Earth Sciences: Geo-ecological Dynamics

Study mode:On campus Study type:Full-time Languages: English
Local:$ 2.29k / Academic year(s) Foreign:$ 14.4k / Academic year(s)  
StudyQA ranking:850 Duration:12 months

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Global change, the increasing demand for scarce resources, the degradation and pollution of soil and water, means we need skilled professionals now more than ever who understand the earth as a complex system. The Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED) of the University of Amsterdam meets this demand by offering a challenging Master in Earth Sciences.

Earth Sciences focus on the interactions between the earth, the atmosphere, surface waters and biological systems. It also studies how these are affected by human activities. Students learn to develop, use and access new knowledge by laboratory experiments, field inventories, data analyses with GIS or dynamic computer models. They gain insight into the earth's function and learn how to apply this knowledge for the benefit of society.

Graduates of the Research Master's programme in Earth Sciences are trained professionals with excellent international career opportunities within or outside the sphere of Earth Sciences. For example, some UvA Earth Sciences alumni work at:

  • consultancy and research firms (e.g. Royal Haskoning)
  • government agencies (e.g. the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment)
  • international environmental agencies (e.g. IUCN)
  • multinational corporations (e.g. Shell)
  • educational organisations (e.g. high schools)

Graduates seeking a research career within academia are eligible to pursue a PhD.

The Master's programme Earth Sciences comprises two tracks:

  • Geo-ecological Dynamics
  • Environmental Management

Both have some joint compulsory courses: Vulnerability Assessment of Ecosystems, which includes field work on Tenerife. There is also the Quantification of Environmental Processes, with an emphasis on measuring and modelling processes in soil and water.

In addition, both tracks feature monthly research workshops, a research proposal and the Master research itself. The other elective courses and topics of the master research project are strongly related to the research carried out by the different chairs involved in the programme:

  • Earth Surface Processes and Materials
  • Paleo Ecology and Landscape Ecology
  • Computational GeoEcology


Geo-Ecological Dynamics (GED)This track deepens the student's knowledge of the different processes which play an important role in the functioning of geo-ecological systems. Students deal with complex relationships between biogeochemical and geomorphological processes in terrestrial and adjacent aquatic ecosystems, and the influences of climate change and direct human impact. These relationships will be studied at different scales: from a molecular to a global level. Students focus on measurement techniques, combining laboratory experiments with field inventories and monitoring programmes. They can also focus on computer modelling with GIS, remote sensing, spatial statistics or computer simulation models.

Environmental Management (EM)This Master's track is aimed at combining geo-ecological knowledge with interdisciplinary skills, resulting in a professional and more applied earth scientist able to tackle environmental problems working in a team with other specialists.

The curriculum combines one year of Earth Science courses and one specialised year concentrating on management aspects in Earth Science, interdisciplinary skills and an internship in a company or (non) governmental organisation. Graduates of this track are well equipped to develop a successful career as an applied earth scientist. Such specialists are highly demanded to tackle the challenges of climate change and to translate scientific process knowledge into management strategies in order to lessen the effects for society.

Professional specialization within the Masters programme

In general, Masters students are trained to become independent researchers. But at the UvA Faculty of Science you can also choose to complete your Masters programme with a professional specialization, that focuses on other skills than doing research. In that case you will follow the programme of your chosen scientific discipline during the first year of your Masters, and the programme of the specialization during the second year.

You will graduate as a Master of Science.

There are three professional specializations available:

  • Science Communication
  • Teaching
  • Management, Policy Analysis & Entrepreneurship.

A note to readers who dont speak Dutch: Only the specialization Management, Policy Analysis & Entrepreneurship is described in English, because the other two specializations are only taught in Dutch.

Degree requirements

A Master of Science degree in Earth Sciences is awarded upon successful completion of all the core courses in the curriculum and a written Master's thesis based on an independent research project. This translates into a total of 120 ECTS credits.

