Master in Earth, Life and Climate

General

Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description

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.

You can choose one of four tracks based on your specific interests:

  • Integrated Stratigraphy & Sedimentary Systems
    Dynamics of marine and continental sedimentary systems.
  • Climate Reconstruction
    The reconstruction of climate change through Earth's history.
  • Biogeosciences & Evolution
    The evolution and response of biota to perturbations in the environments.
  • Biogeochemistry
    Processes that control the elemental cycles at the Earth’s surface.

Societal and Scientific Challenges

On this programme, you will learn state-of-the-art reconstruction methods, modelling techniques, and laboratory experiments used in a wide range of earth and beta science disciplines. These disciplines include biogeology, palaeontology, palynology, sedimentology, stratigraphy, environmental geochemistry, organic geochemistry, hydrology, physical geography, geology, biology, climate dynamics, marine sciences, and palaeoceanography. You will utilise these skills in your own research project or on the traineeships you can take in preparation for an international career in applied or fundamental research.

The programme focuses on the following societal and scientific questions:

  • How does the Earth’s climate system respond to higher levels of atmospheric CO2?
  • How fast do ice sheets respond to global warming?
  • How are regional patterns of precipitation controlled by changes in monsoon strength or El Niño?
  • How resilient is the ocean to chemical perturbations?
  • How sensitive are ecosystems and biodiversity to environmental change?
  • How and when did life originate on Earth?
  • How are resources, such as fossil fuels and metal deposits, formed?

Career Prospects

Many of our graduates go on to find employment in research. Depending on your personal interests and ambitions, you will be equipped to work in both fundamental and applied research. You can pursue a career in applied research in government institutes, consulting firms, or various industries. Typical professional profiles of our graduates include Geologist, Sedimentologist, Biogeologist, Physical Geographer, Geochemist and Hydrologist.

Knowledge of large-scale and long-term processes provides you with a good basis for managing major environmental issues. The numerous global-change issues currently facing us mean you can pursue a variety of employment opportunities in diverse sectors.

Alumni survey

In 2017, Dimensus conducted an employability survey amongst ‘Earth Sciences’ alumni. The survey shows that graduate employability is high: 87% of participants have successfully found a first relevant job within six months after graduation. Most participants now work in the field of consultancy (38%), and academic and company research (41%). The majority of participants have a current monthly net income that ranges from 1500 to 2500 euros (62%), or 2500 to >3500 euros (30%).

Last updated May 2020

About the School

Founded in 1636, Utrecht University is an esteemed international research university, consistently positioned number one in The Netherlands, 14th in continental Europe and the worldwide top 100 of int ... Read More

Founded in 1636, Utrecht University is an esteemed international research university, consistently positioned number one in The Netherlands, 14th in continental Europe and the worldwide top 100 of international rankings, and member of the renowned European League of Research Universities. Read less