Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management

We aim to generate novel insights that can help preserving and restoring marine and freshwater ecosystem services. We take a systems approach linking physical, chemical and biological processes across scales.

More about this thesis track

Research focus

The research is multidisciplinary (environmental engineering, environmental chemistry and aquatic ecology) and ranges from the laboratory scale (detailed process studies) to the scale of actual ecosystems (field studies). The multidisciplinary expertise of the team comes together in the development of integrated models for ecosystem and water quality management. The research approach thus is quantitative with a strong emphasis on state-of-the-art statistical and modelling techniques.

Three main areas of research are identified: 

  1. The effects of biota on the transport and fate of micropollutants and nutrients

  2. The effects of substances on the functioning and biodiversity of natural aquatic communities

  3. The feedbacks between physical dynamics (flow conditions, turbulence) and biota in aquatic systems

Students can learn more about the education and research programme of the Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management group by visiting their website.


The following courses are part of the MSc programme Environmental Sciences when selecting the thesis track Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management. 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 ELS-31806+ ELS-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
Chemical Processes in Soil, Water, Atmosphere SOC-22306 2MO M1
MSc Internship Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management AEW-70424 1,2,3,4,5,6 M1/2
MSc Thesis Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management AEW-80436 1,2,3,4,5,6 M2
Restricted optional: select (at least) two
Water Quality AEW-31306 4WD M1
Chemical Stress Ecology and Ecotoxicology AEW-30806 5AF M1
Practical Aquatic Ecology and water Quality AEW-20706 6WD M1
*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 - Aquatic Ecology and Water Aquality Management.jpg