Agro- and Ecosystems Engineering is about ensuring the prosperity and wellbeing of current and future generations in both the global North and global South. Agro- and ecosystems provide a wide range of essential goods and services such as food, water, energy and biodiversity. Yet, the contemporary context of population growth, rapid urbanisation, economic globalisation, climate change, deforestation, soil pollution and degradation challenges the future provisioning of a sufficient quantity and quality of these goods and services.
The Master of Agro- and Ecosystems Engineering (ACE) provides in-depth knowledge of the functioning and management of natural and production-oriented ecosystems. You can choose to focus on either temperate or (sub)tropical settings, or a combination of both. You complement the interdisciplinary core programme with a major specialisation in one out of four different domains: biological production, abiotic and biotic environment, bio-economics, and bio-geo information.
The production major focuses on agro-ecosystems, and includes specialisation tracks in crop production, production forestry systems (achieved trough a semester in Chile) and hortology (achieved trough a semester in South Africa).
The environment major provides to in-depth understanding of the biophysical functioning of both natural and agro-ecosystems with the aim of improving the management of these ecosystems' biodiversity, soil and water resources. The major includes specialisation tracks in soil and water systems, forest and nature systems, and ladscape systems.
The economics major focuses on the economic and policy-related aspects of agro- and ecosystems, with in-depth courses in the field of agricultural, food and natural resources economics.
The information major addresses earth observation and geo-data management technology, with in-depth courses covering both the technological aspects of this area and their applications in the field of terrestrial resources.
Are you looking to broaden your horizons? There are ample opportunities to conduct part of your master's thesis research at various partner institutions abroad. In addition, European residents can undertake their master's thesis research at a European or other partner university within the framework of the Erasmus+ programme. The Faculty also welcomes initiatives of students who want to do a work placement in a company or organization abroad, as well as exchange programmes with partner universities.
Two optional specialisation packages require one semester to be spent at a partner institution: the Production Forestry package is organised at the University of Temuco (Chile), while the specialisation in Hortology takes you to the University of Stellenbosch (South Africa).
The interdisciplinary nature of ACE ensures
that graduates are sought after by various professional fields related to biological production systems and ecosystem management, with particular emphasis on plant production, natural resource economics and policy, sustainable environmental management, and applications of earth observation and geomatics.
Abundant employment opportunities exist in public sector organisations, both nationally and internationally, NGOs and private companies, and can be both technical in nature, research-oriented, or at the policy/management level. Finally, ACE provides excellent preparation for undertaking PhD research.
In Belgium, graduates of the ACE programme are entitled to use the professional title of 'Bio-ingenieur' ('Bioscience Engineer') .
The Master’s programme provides multi-disciplinary and high-quality university education in the field of water resources engineering. Students will be trained with technical and managerial knowledge and skills to: (i) successfully plan, design, operate and manage water resources projects; and (ii) advise and support authorities in decision-making and policy-making that enhance the safe exploitation and re-use of wastewater and the equitable distribution and conservation of local, regional and global water resources.
Water Resources Engineering deals with the methods and techniques applied in the study of:
Through the choice of 3 elective courses and a specific topic for thesis research, you can tailor your study programme to fit your interests.
1. Possesses technical and scientific knowledge and integration skills to advice and support authorities in decision making and the development of policies and regulations to manage water resources, meet the water needs and safeguard the availability for current and future generations.
2. Possesses specialized knowledge in modelling tools and practical skills in running simulations for planning, designing, operating and managing specific water resources systems.
3. Analyse and interpret hydrological data and spatial data for managing water resources and employ measurement techniques to monitor water resources.
4. Understand and analyse institutional, socio-economic and policy issues related to water resources development and management.
5. Understand and analyse problems related to storm water and flood control, irrigation and drainage, groundwater, water treatment, water quality protection of ecosystems and other natural resources.
6. Interact with other relevant science domains and integrate them to come up with sustainable solutions supporting the implementation of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) principles through an appropriate science-policy interface.
7. Demonstrates critical consideration of and reflection on known and new theories, models or interpretations within the specialty.
8. Plan and execute target oriented data collection or model simulations independently, and critically evaluate the results.
9. Present personal research, thoughts, ideas, and opinions of proposals within professional activities in a suitable way, both written and orally, to peers and to a general public.
10. Function in an interdisciplinary team.
Career prospects in the water sector are excellent. The water sector proves to be a stable employment environment with a continually rising need for highly educated professionals. Programme graduates will deal with the exploitation and management of water resources and, to a lesser extent, with education and research. Graduates are therefore prepared to fulfil both a professional and academic role. The programme's academic-level education not only prepares water sector professionals but also future lecturers and researchers, creating a multiplier effect that spreads across many countries.
Government agencies, drinking water companies, and other companies play a decisive role in the management of present and future aquifers and river basins. They need well-trained water professionals. Many graduates find employment with private companies, such as consultancy agencies and industrial firms. Others go on to careers in non-governmental organisations.