Climate and climate change has attracted considerable public attention in recent years. In order to understand the observed variations and changes in our climate system we need to properly understand the various components of the climate system and their interactions. For example we need to understand how ocean currents affect the global climate system, how melting glaciers and ice sheets – and the ensuing sea level rise – affect coastal systems. We also need to understand how gases, particles (aerosols) and clouds change the Earth's radiation balance.
Many questions still remain unanswered
Although our understanding of the physical processes in the climate system has improved steadily, many questions still remain unanswered. So, apart from being scientifically interesting and challenging, climate-related research is also very relevant to society, because it will enable us to make more reliable predictions about future trends in the climate and their implications for mankind.
Is this course the right choice for you?
Students in this course are generally talented in mathematics and physics. In addition, they are interested in climate related issues, such as weather, melting glaciers and sea ice, ocean currents or the sea in general and waves at the beach. If you recognise yourself in this description, the study meteorology, physical oceanography and climate is the right choice for you.
Experience the Bachelor's Open days at Utrecht University.
Structure of the Bachelor's programme
Climate Physics (meteorology, physical oceanography and climate) is part of the Bachelor's programme physics and astronomy. In the Bachelor you will follow general physics and mathematics courses (the required major-related course). In addition there are optional courses which you can follow in predefined specialization trails ('keuzepaden') or minors. Courses with (sub) topics meteorology, physical oceanography and / or climate are offered in the specialization trail 'Physics of the climate', and in two minors. On the courses page you will find a description of these courses. The year to year description of the Bachelor's programme can be found on the programme website. Note that the teaching language in the bachelor is Dutch.
In the predefined trail 'Physics of the climate' the emphasis lies on the physical description of the processes occuring in the atmosphere and ocean. And at the heart of this description of the climate system is the theory of fluid dynamics on a rotating planet. The bachelor is concluded with a research project of which the subject can be freely chosen (within the chosen major subject) by the student.
After graduating the bachelor program physics and astronomy you can start the Master's programme Climate Physics (before Meteorology, Physical Oceanography and Climate (MPOC). On graduating the master about 75% of the students will continue in a PhD program at a national of foreign university or research institute. A small percentage (10%) procede to become a meteorologist, while the remainder of the graduates end up in for example education, ict, consultency etc. In general the future prospects of bachelor and master graduates in the Netherlands are very good.
Dutch students with a VWO-diploma within the profile 'Natuur & Techniek' have direct access to physics and astronomy bachelor program. This profile contains the required physics and mathematics. If you finished your VWO with a 'Natuur & Gezondheid' profile you will have to complete additional courses in mathematics (B1 and B2) before starting the bachelor program. All other profiles need additional mathematics (B1 an B2) and physics (1 and 2) courses. WisMon and Boswell-Bèta provide summer courses in these subject.
There are other degrees that provide access to the program. Contact the student information department if you have questions.
Information about admission can be found here. Note again that the teaching language in the Bachelor is Dutch, and so are the related websites.
Below is a list of options that will provide you with more information (in Dutch):
- Visit the Bachelor's programme's website for new students
- Check the brochure of the Bachelor's programme Physics and Astronomie.
- Visit the Bachlor's Open days or experience the study for a day event.
- Check the website of the Faculty of Science or the department of Physics.
- Contact our study advisor Geert-Jan Roelofs, tel. 030-2536962, e-mail.