Background of the programme

During the bachelor’s Soil, Water, Atmosphere you study hydrology, meteorology, physical geography and soil science. You learn how natural processes, from the soil till the atmosphere, work and how they influence and interact with each other during the formation of our natural landscapes. You use a natural sciences approach with knowledge from physics, chemistry and biology to understand the earths critical zone. The knowledge you gain is in a western European context, but the principles taught in this ‘Wageningen Earth Science programme’ are applicable all over the world.

Soil: Biology, Chemistry and Soil Formation

The soil is the top layer of the earth's surface: starting from the ground we walk on until a few meters below the surface. During the bachelor's programme Soil, Water, Atmosphere you learn about soil formation and the spatial distribution of these soils. You also obtain an understanding of chemical, biological and physical soil characteristics that influence soil quality.

Soils are at the base of our food production. Climate change and an increasing global demand for food adds more and more pressure to the soils. Heavy soil degradation or erosion could be the consequence of these developments. A thorough understanding of soil processes is therefore needed for a sustainable use of our soils.

Water: Hydrology, Water Management & Quality

Water is the source of all life on earth. But at some places there is water scarcity while at other places there is too much water. Why is that? During the bachelor's programme Soil, Water, Atmosphere you learn to understand ground and surface water from different points of view.

You learn about hydrology and hydrogeology: how much water flows through a catchment and how much flow can a water way handle before it starts to flood? But also about water quality: what substances are transported by the (ground)water? What organisms live in the water and what is the influence of the amount of nutrients in the water on the stability of an ecosystem?

The focus during this bachelor's programme lies on rivers and catchment systems in Western Europe. But the knowledge you gain can be applied in cases all over the world. Using your knowledge on physics and biology you can contribute to a sustainable water management in our rivers, lakes and delta's.

Atmosphere: Meteorology & Air quality

During the bachelor's programme Soil, Water, Atmosphere you gain knowledge on meteorology. You learn about processes in the atmosphere and how these processes relate to life and environment on the earths surface.

By using models, you learn how to predict the weather and study the processes which play a role in the earth's atmosphere. You use this knowledge to predict the weather and weather extremes. More extreme weather due to climate changes asks for better predictions. Knowledge on the physical processes in the atmosphere can also be used in the transition to the use of more sustainable energy, like wind energy. You also gain knowledge about the chemical composition of the atmosphere. Both on a local and a global scale we face challenges in providing clean air to everyone. You learn what factors influence air quality with insights from both chemistry and physics.

The complete picture: Soil, Water, Atmosphere

During the bachelor's programme Soil, Water, Atmosphere you gain knowledge about the earth's system from a natural sciences approach. You do not only obtain knowledge about the three different domains, but also about the interaction between these domains. You learn how certain processes are connected and influence each other.This interdisciplinary knowledge leaves you with a good understanding of the earth's critical zone.
If you are interested in these topics, then you should join the 'Wageningen Earth sciences programme' Soil, Water, Atmosphere.