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Earth Sciences: Future Planet Ecosystem Science (track)
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Study programme

Future Planet Ecosystem Science is a two-year programme (120 EC) with 30 EC dedicated to compulsory courses, a literature study (6 EC) and an independent Master's research project (at least 48 EC). An additional 36 EC can be devoted to either elective courses, a second research project, a minor (Tesla minor or the Science for Sustainability minor), or an internship in corporate consultancy, civil society or a governmental organisation.


The following courses are compulsory for Future Planet Ecosystem Science

  • Vulnerability Assessment of Geo-ecosystems (12 EC)
  • Grand Challenges of Human-Ecosphere Interactions (6 EC)
  • Quantitative Methodologies in the Empirical Cycle (6 EC)
  • Research Workshops and Skills Lab (6 EC)
  • Analysis and Modelling Lab (6 EC)

Elective courses for Future Planet Ecosystem Science

  • Science-Based Geo-ecosystem Management (6 EC)
  • Metropole Ecology (6 EC)

You can also choose from selected courses from other programmes, such as: Biogeochemical Cycles (6 EC), Applications in GIS & Remote Sensing (6 EC), Spatial Processes in Ecology & Evolution (6 EC), Ecosystem Services and Scientific Advocacy (6 EC), Soils and Landscape Degradation (6 EC), Ecotoxicology and Environmental Chemistry (6 EC), Advanced Spatial Analysis (6 EC).

For detailed information regarding the curriculum and courses, please see the UvA Course Catalogue via the link below. 

Master's thesis project

The Master's thesis research project is literally your masterpiece. It is an independent research project supervised by an expert. The topic of your research is preferably closely linked to the research of the group but can also be chosen freely as long as an expert on the topic can be found to supervise you.

During the period that you are working on your research project you will be a member of a research group to optimise communication with your peers and supervisors, to provide you with a broader perspective by being involved in other research as well, and to facilitate you in developing your professional network. You can also develop your project based on any of the research areas of the related research institutes.

Accreditation and title

This track is a specialisation of the UvA Master's programme Earth Sciences, which has been accredited by the Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO). This means that upon successful completion of the programme (a total of 120 EC), you will receive a legally recognised Master's degree in Earth Sciences and the title Master of Science (MSc).

Related research institutes

Future Planet Ecosystem Science works across disciplines and is firmly embedded in the interdisciplinary Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED) which covers high quality research on earth surface science, ecology, environmental chemistry, modelling, and big data analyses. Future Planet Ecosystem Science is designed in close collaboration with the Departments of Ecological Science and Environmental Geography of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, who also participate in the teaching.

Bring your own device

All students enrolled in Earth Sciences are requested to bring their own laptop, due to the nature of the programme. More information on specific system requirements can be found here.