Study programme

The courses below are for cohort 2024 onward. If you are already a student at UU and are looking for information about cohort 2023 or earlier, please check our student website.

The Master’s Earth, Life and Climate is a two-year programme taught in English. It includes both taught and courses and research, awarding a total of 120 points in the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). On this page you will find information concerning the curriculum, courses, educational methods, examinations and extracurricular opportunities.


The first year of the programme is devoted to course work, while the second year is primarily spent conducting independent research and/or an internship. The programme offers considerable scope to design your own personal ‘Master’s plan’ matching your interests and competences.


You can choose one of four tracks based on your specific interests. Tracks are recommended, coherent combinations of courses from the programme. They are meant to help you design your own curriculum based on your preferred specialization within the Earth Life and Climate programme. The four tracks are:

  • Integrated Stratigraphy & Sedimentary Systems
    Dynamics of marine and continental sedimentary systems
  • Climate Reconstruction
    The reconstruction of climate change through Earth's history
  • Biogeosciences & Evolution
    The evolution and response of biota to perturbations in the environments
  • Biogeochemistry
    Processes that control the elemental cycles at the Earth’s surface
Read more about tracks


Below you can find an overview of the courses per track.

Educational Methods

  • Course work
  • Field research
  • Independent research
  • Internship/guided research


  • Final research papers
  • Short papers or written exams
  • In-class presentations
  • Active participation and concluding reports
  • Thesis

Extra opportunities

Utrecht University offers several honours programmes for students looking for an extra challenge. Honours education is followed on top of your regular Master’s programme and goes beyond the regular curriculum. Honours programmes are available at interdisciplinary level and allow you to go deeper into subjects or work on projects that transcend your own discipline.

Read more about the honours programmes