HWM-80812 BSc Thesis Soil, Water, Atmosphere


Credits 12.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Practical extensively supervised34
Course coordinator(s)dr. ir. HAJ van Lanen
Lecturer(s)ir. JH Postema
drs. LFP Pijnenburg
dr. ir. HAJ van Lanen
dr. ir. AF Moene
dr. ir. JJ Stoorvogel
Examiner(s)drs. LFP Pijnenburg
dr. ir. AF Moene
ir. JH Postema
dr. ir. JJ Stoorvogel
dr. ir. HAJ van Lanen

Language of instruction:

Dutch or English

Assumed knowledge on:

All compulsory BSc BBW courses


The BSc Thesis Soil, Water and Atmosphere comprises of three blocks: 1) introduction, 2) individual thesis, and 3) symposium.
In the introduction block (3 credits) students learn scientific reporting and applying literature research skills. The student compiles a thesis proposal that includes a first draft of the problem description, the research objectives, the research questions, the methodologies that will be applied and the planning. Although BBW topics often have a technical nature, the topic needs to be put into a societal context first. The proposal concludes with an administrative section that provides the detailed planning, supervisors, examiners and access to data and research tools. Additionally, the students follow the course ethics and the course scientific reporting.
The individual thesis offers students the opportunity to carry out an individual scientific research in the Soil, Water and Atmosphere domain for the first time. After finalizing a clear description of the problem, the objectives, research questions and the methodology (introduction block), the student analyzes data (e.g. time series, spatial data or other information sources). Data are taken from existing studies. Results are interpreted in the context of the research problem. Finally, results are discussed, conclusions are drawn and recommendations are given. A thesis in Dutch or English will be compiled that in addition to the introduction (see above) contains a short description of the data or other information and the methodology, incl. research tools. It should also include a clear presentation and interpretation of the results, incl. graphs and tables, discussion, conclusions and recommendations. The thesis concludes with an evaluation section (scientific, societal and ethical context).
At the concluding symposium the student presents the results of his/her study to other BBW students. The presentation is not only limited to the details of the own study, but the student also shows how his/her research fits in the wider context of ongoing or emerging research themes of the Soil, Water and Atmosphere domain (outcome evaluation). At the end of the presentation the student discusses his/her findings with other participants at the symposium. Additionally, the student plays an active role in the discussions on other research outcome presented at the symposium. The student tries to link the outcome of his/her study with the outcome of the other presentations. The total study load for the individual thesis and the symposium is 9 credits.

Learning outcomes:

At the end of the BSc Thesis Soil, Water and Atmosphere the student is able to:
- develop and to give a reasoned and responsible opinion on the scientific and social mandate of the Soil, Water and Atmosphere domain, incl. putting the own research outcome in a wider scientific and societal context;
- recall, to understand, to apply, to integrate and to evaluate knowledge and skills obtained in the Soil, Water and Atmosphere programme;
- do individual scientific research (incl. use of data or other information sources) in the Soil, Water and Atmosphere domain;
- do a focussed scientific literature research;
- prove that a clear and concise scientific report can be written;
- show that own study can clearly be presented at a student's symposium;
- reflect on the scientific and associated societal and ethical aspects of the own research;
- demonstrate a good scientific attitude;
- actively participate in a scientific discussion;
- carry out a short, but balanced research within the available time.


Take lectures on scientific reporting and ethics. Choose a research topic from the Soil, Water and Atmosphere domain and two supervisors. Carry out a focussed scientific literature research for the own topic. Apply instructions on how to write a scientific report. Discuss the first draft of the problem description, the research objectives, the research questions and the methodology. Make arrangements for the scientific supervision of the individual thesis. Carry out the individual research (e.g. data or information processing, analysis, interpretation, discussion, conclusions, recommendations and evaluation) and have regular meetings with the supervisors. Write a draft report, discuss it with the supervisors and finalize it. Analyze the societal and ethical aspects of his/her selected research topic and present and discuss the outcome in a brief section. Submit the thesis to the lecturers responsible for scientific writing and ethical aspects to receive feedback and the assessment. Prepare a presentation. Participate in the BSc Thesis Soil, Water and Atmosphere symposium (presentation and active role in the discussion). Arrange a meeting with the supervisors for marking the thesis and feedback.


The examination comprises of four parts:
- section in the thesis on the ethical aspects of the own research topic;
- scientific writing skills;
- thesis proposal - individual thesis (report and presentation);
- discussion at symposium.
Each of the four parts has to be passed.


- lecture notes on ethics;
- lecture notes on scientific writing.
All students need to obtain this literature. Clearly, the literature for the individual thesis is specific. The supervisors will provide some key literature as starting point.

Compulsory for: BSWSoil, Water, AtmosphereBSc2+3,5+6