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Wageningen University & Research, Full Time Masters Degrees in Geography

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Are you interested in working on solutions for these and other environmental issues? The Wageningen University Master Earth & Environment was born from the necessity of helping the next generations of scientists find solutions for the issues confronting the way we look after our planet, now and in the future. Read more

MSc Earth and Environment

Are you interested in working on solutions for these and other environmental issues? The Wageningen University Master Earth & Environment was born from the necessity of helping the next generations of scientists find solutions for the issues confronting the way we look after our planet, now and in the future. Within the programme you can specialise in Hydrology and Water Resources, Meteorology and Air Quality, Biology and Chemistry of Soil and Water or Soil Geography and Earth Surface Dynamics.

Programme summary

Planet Earth is a complex, interactive and fascinating system. Protected by a thin layer of atmosphere, it provides all the essentials needed to sustain life and support living organisms. Natural processes and human needs often clash, leading to a wide range of environmental issues. Water scarcity and quality, soil degradation , food supply , loss of biodiversity, vulnerability to severe weather, and climate change are just a few examples of key issues that need to be addressed urgently.

As a Wageningen University geoscientist, you study Planet Earth and its ability to sustain life. Using tools from physics, chemistry, biology and mathematics, you build a quantitative understanding of the composition, structures and processes of the Earth and its atmosphere; as well as its resources and the influence of human activity. Thus, you have an important role to play in improving natural resource management and in removing obstacles to sustainable development.

Your study of the Earth system largely focuses on gaining an understanding of the interdependent physical, chemical and biological processes, and developing models that describe these processes on relevant scales. You develop scenarios that describe expected local, regional and/or global changes and the time scale on which they will occur. The Wageningen MEE focuses on the Earth’s ‘Critical Zone’ -including the atmospheric boundary layer, where flows of energy and matter determine the conditions for sustaining life; hence its name: Earth and Environment.

Specialisations

• Hydrology and Water Resources
The focus of this specialisation is to study the effects of climate change and other influences on the water balance of catchments to support optimal land management when dealing with hydrological extremes.

• Meteorology and Air Quality
Would you like to contribute to further understanding of atmospheric processes and their relevance for weather and climate? In this specialisation you learn about physical-chemical processes, the composition of the atmosphere and the exchange between the atmosphere and earth's surface and meteorology.

• Biology and Chemistry of Soil and Water
This specialisation allows you to develop an in-depth understanding of chemical and biological processes and their interactions in soils and natural waters, and their role in the functioning of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems in a world that faces increasing anthropogenic pressures. You learn how these insights can contribute to develop effective strategies for the preservation and restoration of soil and water quality, biodiversity, and the functioning of natural ecosystems and the services they provide.

• Soil Geography and Earth Surface Dynamics
This specialisation allows you to explore the spatial and temporal processes that are active in soils, landscapes and the wider earth system. It uses an integrative approach that combines biophysical and human elements to gain insight in past, present and future system dynamics.

The combination of specific discipline training and the Earth System approach prepares you for working on the scientific and societal questions of the future. You can also choose from a selection of elective courses, and we also offer a special variant in preparation for a PhD.

Your future career

The MSc Earth and Environment programme offers our graduate scientists excellent opportunities to develop their career in research or as a science professional at universities, research institutes and consultancies. Our graduates can be found all over the world, working as meteorologists, hydrologists, water quality scientists or soil scientists, to name but a few disciplines.

Are you interested in working on solutions for these and other environmental issues? The master programme was born from the necessity of helping the next generations of scientists find solutions for the issues confronting the way we look after our planet, now and in the future.

Alumnus Nick Gorski.
NIck Gorski came from Canada to Wageningen because of the excellent reputation the Netherlands has in the field of water. He conducted two thesis research projects during his time here. The first dealt with the fluxes of sediment-bound contaminants in a river basin in southwestern Turkey. The second involved the development of a new modelling methodology for heterogeneous flow and solute transport in unsaturated soils. “I had the opportunity to take classes, do field work and research in other countries. It was an excellent way to put theory into practice.” After graduating Nick went on to work for the KWR Watercycle Research Institute in Nieuwegein, the Netherlands.

Related programmes:
MSc Biology
MSc Climate Studies
MSc Environmental Sciences
MSc International Land and Water Management
MSc Plant Sciences.

