MSc Environmental Sciences

General information

Are you up to the challenge of finding innovative methods and sustainable solutions to the threats facing the environment? The Environmental Sciences master's programme in Wageningen has its roots in the natural, technological and social sciences. Students will gain insight into the socio-economic causes and the characteristics of pollution and degradation of the natural environment, including the effects on human beings, the atmosphere, ecosystems and other organisms. This two-year programme is based on an interdisciplinary approach. Students learn to develop analytical tools and models, as well as technologies, socio-political arrangements and economic instruments to prevent and control environmental and sustainability issues.

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

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. Solution-oriented science for sustainable water system management, that is our approach. We analyse and assess the impacts of climate change and population growth on water systems and propose and test adaptation strategies. We use simulation models, earth system observations, scenario analysis and field studies and we invite students from different backgrounds, and skills and interests to take part in our courses and research.

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.

0421 - Marine and maritime law", "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


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.

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; Sufficient English Language Proficiency Test result; a statement of motivation/purpose; CV or brief personal history) 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. 

Application deadlines

NL/EU/EFTA students: 1 July 2019

Non-EU/Non-EFTA students: 1 May 2019

Grant Opportunities:

With a scholarship, you can cover (a part of) the costs of your study at Wageningen University & Research. Before applying for a scholarship you need to be admitted to one of our master's programme. Also, you need to contact possible donors at a very early stage. 

There are three types of scholarships possible to finance your study in Wageningen:

  • Scholarships that invite students that are accepted
  • Scholarships you have to apply for yourself
  • Scholarships from other countries

Here you can find a overview of the scholarships for international students. If you want to qualify for a scholarship you need to be admitted to a master's programme of Wageningen University & Research.


Academic level: Master

Qualification: Master of Science

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