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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 new Joint Erasmus Mundus programme in Flood Risk Management integrates the complementary topics of global changes and monitoring natural processes, modelling their behavior and interaction, formulating the decisions based on interrogation of these integrated models and implementing these decisions in the context of socio-economic and institutional framework. Read more
The new Joint Erasmus Mundus programme in Flood Risk Management integrates the complementary topics of global changes and monitoring natural processes, modelling their behavior and interaction, formulating the decisions based on interrogation of these integrated models and implementing these decisions in the context of socio-economic and institutional framework.

The subjects covered include hydrology, meteorology, monitoring, hydroinformatics, modelling, various types of flooding (fluvial, urban and coastal), risk management, spatial planning and socio-economic and institutional framework.

The Erasmus Mundus Programme in Flood Risk Management is offered by a consortium consisting of:

•IHE Delft Institute for Water Education (the Netherlands)
•Technical University of Dresden (Germany)
•Technical University of Catalonia (Spain)
•University of Ljubljana (Slovenia)

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The question is no longer if our climate will change, but how will it change and how will we adapt to these changes? Adaption and mitigation to global warming, the greenhouse effect and climate change all form the basis of the Master Climate Studies programme at Wageningen University. Read more

MSc Climate Studies

The question is no longer if our climate will change, but how will it change and how will we adapt to these changes? Adaption and mitigation to global warming, the greenhouse effect and climate change all form the basis of the Master Climate Studies programme at Wageningen University.

Students will gain a broad overview of climate change during this two-year programme. As changes and challenges crystallise, the demand for scientists able to understand and investigate them will rise. This master programme is specifically targeted at students who wish to focus on the scientific insights into climate change and on the social and economic implications of climate change in the broadest sense.

Programme summary

The MSc Climate Studies programme focuses on an improved understanding of climate change across the earth and its impact on ecosystems and society. The debate in science no longer revolves around whether our climate will change, but how it will change, how we can cope with the impact (adaptation), and how we can limit climate change in the long term (mitigation). These issues are important for the entire world and fuel a range of new challenges to natural and social sciences. Society needs answers to questions such as: How will climate change affect ecosystems and how will these in turn affect the climate system? What will the effect be on the availability of water and food? How will climate change issues set national and international political agendas? How will citizens, consumers, companies and other social actors respond to climate change? What will the economic costs be of the impact and measures related to climate change, and how will these costs be distributed globally? Will new social and economic opportunities emerge in the process of adaptation?

As these changes and challenges become ever more apparent, the demand for scientists who are able to understand and investigate them will rise. Wageningen University has therefore bundled expertise from several disciplines in a Master study programme specifically designed for students who wish to focus on the scientific insights into climate change and its implications for nature and society. Climate Studies does not only cover the most important geophysical and biogeochemical processes involved in climate change (the mechanisms), but it also covers the socio-economic aspects of causes and effects; as well as adaptation and mitigation as the main categories of societal response.

Specialisations

Climate Studies gives you a broad overview of climate-change related issues. You can specialise in a topic of your choice during your thesis research. We offer a wide range of thesis tracks:
• Meteorology
• Air Quality and Atmospheric Chemistry
• Hydrology and Quantitative Water Management
• Crop and Weed Ecology
• Nature Conservation and Plant Ecology
• Soil Biology and Biological Soil Quality
• Earth System Science
• Environmental System Analysis
• Integrated Water Management
• Environmental Economics and Natural Resources
• Environmental Policy

You future career

Graduates from this programme are well-equipped with the knowledge and skills to continue their academic training as a PhD student or to start a career as a scientific professional at universities, research institutes, and environmental and governmental organisations. Applied climate change researchers and experts are sought after by banks, insurance companies, construction, power companies and government.

Student Lennart Pompe.
"Climate Studies and the specialisation Integrated Water Management are the perfect combination for me where science and society come together to tackle the challenges the water sector faces. I took the opportunity to enrich my master with the label of the Climate-KIC, a European knowledge and innovation community. I joined several Climate-KIC activities, among others, the inspiring 5-week summer school ‘the Journey’ aimed at developing your own business plan. My thesis focussed on climate change and human development in the Bengal delta and the related salinisation issues. I am excited to enter the Dutch-leading water sector."

Related programmes:
MSc Environmental Sciences
MSc Earth and Environment
MSc Management, Economics and Consumer Studies

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The programme aims to deepen the knowledge, insight and skills for hydraulic engineering (part of civil engineering), hydroinformatics (a technology discipline) and hydrology (an earth system science).. Read more
The programme aims to deepen the knowledge, insight and skills for hydraulic engineering (part of civil engineering), hydroinformatics (a technology discipline) and hydrology (an earth system science).

