Soil, Water, Atmosphere (BSW) / BSc


Soil, Water, Atmosphere is a BSc programme in Earth Sciences and their applications. Its subject is the Earth and its significance to Man. The Wageningen programme traditionally puts more emphasis on the Earth's surface and the atmospheric boundary layer. It thus focuses on the structures and patterns found at the Earth's surface and on the physical, chemical and biological processes operating within and between the lithosphere, the hydrosphere, the atmosphere, and the biosphere. In addition, Soil, Water, Atmosphere deals with the impact of human activities on the Earth and on the problem how to manage and use the Earth in a sustainable way. The pursued approach is based on natural sciences and both process-oriented and spatially explicit.
The education offered in this programme aims to pass on the knowledge, insight, skills and academic attitude that enable its students to recognize, analyze and answer questions in the interrelated fields of soil, water and atmosphere. During the first two years of the programme, students acquire comprehensive knowledge of soil, water and atmosphere and thorough knowledge of mathematics, physics and chemistry. Attention is also given to biological aspects, spatial and temporal scaling problems and integration. Fieldwork, excursions, and other forms of practical instruction make up an important part of the programme. In the third year, students may choose from a number of advanced courses in the fields of soil, water and atmosphere. 30 Credits of optional courses make it possible to study a field of application in natural resource management, include a minor, or prepare for various master's degree programmes. The programme is concluded with an individual thesis.

Learning Outcomes

After successful completion of this BSc programme graduates are expected to be able to:
- explain the mechanisms underlying processes operating on the Earth, and the resulting structures and patterns at the Earth's surface;
- explain the position of the Earth Sciences in relation to other fields of science;
- classify the fields of activity of professional Earth scientists;
- apply the methods that are used to describe and interpret phenomena occurring at or near the Earth's surface: data collection, analysis, simulation and modelling;
- apply the measuring techniques that Earth scientists commonly use in the field and in the laboratory;
- use common software for data acquisition, storage, analysis and modeling;
- analyse a problem in the field of soil, water, atmosphere by applying elementary skills to define a research problem, to plan research, to collect relevant scientific literature, and to collect, process and interpret data and to put results in a wider context;
- execute projects effectively, both individually and as a member of a multidisciplinary team member;
- explain scientific research, both orally and in writing;
- assess problems and research by taking and defending a position and showing readiness to shift ground if necessary;
- demonstrate a socially responsible attitude towards the environment and sustainable use of natural resources.

Programme Director

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

Study Adviser(s)

Ir A.M. Leemans
Phone: 0317-(4)82171

Programme Committee

Chair: Dr E. Hoffland
Secretary: Ir Th.M. Lexmond


Study Association


Unconditional Admission to the MSc

MCL Climate Studies
MDR Development and Rural Innovation
MGI Geo-information Science
MHW Hydrology and Water Quality
MMA Meteorology and Air Quality
MSS Soil Science