Biology and Chemistry of Soil and Water

This specialisation allows you to develop an in-depth understanding of chemical and biological processes and their interactions in soils and natural waters, and their role in the functioning of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems in a world that faces increasing anthropogenic pressures. You learn how these insights can contribute to develop effective strategies for the preservation and restoration of soil and water quality, biodiversity, and the functioning of natural ecosystems and the services they provide. Among the key focal points are soil fertility, carbon and nitrogen cycling and greenhouse gas balancing, and the fate and effects of contaminants in soil and water systems. You will study the underlying chemical and biological processes, their interactions and effects from the laboratory to the field scale, using analytical measurements and mathematical models.

About the specialisation

Within this specialisation you can focus on different fields. You can go in to depth in the field of Aquatic Ecosystems and develop new knowledge and improved instruments for restoration and management for freshwater ecosystems or develop new water quality measurement techniques.

Soil Biology plays a crucial role in determining many soil characteristics. You can develop a greater understanding of how the soil’s biological components affect climate change, and the fertility and biodiversity of soils. You can also focus on soil ecology, which includes microbial and faunal activity.

Or if you are interested in Soil Chemistry, you can study how to improve our understanding of key aspects like nutrient leaching, acidity, plant nutrient availability, and biocides. You learn how spatial and temporal variability at the system boundary can affect accumulation, and study the interactions between soil components, organic and inorganic solids and solutes both in the field and in the laboratory.

Terrestrial Ecology gives you insights into the processes of ecosystems. You learn more about the interactions between vegetation characteristics and ecosystem dynamics in the temperate and boreal regions of the northern hemisphere.

Academic Master's Cluster*

Academic Master's Cluster (AMC) consists of 2 blocks (9 + 3 ECTS): one block is compulsory; the other is selected in consultation with your study adviser. Depending on your previous education and career orientation, you can choose from three options:

  1. Academic Consultancy Training and Modular Skills Training (MOS);
  2. Design of Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies and Modular Skills Training (MOS)
  3. Research Master's Cluster: Academic Research Proposal Writing

Thesis and Internship

You work on your thesis in the first half of year 2; in the second half you complete your internship. Within this specialisation you can choose from three chair groups to write your thesis: