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Masters Degrees (Soil And Water Conservation)

We have 31 Masters Degrees (Soil And Water Conservation)

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A country's physical land resources are a fundamental pillar of support for human life and welfare. Read more
A country's physical land resources are a fundamental pillar of support for human life and welfare. Worldwide, population pressures and severe degradation, pollution and desertification problems are threatening this - for several countries relatively scarce - natural resource, and cause competition between agricultural or industrial purposes, urban planning and nature conservation. To guarantee a proper use and management of this for a nation basic commodity, well trained specialists with a thorough knowledge of the properties and characteristics of this natural resource, and a solid insight in factors and measures that may alter its actual state and value are warranted and call for a high standard scientific and practical education.

The main subject in Soil Science aims at training researchers, academics, government staff and expert consultants in the inventory and detailed characterization of land capacity, and of soils in particular. Graduates should be able to understand the development and evolution of soils under natural conditions or following human interference using field, map, laboratory and remote sensing data. They should have the scientific knowledge to use and manage soil and water in a sustainable way, and to optimize land use under different natural and environmental conditions.

Structure

The Master of Science degree programme in Physical Land Resources is a two year, full time course. The first year provides a fundamental basis in physical land resources, with a main subject in either Soil Science or Land Resources Engineering. The second year offers specialised courses in one of the two main subjects. The students have to prepare a master dissertation in the second year. Successful completion of the programme leads to the award of an Master of Science degree in Physical Land Resources. The course curriculum of the first year, and of the main subject in soil science of the second year is organised at the Ghent University, whereas all courses of the main subject in Land Resources Engineering of the second year are lectured at "Vrije Universiteit Brussel".

The academic year starts the last week of September. However students are advised to arrive in Ghent in the first week of September to follow the preparatory summer course.

Teaching methods
A wide variety of teaching methods are used in the PLR programme. All course units, except for “Internship” and “Master Dissertation” include lectures. Lectures are fundamental to provide students with the necessary basic knowledge in order to acquire the requested competences. Besides lectures the following teaching methods are very frequently used: practical classes, PC-room classes and coached exercises. Teaching methods like guided self-study, group work and microteaching are occasionally used. Field work and excursions are naturally an important component of the Physical Land Resources programme, especially in the first year.

Learning Outcomes

The Master of Science in Physical Land Resources is organized at both UGent and VUB and aims to contribute to an increased knowledge in Physical Land Resources both in terms of quantity (more experts with a broad knowledge) and of quality (knowledge and its use at an advanced scientific level). The incoming students have diverse backgrounds in geology-related sciences, civil engineering or agronomy and the large majority of students originate from developing countries.
-Possesses a broad knowledge at an advanced level in basic disciplines (soil physics, soil chemistry, soil mineralogy, meteorology and climatology) that provide a polyvalent scientific understandinga. needed to evaluate land potential for agricultural and environmental applications, understand the evolution of soils under natural and human-impacted conditions, and contribute to sustainable land use planning and integrated management of land and water (Soil Science); or in non-agricultural applications of land, such as geotechnical aspects, the role of soil and groundwater in water resources management and water supplies, and of land management in relation to other environmental and land use aspects (Land Resources Engineering).
-Possesses the basics to conduct field work (soil survey, soil profile description, soil sampling), interpret analytical data, classify the soil, and manage and interpret existing cartographic and remote sensing data using modern equipment, informatics and computer technology.
-Characterize soil physico-chemically and mineralogically with advanced techniques to understand soil processes, translate this to soil quality and assess the influences by and on natural and anthropogenic factors.
-Recognize interaction with other relevant science domains and identify the need to integrate them within the context of more advanced ideas and practical applications and problem solving.
-Demonstrate critical consideration of and reflection on known and new theories, models or interpretation within the specialty.
-Plan and execute target orientated experiments or simulations independently and critically evaluate the collected data.
-Develop and execute original scientific research and/or apply innovative ideas within research units.
-Formulate hypotheses, use or design experiments to test these hypotheses, report on the results, both written and orally, and communicate findings to experts and the general public.

Other admission requirements

The applicant must be proficient in the language of the course or training programme, i.e. English. The English language proficiency can be met by providing a certificate (validity of 5 years) of one of the following tests: (TOEFL/IELTS predictive tests and TOEIC will not be accepted)
-TOEFL IBT 80.
-TOEFL PBT 550.
-ACADEMIC IELTS 6,5 overall score with a min. of 6 for writing.
-CEFR B2 Issued by a European university language centre.
-ESOL CAMBRIDGE English CAE (Advanced).

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A country's physical land resources are a fundamental pillar of support for human life and welfare. Read more
A country's physical land resources are a fundamental pillar of support for human life and welfare. Worldwide, population pressures and severe degradation, pollution and desertification problems are threatening this - for several countries relatively scarce - natural resource, and cause competition between agricultural or industrial purposes, urban planning and nature conservation. To guarantee a proper use and management of this for a nation basic commodity, well trained specialists with a thorough knowledge of the properties and characteristics of this natural resource, and a solid insight in factors and measures that may alter its actual state and value are warranted and call for a high standard scientific and practical education.

The main subject in Land Resources Engineering offers training in non-agricultural use and application of soil, and includes geotechnical aspects (use of soil as a building material or for foundations, slope stability and stability of excavations), the role of soil- and groundwater for water management and supply, soil management in relation to environment and land use (erosion, sediment transport, coastal development and protection).

Structure

The Master of Science degree programme in Physical Land Resources is a two year, full time course. The first year provides a fundamental basis in physical land resources, with a main subject in either Soil Science or Land Resources Engineering. The second year offers specialised courses in one of the two main subjects. The students have to prepare a master dissertation in the second year. Successful completion of the programme leads to the award of an Master of Science degree in Physical Land Resources. The course curriculum of the first year, and of the main subject in soil science of the second year is organised at the Ghent University, whereas all courses of the main subject in Land Resources Engineering of the second year are lectured at "Vrije Universiteit Brussel".

The academic year starts the last week of September. However students are advised to arrive in Ghent in the first week of September to follow the preparatory summer course.

