Air Quality and Atmospheric Chemistry (MAQ)

The Meteorology and Air Quality department (MAQ) aims to contribute to the further understanding of atmospheric processes and their relevance for weather, air quality and climate. The natural focus of MAQ research is on atmospheric boundary layers over land and on the atmospheric aspects of the connected energy, water, carbon and aerosol budgets.

More about this thesis track

Research focus

Thesis research in the Meteorology and Air Quality group focuses on global and continental scale by studying the carbon balance, attribution, composition of aerosols and influence on the radiation balance, large eddy simulation of CO2 and H2O exchange with the surface, influence of turbulence on atmospheric chemistry, and use of satellite data to infer emission patterns. Local scale focuses are on dew formation, leaf wetness, temperatures in shallow pools related to malaria, use of eddy covariance and scintillometry to obtain fluxes of H2O and heat, modeling of dispersion and deposition of NO2, PM10, odorous compounds and NH3, and influence of vegetation along highways on pollutants from traffic.


Environmental scientists widely use observations of atmospheric composition and exchange fluxes between the land surface and the atmosphere, as well as numerical models to study dispersion, chemical conversion and deposition for practical purposes such as environmental policy, inventory of air quality, and scenario analysis. Scientifically, these same models are used to obtain more insight into processes like deposition, aerosol and ozone formation. Designing and improving such models is a key activity of the Meteorology and Air Quality group. This is not restricted to models for local predictions, but includes modeling dispersion up to global scales.


The education programme of the Meteorology and Air Quality group covers processes and models geared towards large scales (like weather systems, atmospheric dynamics and climate science) but also towards local scales (like atmosphere-vegetation-soil interactions, urban air quality models, and health effects of pollutants). Whether your career will take you to the large scales or the local scales, or even beyond atmospheric topics, the basic knowledge and practical skills you obtain in our courses are a solid base for your future career as environmental scientist.

Students can learn more about the education and research programme of the Meteorology and Air Quality (MAQ) group by visiting the website.


The following courses are part of the MSc programme Environmental Sciences when selecting the thesis track Air Quality and Atmospheric Chemistry. Besides these courses, for the common part of the programme several supporting courses are available which have to be taken if your study adviser deems it necessary (these are not listed in the table below, but summarized in the programme outline). Also, there is room for optional subjects which you may use to broaden your scope or to deepen your knowledge on a topic in your specialisation. For more information visit the study handbook or contact the study adviser.

The common part
Subject Code Period* Phase
Environmental Quality and Governance ENP-35806 2AF, 5AF M1
General Safety ** ZSS06000 M1
Fieldwork Safety ** ZSS06200 M1
Compulsory unless your study advisor advises otherwise:
Principles of Environmental Sciences ESA-20806 1AF, 4WD M1
Research Methodology in Environmental Science YRM-20306 1MO, 2MO M1
Restricted optional: select one out of these four options ***
Research Master Cluster: Proposal Writing YWU60312
European Workshop Environmental Sciences and Management ESA-60312 1WD, 6WD M1
Environmental Education and Learning for Sustainability and Teaching, Learning and Capacity Building for Sustainable Development ELS-31806+ ELS-32806 6WD M1
Academic Consultancy Training and Modular Skills Training (MOS) **** YMC-60809 1WD, 2WD, 3WD+4WD, 5WD,6WD M1
Minors (optional)
Environmental Education
Environmental Communication

Thesis track-related subjects
Subject Code Period Phase
Laboratory Safety ** ZSS06100 1 M1
Atmospheric Composition and Air Quality MAQ-34806 2AF M1
Meteorology and Climate MAQ-21806 3WD M1
MSc Internship Air Quality and Atmospheric Chemistry MAQ-71324 1,2,3,4,5,6 M2
MSc Thesis Air Quality and Atmospheric Chemistry MAQ-81336 1,2,3,4,5,6 M2
Compulsory unless advised otherwise
Chemical Processes in Soil, Water, Atmosphere SOC-22306 2MO M1
* MO = morning; AF= afternoon; WD = whole day
** e-learning
*** The restricted optional subjects have to be selected in consultation and agreement with the study adviser.
**** To get the list of the skills courses, go to Osiris Course Catalogue, select “courses’ in the green menu bar. On the left side (grey area) click “Modular Skills Training Course (MOS)” and check the box “Yes, this is a Modular Skills Training courses”
This course overview is based on the Wageningen University study handbook. The study handbook is guiding in case of any discrepancy.

Below you can see how your schedule might look like:

MSc Environmental Sciences - thesis track Air Quality and Atmospheric Chemistry.jpg