Study programme - BSc Soil, Water, Atmosphere

The bachelor's programme (BSc) in Soil, Water, Atmosphere is a three-year programme. It includes a variety of teaching methods, ranging from a mixture of lectures/tutorials, practicums and computer-based learning, to field work both in the Netherlands and abroad. The programme therefore provides practical, applied and fundamental (theoretical) knowledge.

Outline of the programme

Year 1

Most of the first year serves as a general introduction to the fields of Soil, Water and Atmosphere. These subjects present the initial theory in the field, demonstrate the interconnectedness between a wide range of processes deep below, within and far above the Earth’s surface, and let you ‘get your hands dirty’ during excursions and field-based/laboratory practicums. A large part of the first year is also devoted to the ‘support subjects’ (such as mathematics, physics and chemistry), which provide the background necessary for the subsequent years of study. The courses coloured in blue are compulsory courses and the green coloured courses are restricted optionals.

Outline of year 1

Year 2

Most of the second year is made up of subjects that broaden and/or deepen your knowledge within the domain. Topics include the relationship between landscape morphology and the quality/ quantity of water; the role and processes of greenhouse gases and other gases in soil, water and the atmosphere; and the atmospheric dynamics of weather, climate and the Earth system. Additional subjects teach the use of simulation models and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). The second year concludes with fieldwork, as an opportunity to put new knowledge to the test in day-to-day practice. Day trips to other areas of the Netherlands are included in various courses. The courses coloured in blue are compulsory courses and the green coloured courses are restricted optionals.

Outline of year 2

Year 3

Third-year students can choose whether to generalise or specialise (i.e., via breadth or depth subjects). For example, would you rather learn about all three domains (soil, water and atmosphere), or would you prefer to concentrate on a single domain? Are your favourite subjects chemical or biological in nature, or do you feel more attracted to physics and mathematics? How about using your electives for something completely different (such as a minor from a different field), or to spend some time studying abroad? The choice is yours! The free choice courses also allow for the possibility of a minor, which is chosen in consultation with a student advisor. Take a look at the overview of all minors available at Wageningen University & Research.

The third year concludes with a small individual research project, often in one of the three main domains (Soil, Water or Atmosphere). That means plenty of options for choosing just the right final project for you and your BSc! The Bachelor’s programme also prepares students to move on to a related Master’s programme. The courses coloured in blue are compulsory courses and the green coloured courses are restricted optionals.

Have a look at the study handbook

Outline of year 3

Data science courses

Research requires an increasing set of skills and knowledge in the field of big data and data science. You can learn these skills in our data science courses.

Learn more about data science education

List of new data science courses for this programme

Teaching Methods

The Bachelor's programme in Soil, Water, Atmosphere takes three years. The teaching methods in this programme are varied and range from lectures, practicals and computer-based learning to fieldwork at home and abroad. You will acquire practical, applicable and fundamental knowledge.


Studying abroad

The programme encourages you to broaden your horizon, also abroad. In the third year you can chose your elective subjects at a university outside the Netherlands. We maintain ties with various partner universities, which enables you to take courses on subjects in the broad field of Soil Water Atmosphere.

Going on exchange serves multiple purposes. On the one hand it enables you to take interesting courses that are complementary to our Wageningen programme. At the same time it strengthens your international mindset and attitude by immersing you in a new environment. You get to know new people and cultures, and - in that encounter - yourself. Countries that are currently participating in such exchange programmes include for example Norway, Austria, Sweden, and the United States. To get a flavour of what to expect when you go on exchange, read the story of Leandre here.

The option to study abroad is subject to exchange agreements between partner universities and admission requirements set by these universities. To be eligible for a BSc exchange minor, students must therefore satisfy some prerequisites.

More information on exchanges in general and Wageningen’s partner universities is available from the Wageningen Exchange Office website.