Teaching methods
A wide variety of teaching methods are used in the PLR programme. All course units, except for “Internship” and “Master Dissertation” include lectures. Lectures are fundamental to provide students with the necessary basic knowledge in order to acquire the requested competences. Besides lectures the following teaching methods are very frequently used: practical classes, PC-room classes and coached exercises. Teaching methods like guided self-study, group work and microteaching are occasionally used. Field work and excursions are naturally an important component of the Physical Land Resources programme, especially in the first year.

Learning outcomes

The Master of Science in Physical Land Resources is organized at both UGent and VUB and aims to contribute to an increased knowledge in Physical Land Resources both in terms of quantity (more experts with a broad knowledge) and of quality (knowledge and its use at an advanced scientific level). The incoming students have diverse backgrounds in geology-related sciences, civil engineering or agronomy and the large majority of students originate from developing countries.
-Possesses a broad knowledge at an advanced level in basic disciplines (soil physics, soil chemistry, soil mineralogy, meteorology and climatology) that provide a polyvalent scientific understandinga. needed to evaluate land potential for agricultural and environmental applications, understand the evolution of soils under natural and human-impacted conditions, and contribute to sustainable land use planning and integrated management of land and water (Soil Science); or in non-agricultural applications of land, such as geotechnical aspects, the role of soil and groundwater in water resources management and water supplies, and of land management in relation to other environmental and land use aspects (Land Resources Engineering).
-Possesses the basics to conduct field work (soil survey, soil profile description, soil sampling), interpret analytical data, classify the soil, and manage and interpret existing cartographic and remote sensing data using modern equipment, informatics and computer technology.
-Characterize soil physico-chemically and mineralogically with advanced techniques to understand soil processes, translate this to soil quality and assess the influences by and on natural and anthropogenic factors.
-Recognize interaction with other relevant science domains and identify the need to integrate them within the context of more advanced ideas and practical applications and problem solving.
-Demonstrate critical consideration of and reflection on known and new theories, models or interpretation within the specialty.
-Plan and execute target orientated experiments or simulations independently and critically evaluate the collected data.
-Develop and execute original scientific research and/or apply innovative ideas within research units.
-Formulate hypotheses, use or design experiments to test these hypotheses, report on the results, both written and orally, and communicate findings to experts and the general public.

Other admission requirements

The applicant must be proficient in the language of the course or training programme, i.e. English. The English language proficiency can be met by providing a certificate (validity of 5 years) of one of the following tests: (TOEFL/IELTS predictive tests and TOEIC will not be accepted)
-TOEFL IBT 80.
-TOEFL PBT 550.
-ACADEMIC IELTS 6,5 overall score with a min. of 6 for writing.
-CEFR B2 Issued by a European university language centre.
-ESOL CAMBRIDGE English CAE (Advanced).

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Part 1 (120 credits). runs from September to May and consists of four taught modules, a Field Visit, and a Research Methods module component. Read more
Part 1 (120 credits): runs from September to May and consists of four taught modules, a Field Visit, and a Research Methods module component. They must be completed successfully before proceeding to Part 2.

Part 2 (60 credits): is the dissertation phase and runs from end of May to September. This is a supervised project phase which gives students further opportunity for specialisation in their chosen field. Dissertation topics are related to the interests and needs of the individual and must show evidence of wide reading and understanding as well as critical analysis or appropriate use of advanced techniques. The quality of the dissertation is taken into account in the award of the Masters degree. Bangor University regulations prescribe a maximum word limit of 20,000 words for Masters Dissertations. A length of 12,000 to 15,000 words is suggested for Masters programmes in our School.

Summary of modules taken in Part 1:

All students undertake 6 modules of 20 credits each which are described below.

Conservation Science considers questions such as ‘in a post-wild world what should be the focus of conservation attention?’ ‘What are the relative roles of ecology, economics and social science in conservation?’ ‘What are the advantage and disadvantages of the introduction of market-like mechanisms into conservation policy?’ We look closely at the current and emerging drivers of biodiversity loss world-wide, while carefully analysing the range of responses.

Insect Pollinators and Plants is at the interface between agriculture and conservation, this module introduces students to plant ecology and insect pollinators. Students will gain unique understanding of the ecological interactions between plants and insect pollinators including honey-bees to implement more sensitive conservation management. The module explores the current conservation status of insect pollinators and their corresponding plant groups; how populations are monitored, and how interventions in the broader landscape can contribute to improving their conservation status. Module components relate specifically to ecosystem pollination services, apiculture and habitat restoration and/or maintenance. The module has a strong practical skills focus, which includes beekeeping and contemporary challenges to apiculture; plant and insect sampling and habitat surveying. Consequently, there is a strong emphasis on “learning by doing.

Agriculture and the Environment reviews the impact of agricultural systems and practices on the environment and the scientific principles involved. It includes examples from a range of geographical areas. It is now recognised that many of the farming practices adopted in the 1980’s and early 1990’s, aimed at maximising production and profit, have had adverse effects on the environment. These include water and air pollution, soil degradation, loss of certain habitats and decreased biodiversity. In the UK and Europe this has led to the introduction of regulatory instruments and codes of practice aimed at minimising these problems and the promotion of new approaches to managing farmland. However, as world population continues to rise, there are increased concerns about food security, particularly in stressful environments such as arid zones where farmers have to cope with natural problems of low rainfall and poor soils. Although new technologies including the use of GM crops have potential to resolve some of these issues, concerns have been expressed about the impact of the release of these new genetically-engineered crops into the environment.

Management Planning for Conservation provides students with an understanding of the Conservation Management System approach to management planning. This involves describing a major habitat feature at a high level of definition; the preparation of a conservation objective (with performance indicators) for the habitat; identification and consideration of the implications of all factors and thus the main management activities; preparation of a conceptual model of the planning process for a case study site and creating maps using spatial data within a desktop GIS.

Research Methods Module: this prepares students for the dissertation stage of their MSc course. The module provides students with an introduction to principles of hypothesis generation, sampling, study design, spatial methods, social research methods, quantitative & qualitative analysis and presentation of research findings. Practicals and field visits illustrate examples of these principles. Course assessment is aligned to the research process from the proposal stage, through study write up to presentation of results. The module is in two phases. The taught content phase is until the period following Christmas. This is followed by a project planning phase for dissertation title choice and plan preparation.

