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KU Leuven MSc Degrees in Geography

We have 2 KU Leuven MSc Degrees in Geography

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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.


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.


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. 


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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What is the Master of Science in Sustainable Development all about?.  The Master of Science in Sustainable Development contains two different tracks. Read more

What is the Master of Science in Sustainable Development all about?

 The Master of Science in Sustainable Development contains two different tracks: the Erasmus Mundus joint Master in Sustainable Territorial Development and the ICP Master of Science in Sustainable Development. 

The Erasmus Mundus Joint Master in Sustainable Territorial Development

STeDe IJM aims to create experts in the area of sustainable territorial development. More concretely it trains professionals to be able to help organizations acting in the territory (enterprises, local communities, civil society organizations) to draft sustainable development policies for economic, social, environmental, international and intercultural management.

The Master concerns the economic competitiveness, social inclusion, environmental protection, international cooperation and intercultural relation challenges of territorial development focusing not only on local communities, but also on enterprises, non-state actors and civil society organizations. It also aims to offer an example of sustainable territory involving all local organizations, which should have human resources available and able to promote sustainable development. 

The ICP Master of Science in Sustainable Development

An active research-driven education model with five main pillars

Pillar 1 : Research based teaching courses taught by academic experts leading research in different sustainability domains and parts of the world.

Pillar 2 : Training in research stimulating critical learners, systemic thinking and creativity in the solution of complex socio-ecological problems and triggering real change.

Pillar 3 : A programme informed by and serving the needs of Global South regions facing economic, social and ecological challenges.

Pillar 4 : The active integration of fieldwork in the South, internship, thesis and portfolio development in the professional preparation of the students.

Pillar 5 : The KU Leuven Sustainability Living Lab as the itinerant platform through which the vision and goals of this Master will be tested and implemented in a real world setting. All contents and activities in the Master are connected to the priorities of the Lab, which will be in tune with international institutions agendas and contemporary sustainability debates.

In simple words, this Master programme embraces sustainable development beyond the walls of universities and classrooms to engage with real world settings and localities in their search for solutions to their most pressing problems.

The Master of Science in Sustainable Development is an initial Master's programme and can be followed on a full-time or part-time basis.


In this interuniversity programme, both European and non-European students study together. The EMLM STeDe-students study each semester at a different university. First at the Università degli Studi di Padova (30 ECTS), then at KU Leuven (30 ECTS) and then at the Université Paris 1 Panthéon - Sorbonne (30 ECTS). The fourth semester is dedicated to an internship and a Master's thesis (30 ECTS) written at the university of the student's choice from among the three aforementioned universities and the Universidade Catolica Don Bosco in Brazil. 

The students of the ICP Master of Sustainable Development study at the KU Leuven. They can choose between two specialisations: ‘Space and Society’ and ‘Ecology’.


This programme is offered by the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, collaboration with the Department of Biology. The main mission of the Department Earth and Environmental Sciences is to carry out state-of-the-art scientific research with respect to the functioning of geo- and ecosystems at different spatial and temporal scales, including the interaction between humans and the environment and the sustainable management of natural resources. The department aims at providing attractive academic training at an international level in the fields of Bio-engineering, Geology, Geography and Tourism. The department aims at making an important contribution to the scientific understanding of societal issues such as environmental pollution, food production, climate change, nature and landscape management, soil and water management, exploitation of underground resources, rural and urban development, international development collaboration and tourism.

The Department of Biology is committed to excellence in teaching and research and is comprised of four divisions with diverse research activities ranging from molecular and physiological research at the level of cells and organisms to ecological research on populations, communities, and ecosystems. Although many research groups conduct in-depth analyses on specific model organisms, as a whole the department studies an impressive diversity of lifeforms.

Our research is internationally renowned and embedded in well-established worldwide collaborations with other universities, research institutes, and companies. Our primary goal is to obtain insight into patterns and processes at different levels of biological organisation and to understand the basis and evolution of the mechanisms that allow organisms to adapt to their constantly changing environment. This knowledge often leads to applications with important economic or societal benefits. The department attracts many students and hosts approximately 250 staff members.

Career perspectives

Job opportunities for graduates may be found in all sectors where sustainable development actions should be implemented, in particular at organizations responsible for the creation of sustainable territories (communities, enterprises, non-state actors and civil society organizations, local governments), the central government and international organizations.

Potential posts include: environmental adviser; sustainable development manager in local communities, public administrations, civil society organizations & local governments; representative within local public institutions, national and international institutions, enterprises, trade unions & professional bodies.

The extensive experience, international collaboration and multidisciplinary insights gained from the Erasmus Mundus Master in Sustainable Territorial Development, will open up new perspectives on the sustainability of territorial use and organization while introducing you to various policy tools and management strategies in divergent territorial contexts. 

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