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The MSc Development and Rural Innovation is the international social sciences programme for students with a technical, life Wageningen Universityscience or relevant management background with an interest in international development and beta/ gamma integration. Read more

MSc Development and Rural Innovation

The MSc Development and Rural Innovation is the international social sciences programme for students with a technical, life Wageningen Universityscience or relevant management background with an interest in international development and beta/ gamma integration. In Development and Rural Innovation, we develop professionals who are able to deal with knowledge processes in dynamic contexts.

Programme summary

This programme aims to develop professionals who understand the role of knowledge in societal change processes and are able to link human and technological dimensions of innovation in dynamic contexts across the globe. It is a social science programme tailored for students with a technical, life science or relevant management background with an interest in international development problems. Innovations in the field of agriculture, food and natural resource management have a dual nature. They consist of new technological practices as well as new socio-organisational arrangements between different societal actors. Dealing with the links between technological developments and societies in which these are introduced and used, requires a fundamental understanding of socio-technical innovation and change processes. In other words, you will be challenged to combine your previously acquired competencies with new social science competencies in order to make innovations work.

Offering a variety of disciplinary and problem-oriented courses, the programme is taught in an interactive style where learning from each other is emphasised. Working in small international groups contributes significantly to this mutual learning process. The programme is highly thesis-oriented. The subject matter and methodology courses serve primarily as preparation for an empirical research project. This entails writing a research proposal, conducting the research and completing a thesis, thereby offering you the opportunity to apply your newly acquired insights in a field situation. International students often apply this knowledge in their home country on a topic relevant to their professional interests and preferences. Others choose a relevant topic in their field of interest in various countries around the world, including the Netherlands.

Thesis tracks

Communication and Innovation
In this track, you study communication among stakeholders and disciplines in the context of societal problem solving and change. Special attention is given to the role of communication, knowledge, interpretation and innovation support strategies in bringing about organisational, policy or technological change in societal domains such as sustainable agriculture, health, environment, multifunctional land use and international development.

Technology and Development
The goal of this track is to understand how science and technology interact with international development problems, such as food security, adaptation to climate change and social justice. The approach involves analysis of how technology both mediates and is constituted through social relations and institutional arrangements between various actors including farmers, scientists and policymakers. Most social problems that we face today involves science and technology, either as a cause or as a cure.

Sociology of Development and Change
This track focuses on the understanding of rural development problems worldwide from sociological and anthropological perspectives. Particular attention is paid to how local people themselves solve problems. Field-based studies are the basis for critical reflection on theories of development and social change. Themes addressed include food security, livelihoods in the context of globalisation, poverty and environmental degradation, property rights, conflict, and policy

Your future career

The programme lays the foundations for a variety of career opportunities, usually oriented towards societal problem solving and innovation. You can become a researcher or a knowledge broker who ensures a good fit between client demands and research formulation. You might take on the role of process facilitator or communication specialist in a non-governmental organisation, the public sector or the private industry. A career as a policymaker or consultant in various (inter)national organisations is another option. Organisations where graduates work are for example: UNDP, Tropenbos International, Women for Water, UTZ Certified, George Washington University, UNICEF, Fairfood International.

Alumnus Ben Corrigan.
After studying physical geography, Ben joined the social science Master Development and Rural Innovation. In his job as Programme Manager for the German Red Cross in Haiti, he works on food security and providing basic services such as water and sanitation to remote communities. “One of my responsibilities is to ensure that technical staff integrate social dimensions into their work and build real partnerships with stakeholders in the field. As a Development and Rural Innovation graduate, I am well prepared for this kind of job and feel confident in it. This programme is a gateway to a great career if you like to work in the development sector or continue in academia.”

Related programmes:
MSc International Development Studies
MSc Applied Communication Science
MSc Management, Economics and Consumer Studies
MSc International Land and Water Management
MSc Environmental Sciences.

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The increasing complexity of our society demands for specialists who can collect, manage, analyse and present spatial data using state-of-the-art methods and tools. Read more

MSc Geo-Information Science

The increasing complexity of our society demands for specialists who can collect, manage, analyse and present spatial data using state-of-the-art methods and tools. At Wageningen University we offer a unique, top-quality programme that blends geo-information science methods, technologies and applications within environmental and life sciences for a changing world. Our Geo-information Science graduates usually have a job waiting for them on graduation.