Field Visit Module: this is an annual programme of scientific visits related to Conservation and Land Management. The main purpose of the trip will be to appreciate the range of activities different conservation organisations are undertaking, to understand their different management objectives and constraints. Previous field trips have visited farms, forests and reserves run by Scottish Wildlife Trust, National Trust, RSPB, local authorities, community groups and private individuals.

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The Master of Physical Land Resources has two specializations. Soil Science (organized by the Universiteit Gent) and Land Resources Engineering (organized by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel). Read more
The Master of Physical Land Resources has two specializations: Soil Science (organized by the Universiteit Gent) and Land Resources Engineering (organized by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel). During your training you acquire a profound knowledge of pedology, soil physics and chemistry, soil mineralogy, soil prospection and classification, statistics and computer science, climatology and meteorology. Depending on the chosen modules you can specialize in the fields of: land evaluation, soil fertility, soil-water management, etc.

This master offers

 Knowledge and skills which enable you to start and build a successfull career as scientist specialised in either Soil Science or Land Resources Engineering in a professional way.
 The ability to formulate hypotheses and design experiments to test them, report results and findings to both your peers and to a general public.
 You to learn to think analytically, synthetically, creatively and in a problem solving way
 The ability to work both autonomously and in a team.
 The ability to apply knowledge as required for the overall development policy of your country
 The skills to function in fundamental as well as in applied research at universities, research institutions and (other) government or private institutions and companies.

International Course Programme

This programme is one of the International Course Programmes supported by the Flemish Interuniversity Council - University Development Cooperation (VLIR-UOS). A limited number of scholarships is available for students coming from specific developing countries.

Structure

The Master of Science degree programme in Physical Land Resources is a two year, full time course.

The first year provides a fundamental basis in physical land resources, with a main subject in either Soil Science or Land Resources Engineering. The second year offers specialised courses in one of the two main subjects. The students have to prepare a dissertation. Successful completion of the programme leads to the award of an Master of Science degree in Physical Land Resources.
The course curriculum of the first year, and of the main subject in soil science of the second year is organised at the Ghent University, whereas all courses of the main subject in Land Resources Engineering of the second year are organised at the "Vrije Universiteit Brussel". Students in Land Resources Engineering have to reside in Brussels during the second year.

The academic year starts the last week of September. Students are expected to arrive in Gent ten days before the start of the programme. There are two examination periods, in January and in June respectively. For students who fail, there is a re-examination session in August-September.

Curriculum

For the specialization Land Resources Engineering the curriculum is available on http://www.vub.ac.be/en/study/physical-land-resources/programme

For the specialization Soil Science the curriculum is available on http://www.plr.ugent.be/main.htm#course

Student profile

You want to know what (a) soil is?
You want to know which factors and properties determine the soil suitability to be used for both agricultural and non-agricultural purposes and how this is established?
You want to know how the soil can be improved to suit specific applications?
You want to know how to address problems of degradation and desertification?
You want to know how to manage the land and how to protect it?
You want to know what the impact of the soil factor is in the dynamics of natural ecosystems and how this knowledge can be applied in the area of nature conservation?
You want to know what the soil teaches us about current environmental issues?
You want to know how soil and water management can be improved in the frame of sustainable agriculture?
You want to know how we can manage our scarce water supplies?

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Land (soil) and water are two essential resources required to sustain the human goals of food security and maintenance of environmental goods and services, including all forms of useable energy. Read more

General Information

Land (soil) and water are two essential resources required to sustain the human goals of food security and maintenance of environmental goods and services, including all forms of useable energy. Managed, as an integrated system, provides a framework to aid society to achieve food security and environmental services.

The goal of the innovative Master of Science in Land and Water Systems is to offer a professional degree that will serve both practicing resource managers, and recent graduates from cognate undergraduate academic programs, the necessary credentials to address the emerging concerns of land and water resources conservation and management.

Quick Facts

- Degree: Master of Land and Water Systems
- Specialization: Land and Water Systems
- Subject: Specialty
- Mode of delivery: On campus
- Program components: Coursework only
- Faculty: Faculty of Land and Food Systems

The MLWS program provides an opportunity for students to obtain science-based skills, training and knowledge to address emerging environmental issues of food security, effects of increasing urbanization, maintenance of ecological services, restoration of degraded lands, adapting to climate change, and resource conservation. The program draws from a broad range of academic and professional expertise in disciplines including geochemistry, biology, soil science, hydrology, terrestrial and aquatic ecology, forest sciences and more. The program is aimed at both recent graduates and practicing professionals who are seeking additional academic qualification.

Learning Objectives

Upon successful completion of the program, graduates will:
1. Have the necessary background and analytical skills to address the issues related to land and water systems based on an understanding of the integration of the ecological, carbon (energy), hydrological and pedalogical cycles and the impacts of human activity.
2. Obtain proficiency in developing analytical frameworks for the identification, articulation and analysis of land and water resource issues and concerns.
3. Develop skills to develop, apply, evaluate, and adapt alternate practices through scenario frameworks.
4. Develop professional communication skills.

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This taught one-year course will give students a thorough understanding of all aspects of wetland science and ecology. Students will also gain experience and knowledge on the complex conservation, restoration and management issues associated with wetlands. Read more
This taught one-year course will give students a thorough understanding of all aspects of wetland science and ecology. Students will also gain experience and knowledge on the complex conservation, restoration and management issues associated with wetlands. Field and laboratory work will cover the latest techniques in environmental analysis needed for contemporary wetland monitoring and experimentation.

Taught wetland and conservation modules

Wetland ecology
Classification of wetland types
Properties and functions of wetlands
Wetland zoology and botanical adaptations
Wetland hydrology and biogeochemistry
Carbon sequestration in wetlands
Use of wetlands for carbon offsetting
Wetland conservation and restoration techniques
Use and design of constructed wetlands
Wetland plant identification

Instrumental and environmental analysis

Students will learn a variety of instrumental analysis techniques suitable for ecologists interested in environmental analysis and those studying a wide variety of aquatic and terrestrial habitats – not just wetlands. The theory, practical use and basic maintenance of the instruments will be covered, along with sample collection and analysis.

