Environmental Sciences (BES) / BSc


The Environmental Sciences BSc programme covers environmental and sustainability issues, i.e. problems caused by the interaction of human systems and Earth systems. Environmental sciences are applied in the detection and analysis of (potential) problems, and in the design, development and evaluation of solutions for these problems. Environmental and sustainability issues have social causes and consequences that are linked through physical, chemical, and biological processes that operate on planet Earth. Their scientific study therefore requires knowledge and understanding of the terminology, principles, and methods of both natural and social sciences. The Environmental Sciences BSc programme has its basis in the natural sciences, but it is multidisciplinary by nature and pays due attention to the interrelationships among the sciences. It aims at developing in its students an interdisciplinary attitude that is conducive to an integrated approach of environmental and sustainability issues.
The programme offers a choice between three majors:
- Environmental Policy and Economics, focusing on the social causes of environmental and sustainability issues, and on socio-political arrangements and economic instruments for prevention and control;
- Environmental Quality and Systems Analysis, focusing - within a systems approach framework - on the processes in and between the environmental compartments soil, water, and air that determine the fate of contaminants and their effects on organisms and ecosystems;
- Environmental Technology, focusing on the application of biological, physical, and chemical processes in techniques aimed at improving environmental quality, preventing or controlling emissions, and recovery of valuable resources for reuse. The three majors and electives in the third year enable students to compile an individual programme that closely matches their personal interests.

Learning Outcomes

After successful completion of this BSc programme, graduates are expected to be able to:
- define Earth systems and the physical, chemical and biological processes that are involved in environmental pollution and degradation;
- apply systems analysis methods and tools to analyse and understand human interactions with the environment;
- show how natural physical, chemical and biological processes can be utilized to mitigate or eliminate the effects of human activities on the environment;
- explain the sociological, administrative, legal and economic aspects of the interactions between people and their physical environment;
- position the environmental sciences in relation to other fields of science, and justify the reasons for their existence;
- characterise the fields of activity of professional environmental scientists;
- approach environmental and sustainability issues in an interdisciplinary way and deal with complexity and changes over scales of time and space;
- analyse environmental and sustainability issues under supervision by defining a research problem, planning research, searching and reviewing relevant scientific literature, collecting, processing and interpreting data, and putting the results in a wider context;
- communicate their findings in a clear and concise manner, both in writing and orally, to a scientific audience;
- develop arguments from various points of view, including philosophical and ethical perspectives, take and defend a position, and show readiness to shift ground if necessary;
- translate scientific knowledge into policy or technological recommendations with a view to solving environmental and sustainability issues;
- function effectively in multidisciplinary teams dealing with research, policy development or management of environmental issues even in a tight time frame and an international setting;
- reflect upon personal competence and design and plan their own learning path.

Graduates of the major Environmental Policy and Economics are expected to be able to:
- analyse and evaluate policy developments (including economic, social and legal aspects) regarding environmental and sustainability issues;
- summarise academic literature and formulate theoretically informed opinions on latest policy developments;
- integrate knowledge and analysis in a document that presents optional policy approaches in a clear and concise manner.

Graduates of the major Environmental Quality and Systems Analysis are expected to be able to:
- systematically assess environmental and sustainability issues and summarise academic literature on these issues;
- integrate the information gained in a document presenting causes and effects of environmental and sustainability issues;
- identify and evaluate optional responses in a clear and concise manner.

Graduates of the major Environmental Technology are expected to be able to:
- evaluate the usefulness of academic findings from basic scientific fields - like microbiology, chemistry and physics - for technology development;
- design technological solutions for environmental and sustainability issues;
- test these solutions to technological, economic, and social preconditions.


- Environmental Policy and Economics;
- Environmental Quality and Systems Analysis;
- Environmental Technology.

Programme Director

Ir Th.M. Lexmond
Phone: 0317-(4)83304
Email: theo.lexmond@wur.nl

Study Adviser(s)

- Dr J. van Leeuwen (BSc1, BSc2 and BSc3 students)
Phone: 0317-(4)82984
Email: judith.vanleeuwen@wur.nl
- Drs M.J. Lexmond (BSc2 and BSc3 students)
Phone: 0317-(4)82023
Email: marjo.lexmond@wur.nl

Programme Committee

Chair: Prof. dr ir H.H.M. Rijnaarts
Secretary: Ir Th.M. Lexmond



Study Association

Aktief Slip
Forum Building, room 112
Droevendaalsesteeg 2
6708 PB Wageningen
Email: aktief.slip@wur.nl
Website: http://www.aktiefslip.nl/

Unconditional Admission to the MSc

MAM Aquaculture and Marine Resource Management
MCL Climate Studies
MDR Development and Rural Innovation
MES Environmental Sciences
MUE Urban Environmental Management