Earth and Environment (MEE) / MSc


The MSc programme Earth and Environment focuses on Planet Earth and its liveability. Using tools from physics, chemistry, biology and mathematics, a quantitative understanding is built of the composition, structures and processes of the earth and its atmosphere, as well as its resources and the influence of human activity.
The growing recognition in science and society of the complex dependencies and relationships existing within the earth system asks for incorporating disciplines like hydrology, atmosphere and soil science including quality and ecological aspects of these disciplines. The focus of the programme is on the earth's 'Critical Zone' -including the atmospheric boundary layer- where flows of energy and matter determine the conditions for sustaining life. Students will learn to consider the earth as a coherent system with intense and significant interactions between its compartments. They will develop advanced modelling skills with due attention to methods for up- and down-scaling and scenario analysis. They will learn to think in ranges of temporal and spatial scales.
Students of the programme will specialise by selecting a major thesis subject, its preparatory courses and several elective courses. They have the opportunity to focus their study on the atmosphere, on the soil or on surface water, but they have also options in each of the fields of geophysics, environmental chemistry and systems ecology.
The combination of profound disciplinary training with an earth system's approach prepares graduates for dealing with the scientific and societal questions of the future. Selecting specific internships and academic projects give graduates the possibility to continue their academic training as a PhD student, or to start a career as a scientific professional at universities, research institutes, and consultancies. Depending on their specialisation, graduates may take up positions as meteorologist, hydrologist, water quality scientist or soil scientist in the public or private sector.

Learning Outcomes

After successful completion of this MSc programme graduates are expected to be able to:
- demonstrate state-of-art knowledge and understanding of the features, functions and processes characterising the earth system, its constituent spheres, and the interactions among the spheres;
- demonstrate understanding of the cycling of matter and the flows of energy into, within and between the pedosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere;
- convert knowledge and understanding of complex physical, chemical and biological processes into useful modelling concepts and apply these to real-world situations;
- forecast the further progress of Earth processes, inclusive of the interferences therein by humankind, and its implications for sound and sustainable use and management of the Earth;
- interpret academic literature, recognise different ways of reasoning and can demonstrate a critical and constructive attitude with regard to the analysis of complex problems in their field of specialisation, and creative and innovative approaches to the solution of these problems;
- independently formulate and execute research in accordance with academic standards within their field of specialisation, thus contributing to the development of the body of knowledge in this field;
- link theory, observations, experiments, and modelling across different time and space scales;
- communicate clearly -both orally and in writing- the outcomes of their research and discuss these results with specialists and non-specialists;
- function effectively in multidisciplinary teams and contribute from their expertise towards multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary issues;
- show awareness of the need to keep in touch with relevant developments within their discipline and are able to recognise, understand and apply new concepts as they emerge;
- demonstrate understanding of the moral and ethical dimensions of scientific research and its applications, and the importance of intellectual integrity;
- critically reflect on their performance and results, as well as on those of colleagues.

Programme Director

Dr G.F. Epema
Phone: 0317-(4)80063

Study Adviser(s)

- Ir A.M. Leemans
Phone: 0317-(4)82171
- Dr ir K. Metselaar
Phone: 0317-(4)85322

Programme Committee

Chair: Dr ir A.F. Moene
Secretary: M.T. Jaartsveld


Study Association