Utrecht University

Earth Surface and Water, M.Sc.

  • Application Deadline
  • 24 months
    Duration
  • Tuition Fee
    18690 EUR/year
    Tuition fee
    2060 EUR/year
    Tuition fee
  • English
    Language
Utrecht's University Master of Science in Earth Surface and Water focuses on the development of earth and water surfaces under the effect of people and natural occurrences. This Master’s programme will prepare students to evaluate hazards and risks, to understand climate changes, how to keep healthy yet attractive landscapes, and how we can sustain the increasingly growing human population.

About

Utrecht's University Master of Science in Earth Surface and Water involves the study of natural and human-induced physical and geochemical processes, patterns, and dynamics of the Earth’s continental and coastal systems. This two-year programme provides you with knowledge that is essential to manage the planet sustainably, guarantee the availability of 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.

Programme Objective

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.

Career Prospects

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.

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.

Possible Prospects

Typical professional profiles of our graduates include Physical Geographer, Geochemist, and Hydrologist.

Accreditation

Accredited by the NVAO - Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders.

Programme Structure

Courses included:

  • Land Surface Hydrology
  • Land Surface Process Modelling
  • Remote Sensing
  • Stochastic Hydrology
  • Hazards And Risk Assessment
  • Advanced Gis For Geoscientists
  • Hydrology And Climate
  • Morphodynamics of Tidal Systems
  • Managing Future Deltas
  • River and Delta Systems
  • Environmental Hidrogeology
  • Advanced GIS for Geoscientists
For more information please visit the programme website.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity Full-time
    • Full-time duration 24 months
  • Credits
    120 ECTS
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus
  • More information Go to the programme website

English Language Requirements

You only need to take one of these language tests:

  • Minimum required score:

    6.5

    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

  • Minimum required score (Grade B):

    193

    The CAE test – or the Cambridge Advanced English – is an exam for applicants who wish to get a Certificate in Advanced English. To receive the Advanced certificate, test-takers must score between 142 and 210 on the Cambridge English: Advanced test. Read more about CAE.

    Note: degree programmes and applications may require a more specific minimum score for admission.

  • Minimum required score:

    93

    The TOEFL – or Test Of English as a Foreign Language – offers an internet-based test (iBT). The final, overall iBT score ranges between 0 and 120, and includes a scaled average from the four components (reading, listening, speaking, and writing). Read more about TOEFL (iBT).

Academic Requirements

  • 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).
  • You are able to express yourself in proficient English, both orally and in written text, as evidenced by your motivation letter and/or writing sample, and the interview that is part of the selection procedure.
  • Further accepted proof of your proficiency in English: CPE- Grade C

Tuition Fee

  • International

    18690 EUR/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 18690 EUR per year and a duration of 24 months.
  • EU/EEA

    2060 EUR/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 2060 EUR per year and a duration of 24 months.

For more information about tuition fees and exemptions have a look at the programme website.

Living costs for Utrecht

900 - 1,450 EUR/month
Living Costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.

Funding

Scholarships, fellowships, and grants offered by Utrecht University, the Dutch government, and other organisations can help fund your studies at the university.  You can begin your search for funding by reviewing the list below, which contains some of the scholarships and loans available to international students:

  • Utrecht Excellence Scholarships
  • Holland Scholarships
  • Orange Tulip Scholarships
  • Canadian student loans
  • Fulbright / NAF
  • US Federal Loans
  • Erasmus+ Master 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.