Master in Earth Sciences

General

Program Description

Application deadline update

  • Non-EU/EEA students: 1 May (the original deadline of 1 April has been extended due to COVID-19)
  • EU/EEA students and students who do not need a study visa/residence permit through VU Amsterdam*: 1 June (the original deadline of 1 May has been extended due to COVID-19)

Master of Earth Sciences

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is renowned for combining all Earth Sciences specializations with other subject areas. Earth Sciences at our university are closely linked to Biology and Environmental Sciences. Why limit yourself to being just a geologist or a geographer? Become a true Earth Scientist, with far-reaching background knowledge that allows you to really make the most of your future. How exactly do ice ages, life, plate tectonics and CO2 cycles in the Earth’s crust and oceans interact? What is the relationship between landscape and fault movements in the dating of rocks or in processes like uplift and erosion?

The programme in a nutshell


Earth Sciences is a general Master’s programme which differs from the specialized Masters we offer. The programme gives you the opportunity to choose a specialization, but selecting one does not mean that you are restricted to just that one subject. You have the option of exploring every aspect of one specific area in great detail if you want to, but you are also free to choose your own subjects for up to a quarter of the required credits.

Here is a small selection of the subjects we offer:

  • Sedimentary Environments: Dynamics and Climate Change Recorders
  • Building Tectonic Models
  • Advanced Geochronology
  • Contaminant Hydrogeology
  • Magmatic Processes
  • Soil-Vegetation Atmosphere Exchange



The three specializations we offer:

  • Earth Surface Processes, Climate and Records
  • Geology and Geochemistry
  • Global Environmental Change and Policy

Course descriptions


The Master’s programme in Earth Sciences takes two years and is worth 120 ECTS. 54 ECTS are project-related, involving a company traineeship, an orientation phase at a science journal, or participation in a research project complete with fieldwork, lab work and/or computer modelling.

Career prospects


After the doctoral or master degree programmes, there are opportunities to continue your educational career in a number of PhD programmes at the Vrije Universiteit, organised within a number of research schools:

  • Inter-University Centre for Geo-ecological Research (ICG);
  • Netherlands Research School for the Socio-Economic and Natural Sciences of the Environment (SENSE);
  • Research School Sedimentary Geology (NSG);
  • Integrated Solid Earth Sciences (ISES).


The PhD programme always consists of carrying out a research project, leading to a PhD thesis/dissertation, and of several compulsory or elective course modules.

Admission requirements


HBO students and students with a BSc degree obtained at an institution inside or outside of the Netherlands

Students who hold a certificate of higher vocational education (hbo) or an equivalent of a VU Amsterdam BSc degree obtained at an institution inside or outside of the Netherlands may be admitted to the Master's programme in Earth Sciences on the basis of a decision to that effect taken by the Examination Board. The Examination Board will determine whether the qualification in question is sufficiently relevant to warrant admission. The Examination Board may place additional requirements on the student before granting admission to the programme.

English language proficiency requirements. Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam requires international applicants to pass an English language proficiency test.

N.B. Students who need a visa (MVV) to enter the Netherlands must have passed the test and submitted the original test certificate before 1 June. All other students have to submit the test certificate at the latest before 1 September.

Last updated Feb 2020

About the School

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is an internationally renowned research university founded in 1880. The university offers over 150 English taught programmes at Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD level to 23,00 ... Read More

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is an internationally renowned research university founded in 1880. The university offers over 150 English taught programmes at Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD level to 23,000 students from all over the world. Students and staff of 122 nationalities create a dynamic international academic community. The University distinguishes itself in research and education through four interdisciplinary themes: Human Health and Life Sciences, Science for Sustainability, Connected World and Governance for Society. Curious about student life at VU Amsterdam? Click here to ask our International Student Ambassadors. Read less