Specific entry requirementsApplicants must hold a Dutch Bachelor of Science degree or its equivalent in Earth Science, Biology or Computer Science.General entry requirementsThe following information is intended for students with foreign academic qualifications only. For information about application and admissions procedures for students who hold Dutch degrees, follow the link below.Applicants must also fulfil the general entry requirements set by the Faculty of Science regarding academic background, academic average and proficiency in English.English language requirementsAll our international programmes are conducted in English. Non-native English speakers need to submit proof of their proficiency in the English language before enrolling in one of these programmes.Please note we only accept the TOEFL Test, the test of the International English Language Testing Service (IELTS) or a Cambridge Examination Score. The test result should be received by the International Office of the Faculty of Science before May 1st of the year of application.The minimum scores required on the TOEFL Test are:Computer-based test (CBT): 235Please note the TOEFL-code for the Faculty of Science of the Universiteit van Amsterdam is: 8628.A Cambridge Examination Score with a minimum test result of CAE A or B will also be accepted. For the CPE test a minimal score of B is required.Chinese applicants are required to take an IELTS test or the TOEFL (Internet-based test only). These are the only two tests accepted by the NESO, which provides certificates to all Chinese students who wish to study in the Netherlands.Please note there are some differences between the TOEFL and IELTS test. Available practice material, test dates, prices and locations differ per country. English Language Requirements IELTS band: 6.5 CAE score: (read more) Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) is part of the Cambridge English suite and is targeted at a high level (IETLS 6.5-8.0). It is an international English language exam set at the right level for academic and professional success. Developed by Cambridge English Language Assessment - part of the University of Cambridge - it helps you stand out from the crowd as a high achiever. 80 (Grade A) TOEFL paper-based test score : 580 TOEFL iBT® test: 90

Huygens scholarship

The Dutch government has allocated a vast amount for excellent students coming to the Netherlands under the HSP Huygens Programme. The Nuffic is administrating the Huygens scholarship. Please find all all necessary information about application and selection on their website.

! The Faculty deadline for receiving Huygens scholarship requests is: 31 December 2010. On the online application form please mention the Huygens scholarship request by thicking the relevant box.

The International Office will make a first selection of most excellent students. For this students we will write a nomination letter. Applicants that are part of this selection will receive the nomination letter by e-mail before 1 February 2011 which is the Nuffic deadline for application.

Amsterdam Merit Scholarship

The Faculty of Economics and Business provides a limited number of scholarships for excellent students in the Master's programmes. There is no fixed number of available scholarships. The actual number will be determined by the amount that will be allocated to the Faculty.

Selection procedure

1) Applicants should write an AMS motivation letter (tell us in not more than 300 words your motivation to get the scholarship).

2) Applicants should upload the AMS digital motivation letter to their online application for the MSc programme before March 1st 2011.

3) Before the end of May 2011 we will inform all applicants about the results by e-mail.

Ahold Scholarship Programme

Ahold, an international food retailing group based in the Netherlands offers scholarships for non-EU students in the MSc in Accountancy and Control programme. Applicants should have an outstanding academic record and have special interest in retail and the intention to work and live in the USA or Europe after graduation. All non-EU applicants accepted to the MSc in Accountancy and Control programme will receive supplementary information on this Scholarship.

Colfuturo Scholarship

Students from Columbia can apply for this scholarship through their website.

Ford Foundation Scholarship

Scholarships are provided for students from a selection of countries worldwide. For more information see the Nuffic website.

Netherlands Fellowship Programmes

This programme provides funding for women and members of priority groups or marginalized regions. For more information see the Nuffic website.

Other scholarships

Further information on scholarships can be obtained from Nuffic, please refer to their website. Click on the link 'Grantfinder' to search for Dutch scholarships for foreign students.


In certain cases it is possible for EU students to receive a monthly studentgrant from the Dutch government (i.e. IB Group). Please check their website for further information.


Accredited by: NVAO in: The Netherlands

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