Study Programme - MSc Climate Studies

The MSc programme Climate Studies runs annually beginning from September. It comprises 120 ECTS credits and runs for two academic years. The first year consists of 40 weeks of coursework; the second year consists of the academic internship (16 weeks) and thesis programme (24 weeks), which are the core components of the master's degree programme. Each of these elements is described in more detail below.

Academic year

Wageningen University has six teaching periods per year. Usually you follow one or two courses per period, depending the length of the period. Learn more about the academic year of Wageningen University.

Course selection

As a student you will gain a broad overview of climate change related issues by following compulsory courses, a selection of restricted optional courses and courses that you may choose freely (electives). Some of the compulsory and restricted optional subjects are specific for this programme and others are part of the specialisation of your choice. The electives can be taken from any other relevant MSc programme offered by Wageningen University or by another academic institution. This means that you can adjust your personal programme to your own wishes, and either choose a further specialisation or a broadening of your programme. Your study adviser and thesis supervisor will assist you in this process.

The common part

In the table below you will find the compulsory and restricted optional courses which belong to the common part of the MSc programme Climate Studies (in total 24 ECTS credits).

Course Code Period
Compulsory course
Climate Change Studies Topics and Approaches WSG-20306 1
Restricted optional: select one out of these two options
Design of Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies WSG-60812 5/6
Academic Consultancy Training and Modular Skills Training YMC-60809+YMC-60303 5/6
Select in consultation with your study adviser one of these two courses
Principles of Climate Change Economics and Policy ENR-22806 1
Principles of Earth and Ecosystem Science SOC-23306 1

Specialisations and thesis tracks

Within the MSc programme Climate Studies, students can choose from five specialisations, and within each specialisation different thesis tracks have been identified. Each specialisation has its own coursework curriculum. The curriculum can also differ between students depending on their preparatory training. These courses primarily serve to prepare you for your major thesis research. Go to specialisations.

Free choice

In the programme there is also room for optional subjects (electives) which you may use to broaden your scope or to deepen your knowledge on a topic within your specialisation.

Major Thesis

The thesis (individual research) is part of your major and consists of 24 weeks of research and writing (36 credits). Required courses to prepare for the thesis are mentioned in the course catalogue. The research is conducted under supervision of a staff member of one of the chair groups related to this MSc programme. Cooperative work with other chair groups is also possible. Students decide in consultation with the study adviser and thesis supervisor about the topic of their research. Usually this topic originates from subjects put forward by the chair group, by other institutes, or from the student's own research interests. Experimental thesis research requiring specialised equipment will usually be part of on-going research programmes of Wageningen UR departments or research institutes. The research is concluded with a written thesis, which is graded by the supervisor together with another, independent staff member. The student also presents his/her results during a seminar ("colloquium").


The compulsory internship consists of 24 ECTS credits of project work in an institution outside of Wageningen University. The internship may either be undertaken abroad or in the Netherlands. The purpose of the internship is to provide students with a unique learning opportunity to apply learned skills and concepts to a professional setting. The experience gained from the internship also serves to help students focusing on their area of interest, as well as building confidence and maturity in their field. You can select an internship from one out of the eleven tracks of Climate Studies.

Whilst securing an internship is primarily a responsibility of the student, the internship coordinator will provide substantial assistance in finding a suitable position, ensuring that the work experience is relevant to the student's study programme. To receive credits for an internship, students must receive a satisfactory evaluation from both their internship (host) supervisor and supervisor within the MSc Climate Studies programme.

Students with (supervised) work experience on an academic level may exchange the internship for Research Practice. Approval by the study adviser is required.

Back to MSc Climate Studies