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Master in Agro- and Ecosystems Engineering

Course Description

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 production forestry and aquaculture (both of which are achieved through a semester spent at partner institutes abroad).

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. It also offers the production forestry option.

The economics major focuses primarily on the economic and policy-related aspects of agro- and ecosystems.

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.

This is an initial master's programme and can be followed on a full-time or part-time basis.


1. Have a broad, engineering-oriented knowledge of the biotic and abiotic components of agro- and ecosystems, of their functions, services and values, and of their interrelationships across a large range of spatial and temporal scales;

2. Have profound scientific knowledge in at least one of the following domains: (i) land-based biological production systems (agri- and silviculture); (ii) systems for the conservation and management of the natural environment in relation to the biological production (soil, water, climate, biodiversity); (iii) agricultural and environmental economics, (iv) data acquisition and information processing related to the three previously mentioned domains;

3. Be capable of analyzing, using a systems approach, the interactions between and within agrosystems, ecosystems and the socio-economic context from at least one of the following perspectives: (i) production systems; (ii) environmental management; (iii) economics and (iv) data requirements and information processing. Dependent upon the applicable perspective, being capable of understanding, formulating, parameterizing, validating and implementing models of the biophysical, ecological, bioeconomical, statistical, spatio-temporal and/or combined types. Being capable of optimizing decisions regarding land use taking account all ecological, agronomical, engineering and socio-economical constraints;

4. Be capable of integrating knowledge about agro- and ecosystems and related engineering technologies in geographically targeted projects and interventions at local to regional scales, as well as in policy preparation and evaluation at regional to global scales;

5. Be capable of positioning agro- and ecosystems in various societal, cultural, economical and policy contexts and in interdiciplinary work and research frameworks. Be aware of the research, societal and corporate challenges regarding agro- and ecosystems and their management;

6. Be capable of functioning in interdisciplinary teams and of taking up starter leadership. Be capable of comparing the domain- or discipline-specific approach with the approaches of other domains and disciplines. Be aware of the values but also of the limitations of the disciplines for contributing to the sustainable management of agro- and ecosystems.

[[Career paths]]

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.

Entry Requirements

bachelor's degree in engineering (bioscience engineering, agricultural engineering, environmental engineering, or any equivalent engineering degree)

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