Department of Earth Sciences
The Earth Sciences have the planet Earth (and other planets) as their object of study, its genesis and its quality of life. In the context of the Earth system, knowledge is gathered about its origin, its current and former composition, its structure, and the processes in and between the components geopshere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere, as well as about the management and sustainable use of the Earth and the influence of human activity on the terrestrial system.
The social significance of Earth Sciences is clear in the field of the natural resources for energy/raw materials/water, the global climate, the environment, and natural and man-induced dangers, risks and disasters.
The study of Earth Sciences combines aspects of observation in different forms via fieldwork and Earth observation (e.g. from outer space), analysis of data using laboratory methodology and techniques, and creating and designing concepts via modeling and computer simulations.
(adapted from: Assessment of Earth Sciences Master's degree courses, QANU, 2006)
Largest academic Earth Sciences institute in the Netherlands
Utrecht is a national focal point of Earth Sciences in the Netherlands. At Utrecht University research groups of both the Faculty of Geosciences and the Faculty of Sciences (Physics & Astronomy, Biology) study different aspects of the physical earth. Applied research institutions, such as TNO Built & Environment and the Royal Netherlands Institute of Meteorlogy (with its ORFEUS seismology data center), are sited on campus or in the nearby area. A closeness that stimulates collaboration and strengthens the quality of research and education.
Amidst this, is the Department of Earth Sciences: the largest academic Earth Sciences institute in the Netherlands, and among the larger ones in Europe.