[[Programme summary]
Geo-information has become increasingly important to society as the number of environmental issues continue to rise: Geo-information provides the data we need to manage both the natural and social environment. It is indispensable for a broad range of domains like spatial planning, water management, nature conservation, environment management, agriculture, energy supply, disaster management and traffic and safety. The MSc GIS programme at Wageningen University offers you a blend of geo-information science methods, technologies and applications. The combined use of earth observation techniques (Remote Sensing) and Geographic Information Systems for problem-solving within the environmental and social disciplines is a unique feature of the Wageningen Approach. During your study, you take courses on the acquisition, storage, analysis and visualisation of spatial data. You learn to recognise, describe and analyse problems in relevant environmental application fields; this includes training in the development of prototypes. You also learn about the technical and organisational role of geo-information in institutes and companies: how to communicate well, keep abreast of GI scientific and technical developments, and how to apply these developments in specific fields. Depending on your background, research topics and previous education, you can also choose relevant courses in application domains or ICT.

Specialisations

The Geo-Information Science programme is an intensive programme offering students opportunities to specialise by taking advanced courses in GIS and/or Remote Sensing, and by selecting courses in a range of application fields or geo-information technology. Furthermore, you develop your GIS profile by completing a Master’s research thesis in one of the following research fields:
• sensing and measuring
• modelling and visualization
• integrated land monitoring
• human-space interactions
• empowering and engaging communities
Your choice of internship location is another factor in developing your profile and specialisation.

Your future career

Graduates in Geo-Information Science have excellent career prospects; most have job offers before they graduate. Many of our graduates work in research, either in PhD programmes or for research institutes all over the world; Wageningen UR, including Alterra, has the largest group of GI-scientists in the Netherlands. Many others are employed as technical specialists, consultants or project leaders for global companies like Royal Haskoning, Arcadis and Grontmij. And lastly, others work for local or central government agencies and NGOs, including environmental assessment programmes. Would you like to generate and use geo-information to solve global problems like flooding, planning, or the migration of wild animals? Or do you want to provide geo-information to the public or government? Then join the two-year Geo-information Science Master programme at Wageningen University. You have a Bachelor degree in the field of environmental sciences, geography and planning, landscape architecture, food and agricultural sciences, (geo)- information sciences or even social sciences.

Alumnus Frank Salet.
During his career, Frank worked within fields where the use of GIS is unique, challenging or still developing. After a few GIS positions at mostly commercial companies, he is now working at an NGO in Nigeria on the eradication of polio. For the project he has temporarily moved to Nigeria to set up the GIS work, together with a team of 20 Nigerian GIS specialists. He is now working in a multicultural environment just like during his master in Wageningen. Frank is very positive about the connection between the master and his professional career: “All courses within the master programme have formed the tools that I still use for each job I take on.”

Related programmes:
MSc Geographical Information Management and Applications
MSc Forest and Nature Conservation
MSc Landscape Architecture and Planning
MSc Environmental Sciences
MSc Biosystems Engineering.

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If development aid is just a waste of money, how can we find a better way to improve the livelihoods of people? With regions and countries fighting for land, water, and resources, how can we help people recover from conflict and war? How can we transform the right to food, water, and a clean environment into reality? These are just a few examples of issues relating to development studies. Read more

MSc International Development Studies

If development aid is just a waste of money, how can we find a better way to improve the livelihoods of people? With regions and countries fighting for land, water, and resources, how can we help people recover from conflict and war? How can we transform the right to food, water, and a clean environment into reality? These are just a few examples of issues relating to development studies.

The International Development Studies programme allows you to develop a critical understanding of development theories. You will learn to plan and conduct research. You acquire the skills to translate your finding into development policies, intervention strategies and institutional innovations. You will learn to include the diverging views of various stakeholders and to work in multidisciplinary teams.

Programme summary

This programme deals with worldwide processes of development and change related to livelihoods, agro-food networks and the environment in a dynamic international context. Special attention is given to exclusion processes, equity, unequal access to resources and sustainability. Social, economic, political, technological, and environmental change is studied from various perspectives and at different levels. You will develop a critical understanding of recent development theories, learn to plan and conduct research, and acquire skills to translate research findings into recommendations for policies and intervention strategies. You will learn to include the diverging views of various stakeholders and to work in multidisciplinary teams. Depending on your previous education, you can follow one of the specialisations. .

Specialisations

Students can choose one of the following three specialisations after consultation with the study advisor. The selected specialisation mainly depends on your academic background.

Sociology of Development
This specialisation focuses on social transformation processes, especially the local consequences of globalisation and environmental change, and the way people cope with uncertain circumstances. Themes studied include natural resource degradation, refugees, migration, post-disaster reconstruction, social unrest, poverty, and lack of access to resources crucial to the livelihoods of people. This specialisation applies sociological and anthropological perspectives to development problems with special attention given to understanding the differing interests and views of numerous actors. You can choose a major in Disaster Studies, Environmental Policy, Sociology of Development and Change, or Rural Sociology.

