The Department of Physical Geography is responsible for the Bachelor's degree programme in Earth Sciences (Aardwetenschappen) together with the Department of Earth Sciences.
The joint bachelor's programme is normally taught in Dutch, but many courses can be taught in English when exchange students participate.
It is a broad science programme, combining aspects from physics, chemistry, mathematics, biology and geography. You will learn about earth science processes, history and future of environment and climate. You will explore earth from coastal processes to the earth magnetic field, from mountain forming to ground water flows.
Utrecht University offers the largest and broadest earth science programma in the Netherlands. Almost al disciplines are represented. Are you interested in applying for this bachelor's programme? Please visit the Earth sciences website. Current students can visit the student's website.
The departments of Earth Sciences and Physical Geography offer the following internationally oriented Master's degree programmes in Earth Sciences:
Explore processes affecting the earth's life and its environment
In our Master's programme in Earth, Life and Climate, you will explore the fundamental processes which regulate the past, present, and future dynamics of sedimentary systems, biodiversity, and climate, as well as their evolution. This two-year programme will provide you with the knowledge you need to understand climate change and its impact on natural environments such as soils, sediments, lakes, groundwater, wetlands, estuaries, and oceans.
The main topics you will study include the evolution of life, the development of sedimentary basins, carbon sources and sinks, biogeochemical and geochemical fingerprinting of sedimentary processes/environments, and climate reconstruction.
Study processes below the earth's surface
In this programme, you will explore the composition, structure, and evolution of the earth’s crust, mantle, and core. During this two-year programme, you will learn to link geological, geophysical, geochemical, and geodetic observations made at the earth’s surface to physical processes operating within the planet.
Explore processes at or near the earth's surface
This Master’s programme 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 natural 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.
Explore seas and oceans and the impact of changes
Seas and oceans play an important role in our day-to-day lives, and over 65% of the world’s population lives or works in coastal areas. Vital for our economy and health – as well as for climate, food, and biodiversity – seas and oceans have immense societal significance. However, the oceans are changing rapidly as human-induced pollution and CO2 emissions lead to warming, acidification and deoxygenation of seas and oceans. The impact on organisms, ocean chemistry, and currents on short to long timescales is uncertain, affecting ecosystems, but also the economy and policymaking.
In addition, the Department of Physical Geography contributes to the following Master's degree programmes:
- Water science management
- Geographical information management and applications
- Applied data science