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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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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 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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Food security exists when everybody has access to sufficient, nutritious and safe food at all times. However, various predictable and unpredictable challenges around the globe, including changes in climate (i.e. Read more

Local food security in a globalising world

Food security exists when everybody has access to sufficient, nutritious and safe food at all times. However, various predictable and unpredictable challenges around the globe, including changes in climate (i.e. rising/falling temperatures, droughts and floods, diseases and pests), market tendencies, insufficient access to food for households, unequal distribution of resources and opportunities and inadequate food distribution channels, prevent the realisation of this idealistic and often oversimplified term.

Despite a growing number of large-scale, high-external input farms and enough food production to feed the world, post-harvest losses result in less optimal yields and (locally) produced foods are often used for other purposes, such as animal feed or biofuel. Consequentially, 795 million1 undernourished people around the globe do not have access to this lost and wasted food.

Ensuring access to food for everyone is the key to ending hunger, which will require improved collaboration between various stakeholders - producer (organisations), the private sector, governments, traders and development organisations. Structures, policies and programmes must be continuously adapted to a variety of external factors, such as the economy, environment and current social structures. Rethinking of informal rules and habits is another essential step in attaining food security, considering even members of the same household are not guaranteed equal access to food. In light of these external factors and challenges, this specialisation presents various interventions needed to combat hunger and ensure food security for everyone.

Competences

At graduation, you will have the ability to:
• define the economic, commercial and marketing needs, constraints and opportunities of those in rural communities who produce for local and regional markets
• analyse food security at a local and global level
• apply tools for diagnosing food security
• analyse the livelihoods of farmers who produce for local and regional markets and understand farmers' coping strategies
• select, explain and design an appropriate development intervention leading to food security
• develop support programmes for farmers, producers and other groups
• mainstream food security within Agricultural and rural development programmes
• define the economic, commercoal and marketing needs, constraints and oppertunities for small-scale producers in rural communities
• formulate and recommend any organisational adjustments that are needed within service-delivery organisations.

Career opportunities

Rural Development and Food Security specialists explore effective responses to mal- and undernourishment, by defining needs, constraints, coping strategies and opportunities for small-scale producers in rural communities. In selecting appropriate context-specific interventions, which reflect understanding of the local context in its wider context, they consider stakeholder relationships and how collaboration could be organised to each stakeholder’s benefit while helping farmers to safeguard their ability to ensure local food security. In the face of globalisation, slow economic growth and political instability, specialists may design and implement responses for (non-)governmental organisations or partners in the private sector, in the form of projects, programmes, market structures or policies.

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The Msc programme Cultural Geography aims to train students to become professionally competent in the field of geography and liveability so that they can make a useful contribution to improving place-related liveability, quality of life and wellbeing in society. Read more
The Msc programme Cultural Geography aims to train students to become professionally competent in the field of geography and liveability so that they can make a useful contribution to improving place-related liveability, quality of life and wellbeing in society.

The programme deals with the qualities of a place (neighborhood, village, city, region) that add to the quality of life as experienced by inhabitants and visitors. Aspects that influence the liveability of places and communities are safety, health, quality of the residential environment (housing, facilities and services), social interaction and participation, community involvement, possibilities for recreation and tourism, quality and unicity of the landscape. Feelings of rootedness and belonging, but also curiosity and excitement about new places, positively influence the liveability of places at local, regional, national and global levels. This may support social cohesion, community resilience and the adaptive potential of people and communities to innovate.

Why in Groningen?

Groningen is the only university in the Netherlands where you can do a Master in Cultural Geography. Students are trained with the necessary critical, analytical, methodological and theoretical tools to contribute to place-related liveability in society. Career perspectives vary from governments, NGOs and corporate roles.

Job perspectives

You will find graduates of the Msc. Cultural Geography in a variety of places.

Three types of work stand out: 1. conducting scientific research or do research for a company, 2. the formulation of policy and advice and representing spatial interests, 3. the transfer of information in areas such as historic preservation, tourism, journalism, or education,. For example, you work in a municipality, a county, a consulting firm, a heritage organization, a housing association or tourist agencies.

To optimize the connection between the Master's program and the labour market, we try to stay in touch with our alumni, for example via the LinkedIn group Master Cultural Geography.

Research in the Master

The research in the Master Cultural Geography is strongly embedded in the research of its staff, on the themes of Place, Identity and Well-being.

Central focus is the lived experiences of local peoples all over the world. Topics of recent research projects are: community engagement; ageing and wellbeing; innovation and rural transformation; socio-spatial consequences of population decline; heritage; historical landscape change; perception and evaluation of nature and landscape; nature and health; death and burial; entrepreneurship and corporate social responsibility; employment opportunities; housing and the living environments of various groups within society; social impact assessment; social aspects of new technology; governance of places; social aspects of agriculture and farming; social aspects of natural resource management; and visitor and host experiences of tourism.

Our research embraces the social relations between people and places, emotional geographies, and the experience of spatial transformation and liveability. We believe that knowing one's 'place' is fundamental to the formation of human identity and to wellbeing. Forms of cultural expression such as art, architecture, ritual and language, and our understanding and appreciation of nature and landscape all interact with the physical environment in the creation of our individual and community life-stories. As such, the ways in which we construct and transform spaces and places manifest our imagination and self-awareness. In doing so, we make sense of, define, and celebrate our personal and collective identities, communities and localities.

Our research is strongly empirically embedded. During the master, students learn qualitative and quantitative research methodologies regarding place attachment, identities and liveability. In the Master thesis, there is room for innovative methods including visual methodologies and location-based applications (social or soft GIS).

The research theme of Place, Identity and Wellbeing fits within the faculty research programme 'towards Wellbeing, Innovation and Spatial Transformation' (tWIST) and the themes population decline and Healthy Ageing.

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This programme trains you to do research in the Spatial Sciences. economic and cultural geography, spatial planning and demography. Read more
This programme trains you to do research in the Spatial Sciences: economic and cultural geography, spatial planning and demography. The programme is aimed at people who want to become successful researchers in the field.

The two-year Research Master in Spatial Sciences (before September 1, 2016 called Regional Studies) is interdisciplinary. Spatial sciences, regional studies geography and spatial planning constitute an interrelated, inherently broad and multi-disciplinary field. A field not only rich in theoretical variety but also encompassing both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies, from ethnographic to case study to statistical and econometric approaches. You will develop real competences in all of these areas, in order to choose your own area of research, and become a successful researcher in the Spatial Sciences field in general.

You will participate in research projects under supervision of experienced staff members, within the Faculty's Research Program tWIST: Towards Wellbeing, Innovation and Spatial Transformation. Regular personal coaching, guidance and monitoring will help you to identify your own preferred learning trajectory and develop your individual research agenda. You are required to gain some international experience, by doing research in a foreign context, and by participating in international workshops or conferences. You can also choose to study abroad.

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