Read more about the programme Earth and Environment

During the two-year master programme, you become a well-rounded specialist in the fields of (a) hydrology and water resources; (b) meteorology and air quality; (c) biological and chemical aspects of soil and water; or (d) soil geography and earth surface dynamics. Furthermore, you also gain a broad view of the interactions in the critical zone where the different spheres meet. Subjects studied range from micro to global scale; they are closely related to the innovative research and applications of ten leading research groups.

Combining disciplines

The Earth’s traditional spheres (lithosphere, pedosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere) are increasingly being studied at their interfaces. Interdisciplinary research leads to new developments, that in turn give direction to further fundamental research. If you join the Master Earth and Environment programme, you learn to view the Earth as a coherent system, with intense and significant interactions between its compartments.


The study of the Earth system largely focuses on understanding its interdependent physical, chemical and biological processes, and on developing models that describe these processes on relevant scales. This allows the development of scenarios for expected local, regional and/or global changes, including time-scales. In this Master programme, the focus lies 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’. If you enrol in this programme, you develop advanced modelling skills, paying due attention to methods for up- and down-scaling; you learn to think in ranges of temporal and spatial scales.

The domain of natural sciences

The Master Earth and Environment programme is part of the domain of natural sciences and therefore relies on tools provided by mathematics, statistics and computer science. It combines the Earth system's approach with profound disciplinary training, optimally preparing students for dealing with the complex scientific and societal issues of the future.


Within the MSc Earth and Environment, you can specialise in different fields by selecting a specialisation and associated preparatory courses for your thesis. You can choose from the following specialisations:

For detailed information on these thesis tracks, please go to the section specialisations.

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