Study programme - MSc Environmental Sciences

The MSc programme Environmental Sciences runs annually in two sessions, one beginning in September, and one in February. It comprises 120 ECTS credits and takes two academic years to complete. 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 on the length of the period. Learn more about the academic year of Wageningen University.

Year 1


The coursework consists of several compulsory core subjects or restricted optional subjects of the common part that are mandatory for your programme and your specialisation and thesis track. In addition, you will attend free choice subjects (electives) from any relevant MSc course offered at Wageningen University or another academic institution (subject to approval). Thus, in consultation with your study adviser, your programme can be truly tailor-made.

The common part

Subject Code
Environmental Quality and Governance ENP35806
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
Compulsory unless your study adviser indicates differently. This depends on your previous education and experience:*
Principles of Environmental Sciences ESA20806
Research Methodology in Environmental Science YRM20306
Restricted optional: select one out of these five options **
Research Master Cluster: Proposal Writing YWU60312
European Workshop Environmental Sciences and Management ESA60312
Academic Consultancy Training and Modular Skills Training (MOS) *** YMC60809
Int. Environmental Policy Consultancy **** ENP60312
Capacity Building for Sustainable Development ELS69312
Education and Communication track (optional)
Environmental Education
Environmental Communication

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 prevails in case of any discrepancy.

* Depending on your background, supporting courses might need to be taken if your study adviser deems it necessary. The courses can also support you in preparation of your thesis and focus, for example, on quantitative and data sciences or laboratory skills. You can find the exact list in the study handbook at the section “Restricted Optionals (2) in Common part” of your degree programme.

**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 menu bar of the Course catalogue. On the left side 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 Master Track Sustainable Development Diplomacy you are allowed (and should) take this course).

Specialisations and thesis tracks

You can specialise in the field of your interest by choosing one of the different thesis tracks. Each thesis track has its own coursework curriculum. The curriculum can also differ between students depending on their preparatory training. The thesis track-related courses primarily serve to prepare you for your thesis research and internship. A course overview per thesis track can be found on the thesis track-specific pages.

Specialisation A. Environmental Quality

Specialisation B. Environmental Policy and Economics

Specialisation C. Environmental Technology

Specialisation D. Human-Environmental Systems

Go to Specialisations and thesis tracks

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 of your specialisation. Have a look at the study handbook and you will get an impression of 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 in your programme:

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

Go to Career preparation

Year 2


The thesis (individual research) is part of your thesis track and consists of 24 weeks of research and reporting (36 ECTS). The research is conducted under supervision of a staff member of one of the chair groups that are related to the programme. Students decide in consultation with the thesis supervisor about the topic of their research. Usually this topic originates from subjects put forward by the chair group, by other institutes, or from the student's own research interests. The topic should be linked to the Environmental Sciences programme. Experimental thesis research requiring specialised equipment will usually be part of ongoing 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 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.

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. The internship may either be undertaken abroad or in the Netherlands. To receive credits for an internship, students must receive a satisfactory evaluation from both their internship (host) supervisor and supervisor within the MSc Environmental Sciences programme.

Internship exemptions

Depending on prior work experience, it may be possible for students to be exempted from the academic internship (24 ECTS credits). Such an exemption can only be granted on the basis of relevant work experience gained after obtaining the BSc degree. If you would like to be exempted from the internship, you must indicate this on the application form. You must also provide a description of the duration and nature of your work experience following graduation.