Earth and Climate System Science

Study mode:On campus Study type:Full-time Languages: English
Deadline: May 15, 2024
StudyQA ranking:5769 Duration:2 years

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In an era of climate change, an understanding of the Earth system is of fundamental importance. Its components interact in a complex way.

Processes in the Earth's environment occur within a complex framework. Population growth, climate change, land use as well as food production and food security all play a vital part. The programme in Earth and Climate System Science is both interdisciplinary and research-oriented. Aspects of natural sciences are linked to topics in the agricultural and economic sciences. Students acquire an understanding of the key processes in the Earth system, including human activities. They are able to assess the Earth system's current status through analysis of various indicators. Graduates are able to simulate Earth system components (e.g., the regional climate) particularly over the land surface with a focus on land use and land management as well as on agricultural activities. This fundamental knowledge is essential for end users and decision-makers in an era of climate change. The Master's programme in Earth and Climate System Science was conceived at the University of Hohenheim in order to accommodate such wide-ranging and complex demands. It is the only one of its kind in Germany. The study programme is coordinated and coupled with ongoing international programmes in the field of weather, climate and Earth system research.

Graduates educated in these areas will become experts in developing concepts of sustainability aimed at protecting the Earth's environment, for steering its development and for providing guidance to the general public, end users and decision-makers. The University of Hohenheim has an excellent long-term record in this area of education and research.

Educational organisation

In the course of their studies, students complete 17 modules and a Master's thesis. Acquisition of theoretical knowledge is combined with practical exercises including field measurements. Eleven compulsory modules are dedicated to acquiring basic skills in and fundamental knowledge of Earth system science. For instance, in these modules, students study feedback mechanisms over the land surface by operating and analysing soil-vegetation-atmosphere models as well as agricultural and economic models.

Particularly innovative components of the programme are:

  • The debate seminar in the second semester
  • Training in data assimilation as a key technology in weather forecasting, climate simulations and re-analyses of regional climate
  • Operation and analyses of regional climate models
  • Application of remote sensing for Earth system observations
  • The synthesis of aspects of natural science with economic models

Students have the opportunity to deepen their knowledge in various fields of research within six specialisation modules which take place in the second and third semesters.

For a short description of all modules, see:

Study abroad unit(s)

Obligatory: none
Welcomed: several


Not obligatory

Forms of assessment

Mostly written

Course objectives

Graduates are able to make their own contributions to Earth system analyses and research as well as to ecologically sustainable developments in society. They stand out through their interdisciplinary thinking and flexibility when it comes to applying scientific methodologies in their project work. They are capable of objectively assessing their own methods and results and of presenting them factually and clearly.

Perspective career areas include the following:
  • Research activities in the field of Earth system science (meteorology, environmental physics, geoscience, etc.)
  • Consultancy in the public service, private business sector, and non-governmental organisations
  • Occupations in international and bilateral organisations working in the field of development assistance
  • Scientific writing

Language requirements

English language proficiency can be proven by presenting one of the following accepted certificates:
a) internet-based TOEFL test with a minimum of 90 points
b) IELTS certificate with a minimum of 6.5 points
c) UNIcert II certificate with a minimum grade of "good"

Applicants are exempted from producing proof of language proficiency if they
a) declare English to be their mother tongue and are citizens of one of the following countries: United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United States of America, Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Belize, Guyana
b) have completed their Bachelor's studies with English as the language of instruction at a university in the European Union
c) have visited a bilingual school at which one language of instruction was English
d) haven taken English as a school subject during the Oberstufe (final years) at a German Gymnasium (secondary school) with a minimum grade point average of "befriedigend" ("satisfactory", eight grade points) at the end of the Oberstufe

Academic requirements

Please find information on the application procedure at:

The selection committee evaluates applicants on the basis of the documents submitted and awards credits for potential and chances of success with regard to the study programme. Documented proof of the following information is taken into account for the assessment:

  • Applicants are required to have successfully completed a Bachelor's programme (or equivalent) with a profile in natural sciences, geosciences or agricultural sciences.
  • Degrees in agricultural biology, biology, and biobased products and bioenergy offered as Bachelor's programmes at the University of Hohenheim are accepted. The selection committee may accept further study programmes in the fields of natural sciences and engineering as related and amend the list accordingly.
  • Relevant vocational training with a background in mathematics, the natural sciences, or technology, such as laboratory technician or technical assistant (each with a profile in the natural or geosciences) is credited.
  • The following is also credited: vocational training in programming languages; documented internships with a minimum duration of four weeks in computer simulation technology or as a research assistant in natural or geoscientific field experiments; documented attendance at summer schools based on mathematics, the natural sciences or geosciences lasting a minimum of two weeks
  • Subject-specific coursework is recognised if it is documented with a minimum of 5 ECTS credits in the subjects mathematics, physics or chemistry.

The selection committee's evaluation scheme is based on the documents submitted.

The assessment of the individual criteria is done according to set guidelines which will be described in the following. For each criterion, a set number of points will be given. A maximum of 50 points may be achieved.

On the basis of the total points achieved by each eligible applicant, a ranking list is created which is the basis for admissions. The ranking list is based on:

60% Overall grade of the undergraduate degree or the average grade of exams already taken
20% Subject-specific academic achievements
20% Completed professional training, work experience, attendance of summer schools

Enrolment fees

There is no application fee; application is free of charge.
Later, when you enrol, there is an administrative fee of approx. 160 EUR for each semester, which includes a public transportation ticket for six months. For more information, please see:

Costs of living

For more information about living expenses, see:

You should calculate at least EUR 660 per month for housing, food, health insurance, books, excursion fees, etc.

Job opportunities

Students from non-EU countries are allowed to work 120 full days or 240 half days per year. Working as an academic assistant at the university or for a research institute is considered to be supportive of studies. Therefore international students are allowed to perform work of this nature for more than 120 full days or 240 half days.
For more information, please see:
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