Study Programme - MSc Climate Studies

The MSc programme Climate Studies runs annually beginning from September. It comprises 120 ECTS credits and runs for two academic years. The first year consists of coursework (60 ECTS), the second year consists of the academic internship (24 ECTS) and your thesis (36 ECTS) as the core components of the master’s degree curriculum. Each of these elements is described in more detail below.

Academic year

Wageningen University has six teaching periods per year. Usually you follow one or two courses per period, depending the length of the period. Learn more about the academic year of Wageningen University.

Course selection

As a student you will gain a broad overview of climate change related issues by following compulsory courses, a selection of restricted optional courses and courses that you may choose freely (electives). Some of the compulsory and restricted optional subjects are specific for this programme and others are part of the specialisation of your choice. The electives can be taken from any other relevant MSc programme offered by Wageningen University or by another academic institution. This means that you can adjust your personal programme to your own wishes, and either choose a further specialisation or a broadening of your programme. Your study adviser and thesis supervisor will assist you in this process.

The common part

In the table below you will find the compulsory and restricted optional courses which belong to the common part of the MSc programme Climate Studies.

Subject Code
Climate Change Studies Topics and Approaches WSG20306
Internship (24 ECTS; to be selected from the 11 chairs)
Two e-learning Safety Instructions are compulsory in order to work safely at Wageningen University and in the field (0 ECTS):
General Safety ZSS06000
Fieldwork Safety ZSS06200
Restricted optional: select one out of these two options *
Principles of Climate Change Economics and Policy ENR22806
Principles of Earth and Ecosystem Science SOC23306
Restricted optional: select one *
Academic Consultancy Training and Modular Skills Training (MOS) ** YMC60809
Design of Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies WSG60812
Int. Environmental Policy Consultancy *** ENP60312
Restricted optional: These optional courses focus on various research methodologies and data sciences and can support you in preparation of your thesis:
Data Science Concepts INF34306
Data Science for Smart Environments GRS35306
Advanced Statistics MAT20306
Interviews and Questionnaires YRM31306

This course overview is based on the Wageningen University study handbook, where you can find a more detailed course and programme description. The study handbook is guiding in case of any discrepancy.

*The restricted optional subjects have to be selected in consultation and agreement with the study adviser.

**To get the list of the skills courses, select “courses” in the green menu bar of the study handbook. On the left side (gey area) click “Modular Skills Training Course (MOS)” and check the box “Yes, this is a Modular Skills Training course”.

***Only if you are admitted to the thesis track Sustainable Development Diplomacy you are allowed (and should) take this course.

Specialisations and thesis tracks

Within the MSc programme Climate Studies, you can choose from five specialisations, and within each specialisation different thesis tracks have been identified. Each specialisation has its own coursework curriculum. The curriculum can also differ between students depending on their preparatory training. These courses primarily serve to prepare you for your thesis research. Go to specialisations.

Free choice

In the programme there is also room for electives which you may use to broaden your scope or to deepen your knowledge on a topic within your specialisation. Have a look at the study handbook and you will get an impression on the courses offered at Wageningen University.

Career-oriented tracks

In addition to the wide choice of scientific disciplines, you can choose to include one of the following career-oriented tracks or minors in your programme:

  • Entrepreneurship
  • Sustainable Development Diplomacy (only thesis track Environmental Policy)
  • Research

Go to Career preparation


The thesis (individual research) is part of your thesis track and consists of 24 weeks of research and reporting (36 ECTS). Required courses to prepare for the thesis are mentioned in the course catalogue. The research is conducted under supervision of a staff member of one of the chair groups related to this MSc programme. Cooperative work with other chair groups is also possible. Students decide in consultation with the thesis supervisor about the topic of their research. The topic should be linked to the Climate Studies programme. Experimental thesis research requiring specialised equipment will usually be part of on-going research programmes of Wageningen UR departments or research institutes. The research is concluded with a written thesis, which is graded by the supervisor together with another, independent staff member. The student also presents his/her results during a seminar ("colloquium").


The compulsory internship consists of 24 ECTS credits of project work in an institution outside of Wageningen University. The internship may either be undertaken abroad or in the Netherlands. The purpose of the internship is to provide students with a unique learning opportunity to apply learned skills and concepts to a professional setting. The experience gained from the internship also serves to help students focusing on their area of interest, as well as building confidence and maturity in their field. You can select an internship from one out of the eleven tracks of Climate Studies.

Internship positions

Whilst securing an internship is primarily a responsibility of the student, the internship coordinator will provide substantial assistance in finding a suitable position, ensuring that the work experience is relevant to the student's study programme. To receive credits for an internship, students must receive a satisfactory evaluation from both their internship (host) supervisor and supervisor within the MSc Climate Studies programme.

Internship replacement

Students with (supervised) work experience on an academic level may exchange the internship for a research practice with another chair group than the one where the thesis is done. Approval by the study adviser is required.