MSc Environmental Sciences

General information

The programme Environmental Sciences offers ten different thesis tracks (majors).There are two tracks with marine subjects:

  • Within Environmental Quality: Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management
  • Within Environmental Policy and Economics: Water Systems and Global Change

Minor. In addition to the thesis tracks (majors), the programme offers two minors: Environmental education and Environmental communication. In this way, students also have the opportunity to acquire experience in these fields. Minors are optional, but if their time schedule permits, students are encouraged to take a minor, either from this programme or from another MSc programme.

Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management. Research and education at the Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management group (AEW) focuses on the physical, chemical and biological processes occurring predominantly in freshwater ecosystems. The main goal is to develop new knowledge and better instruments for restoration and management of aquatic ecosystems.

The research is multidisciplinary (environmental engineering, environmental chemistry and aquatic ecology) and ranges from the laboratory scale (detailed process studies) to the scale of actual ecosystems (field studies). The multidisciplinary expertise of the team comes together in the development of integrated models for ecosystem and water quality management. The research approach is quantitative with a strong emphasis on state-of-the-art statistical and modelling techniques. 

More information on this track, plus offered courses

Water Systems and Global Change. Water is everybody's business, starting from international river basin committees to individual citizens. Water management takes place at a global scale and in every household. Decision-making processes, public participation and communication, and information transfer systems are important elements of water management in the 21st century. In the specialisation Water Systems and Global Change, actual water management problems will be discussed, giving attention to technical-scientific knowledge, goods and services of aquatic and wetland ecosystems, socio-economic, political and institutional aspects.

Due to ongoing human population growth, increasing use per capita and unequal spatial and temporal distribution of resources, human water demands frequently exceed the carrying capacity of aquatic and wetland ecosystems. As a result, over-exploitation of surface water and groundwater resources occurs, leading to shortages and making water a contested resource. Freshwater resources are further reduced by pollution. Some 2 million tons of waste per day are disposed of in surface water.

Water Systems and Global Change focuses on the process of matching supply and demand of information and knowledge in multi-stakeholder platforms in river-basin policy and decision making. It relies on the proper knowledge of river hydrology, river-basin dynamics, storage of water, and water quality and ecology issues. In this way the availability of water and the demands for agricultural use, stock breeding, nature conservation, hydropower generation, shipping, industry and household consumption are specified. The tools enable identification of the alternative ways (like technical measures, regulations, setting objectives) to balance the different interests involved in the river basin. 

Students can learn more about the education and research programme related to this discipline by visiting the website of theWater Systems and Global Change group.

The specialisation aims at teaching concepts and principles of sustainable development and integrated management of water-land systems. It highlights global, European, regional and local projects and cases, and includes examples of recent European and Dutch experiences with integrated land and water management. European water policy, with the Water Framework Directive as central element, and other approaches like South Africa's Water Law are used to explore legal frames. 

More information on this track, plus offered courses


The highlighted icons, represent the fields of education (in compliance with ISCED Classification) engaged during this course/programme.

0511 - Biology", "0512 - Biotechnology", "0512 - Toxicology", "0521 - Ecology", "0522 - Conservation and environmental management", "0532 - Marine Geology", "0532 - Physical and chemical oceanography", "0712 - Environmental protection technology", "0421 - Marine and maritime law


Venue: Wageningen University
Wageningen, Netherlands

Droevendaalsesteeg 4, 6708 PB Wageningen



There are two kinds of tuition fees, the statutory fee and the institutional fee. Which one is applicable to you depends your nationality and your obtained degree. Please find all the information below. For the estimated total costs of two years of academic study in Wageningen for students from the EU or Non-EU/EFTA go to Study Expenses.

  • Statutory tuition fee: €1,984.-
  • Institutional tuition fee 1: €1,984.-
  • Institutional tuition fee 2 (Cohort 2016): €15,000.-

All information on which fees you have to pay can be found here

  • At least a BSc degree (or equivalent) in a field of science that is relevant to the programme. The Bachelor of Science 'Milieuwetenschappen' gives unconditional permission to Environmental Sciences. Relevant foreign Bachelor degrees give possible admission (upon decision of the Admission Board Environmental Sciences).
  • A GPA (Grade Point Average) for the entire BSc study equivalent to at least B/B+ (US system), or a degree classified at least as 2nd class upper division (UK system)
  • Fluency in English, both written and spoken
  • Good skills in mathematics and/or statistics
  • Basic computer skills (Microsoft Office: Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook; use and structure of the Internet; RSI-prevention).

Applicants are strongly adviced to contact one of the study advisers before, during or shortly after the admission process. It is very important that once you have been admitted, you will start attending the proper courses because most courses are offered only once a year. 

Language Requirements 
All applicants except native speakers (USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and the English part of Canada) must be able to provide recent evidence of their spoken and written command of English. For more information about the English language proficiency: for Dutch studentsEU students, and students from outside the EU/EFTA. In addition to the entry requirements, all students (except native speakers) are required to undergo an assessment of their English language skills at Wageningen University Language Services prior to the beginning of their study.

Application Procedure:

You must complete the online application form and submit it with all necessary documents. Before you complete and submit the application form please make sure that you have the required application documents (bachelor degree; transcript of academic records; CV; motivation; English language test results) scanned as pdf files and ready to upload. After you have completed and submitted the application form you will be re-directed to a webpage to upload the application documents. 

Further information about the application procedure: Dutch studentsEU studentsnon-EU/EFTA students.

Applications for September 2017 will likely open in September 2016.


Academic level: Master

Qualification: Master of Science

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