Understand the hydrological cycle and its impacts on society
Do you want to dive into global water challenges and find sustainable solutions?
Water is one of the Earth's most important and fascinating natural resources. We simply cannot do without it. However, safe and clean water is becoming increasingly scarce, and conflict over water is growing. So how can we make sure there is enough water available for everyone? Can we ensure good quality water for agriculture, ecosystems, and people? And how can we minimize the impact of extreme flood events in dense urban areas?
Hydrologists are needed everywhere. The Netherlands is internationally known for its experts in the field of water management. Thus, where better to study hydrology than in Amsterdam? In our Master's, you will investigate water challenges and processes from a systems perspective. The Master's offers interdisciplinary perspectives, a personal teaching style, and a hands-on, international and real-world approach.
During the program, you will gain skills, including modeling and fieldwork, that allow understand the processes driving the water cycle, and enable you to address risks related to water quantity (such as floods and droughts) and water quality (such as pollution).
Meet water challenges head-on
Water is essential for life on Earth. As stated by the United Nations, water is at the core of sustainable development, being critical for socioeconomic progress, energy, and food production, as well as climate regulation, ecosystems, and for human survival. Too much, too little, or too dirty water can bring risks to society. Therefore water is also at the heart of adaptation to climate change and reducing global risks to natural hazards.
During our two-year Master’s Hydrology program, you will learn theory, field measurements, and computer modeling. You will discuss and analyze water challenges and develop risk-reducing management options. The program focuses on international water challenges and processes, while also bringing in expertise from the renowned Dutch experience in water management.
In the first year, the Hydrology program combines lectures, computer workshops, laboratory work, and field courses in both Luxembourg and the Netherlands. You will learn the basics of theoretical and experimental hydrology, and methods to assess water risk for society. Altogether this will allow you to apply knowledge of hydrological processes to real-world issues on water management and global change.
The second year allows you to specialize in your area of interest by choosing elective courses. We offer several streams, whilst also offering an “open” stream, in which there is maximum flexibility across our offered courses. The streams are: Water and Society, Water and Landscapes, Water and Climate, Water and Environmental Analysis, Water and Chemistry or you can choose the Fully Open stream.
All students conclude the program with a Master’s thesis project. This could involve desk research (e.g. hydrological modeling) or research incorporating field measurements, for example at our permanent field sites in Luxembourg, Kenya, and Siberia.
To name a few examples: you could investigate the impact of sea level rise on coastal areas, study how drought affects subsidence, or unravel how forest management affects river flow. Not only can you do your research at the VU Amsterdam; but you can also collaborate with one of the many water-related institutions and organizations within the Netherlands and abroad. The teaching staff can help you find a topic tailored to your interests, as well as a suitable location in which to carry out your research. Potential international locations include tropical Amazonia, permafrost regions of Siberia, or highly urban areas like New York City and Jakarta.
For nearly 50 years, VU Amsterdam has taken pride in conducting research and teaching hydrology and water sciences from an earth science perspective. Hydrology teaching and research at VU Amsterdam enjoy an excellent reputation, both within the Netherlands and abroad.