Economics of Development
The central themes in this specialisation are the role of agriculture in development, food security and the global food crisis, regional economic issues, sustainable use of natural resources, rural-urban income disparities, and issues related to poverty and the role of institutions. These themes are examined from a microeconomic perspective to gain insight into the behaviour of individuals and institutions, as well as from a macroeconomic perspective to obtain insight into development processes at regional and national levels. You can major in Agricultural Economics and Rural Policy, Development Economics, Environmental Economics and Natural Resources, or Regional Economics.

Communication, Technology and Policy
In this specialisation, social transformation and sustainable development are examined with a specific focus on communication, technological innovations, and policy processes. An important theme is how technologies and policies are developed in the interaction between various parties (e.g. governments, social organisations, and citizens) and the role of communication in these processes. Another theme is the relationship between technological change (in the agricultural and food sectors), institutional processes and social transformation. You can choose a major in Knowledge, Technology and Innovation, Law and Governance, or Strategic Communication.

Your future career

Graduates are employed in various (inter-) national organisations as a programme/ project coordinator, trainer, consultant, advisor, policymaker or researcher. You could work, for example, as policymaker in a government or semi-governmental institute, as programme coordinator or advisor in an international (non-)governmentalorganisation or (consultancy) company, or as researcher and/or teacher at a university or research institute. Examples of organisations include: FAO, World Bank, European Union, UTZ Certified, Oxfam Novib, Rabobank Foundation, CARE, Sustainalytics and UNICEF.

Alumnus Luckmore Jalisi.
“I have really benefitted from what I learnt during my studies. This master has opened doors for me." Luckmore did the specialisation Sociology of Development and conducted both his internship and thesis research in a refugee camp in Uganda. These experiences were important in getting him his job as Youth and Governance Advisor at ActionAid in Liberia. “I support postconflict youth development programmes based on a human rights approach, and develop monitoring & evaluation tools for governance and youth development work. I draw on the knowledge and skills acquired during my studies and my classmates from Wageningen remain valuable contacts in my network.”

Related programmes:
MSc Development and Rural Innovation
Health and Society (specialisation)
MSc Applied Communication Science
MSc International Land and Water Management
MSc Leisure, Tourism and Environment
MSc Management, Economics and Consumer Studies

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Today’s societies require more and more geographical information. Think of physical planning, analyzing the spread of epidemic diseases, risk management, navigation systems, location based services, movement analysis, augmented reality, increasing use of maps and volunteered geographical information. Read more

MSc Geographical Information Management and Applications (GIMA)

Today’s societies require more and more geographical information. Think of physical planning, analyzing the spread of epidemic diseases, risk management, navigation systems, location based services, movement analysis, augmented reality, increasing use of maps and volunteered geographical information.

Our GIMA course offers a comprehensive MSc programme, focusing on the management and application of geographical information from a scientific perspective. Two additional aspects contribute to the uniqueness of the GIMA programme: GIMA is a joint venture involving four renowned Dutch universities: Utrecht, Delft, Twente and Wageningen; and GIMA is a blended learning programme, enabling you to do most of your studying from the place at which you study best (home or office). Only the first and the last week of each module are classroom-based.

Programme Summary

The MSc Geographical Information Management and Applications (GIMA) offers a challenging programme in the domain of Geographical Information Sciences (GIS). It will help you to develop your knowledge and skills in the field of geo-information management and geo-information applications. As a future geo-information specialist, you have to address a wide number of fundamental issues in today’s society such as: Why is geographical information needed and how can it be used to solve problems in the broadest variety of application fields (in flood risk management, spatial planning, location-based services, orientation and navigation, location of sales outlets, spatial aspects of crime, dealing with natural hazards and humanitarian disasters)? How can proof-of-concept geo-information and geo-information technology based solutions for societal problems be designed and implemented and how can the quality and usabiliy be evaluated? What are appropriate concepts, methods and techniques for the management of geo-information and geo-information processes, which may involve multidisciplinary teamwork?
The GIMA programme deals with all of these issues and, teaches, among other things, how to apply and manage geo-information in organisations and projects by critically understanding and using state-of-the-art geo-information theories and technology.