The lab and field based techniques covered include:

pH, conductivity and Redox potential
Greenhouse gas (GHG) collection and analysis using a gas chromatograph (GC) and infra-red gas analysis (IRGA)
Cation and anion concentration analysis using ion chromatography (IC)
Stable isotope analysis with an isotope ratio mass spectrometer (IRMS)

Wetland-based research project

The research project comprises a third of the MSc and is supervised by research active staff with excellent publication record and experience in their field.
Career Options

Students choosing this MSc will enjoy a modular course that will teach both the practical and theoretical aspects of wetland science and conservation. Successful students will therefore develop the skills and experience required to enable progression onto PhD studies in a wide-range of biological, biogeochemical, environmental and conservation based subjects.

The course will also allow students to seek employment in areas related to wetlands, soil science, water treatment and quality, conservation and environmental consultancy.

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Are you up to the challenge of finding innovative methods and sustainable solutions to the threats facing the environment? The Environmental Sciences Master programme at Wageningen University has its roots in the natural, technological and social sciences. Read more

MSc Environmental Sciences

Are you up to the challenge of finding innovative methods and sustainable solutions to the threats facing the environment? The Environmental Sciences Master programme at Wageningen University has its roots in the natural, technological and social sciences.

Students will gain insight into the socio-economic causes and the characteristics of pollution and degradation of the natural environment, including the effects on human beings, the atmosphere, ecosystems and other organisms. This two-year programme is based on an interdisciplinary approach. Students learn to develop analytical tools and models, as well as technologies, socio-political arrangements and economic instruments to prevent and control environmental and sustainability issues.

Programme summary

We are facing a future with an increased demand for food, water, energy and other resources, which will have an enormous impact on our already heavily burdened environment. Environmental challenges for the future include using our resources efficiently, minimising our impact on nature, and creating and changing people’s awareness and behaviour towards their environment.

The MSc Environmental Sciences programme is designed for students who want to take up this challenge in finding innovative and sustainable approaches to secure and improve the state of the environment. This programme provides insight into the socioeconomic causes, the characteristics of pollution and degradation of the natural environment, and their effects on human beings and ecosystems. By taking an interdisciplinary approach, students learn to develop analytical tools and models, environmental technologies, socio-political arrangements and economic instruments to prevent and control environmental problems.

To allow you maximum flexibility in your individual course of study, there are no formal specialisations and compulsory elements are kept at a minimum. This allows you to tailor the programme to your individual needs. Major thesis research can be conducted in one of the ten thesis tracks (major) and each major can be combined with a minor in Environmental Communication or Education.

Thesis tracks

The ten thesis tracks are clustered in 4 groups.

Environmental Quality
Investigates the physical, chemical and biological processes that influence the quality of the environmental compartments: Soil, Water and Air; and the effects of pollutants on humans and ecosystems. Students can choose the thesis tracks Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management, Air Quality and Atmospheric Chemistry, Soil Biology and Biological Soil Quality, Soil Chemistry and Chemical Soil Quality, or Environmental Toxicology.

Environmental Systems Analysis
Studies the natural and social processes involved in environmental issues. It aims to develop integrative tools and methodologies and to apply these in strategic research. Students can choose to develop such an integrated approach via the thesis track Environmental Systems Analysis.

Environmental Policy and Economics
Covers the contribution of the social sciences to environmental research. The focus is on the social, political, legal and economic aspects of environmental issues and the goal is to provide students with the skills for studying, formulating and designing innovative forms of national and international environmental governance. You can choose a thesis track in the disciplines of Environmental Policy, Environmental Economics and Natural Resources, or Integrated Water Management.

Environmental Technology
Concentrates on biological, chemical and physical processes for water reuse and the recovery of nutrients, minerals and energy. The aim is to fully understand these processes in order to design and optimise innovative technologies for renewable energy, closing nutrient cycles and solving environmental issues. You can choose any of these topics via the thesis track Environmental Technology.

Your future career

Graduates from this programme are well-equipped to continue their scientific training in a PhD programme or to begin - or continue - a professional career requiring independent scientific performance. Students are taught the knowledge and skills needed to communicate with experts from different disciplines allowing them to play a key role in complex environmental and sustainability issues. Most graduates enter careers in environmental consultancy, research and management, while others are involved in policy development and higher education.

Alumna Charlotte Van Erp Taalman Kip.
Upon graduation, Charlotte started working as environmental consultant at MWH Global. Two years later, she continued her career at the water board Hollandse Delta as innovation engineer. She works together with different parties for implementing innovative and sustainable ideas. One project she is involved in is an initiative of all water boards that focuses on the recovery of valuable compounds in sewage. “It’s time to see our sewage not as a dirty waste stream, but as a valuable resource. We should not destroy this potential of sewage. On the contrary, it is our duty to recover and reuse all its valuable components.”

Related programmes:
MSc Climate Studies
MSc Urban Environmental Management
MSc Earth and Environment
MSc Forest and Nature Conservation
MSc Aquaculture and Marine Resource Management.

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This programme aims to introduce students to the concepts of soil for the 21st century and is suitable for students wishing to pursue a career in land-based management or environmental protection. Read more

This programme aims to introduce students to the concepts of soil for the 21st century and is suitable for students wishing to pursue a career in land-based management or environmental protection.

Soils underpin the sustainability of terrestrial ecosystems and are key to food production. Soils form the basis of all agricultural production, but they also store water, mediate the impact of pollutants, provide biological habitats, have an impact on the accumulation of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere, are involved in dealing with society’s waste, are a source of extractable minerals and provide the foundations for the housing and roads on which society depends.

You will learn about soil function and management, and soil classification, assessment and analysis, with a strong emphasis on practical skills. You will gain expertise in the relationship between soil and sustainable approaches to land resource use.

This programme is run in collaboration with Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC).

Applicants who applied after 12 December 2016 receiving an offer of admission, either unconditional or conditional, may be required to pay a tuition fee deposit. Please see the fees and costs section for more information.

Programme structure

This programme involves two semesters of compulsory and option taught courses followed by a period of individual dissertation project work.

