Air Quality and Atmospheric Chemistry

The Air Quality and Atmospheric Chemistry (MAQ) research programme focuses on understanding physical and chemical processes in the Atmospheric Boundary Layer. Particular attention is paid to measuring and simulating the exchange with the land-surface, and the resulting composition of the atmosphere that humans live in. Greater understanding of the processes is needed for better prediction of air-quality, greenhouse gas levels, droughts, and heat stress in cities, and is thus of great importance to society.

More about this thesis track

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.

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


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.


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
Compulsory unless advised otherwise
Environmental Quality and Governance ENP-35806 2AF, 5AF M1
Principles of Environmental Sciences ESA-20806 1AF, 4WD M1
Research Methods in Environmental Science YRM-20306 1MO, 2MO M1
Restricted optional: select one out of these three options**
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 ECS-31806+ ECS-32806 6WD M1
Academic Consultancy Training and Modular Skills Training (MOS) YMC-60809+ YMC-60300 1WD, 2WD, 3WD+4WD, 5WD,6WD M1
Thesis track-related subjects
Subject Code Period Phase
Compulsory unless advised otherwise
Atmospheric Composition and Air Quality MAQ-34806 2AF M1
Meteorology and Climate MAQ-21806 3WD M1
Chemical Processes in Soil, Water, Atmosphere SOQ-22306 2MO 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
*MO = morning; AF= afternoon; WD = whole day
**The restricted optional subjects have to be selected in consultation and agreement with the study adviser.
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