The Earth Surface and Water programme offered by Utrecht University provides you with knowledge that is essential to manage the planet sustainably, guarantee the availability of natural resources for future generations, and understand and avert natural hazards.
The main subject areas you will study consist of the dynamics of coastal and river systems, (geo-)hydrological processes, groundwater remediation, land degradation in dry lands and mountainous regions, natural hazards, and delta evolution on centennial and longer time scales.
You can choose one of four tracks based on your interests in the field:
- Geohazards and Earth Observation - Land-degradation processes and natural hazards in and on the Earth's surface
- Coastal Dynamics and Fluvial Systems - Natural and human-induces processes, patterns, and products in the world's coasts and rivers
- Hydrology - Movement, distribution, and quality of water on Earth
- Environmental Geochemistry - Processes that control the functioning of natural environments at the Earth's surface
Core Areas of Research
The Earth Surface and Water programme trains students to quantitatively study the natural and human-induced physical and chemical processes, patterns, and dynamics of Earth’s continental and coastal systems as well as their responses to global change. Students explore and understand the modelling capabilities of the past, present, and future as well as the evolution of Earth’s environment, including human impact on this evolution.
In the programme, you will address questions such as:
- How do river floods affect delta systems and their inhabitants?
- How can we use natural processes under climate change to maintain safe - yet attractive and dynamic - coastlines?
- How can satellite images be used to estimate erosion losses?
- Will we have enough water to sustain the world’s rapidly increasing population in 2050?
- What is the most efficient way to clean an oil spill that enters the soil and groundwater?
The programme trains students to combine field observations and laboratory experiments with the latest developments in remote sensing and computational methods. Research developed by our staff and students has a strong international profile, encompasses scales ranging from microscopic to global, and concerns both past and contemporary processes.
Physical geographers, geochemists, and hydrologists are necessary to identify nature’s actions in our modern world, especially with society’s ever-increasing pressure on the natural environment. The Earth Surface and Water programme therefore focusses on imminent societal problems, such as society’s increased vulnerability to climate and environmental changes and to natural hazards such as flooding, storms, and mass movements. It also addresses the threats and opportunities resulting from human activity on our physical environment, including the hydrological cycle.
Many of our graduates go on to find employment in research. Depending on your personal interests and ambitions, you will be equipped to work in both fundamental and applied research. You can pursue a career in applied research in government institutes, consulting firms, or various industries. Typical professional profiles of our graduates include Physical Geographer, Geochemist, and Hydrologist.
Knowledge of coastal and river management, land use, natural resources, pollution, and hazard mitigation provides you with a good basis for understanding the past, present, and future evolution of Earth’s environment, including human impact on this evolution. The numerous environmental issues currently facing us mean you can pursue a variety of employment opportunities in diverse sectors.
Accredited by the NVAO - Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders.
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- Statistics and Data Analysis in Physical Geography
- Principles of Groundwater Flow
- Advanced Gis for Geoscientists
- Field Research Instruction Geochemistry
- Environmental Hydrogeology
- Masters Excursion Earth Surface and Water
Check out the full curriculumVisit official programme website
- 24 months
Start dates & application deadlines
- Apply before , International
- Deadline passed, EEA/EU
- Deadline passed, National
DisciplinesEarth Sciences Hydrology & Water Management Environmental Sciences View 37 other Masters in Environmental Sciences in Netherlands
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We are not aware of any academic requirements for this programme.
The programme Earth Surface and Water is open to students with a Bachelor's degree in a relevant subject (e.g. earth sciences, natural sciences, physics, physical geography, civil engineering, applied mathematics).With regard to the educational requirements you should possess the following knowledge and skills:
- Geology and geomorphology; the understanding of processes at different spatial and temporal scales
- Natural processes (earth system processes in soil, water, atmosphere, ecosystems)
- Mathematics (calculus -i.e. differential equations, integration, differentiation- and linear algebra)
- Physics, classical mechanics (including stability, dynamics of linear and rotational movement)
- Academic and research skills
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International20473 EUR/yearTuition FeeBased on the original amount of 20473 EUR per year and a duration of 24 months.
EU/EEA2143 EUR/yearTuition FeeBased on the original amount of 2143 EUR per year and a duration of 24 months.
Utrecht University, the Dutch Government and other organisations offer scholarships, fellowships and grants. Below is a list of the scholarships that are most often used by international students studying in Utrecht. Note that the scholarship options for programmes starting in February are limited.
- Utrecht Excellence Scholarships
- Bright Minds Fellowships
- Holland Scholarship
- Orange Tulip Scholarship - for Chinese students only
- Utrecht Sylff Scholarships - for outstanding graduates from University College Utrecht and Economics and Business Economics (UU)
- Student grant and loan system
- Tuition fee loan
- Erasmus+ Master loans
- Canadian student loans
- US Federal Loans
Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.
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Apply and win up to €10000 to cover your tuition fees.