Compulsory courses typically will be:

  • Soil Protection and Management
  • Soils Science Concepts and Application
  • Dissertation

Option courses:

In consultation with the Programme Director, you will choose from a range of optional courses^. We particularly recommend:

  • Analysing the Environment
  • Analysing the Environment Study Tour
  • Culture, Ethics & Environment
  • Ecosystem Dynamics and Functions
  • Human Dimensions of Environmental Change and Sustainability
  • International Development in a Changing World
  • Principles of Environmental Sustainability
  • Principles of GIS
  • Project Appraisal
  • Atmospheric Quality and Global Change
  • Frameworks to Assess Food Security
  • Integrated Resource Management
  • Spatial Modelling
  • Ecosystem Values and Management
  • Environmental Impact Assessment
  • Land Use/Environmental Interactions
  • Participation in Policy and Planning
  • Sustainability of Food Production
  • Interrelationships in Food Systems

Courses are subject to timetabling and availability and are subject to change.

Field trip

An integral, week-long study tour lets you refresh skills learned on the programme and develop new tools and techniques, useful during the dissertation process. The tour has historically been held in Mende, France. In addition to the formal taught component, students had the opportunity to go rafting and visit the Aven Armand caves.

There may also be a short tour during induction week, to give students a chance to get to know each other.

Learning outcomes

Students will:

  • gain a knowledge and understanding of the relationship between soils and sustainable land management
  • gain an understanding of soil sampling and analysis, interpretation and reporting
  • be able to assess soil management issues and develop improved management plans
  • understand the function of soils in relation to sustainable land use and societal needs

Career opportunities

A recent report by the British Society of Soil Science (BSSS) identified soil science as an area in which there are critical skills shortages, meaning graduates will be in high demand.

Soil scientists are employed in a broad range of vocations including environmental consultancy, research, overseas development, environmental impact assessment and analysis, site reclamation and remediation, and conservation as well as advising on government policy, archaeological excavations and laboratory analyses, forensics, and landscape design.

Student experience

Would you like to know what it’s really like to study at the School of GeoSciences?

Visit our student experience blog where you can find articles, advice, videos and ask current students your questions.



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What is the Master of Geography all about?. The Master of Science in Geography is a two-year advanced study programme jointly organised by KU Leuven and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). Read more

What is the Master of Geography all about?

The Master of Science in Geography is a two-year advanced study programme jointly organised by KU Leuven and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). The interuniversity master programme provides the students with comprehensive training in geography's approaches to social geographical and/or natural geographical phenomena. The objective of this programme is to provide a deeper understanding of geographical problems and methods, knowledge to the theoretical debate within the discipline, and training in the use of geographical working techniques.

The global aim of the master is to generate geographers that can play an active role in our contemporary society. Teaching is based on scientific research. Therefore the KU Leuven and the VUB work together for their master in geography, since their focal points of research are similar. The following specialties are offered in English:

  • Earth and Climate;
  • City, Society and Space;
  • GIS and Spatial Modelling.

This is an initial Master's programme and can be followed on a full-time or part-time basis.

Structure

The full programme comprises 120 ECTS. In addition to core courses on human-environment interactions and research methods in geography (27 ECTS), you take the compulsory courses within your chosen specialisation (33-34 ECTS) as well as a number of specialised electives in your field (29-30 ECTS). The remaining 30 ECTS are allocated to the master’s thesis.

The programme offers three specialisations:

  • Earth and Climate: this specialization focuses on terrestrial ecosystems and environmental changes, emphasising timely and relevant research topics in the geosciences like global warming, ice-climate interaction, soil and water conservation, long-term landscape development, natural hazards and risk assessment.
  • City, Society and Space: in a strongly urbanised world there is a growing need to better understand social, economic, cultural, and political dynamics of urban areas. This specialisation focuses on the multifaceted issues that cities are experiencing in the current era of globalisation.
  • GIS and Spatial Modelling: within this specialisation you will become acquainted with new approaches and techniques for acquiring, managing, analysing and mapping spatial data.

Within this specialisation you can also opt to include a two-month GIS internship in your study programme.

Courses are taught at KU Leuven’s Arenberg Campus in Heverlee and at the VUB campus in Etterbeek. A joint degree will be awarded upon the successful completion of the programme.

Departments

This highly competitive programme is jointly offered by the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at KU Leuven and the Department of Geography at VUB and is firmly rooted in current research at both universities. Both departments continuously develop and maintain innovative and internationally recognised research programmes on fundamental and applied aspects of the geosciences, covering a wide range of spatial and temporal scales. Within the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at KU Leuven, geographical research activities are focused on earth surface processes and climate, human-environment interactions, society and space, tourism, and education in the geosciences. Research in the Department of Geography at VUB is focused on the dynamics of glacial systems, the study of hazardous geomorphological and volcanological processes, small-scale cartography and map projections, remote sensing, and the geography of world cities. 

Objectives

The Master of Geography aims to gain the analytical and synthetical ability, necessary to understand independently and critically the scientific and social aspects of the environmental problems in our country, in a European dimension and on global level. It aims to enable the student to approach the relation between society and environment in an integrated way. The student will learn to overview and to function within the realm of the geographer. This is possible in the area of fundamental and applied geographical research, as well as in the area of communication and education of geographical sciences.

In the master thesis the research activities are emphasized, next to the acquiring of knowledge and abilities on an advanced level.

The global aim of the master is to produce geographers that can play an active role in our current society. Teaching is based on scientific research. To be able to realize this the KU Leuven and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel work together for their Master of Geography, since their focusses of research are similar. The following specialties are offered in English:

  • Earth and Climate
  • City, Society and Space
  • GIS and Spatial Modelling

Career perspectives

Geographers study the interaction between human societies and their environments, characterize the regions and localities that result, and analyze the spatial distributions and processes of particular natural and human phenomena. Being equally a natural science and a social science equipped with geographical information science techniques, geography integrates the physical and human environments. Thus, geographers have long applied integrated multidisciplinary approaches to solve real-world problems at all spatial scales from local to global.

