The MSc programme Environmental Sciences has been designed for students who want to take up the challenge of finding innovative approaches to improve the state of the environment and sustainable solutions to the threats it faces. The programme provides insight into the socio-economic causes, the characteristics, and the impact of pollution and degradation of the natural environment. Students learn how to integrate knowledge and skills in dealing with complex environmental issues that are characterized by uncertainties, diverging social interests, and by conflicting views on their nature and the best ways to solve them. By taking an interdisciplinary approach, they learn to develop analytical tools and models, environmental technologies, socio-political arrangements, and economic instruments to control and prevent these issues.
The programme provides its students with an opportunity of advanced academic training, emphasising the development of a critical attitude and analytical and problem-solving skills, and of gaining more in-depth knowledge of a comprehensive range of environmental disciplines. Its target groups are recently qualified BSc graduates with basic academic training as well as mid-career environmental professionals. The classroom is truly international; due attention is given to the development of intercultural communication skills. The programme is thesis-oriented with an individual research project as its core. Compulsory elements are kept at a minimum, thus enabling the programme to be tailored to the wishes and needs of the individual student. Ten different disciplines offer the possibility of major thesis research within this programme. They relate to the fields of:
- systems analysis (environmental systems analysis, and water systems and global change);
- environmental quality (air quality and atmospheric chemistry, aquatic ecology and water quality, soil biology and biological soil quality, soil chemistry and chemical soil quality, and environmental toxicology);
- environmental policy and economics (environmental policy, and environmental economics and natural resources);
- environmental technology.
In addition, students have the opportunity of acquiring knowledge of, and experience in, environmental education or environmental communication and innovation (minors).
Experimental thesis research will usually be part of on-going research programmes of WUR departments or research institutes. Otherwise, thesis topics are the initiative of the student or the result of discussions between the student and potential supervisors. In addition to the choice between scientific disciplines, students can opt for one of the career-oriented tracks, including consultancy, education, entrepreneurship, international relations, and research.
After successful completion of this MSc programme graduates are expected to be able to:
- draw up an integrated analysis of perceived or potential environmental and sustainability issues, based on insight in the environmental causality chain, linking driving forces in society, pressure on the environment, changes in environmental quality, effects on nature and public health, and societal response;
- take multiple perspectives and pursue interdisciplinary approaches to environmental problem solving and sustainable resource management;
- interact with stakeholders of different cultural backgrounds or nationalities and with specialists from other disciplines so as to arrive at a common identification, analysis, and solution strategy of the issues involved;
- define the scientific issues ensuing from an integrated analysis, taking account of relevant spatial scales (from local to global) and adopting a long-term perspective;
- independently design and execute environmental research in accordance with academic standards, thus contributing to the development of the body of knowledge in the field, or to the development of creative and innovative solutions to environmental and sustainability issues;
- design strategies to deal with environmental and sustainability issues in the practice of policy development and management;
- act as a consultant, advising (non-)governmental organisations and commercial corporations on how best to improve current and future activities with regard to the environment.
In order to perform these tasks, graduates from this programme are able to:
- clearly present, both orally and in writing, research proposals and results, as well as plans for measures and interventions, taking into account the nature of the target group;
- formulate and manage projects in the fields of research, consultancy or management;
- support working parties and committees, negotiate, and act as a mediator, effectively and appropriately dealing with cultural diversity;
- reflect on the ethical aspects of their research and plans for measures and interventions;
- design and plan their own learning processes by virtue of continuous reflection on personal knowledge, skills, attitudes and performance.
Graduates are well equipped to continue academic training (PhD) or to start - or continue - a professional career requiring independent scientific performance.
Drs. M.J. Lexmond
- Ir. S.J.M. van Bavel
- Drs. M.J. Lexmond
- S. Tuju, MSc
- Ir. L. Bregman
Chair: Dr. ir. K.P.J. Fortuin
Secretary: S. Tuju, MSc
Forum Building, room 112
6708 PB Wageningen