Features of the programme

This Master programme is offered by four renowned universities in the Netherlands: Utrecht University, Delft University of Technology, University of Twente and Wageningen University. As a student, you have access to the large pool of experts from all four universities. You can choose between a full-time (two years) or parttime (four years) programme. Exemptions are possible for students who have relevant working experience, making it possible to complete a part-time programme in approximately three years. GIMA is a blended learning programme. It consists of distance learning (85%) with contact weeks at the four universities (15%).

Your future career

Graduates have excellent career prospects. The demand for managers and application specialists in geo-information in the professional market is constantly increasing. Our alumni are employed in both the private and public sector (by companies, consultancies, government organizations and research institutes) as managers, specialists and researchers. APPLICATION AND ADMISSION This programme is registered in CROHO as MSc Geographical Sciences at Utrecht University, code 60732. Application for GIMA proceeds through Utrecht University. The application deadline is 1 June 2015 for the programme that starts in September 2015. All information about application and admission requirements can be found at the GIMA website http://www.msc-gima.nl.

Alumna Gineke Snoeren.
Business consultant at ESRI Nederland. “GIS offers many opportunities and will become more important in future. That is why I decided to enrol in this programme. The course has 2 advantages. First, it does not focus solely on GIS techniques, but also at management. Second, the blended learning system is great because it combines contact teaching with distance learning. You can study in your own time with less contact hours but still contact with teachers and students at set times. Not only Dutch and foreign students take the course, but also people who are already employed in the field of GIS. You learn a lot from each other”.

Related programmes:
MSc Geo-information Science.

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The two-year Master International Land and Water Management programme focuses on the scientific analysis of land and water management issues at various scales. Read more

MSc International Land and Water Management

The two-year Master International Land and Water Management programme focuses on the scientific analysis of land and water management issues at various scales. An integration of physical, technical, socio-economic and political dimensions in various approaches is sought in order to critically analyse, understand and tackle land and water management problems.

Programme summary

The MSc International Land and Water Management focuses on the scientific analysis of the physical, environmental, technical and socio-economic aspects of land and water management and their mutual interactions. Students develop comparative insights into the development of land and water management, take a scientific approach to various research paradigms and acquire a problemoriented, interdisciplinary attitude towards land and water management and rural development issues. Graduates will not only be able to study these issues, but also design and propose sustainable solutions to land and water management problems.

Specialisations

Sustainable Land Management
This specialisation deals with the processes, drivers and consequences of land degradation; as well as with interventions and conservation practices for sustainable land management. By providing in-depth knowledge and developing skills in physical and socio-economic aspects, this specialisation prepares students for both research and development jobs. Topics covered range from erosion processes and modelling to impact assessment and strategies, from field scale to watershed and beyond.

Irrigation and Water Management
Students in this specialisation obtain extensive knowledge on water usage in agriculture. Irrigation -from the farm level to the watershed level- is the main focus. Topics include irrigation of agricultural land, design of irrigation systems, water justice, distribution issues, equity and gender discussion, improving the social and technical performance of existing farm irrigation systems and practices, and irrigation in its wider water management context.

Adaptive Water Management
Increasing human induced pressures on water cycles together with growing demands on water resources ask for careful management of water systems. Students in this specialisation acquire the knowledge, skills and capacity to analyse future- oriented issues in water management and to propose and critically assess management strategies and innovations.

Your future career

Graduates find jobs in a wide range of fields including design and implementation, policy making, project management and research and education. Many find a PhD position at universities worldwide. They are employed by international organisations such as the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the UN (FAO), the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), or NGOs involved in international or national development. Some graduates also work for ministries, water boards and other governmental organisations in the field of international cooperation, such as the Dutch DGIS and the German GIZ, while others find jobs in private or public institutes in their home countries. For graduates interested in design and implementation, there are also job opportunities at international consultancies. In the Netherlands this includes firms such as Arcadis, Grontmij, Antea Group, Euroconsult Mott MacDonald and Royal Haskoning DHV.

Alumna Cecilia Borgia.
"After completing my degree, I worked in Mauretania for the Instituto de Agricultura Sostenible (CSIC-IAS) promoting both crop diversification and evaluating the performance of irrigation systems in the Senegal Valley. This has also been the subject of my PhD at the University of Cordoba in Spain. Recently, I returned to Wageningen and joined the consultancy firm MetaMeta where I look at water-food-energy linkages and water governance in Yemen. Water access and management, as well as the interactions between local water governance and new forms of organisation, have been central aspects of my work."

Related programmes:
MSc Earth and Environment
MSc International Development Studies
MSc Development and Rural Innovation
MSc Geo-information Science
MSc Landscape Architecture and Planning
MSc Forest and Nature Conservation.

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