Undoubtely there exists a growing demand for competent professionals in the broad field of geo-sciences. As a graduate from the interuniversity master programme geography, you may be recruited by surveying companies, mapping agencies, service and utility providers and public entities. You will also be placed high on the recruitment list of international and national administrations dealing with urban and rural land use planning, disaster management, environmental conservation and management. Careers can also be perused in research and education, whereby this Master programme is most often complemented by a relevant PhD programme.



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A collaboration between the Faculty of Land and Food Systems and Faculty of Forestry, the inter-faculty Soil Science Graduate Program offers opportunities for advanced study and research leading to MSc and PhD degrees. Read more
A collaboration between the Faculty of Land and Food Systems and Faculty of Forestry, the inter-faculty Soil Science Graduate Program offers opportunities for advanced study and research leading to MSc and PhD degrees. Students are registered in the Faculty of Graduate Studies through either the Faculty of Land and Food Systems or Faculty of Forestry, depending upon their research interests.

Areas of study include biometeorology, forest nutrition and nutrient cycling, mycorrhizal ecology, soil biology, soil quality and fertility, soil-plant interactions, ecosystem services, land an water systems.

Program Overview

Soil Science offers opportunities for advanced study and research leading to Ph.D. and M.Sc. degrees in the areas of soil microbial ecology, organic matter, soil physics, irrigation and drainage, biometeorology, soil pollution, soil and water conservation, soil management, and land use, with application to forest, agricultural, urban, and range soils, as well as a professional Master of Land and Water Systems (M.L.W.S.) degree. The Ph.D. and M.Sc. degrees include a combination of courses in both basic and applied sciences, with research leading to the completion of a thesis/dissertation. The M.L.W.S. degree is intended for students seeking a post-baccalaureate degree for professional practice in the land and water resources management realm. The program is designed to be completed in one calendar year.

Soil Sciences programs are enriched through collaboration with: colleagues in other graduate programs, such as Forestry, Geography, Plant Science, Institute for Resources and Environment, Integrated Studies in Land and Food Systems, and Landscape Architecture; and agencies such as Environment Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, BC Ministry of Forests and Range, and other provincial, municipal, and regional government agencies.

Research facilities are housed both within the MacMillan and Forest Sciences Buildings and, on a shared basis, in other buildings on campus. Research facilities within the MacMillan Building include modern analytical laboratories and other equipment for conducting chemical and biometeorological research, while excellent facilities for soil biological research are located in the Forest Sciences Centre.

Quick Facts

- Degree: Master of Science
- Specialization: Soil Science
- Subject: Agriculture and Forestry
- Mode of delivery: On campus
- Program components: Coursework + Thesis required
- Faculty: Faculty of Land and Food Systems

Career Prospects

Graduates of the soil science degree program often obtain positions with government or the private sector. Some graduates decide to continue in the area of research and academia with various universities and colleges. Examples of where some graduates are employed:
- Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
- BC Ministry of Forests
- Canadian Forest Service
- Consultant
- Associate Professor, University of Guelph
- Associate Professor, Yale University
- Associate Professor, University of Northern BC
- Environment Canada
- Assistant Professor, University of Bengukulu, Indonesia
- Assistant Professor, University of Venda for Science and Technology, South Africa

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The Master of Geography programme is a two-year advanced study organised by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and the K.U.Leuven. This interuniversity master’s programme provides the students with comprehensive training in spatial approaches to social and/or natural phenomena. Read more

About the programme

The Master of Geography programme is a two-year advanced study organised by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and the K.U.Leuven. This interuniversity master’s programme provides the students with comprehensive training in spatial approaches to social and/or natural phenomena.

The programme provides a deeper understanding of geographical problems and methods, knowledge to augment the theoretical debate within the discipline, and training in the use of geographical research techniques.

The global aim of the master’s programme is to generate geographers that can play an active role in contemporary society.

3 specializations to choose from

The programme has been recently redefined. From 2014-2015 the following specializations will be offered:

- Earth and Climate
The Earth and Climate track focuses on terrestrial ecosystems and environmental changes, emphasising timely and relevant research topics in the geosciences like global warming, ice climate interaction, soil and water conservation, natural hazards
and risk assessment. In this specialisation you will gain a deep understanding of land surface and atmospheric processes shaping the physical environment and acquire quantitative skills for analysing and modelling the dynamics of these processes. You will also learn to independently define and carry out research projects in geosciences and develop a synthetic vision on environmental issues, at local, regional and global scales.

- City, Society and Space
In a strongly urbanised world there is a growing need to better understand social, economic, cultural, and political dynamics of urban areas. The City, Society and Space track focuses on the multifaceted issues that cities are experiencing in the current era of globalisation. During your study, you will be introduced to key urban social and economic theories and become familiar with critical views on urban development. In the interdisciplinary spirit of urban studies, you will have the chance to engage with and integrate insights from key debates in urban planning and design, housing and real estate markets, tourism and regional development, and many more. Moreover, you will be trained in qualitative and quantitative research methods that will allow you to analyse contemporary urban dynamics in a synthetic and rigorous way.

- GIS and Spatial Modelling
In the GIS and Spatial Modelling track you will become acquainted with new approaches and techniques for acquiring, managing, analysing and mapping spatial data. Based on your skills in spatial data handling and your background in both natural and human
sciences, you will be trained in analysing complex interactions between man and environment and in the application of spatial decision-making mechanisms. As an expert in geodata processing and spatial modelling you will get the opportunity to improve your knowledge in important application fields of geo-information science, including natural resource management, spatial planning, mobility and transportation. Alternatively, you can also opt to include a 2-month GIS internship in your study programme.

The programme offers

• Comprehensive coverage of spatially explicit approaches for analysing social and natural phenomena and how these interact
• Hands-on training in the use of qualitative and quantitative geographical research techniques
• The opportunity to study in Brussels, the capital of Europe
• The option to include a one-semester stay in another European country in your study programme

Curriculum

Details available on http://www.vub.ac.be/DGGF/PDF/Geography_2014_2015.pdf

Student profile

You are interested in:
• Developing analytical skills to unravel complex interactions between man and environment
• Contributing to the debate on major societal challenges linked to environmental change, globalisation, urban growth, social
inequality
• Working towards feasible solutions for sustainable planning and development

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Dwindling natural resources and environmental quality issues are challenging businesses to work within a sustainability framework, while at the same time maximising employment provision and profitability. Read more
Dwindling natural resources and environmental quality issues are challenging businesses to work within a sustainability framework, while at the same time maximising employment provision and profitability. Consequently, there are a growing number of green technology and related enterprises that require a skilled and knowledgeable workforce. Equally, those within the regulation or policy environment must have the knowledge base to address the complexities of the ‘sustainability’ challenge.

