The Master in Geography is a two-year advanced study program jointly organized by KU Leuven and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). This interuniversity master’s program offers you comprehensive training in approaches to social, geographical and/or natural geographical phenomena.
What is the program all about?
The objective of the Master of Geography is to provide you a deeper understanding of geographical problems and methods, knowledge to the theoretical debate within the discipline, and training in the use of geographical working techniques. The global aim of the master is to generate geographers that can play an active role in our contemporary society.
The full program comprises of 120 ECTS. In addition to core courses on society-environment interactions and research methods in geography (27 ECTS), you take the compulsory courses within your chosen specialization (33-34 ECTS) as well as a number of electives in your field (29-30 ECTS). The remaining 30 ECTS are allocated to the master’s thesis.
The program offers three specializations:
- Earth and Climate: focuses on terrestrial ecosystems and environmental changes, emphasizing timely and relevant research topics in the geosciences like global warming, soil and water conservation.
- City, Society, and Space: focuses on the multifaceted challenges faced in cities in the current era of globalization.
- GIS and Spatial Modelling: focuses on new approaches and techniques for acquiring, managing, analyzing and mapping spatial data. Within this specialization, you can also opt to include a two-month GIS internship.
The highly competitive program is jointly offered by the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at KU Leuven and the Department of Geography at VUB and is firmly rooted in current research at both universities.
A strong focus on methods and techniques combined with analytical strength and a broad theoretical background makes you a versatile researcher, prepared to take up a key role in interdisciplinary teams tackling the core challenges of the future like climate change, urbanization, land use management, migration, etc.
Is this the right program for me?
You have a broad basic knowledge of the natural and social sciences, together with a broad introductory knowledge of geography from which to build upon. A complete introduction to geography is not required.
You must show proficiency in oral and written English.
The Master Program in Geography has the following learning outcomes:
Knowledge and insight
1. The graduate has a thorough knowledge of and insight into the concepts, theories, and models of Geography.
2. The graduate has in-depth and current knowledge of at least one subdiscipline of their scientific domain, namely Terrestrial Ecosystems and Global Change; Spatial Analysis of the Environment; Urban Geography.
3. The graduate has in-depth knowledge of related and supporting nature sciences and social sciences.
Applying knowledge and insight
4. The graduate has the skills and insight to take the following steps in a research team concerning their own scientific research:
a. defining a research topic, formulating a research question and adjusting it during the research,
b. scientifically, independently and accurately analyzing complex geographical phenomena, structures and processes and their mutual coherence on different scales and in a temporal context,
c. reflecting on, planning and using appropriate and advanced geographic methods and techniques to answer complex geographical issues,
d. executing and implementing a risk analysis on the experiments to be carried out,
e. creating, managing, visualizing and using geographic data as a source for scientific research and as a policy support tool,
f. as well as taking into account the appropriate deontological rules of conduct.
Developing an opinion
5. The graduate can, in the context of a research question, look up relevant professional literature and can assess its validity.
6. The graduate can independently process the results of both their own research and the literature review, and critically interpret and discuss these results in the context of a specific research question.
7. The graduate can critically assess complex scientific, social and ethical issues and scientifically formulate motivated and ethically justified answers for this subject (e.g. on sustainability).
8. The graduate has acquired the necessary attitudes and skills to participate in a team in a multidisciplinary and international professional environment.
9. The graduate can take a reasoned position and can present a written or oral defense for peers, experts, and the general public.
10. The graduate can report, communicate and present in writing and orally in both Dutch and English, taking into account the deontological code of conduct and using graphic and cartographic representations.
Learning skills and personal development goals
11. The graduate is able to independently acquire knowledge, conduct research, and tackle scientific problems while paying attention to originality and creativity.
12. The graduate has the skills to critically and actively keep up to date with international and innovative developments in the field of geography, and natural and social sciences in general, and to assess their interaction with the wider social context.
Depending on the chosen option, the graduate has acquired the following additional learning outcomes:
13. Education: The graduate has didactic knowledge, insights, and skills needed to support the teaching and learning process within a powerful learning environment in their discipline.
14. Research: The graduate has in-depth knowledge and skills that apply to discipline-specific research.
15. Professional: The master’s student has in-depth knowledge and skills that applying to professional business.
Geographers study the interaction between human societies and their environments and are able to analyze the spatial distributions and processes of particular phenomena.
We witness a growing demand for competent professionals in the broad field of geosciences. As a graduate, you may be recruited by surveying companies, mapping agencies, service and utility providers and public entities.
You will also be placed high on the recruitment list of international administrations dealing with land use planning, disaster management, and environmental conservation. Careers can also be pursued in research and education, whereby this master's program is complemented by a relevant Ph.D.
Start your career, during your studies
During your bachelor's and master's program you can already shape your own profile by choosing a certain specialization, studying abroad (Erasmus), doing a work placement, or starting your own business.
The Student Career Center is happy to put you on the right track towards your first work experience. The center also coaches you in the search for an interesting job and helps you with job interviews. For students wanting to start their own business KU Leuven also has Lcie, the KU Leuven community that encourages students with innovative and entrepreneurial ideas.
Don’t know where to start? The Student Career Center's databases contain offers for jobs, volunteer work, innovation projects, and student jobs. You can also visit one of the events organized by the Career Center.
About the School
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