Master in Earth Structure and Dynamics

General

Read more about this program on the institution's website

Program Description

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 Earthworks. 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, basin evolution, hydrocarbon and mineral deposits, and the properties of Earth materials. You will examine processes ranging from slow geodynamic processes – such as mantle convection, plate tectonics, sedimentary basins formation and evolution, and mountain building – to those that can have an impact during a human lifetime. These include active crustal deformation, seismicity, and volcanism as well as subsidence, uplift induced seismicity and geo-resources.

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?

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 Objectives

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 petroleum, mineral, sustainable or unconventional resources. Knowledge of these aspects has direct relevance for professional profiles and future job opportunities.

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 Solid Earth Specialist, Geologist, and Geophysicist.

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.

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