Master of Science in Geology


Program Description

Our society is facing a number of key challenges, such as the sustainable use and management of the natural resources of our planet (water, soil, mineral resources, and energy), and the protection of our population and infrastructure against the natural hazards (earthquakes, volcanic activity and climate change) that come with living on a dynamic planet.

For a geologist “global change” is a familiar topic, with a variety of facets. Our planet is an incredibly dynamic and perpetually changing system and unraveling it is one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century. To achieve this, a fundamental knowledge of the composition, structure, evolution, and functioning of our planet is required.

Course content

The Master in Geology – organized jointly by Ghent University and the Catholic University of Leuven – offers in-depth training in general geology and specialized training in selected disciplines of geology. Emphasis is put on acquiring general academic skills in research and exploration, in reporting, and in (international) co-operation with fellow students and researchers.

Students receive the necessary training to analyze and solve new, broader and more complex geological problems. They obtain the scientific attitude to solve these problems by selecting and applying advanced methods (qualitative and quantitative field analysis, direct and indirect observation techniques, physical and chemical analytical techniques, modeling of geological processes, etc).

Students not only gain hands-on knowledge of the techniques and the basic principles but are also trained to appraise the potential and the limitations of the different techniques. In a rational and scientific way, students are enabled to process and to report research results, to publish them in reports and in a master thesis (monograph), and to present and defend these results orally in a structured way, aided by modern communication techniques.

Students also obtain the social attitudes and skills to work in an interdisciplinary team with the aim to reach the best possible coherent solution for a specific problem.

Course structure

The English master’s program offers the possibility to specialize in one of the four majors (46 up to 60 credits). Depending on the chosen major students take up an additional 30 to 44 credits for elective courses. In the second year, a research project (master’s dissertation) of 30 credits is scheduled.

Ghent University offers a master program in Geology with emphasis on two majors:

  • Groundwater and Mineral Resources
  • Basins and Orogens

The first major focuses on the characterization and protection of two essential ingredients of life on our planet: groundwater and minerals, and addresses the integrated management of those natural resources.
The second major encompasses the origins and evolution of large oceanic and continental sedimentary basins, and orogenic processes and focuses on sedimentary processes, the dynamics of sedimentary basins, oceans and climates, the evolution of the biosphere, geochemistry, geophysics, geodynamics, and geochronology.

A very important facet within these studies is development cooperation.

At KULeuven two other majors can be followed:

  • Geodynamics and Georesources
  • Surface Processes and Paleoenvironments

Besides the major course package, there is also a minor course package for 30 credits. This minor course package consists of elective courses that help the student to get prepared for fundamental research, in the framework of a doctoral study, or straightforwardly for the industry. It is also possible to opt for a stay abroad within the space offered by the minor course package.

The master’s dissertation is an original piece of research work. It aims to develop and strengthen the research capacity skills of the students. Students select a topic and are given guidance by a promoter or supervisor. The master’s dissertation consists of a literature review part, practical research and original analysis of the topic.

Career perspectives

The strong multidisciplinary character of this master's program does not only open the door to innovative research but also to dynamic industrial sectors, governmental agencies, NGO’s, etc. Students of the master's program in geology also acquire step by step an enormous advantage: the use of professional English.

Last updated Aug 2019

About the School

The faculty of Science is very diverse. Researchers within the faculty focus on the study of the smallest and the largest in the universe, the living and non-living matter, seeking knowledge on the mo ... Read More

The faculty of Science is very diverse. Researchers within the faculty focus on the study of the smallest and the largest in the universe, the living and non-living matter, seeking knowledge on the most fundamental level or developing high-tech applications. This diversity is reflected in the educational programs of the faculty. Read less