The Environmental Sustainability course is taken online in your own time and at your own pace. You can choose to study for a 30-credit Graduate Certificate, a 60-credit Graduate Diploma or a 90-credit MSc degree. The course focuses on delivery of the knowledge and skills required to address sustainability challenges across a broad spectrum of activities such as agriculture, industry, green technology, resource management, environmental regulation and policy. You will be challenged to apply your scientific and technical knowledge to develop solutions to local and global problems and needs. Through discussion and research work you will learn to handle complex issues, analyse, interpret and apply scientific data and information, use your judgement and also communicate your findings and ideas.

Key Fact

This course allows the flexibility to tailor your module selection to meet your training needs or career goals. All students undergo a Training Needs Assessment with the assistance of UCD academic staff before commencing their studies, to provide the most suitable, customised course content for each applicant.

Course Content and Structure

The MSc, Diploma and Certificate will provide you with the theoretical background, practical training and ancillary workplace skills needed for a successful career in your chosen field. The course will develop your capacity for self-directed learning, within a supportive framework facilitated by online fora, discussion boards and virtual tutorial/classroom sessions. For the MSc degree you will be required to undertake a research or desk-based project. You can take any combination of the following modules, depending on your specific interests and career needs.

Modules available include:

• Sustainable Energy & Environment
• Peatlands & Global Change
• Natural Heritage Conservation
• Green Technology Project
• Ecology & its Application
• Cultural Heritage Conservation
• Energy Systems & Climate Change
• Genetics for Environmental Scientists
• World Heritage Convention
• Technical Communications
• Data Analysis & Interpretation
• People Information & Communication
• Applied Ecotoxicology
• GIS for Environmental Investigations
• Impact Assessment Procedures
• Managing the Interface between Science & Policy
• Environmental Legislation & Regulation
• Practicum (Research; lab/field)
• Practicum (Desk Study)
• Water Quality Assessment, Protection and Management
• Management of Sustainable Fisheries
• Career Zone
• Water Resources Engineering 1 and 2
• Wildlife Management/Conservation
• Air Pollution
• Bioinvasions: Impact to Management
• Environmental Geoscience
• Soil Resources
• Management Plan
Modules and topics shown are subject to change and are not guaranteed by UCD.

Career Opportunities

Successful completion of this course will provide you with the professional competitive advantage to choose from careers in the application of green energy technology, environmental engineering, environmental monitoring and protection, resource and waste management, consultancy, research, heritage, conservation and education, either within regulatory bodies or in a wide range of industries, both multinational organisations and small-and medium-sized enterprises. The course also opens up opportunities to pursue further studies including up to PhD level.

Facilities and Resources

Throughout your term of study here in UCD you will have access to our online electronic library resources, including a wide range of scientific journals and e-books. IT and Blackboard support will be available to assist with any issues you encounter. Students may also visit the library to use its resources and have the same right of access to campus facilities as our on-campus students.

This course relies on the significant teaching and research strengths across eight different Schools in UCD. This allows us to offer a multidisciplinary degree incorporating a wide range of topics, e.g., renewable energy resources, sustainable energy systems, environmental engineering and resource management, water quality assessment and conservation science.

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The question is no longer if our climate will change, but how will it change and how will we adapt to these changes? Adaption and mitigation to global warming, the greenhouse effect and climate change all form the basis of the Master Climate Studies programme at Wageningen University. Read more

MSc Climate Studies

The question is no longer if our climate will change, but how will it change and how will we adapt to these changes? Adaption and mitigation to global warming, the greenhouse effect and climate change all form the basis of the Master Climate Studies programme at Wageningen University.

Students will gain a broad overview of climate change during this two-year programme. As changes and challenges crystallise, the demand for scientists able to understand and investigate them will rise. This master programme is specifically targeted at students who wish to focus on the scientific insights into climate change and on the social and economic implications of climate change in the broadest sense.

Programme summary

The MSc Climate Studies programme focuses on an improved understanding of climate change across the earth and its impact on ecosystems and society. The debate in science no longer revolves around whether our climate will change, but how it will change, how we can cope with the impact (adaptation), and how we can limit climate change in the long term (mitigation). These issues are important for the entire world and fuel a range of new challenges to natural and social sciences. Society needs answers to questions such as: How will climate change affect ecosystems and how will these in turn affect the climate system? What will the effect be on the availability of water and food? How will climate change issues set national and international political agendas? How will citizens, consumers, companies and other social actors respond to climate change? What will the economic costs be of the impact and measures related to climate change, and how will these costs be distributed globally? Will new social and economic opportunities emerge in the process of adaptation?

As these changes and challenges become ever more apparent, the demand for scientists who are able to understand and investigate them will rise. Wageningen University has therefore bundled expertise from several disciplines in a Master study programme specifically designed for students who wish to focus on the scientific insights into climate change and its implications for nature and society. Climate Studies does not only cover the most important geophysical and biogeochemical processes involved in climate change (the mechanisms), but it also covers the socio-economic aspects of causes and effects; as well as adaptation and mitigation as the main categories of societal response.

Specialisations

Climate Studies gives you a broad overview of climate-change related issues. You can specialise in a topic of your choice during your thesis research. We offer a wide range of thesis tracks:
• Meteorology
• Air Quality and Atmospheric Chemistry
• Hydrology and Quantitative Water Management
• Crop and Weed Ecology
• Nature Conservation and Plant Ecology
• Soil Biology and Biological Soil Quality
• Earth System Science
• Environmental System Analysis
• Integrated Water Management
• Environmental Economics and Natural Resources
• Environmental Policy

You future career

Graduates from this programme are well-equipped with the knowledge and skills to continue their academic training as a PhD student or to start a career as a scientific professional at universities, research institutes, and environmental and governmental organisations. Applied climate change researchers and experts are sought after by banks, insurance companies, construction, power companies and government.

