Study processes below the Earth's surface

In the Master in Earth Structure and Dynamics 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.

Specialise in any aspect of Solid Earth Science

The programme combines geology, geophysics, mathematics, physics, chemistry and field studies to address how the solid Earth works. It allows you to specialise in virtually any aspect of solid Earth science, ranging from theoretical geophysics to pure geology or geochemistry. Many students choose a combined geology-geophysics focus.

Core areas of teaching and research

The main subject areas you will study consist of seismology, tectonophysics, mantle dynamics, structural geology, metamorphism, magmatic processes, sedimentary basin evolution, properties of Earth materials, including their relevance for sustainable, unconventional and conventional geo-resources. You will examine processes ranging from slow geodynamic processes - such as mantle convection, plate tectonics and mountain building - to those having an impact on human time scales. These include active crustal deformation, seismicity and volcanism, as well as subsidence, uplift and seismicity induced by hydrocarbon production, geological storage of CO2 and geothermal energy as well as applied and environmental mineral physics topics. You will work at scales ranging from satellite imagery and field observations to laboratory experiments and petrographic studies, and from global seismic tomography to electron microscopy. Observational data are linked to the Earth’s internal structure and to geodynamic processes through modelling, using the latest theoretical, physical, experimental and computational methods.

In the programme, you will address questions such as:

  • How do mountain belts and sedimentary basins form? 
  • How can we image the internal structure of the crust and mantle? 
  • How does plate tectonics really work and how can we model it? 
  • What controls volcanic eruptions and earthquakes? 
  • Can CO2 be safely stored in reservoir rocks in the Earth’s crust? 
  • What are the key subsurface evaluation procedures for sustainable geo-resources?

You can choose one of three specialisation tracks based on your interests in the field:

  • Earth Materials
    Deformation and metamorphic and igneous processes operating in the crust and upper mantle
  • Physics of the Deep Earth and Planets
    An in-depth geophysical approach to understand the deep interior of the Earth and other planets
  • Basins, Orogens, and the Crust-Lithosphere System
    Understand the processes at the scale of the crust and lithosphere such as the formation and evolution of sedimentary basins or mountain chains. This is a combined track for a hybrid Geology-Geophysics (Solid Earth specialist) profile.   

Programme objective

The Earth Structure and Dynamics programme focuses on all aspects of the solid Earth as a key component of system Earth – and therefore of Earth system science. This encompasses the structure, dynamics, and evolution of the solid Earth over the full range of spatial and temporal scales as well as the role of solid Earth structure and processes in societally relevant issues such as energy, geo-resources, and geohazards. Examples include understanding the physics of tectonically – or human – induced earthquakes, volcanic hazards or sustainable, unconventional and conventional geo-resources. Knowledge of these aspects has direct relevance for professional profiles and future job opportunities.

  • What I like about the courses and programme is that you get assignments and small research projects that help you get a grasp of research in Earth Sci
  • ‘’We often are given feedback, which helps you improve very important skills for future jobs, and gives you a big advantage’’

Summary

Degree: This Master's programme is officially registered under its name in the Central Register of Higher Education Study Programmes
  • Title: MSc
  • Master's degree in: Earth Sciences
  • Programme: Earth Structure and Dynamics
Accreditation:
Accredited by the NVAO
Croho code:
66986
Language of instruction:
English
Part- or full-time status:
Full-time
Duration:
2 years
Credits: 60 credits equals one year full-time study load (European Credit Transfer System, ECTS)
120
Start of studies:
September
Application deadline:
  • Dutch & EU/EER students: 1 June
  • Non-EU/EEA students: 1 April
Tuition fees:
Faculty:
Geosciences
Graduate school:
Geosciences