Master in Hydrology

Ensuring that there is enough water of good quality to satisfy the needs of the world’s growing population is a daunting challenge. Society needs hydrologists to manage the world’s water resources. In the Master’s programme in Hydrology, you will study the processes that regulate the quantity and quality of water as it passes through ecosystems, soils and rivers. We will provide you with a solid theoretical basis, combined with hydrological research in areas ranging from tropical Amazonia to the permafrost regions of Siberia. A Master of Science in Hydrology enables you to pursue a professional or scientific career in hydrology.

Study programme

Our International Hydrology Master's Programme is in English and requires two years of study to obtain the 120 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) that you need for graduation as a Master of Science in Hydrology.

In the first year, the Hydrology MSc programme consists of a combination of lectures, computer workshops, laboratory and field courses. This period is used to teach you the basics of theoretical and experimental hydrology. The second year allows further specialisation in your area of interest, and is concluded by a 4-6 months Master research project at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, or at external international research or professional organisations. The MSc hydrology project can be a desk study (e.g. hydrological modelling, laboratory studies) or a study incorporating field measurements. The result is an MSc thesis.

A large part of the programme is compulsory (102 ECTS out of a total of 120 ECTS). You can choose up to 18 ECTS worth of credit points from the Master's programme in Hydrology or from other Master's programmes in hydrological, natural or environmental sciences.

Career prospects

Water is one of Earth's natural resources that we simply cannot do without. In addition, safe and clean water is becoming increasingly scarce as demands continue to rise all over the world. This means that highly trained hydrologists will always be able to find suitable employment.

Admission requirements

  • The Master’s programme in Hydrology requires BSc-level knowledge of physics, mathematics, chemistry and basic earth science subjects. The Examination Board decides on admission of any applicant. The decision is based on the applicant’s educational background. If the educational background is deemed insufficient, the applicant may still be admitted with the condition that certain BSc-level courses are included in his or her MSc programme. If the specified BSc courses exceed 18 ECTS, the student may be advised to follow a pre-master’s programme before being admitted to the MSc programme.

  • Students with a Bachelor's degree in Earth Sciences – Geology or Physical Geography – or other natural sciences from Dutch universities are eligible for admission with few or no specific course requirements in their optional programme component.

  • HBO students
    If you have a higher vocational education (HBO) degree in a discipline related to hydrology (for instance civil engineering, hydrography), several BSc courses may need to be included in the optional programme component of your MSc programme to bring your basic knowledge required to follow the MSc courses up to standards. If your BSc degree is in another area, please contact the Master co-ordinator for advice on the possibility of entering the MSc programme. If your educational background is not deemed sufficient to be admitted to the MSc programme you may, in exceptional cases, be allowed to follow a pre-master's programme consisting of a number of BSc courses, which may have a duration of 6-12 months.

  • International students
    You can gain admission to the Master’s programme in Hydrology with a Bachelor’s degree in earth sciences, geology or geography. The same applies if you have a three-year BSc in other natural sciences and technology. Additional requirements in terms of background knowledge are made for certain specializations. Students not holding a relevant bachelor’s degree from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam may be admitted to a Master’s programme of the Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences at VU Amsterdam on the basis of a decision taken by the Examination Board of the relevant Master’s 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.

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Last updated October 26, 2018
This course is Campus based
Start Date
2 years
2,083 EUR
for EEA students. €14.500 for non-EU/non-EEA students.
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