On this page you will find information about possible career prospects for both academic and non-academic careers. Many of the graduates from the Earth Surface and Water programme go on to find employment in research. A few alumni stories of academic and non-academic careers can be found below.
Your future profession may depend on your choice of track within the Master’s programme. The professional profiles of our graduates consist of:
- Physical Geographer
Tracks: Geohazards and Earth Observation, Coastal Dynamics and Fluvial Systems
Track: Environmental Geochemistry
With these profiles graduates work in (applied) research, but also within government and public institution, industry, and consultancy companies on a broad range of topics including water and the natural environment, infrastructure and the built environment and energy and resources. Potential employers are: PhD at universities, Deltares, KNMI, TNO, PBL, Antea, Boskalis, RoyalHaskoningDHV, Neo BV, Orbital Eye, Euroradar, Hydrologic, Nelen & Schuurmans, Ecoselect, waterboards, Rijkswaterstaat, provincial government, Natuurmonumenten.
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 and laboratory components as well as data science and spatiotemporal computer simulations.
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. You can choose to seek out a career in applied research in governmental institutions, consultancies or other industries.
Academic and professional knowledge and skills
This Master’s 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 to 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.
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.