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In our Master's programme in Earth, Life, and Climate, you will explore the fundamental processes which regulate the past, present, and future dynamics of sedimentary systems, biodiversity, and climate, as well as their evolution. Read more

EXPLORE PROCESSES AFFECTING THE EARTH'S LIFE AND ITS ENVIRONMENT

In our Master's programme in Earth, Life, and Climate, you will explore the fundamental processes which regulate the past, present, and future dynamics of sedimentary systems, biodiversity, and climate, as well as their evolution. This two-year programme will provide you with the knowledge you need to understand climate change and its impact on natural environments such as soils, sediments, lakes, groundwater, wetlands, estuaries, and oceans.

The main topics you will study include the evolution of life, the development of sedimentary basins, carbon sources and sinks, biogeochemical and geochemical fingerprinting of sedimentary processes/environments, and climate reconstruction.

Tracks

You can choose one of four tracks based on your specific interests:
-Integrated Stratigraphy & Sedimentary Systems: Dynamics of marine and continental sedimentary systems

-Climate Reconstruction: The reconstruction of climate change through Earth's history

-Biogeosciences & Evolution: The evolution and response of biota to perturbations in the environments

-Biogeochemistry: Processes that control the elemental cycles at the Earth’s surface.

On this programme, you will learn state-of-the-art reconstruction methods, modelling techniques, and laboratory experiments used in a wide range of earth and beta science disciplines. These disciplines include biogeology, palaeontology, sedimentology, stratigraphy, environmental geochemistry, organic geochemistry, hydrology, physical geography, geology, biology, climate dynamics, and palaeoceanography. You will utilize these skills in your own research project or on the traineeships you can take in preparation for an international career in applied or fundamental research.

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The Master’s programme in Earth Surface and Water involves the study of natural and human-induced physical and geochemical processes, patterns, and dynamics of the Earth’s continental and coastal systems. Read more

EXPLORE PROCESSES AT OR NEAR THE EARTH'S SURFACE

The Master’s programme in Earth Surface and Water involves the study of natural and human-induced physical and geochemical processes, patterns, and dynamics of the Earth’s continental and coastal systems. This two-year programme provides you with knowledge that is essential to manage the planet sustainably, guarantee the availability of resources for future generations, and understand and avert natural hazards.

The main subject areas you will study consist of the dynamics of coastal and river systems, (geo-)hydrological processes, groundwater remediation, land degradation in dry lands and mountainous regions, natural hazards, and delta evolution on centennial and longer time scales.

Tracks

You can choose one of four tracks based on your interests in the field:

-Geohazards and Earth Observation: Land-degradation processes and natural hazards in and on the Earth's surface;

-Coastal Dynamics and Fluvial Systems: Natural and human-induces processes, patterns, and products in the world's coasts and
rivers;

-Hydrology: Movement, distribution, and quality of water on Earth;

-Environmental Geochemistry: Processes that control the functioning of natural environments at the Earth's surface.

The Earth Surface and Water programme trains students to quantitatively study the natural and human-induced physical and chemical processes, patterns, and dynamics of Earth’s continental and coastal systems as well as their responses to global change. Students explore and understand the modelling capabilities of the past, present, and future as well as the evolution of Earth’s environment, including human impact on this evolution.

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The Water Management programme is open to participants from a range of academic backgrounds, as long as they have a Bachelors degree in an area that contributes to water management. Read more
The Water Management programme is open to participants from a range of academic backgrounds, as long as they have a Bachelors degree in an area that contributes to water management. These areas include engineering, economics, law, social sciences and natural sciences.

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Together with its partners TU Dresden and University of Lisbon, UNESCO-IHE conducts the Joint Erasmus Mundus Programme in Groundwater and Global Change - Impacts and Adaptation (GroundwatCH). Read more
Together with its partners TU Dresden and University of Lisbon, UNESCO-IHE conducts the Joint Erasmus Mundus Programme in Groundwater and Global Change - Impacts and Adaptation (GroundwatCH).

Groundwater and Global Change - Impacts and Adaptation seeks to offer a distinctive curriculum built on the cornerstones of hydro(geo)logy, climatology, impacts and adaptation, within a framework of human pressures, global change and feedbacks, around the following academic focal areas:

General Hydrogeology
Groundwater Data Collection
Interpretation and Modelling
Climate Processes and Modelling
Integrated River Basin and Water Resource Management
Groundwater and Environmental Impacts
Groundwater, Society and Policies
Groundwater, Climate and Global Change Impacts and Adaptation

With this curriculum GroundwatCH aims to address the current gaps in higher education with regard to the understanding of the interactions between groundwater, surface water, climate and global change, and how we need to consider and can benefit from these interactions when dealing with adaptation.

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