Programme Bachelor Soil, Water, Atmosphere

The bachelor's programme (BSc) in Soil, Water, Atmosphere is a three-year programme. It includes a variety of teaching methods, ranging from a mixture of lectures/tutorials, practicums and computer-based learning, to field work both in the Netherlands and abroad. The programme therefore provides practical, applied and fundamental (theoretical) knowledge.

Courses in Soil, Water and Atmosphere

The degree programme opens with introductory subjects in the field of Soil, Water and Atmosphere, in which students learn about the mutual interconnectedness between these aspects. Additional subjects in mathematics, physics, chemistry and ecology help to flesh out the basic grounding necessary for the programme. In the first year especially, students will take classes with their fellows from other programmes, particularly Environmental Science and International Land and Water Management.

The second year takes a more in-depth look at the subject matter, through subjects such as meteorology, water quantity and quality, soil quality and the Earth system, and concludes with a practical fieldwork assignment in which students integrate and apply what they have learned.

Third-year students can choose whether to generalise or specialise (i.e., via breadth or depth subjects). For example, would you rather learn about all three domains (soil, water and atmosphere), or would you prefer to concentrate on a single domain? Are your favourite subjects chemical or biological in nature, or do you feel more attracted to physics and mathematics? How about using your electives for something completely different (such as a minor from a different field), or to spend some time studying abroad? The choice is yours!

Have a look at the study handbook

First year

Most of the first year serves as a general introduction to the fields of Soil, Water and Atmosphere. These subjects present the initial theory in the field, demonstrate the interconnectedness between a wide range of processes deep below, within and far above the Earth’s surface, and let you ‘get your hands dirty’ during excursions and field-based/laboratory practicums. A large part of the first year is also devoted to the ‘support subjects’ (such as mathematics, physics and chemistry), which provide the background necessary for the subsequent years of study.

Second year

Most of the second year is made up of subjects that broaden and/or deepen your knowledge within the domain. Topics include the relationship between landscape morphology and the quality/ quantity of water; the role and processes of greenhouse gases and other gases in soil, water and the atmosphere; and the atmospheric dynamics of weather, climate and the Earth system. Additional subjects teach the use of simulation models and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). The second year concludes with fieldwork, as an opportunity to put new knowledge to the test in day-to-day practice. Day trips to other areas of the Netherlands are included in various courses.

Third year

In the third year, you can choose from a set of subjects that are all related to soil, water and atmospheric processes, or use your elective credits to follow courses from other programmes (at WUR, another Dutch university or even abroad). The free choice courses also allow for the possibility of a minor, which is chosen in consultation with a student advisor. Take a look at the overview of all minors available at Wageningen University & Research.

The third year concludes with a small individual research project, often in one of the three main domains (Soil, Water or Atmosphere). That means plenty of options for choosing just the right final project for you and your BSc! The Bachelor’s programme also prepares students to move on to a related Master’s programme.

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