonia, which presents a comprehensive breadth of academic and extracurricular opportunities, in which you could immerse yourself in whatever interests you. I believe that TalTech offers a great environment in whichever program you study, where you could find a way to reach your maximum academic and personal potential. In addition, the knowledge spill overs from the start-up firms and/or organizations in Tallinn, are a great initiative for the entrepreneurial mind-sets for a fruitful future.

Do you have any suggestions to TalTech or your Faculty so that we could improve teaching and research quality?

As any other university in the world, TalTech as whole shall pay an increasing attention to that R&D, teaching and supervising activities would have a substantial positive impact on the society in addition to creating a knowledge-based community. I believe that fostering the cooperation between TalTech and the Estonian industry could be one of the keys while spending a special effort in conducting frontier applied R&D and incorporating the students and academics in the nucleus of the intersection of the both.

What are you doing now after graduating? In what way that your experiences at TalTech helps you to reach current position?

I graduated from the Master’s studies in June 2015. Afterwards, I was enrolled in the PhD studies in the same program in September same year. Currently, I am in the final year of the PhD studies and expected to graduate in 2019. In addition, I am an Entrepreneurship Specialist under both the Department of Economics and Finance, and the Department of Law at our university since February 2018. I have been also acting as a tutorial lecturer in TEM0320 Business Math and TEM2565 Quantitative Methods since September 2017.

What is your PhD dissertation topic? How many journal papers you have already published so far?

The research topic of my PhD studies is “Technical and economical assessment for the utilization of fly ashes derived from Iru municipal solid waste incineration power plant and the oil shale power plants in Estonia.” As of now, I have one published research paper. The second paper has been submitted and the third paper is going to be submitted by the end of this year.

How do you perceive the role changed from a student to lecturer? Would you consider academician as a future career option?

Since I strongly believe in lifelong learning, I perceive myself as an “experienced student” while I lecture and help the students. I am truly aware of that teaching is a noble profession. I always try to give my best to shape the vision of the students for a successful future. Personally, I love researching and teaching. A future career as an academic specifically to be a “senior student” is one of my dreams!


MSc Environmental Engineering and Management graduates have great challenges and responsibilities to care our planet, research and develop alternative energy resources, improve recycling and waste disposal, improve water and air pollution control, develop methods of existing hazards, design and build sustainable ecosystem.

If the idea of being one of the enablers of our society sounds appealing, then the MSc in EEM at TalTech should be the perfect fit for you.