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') .
Details available on http://www.iupware.be/
The MSc in Water Resources Engineering addresses water-related issues in developed and developing countries. It is jointly organized by KU Leuven and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). The general programme objective is to educate professionals and scientists through multidisciplinary and high-quality university education to contribute effectively to the development and management of local and global water resources. The programme trains students with cutting-edge 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.
A strong focus is put on the use of state-of-the-art numerical simulation tools for integrated water management.
The programme deals with the methods and techniques applied in the study of
- water needs for agriculture, industry, households, recreation, navigation, hydroelectric power generation - problems related to storm water drainage and flood damage mitigation - problems related to water quality in streams and aquifers, erosion, sedimentation, protection of ecosystems and other natural resources - integrated water management - institutional, socio-economic, and policy issues related to water resources development and management
A combination of theory and practice ensures that students are equipped with excellent knowledge for further research and exciting job opportunities across the world. Graduates of the programme are primarily employed as
(i) academics or scientists at universities and research institutions. Their major task is to strengthen the training and research capacity of those institutions in the field of water resources
(ii) engineers or managers in public administrations, water user associations or private companies.
Water resources engineers and scientists play a decisive role in the development and management of aquifers and river basins, and in deciding who does what, how much services cost, and who pays. They are the decision-makers and water managers of the future, who are capable of taking into account increased user demand and environmental needs, i.e. managing limited water resources in a sustainable and responsive way.
The master programme takes place in an intercultural and international environment. Students have the possibility to join excursions and field trips abroad and to carry out master thesis research in cooperation with our partner universities.
The full programme comprises 120 ECTS. Students with a relevant Master degree can apply for the 1-year abridged programme (60 ECTS) and will mainly follow second year courses.
The first year curriculum builds a common foundation and is the same for all students. In the second year students design a personal programme through the selection of three elective courses, an integrated project and their master thesis research. Courses are held both at KU Leuven and the VUB campus.
Year 1 (compulsory)
- Advanced Mathematics for Water Engineering - Statistics for Water Engineering - Hydraulics - Groundwater Hydrology - Surface Water Hydrology - Irrigation Agronomy - Aquatic Ecology - Waste Water Treatment and Resource Recovery - Water Quality - Integrated Water Management - GIS & Data Processing for Water Resources Engineering - Remote Sensing and Measuring Techniques for Water Resources Engineering
- Systems Approach to Water Management - Social, Political, Institutional, Economic and Environmental Aspects of Water Resources
Electives (three courses to be chosen)
- Surface Water Modelling - Groundwater Modelling - River Modelling - Soil Water Modelling - Irrigation Design and Crop Water Productivity Management - Urban Hydrology and Hydraulics - Environmental Programming - Freshwater and Marine Ecology
Integrated Project: Students work in groups on a particular watershed and travel to the case study area. They define problems and tackle them from different angles using modelling as well as nonmodelling tools