Career prospects

On this page you will find information about possible career prospects for both academic and non-academic careers. Many graduates from the Earth, Life and Climate programme go on to find employment in research. Typical professional profiles of graduates include Geologist, Sedimentologist, Biogeologist, Physical Geographer, Stratigrapher, Paleoceanographer, Palaeoclimatologist, Geochemist and Hydrologist.

Academic careers

A large proportion of our graduates follow up their Master’s degree by pursuing a PhD in the Netherlands or elsewhere and ultimately a career in either applied or fundamental research. Fundamental research opportunities are available at universities in the Netherlands and internationally. The research may entail field, laboratory and desk work (such as computer modelling).

Non-academic careers

Knowledge of large-scale and long-term processes provides you with a good basis for managing major environmental issues. The numerous global-change issues currently facing us mean you can pursue a variety of non-academic employment opportunities. Our alumni work in a diverse societal playing field on water, earth, and environment related topics. They are positioned on the interfaces between society and the hydrosphere, geosphere, and atmosphere.

Mostly our alumni work in one of the domains:

  • Water & Environment
  • Infrastructure & Built Environment
  • Energy & Subsurface Systems

Career opportunities include:

  • Policy and advise positions in local, regional, and national government.
  • Technical and management positions in (semi-)public knowledge institutions.
  • Technical and management positions in commercial industry, services, and consultancy companies.
  • Education
  • Not for profit organisations and NGOs.

Alumni Stories

  • Peter van den Berg, Geologist/Test Engineer, PetroLink
    Peter first worked at Enres International and his projects were related to cyclicity in well logs, and the Enres International software products that analyse this cyclicity. Daily work involved the use of agile software development and spectral analysis techniques. He currently works at PetroLink we he designs and automates test scenario's for applications in geology.
  • Francisco Negrao, first worked at SRK Consulting, but currently works independently as an environmental consultant for soil and groundwater.
    Through SRK Consulting, Francisco advises mining companies in Chile, Argentina and Peru, in geographic settings ranging from sub-arctic to alpine or desert areas. His main work is mine drainage quality prediction. He often visits mining sites to do field work, collecting waste rock, tailings or water samples. He then uses classical AMD-ML (acid mine drainage - metal leaching) techniques to evaluate samples and sometimes reactive transport models to test different scenarios. He currently is self-employed as an environmental consultant for soil and groundwater

Career development

Academic and professional knowledge and skills

This programme will prepare you to analyse scientific, practical, economical, or societal problems from a geoscientific perspective. Based on your expertise you will be able to provide an explanation for the problem or to identify knowledge gaps and formulate appropriate research questions. You will be skilled to extract and integrate information from scientific literature for analysing the problem and/or performing the research.

When research is required, you will be able to delineate the approach and methodology. You will also be trained to use specific techniques and to interpret the related results for finding answers for your questions. These techniques can include field research, laboratory experiments, computational methods and the application of geophysical, biological, or chemical procedures. Your specialisation in the Master’s programme will determine in which of these techniques you will become most skilled.

At the end of your problem analysis or the performed research, you will be able to discuss the outcome by integrating all results and evaluating them in view of the current scientific knowledge and the underlying questions. You will have learned to formulate conclusions and to translate them into solutions of the problem or into strategies for finding solutions in the future.

As solving many geoscientific problems require a multidisciplinary approach, you will also be trained to cooperate in a team and to join forces with experts from other disciplines. The Master’s programme will enable you to present the results of your analysis or research in written or oral forms of communication including scientific publications, reports, and presentations. You will learn to present your knowledge to experts and non-experts.

Career services

Orientation towards societal, business, and policy making applications

If you wish to broaden your course-choice in an applied earth sciences direction with an orientation on research fields with societal, business and policy-making applications, several options are offered within the various programmes. Apart from the regular applied courses that are part of one or more programmes (e.g. Internship, Managing Future Deltas, Quantitative Water Management), the Earth Science programme offers additional sets of applied courses that are organised around two main themes, namely Geo-Resources and Earth and Sustainability. These additional course modules are listed in this document (pdf) and can be chosen in the 15 EC free course choice.The courses listed under the Earth and Sustainability theme aim to provide a natural-science background for a wide range of topics related to sustainability. It is also possible to choose courses that are not part of the Earth Sciences curriculum in Utrecht (for example Geo-resources related courses that are offered at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam). You can bring this forward and discuss this with the programme leader. In all cases, you need approval of the Board of Examiners for your personal programme. It is strongly recommended to complete your applied-oriented course choice with an internship in a non-academic organisation or company.

UU Career Services

UU Career Services offers training related to career orientation and job application skills; examples include writing an application letter and CV and conducting a job interview. You can find more information about career support on UU Career Services for Dutch students or UU Career Services for international students.

UU Careers Day

Once a year Utrecht University organises a Careers Day. The Careers Day offers the opportunity to sign up for workshops and trainings, and to meet recruiters at the careers fair. It’s also possible to join a job application training or have your resume checked.