Student Lennart Pompe.
"Climate Studies and the specialisation Integrated Water Management are the perfect combination for me where science and society come together to tackle the challenges the water sector faces. I took the opportunity to enrich my master with the label of the Climate-KIC, a European knowledge and innovation community. I joined several Climate-KIC activities, among others, the inspiring 5-week summer school ‘the Journey’ aimed at developing your own business plan. My thesis focussed on climate change and human development in the Bengal delta and the related salinisation issues. I am excited to enter the Dutch-leading water sector."

Related programmes:
MSc Environmental Sciences
MSc Earth and Environment
MSc Management, Economics and Consumer Studies

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Several agencies at a national and international level are required to manage our environment sustainably by implementing policy and legislation. Read more
Several agencies at a national and international level are required to manage our environment sustainably by implementing policy and legislation. The study of Applied Environmental Science is critical for establishing policies in environmental assessment, evaluating potential change in environmental quality in response to various land use and other activities, and in the development of management and conservation strategies, as well as contributing to policy formulation.

This programme provides graduates with a thorough knowledge of Environmental Science and there is a heavy emphasis on practical training in fieldwork, laboratory analyses, information sourcing, data analysis,planning, reporting and communication. You will work with an interdisciplinary team of experts covering the key aspects of Environmental Science, encompassing marine, freshwater and terrestrial systems, to make this an exceptionally practical multidisciplinary programme.

Key Fact

This Applied Environmental Science course has been running for over 20 years, it’s the only such MSc in Ireland to include a major input from civil engineering, relating particularly to water quality, hydrology and waste treatment processes. This MSc also offers a 2 month work placement in the environmental sector providing relevant work experience.

Core Modules

Samples of modules include:
• Water Resources Engineering
• Vegetation Ecology
• Environmental Impact Assessment
• Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Data Analyses
• Freshwater Resources Assessment
• Remote Sensing
• Global Change Ecology
• Ecological Modelling
• Wildlife & Resources Management
• Integrated Municipal Solid Waste
• Marine/Coastal Ecology
• Soil Ecology
• Water, Waste & Environment Modelling
• Environmental Geology
• Ecotoxicology & Air Quality Monitoring


The course gives due consideration to key legislative requirements and policy developments. Modules and topics shown are subject to change and are not guaranteed by UCD.

Career Opportunities

Our graduates are building successful varied careers in environmental resources assessment, management and protection. A considerable number have been employed in consultancy positions and some are also with the Inland Fisheries Ireland, the Department of the Environment and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Some graduates have also continued their studies at PhD level in the areas of fisheries, biomass fuels, soil, water engineering and invertebrate ecology.

Facilities and Resources

The School of Biology and Environmental Science has 14 state-of the-art research laboratories that are equipped to support a very wide range of research activities at the cellular or whole organism level. The UCD Rosemount Environmental Research Station can also support glasshouse or field-based experiments.

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The current environmental changes affect both natural ecosystems and civil societies. Global change refers to planetary-scale changes occurring in complex socio-ecological systems, which are affected by climatic and non-climatic drivers (e.g., changes in human society). Read more
The current environmental changes affect both natural ecosystems and civil societies. Global change refers to planetary-scale changes occurring in complex socio-ecological systems, which are affected by climatic and non-climatic drivers (e.g., changes in human society). Understanding the intricate, medium- to long-term changes in our land, air and water requires advanced scientific knowledge in measurement, modelling and prediction.

This joint international MSc course between the UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science and Justus-Liebig University (JLU) Giessen, Germany is the response to these global change challenges and will suit skilled motivated science graduates wishing to develop a scientific career in ecosystem research as well as those aiming to contribute to evidence-based environmental policy.

You will be involved in active research groups in both countries, contributing to their ongoing ecosystem studies in order to experience the process of creating scientific knowledge in ecosystem science. In addition to acquiring skills in measuring, analysing and understanding what is behind scientific data you will have the opportunity to develop your analytical, presentation and communication skills to enable you to participate in the policy making process.

Key Fact

Graduates will receive a joint international degree from two well-established universities combining their complementary and multidisciplinary research profiles and cutting-edge expertise. Through the 6-8 weeks work placement in in a company or institution of your choice, you will acquire transferable skills which will make you a sought after and effective employee.

Course Content and Structure

This is a 120 CP programme comprising 70 CP of taught modules, 20CP of work placement and 20 CP of independent research project. The first semester is based at UCD, Dublin, followed by a 6-8 week work placement in a company or institution of your choice. We have established links with organisations such as FAO, UNFCCC, ISEO, EFI, ICLEI and NOAA as well as European and national EPA agencies and many research institutes.
The second taught semester is based in JLU, Giessen between March and August and the third semester (Sept-Dec) is devoted entirely to the individual research project, which can be undertaken in either UCD, JLU or another approved research institute.
Samples of topics include:

• Global change (soil, air, water): modelling and advanced techniques
• Science and policy
• Research in ecology
• Environmental law and policy
• Man in past climates
• Policy consultancy
• Plant-soil-atmosphere interactions
• Biodiversity informatics
• Data analysis and interpretation
• Economics and environmental management
• Environmental impact assessment


For more information on module description and available scholarships, visit http://globalchange.ucd.ie/

Career Opportunities

Graduates may pursue roles as policy advisers, scientific analysts or researchers in government, international organisations, NGOs, research institutes or consulting companies. There are also many opportunities for further studies. The skills you acquire, particularly through the completion of the minor thesis within a 4 month period, provide a strong foundation for PhD research.

Prospective employers include the national Environmental Protection Agency, governmental departments, European Commission as well as policy consultancy firms such as European Environment Agency and also international organisations (e.g. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; United Nations Environment Programme; Food and Agriculture Organisation; International Union for the Conservation of Nature).

Facilities and Resources

• A climate change station at JLU hosts one of the world longest-running Free Air Carbon dioxide (FACE) experiments.
• The Program for Experimental Atmospheres and Climate (PEAC) at UCD is a state-of-the art plant growth room facility to investigate past and future climatic scenarios.
• The UCD Earth Institute is a centre for resource and environment research aimed at leading Ireland’s response to climate change and the global energy crisis.

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