Bodies of water, including oceans, large lakes, seas, and estuaries, make up the largest part of the earth’s surface. Well above 70% of the earth’s surface consists of water, which is essential for all life. Humans extract both directly and indirectly, a major part of their food from the seas, photosynthesis in the oceans is responsible for approximately half of the global oxygen production, the oceans continue to yield unknown life forms at an astonishing rate. In spite of the importance of the water bodies of this earth, much of them remains unknown.

Course content

The two-year program Master of Science in Marine and Lacustrine Science and Management (Oceans & Lakes) addresses students with a background in sciences. Oceans & Lakes is an interuniversity program jointly offered by Ghent University, University of Antwerp and Vrije Universiteit Brussel. It provides students with a strong fundamental and applied knowledge and prepares them for an active role in the scientific research and management of marine and lacustrine systems.

The program adopts a multidisciplinary approach integrating physical, chemical, geological, ecological and societal aspects and including nature conservation and sustainable development.

The program provides insight into the diversity and complexity of the life and processes in the oceans, seas, lakes and estuaries and skills to study and manage them. In many cases, this diversity is endangered because the aquatic environment is increasingly coming under pressure as a result of climate change, biodiversity erosion, increasing fishery requirements and overfishing, pollution, developments in aquaculture, coastal reclamation, etc.

Course structure

The program puts a strong emphasis on acquiring skills, both in marine and lacustrine research and management. It requires full-time attendance and active participation in lectures and practical exercises, visits to marine research centers, field trips and excursions.

The course program consists of four parts:
General courses (36 credits) with compulsory courses covering disciplines which are considered as essential knowledge for a marine and lacustrine scientist.
Elective courses (21 credits): in depth-courses, broadening courses, supporting courses.
One Major (24 credits) to choose out of four specializations:
  • Global change impacts on ecology and biodiversity
  • Conservation biology and ecosystem management
  • Environmental impact and remediation
  • Marine and Lacustrine Geosciences
The Master's Dissertation stands for 30 credits and consists of an individual research project related to ongoing research in one of the associated research groups. You choose a subject related to your major module.

A professional internship of three to four weeks allows the student to get professional experience in marine and lacustrine related fields. In addition to classes, fieldwork is an essential part of the programme.

Career perspectives

Oceans & Lakes trains students in:

  • becoming a multidisciplinary scientist who thinks and works across fields and disciplines;
  • playing a key role in high-quality scientific marine and lacustrine research;
  • providing advice in the management and an integrated concept and view on marine and lacustrine systems;
  • becoming critically minded, problem-solving and communicative scientists.

More information:

Program taught in:
  • English

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Last updated August 5, 2019
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Sep 2020
2 years
1,792 EUR
Price non-EU | Price EU: € 922,30
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