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Master’s programme in Physical Geography & Ecosystem Science

Our Master´s programme in Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science offers a deeper knowledge in working with advanced technical information and complex issues within the area of environmental and climate change.


Bachelor's degree representing 180 ECTS in scientific or technical subjects. When you are accepted as a student to the programme, you are guaranteed a place on all courses on condition that you fulfil the particular entry requirements for each course.

You must also be able to demonstrate proficiency in English by means of an internationally recognised test, e.g. TOEFL, IELTS or the equivalent. There may be some other country specific requirements.

Read more about general admission requirements

Programme contents

During the programme a range of courses is offered and as a student you will be are able to choose from many specialisations as subject for your master thesis in the following subjects:

  • Global environments and global cycling
  • Climatology and climate change
  • Ecosystems analysis
  • Biogeophysics
  • Methods of environmental analysis
  • GIS with a specialisation in environmental issues
  • Remote sensing with a specialisation in environmental issues

Exchange possibilities

A MSc from our department requires 45 credits from our courses plus the master degree project, which means 45 credits elective courses and exchange possibilities.

Job market after education

The programme leads to several different professional roles, depending on your choice of courses. These could be work with climate and water issues, nature conservation planning in a local authority, foreign aid work, EU related issues, handling of data and development of analytical methods.

Overview of courses in the programme

The first two courses are mandatory, as well as the last degree project course. In addition, you must study 15 ects courses of your choice at our department the get your degree with us. Then threre are 45 ects to choose from our courses, or other courses at other departments at Lund University or other universities, or go on exchange studies abroad. Note that you may have a maximum of 30 credits basic courses in your master´s degree.

The proposed study plan as it is given at the department:

Year 1

Starting with the autumn semester:

Greenhouse gases and biogeochemical cycles, 15 ects (mandatory course)

In this course you will gain theoretical and practical knowledge in ecosystem analysis with a special focus on the biogeochemical cycles of carbon and greenhouse gases. You will also learn about feedback mechanisms that affect cycles and what they mean for climate and climate change. During the course, a trip is made to northern Sweden with field exercises in the area around Abisko, which is a subarctic environment.

 Read more about the course Greenhouse gases and biogeochemical cycles 

Climate change and its impact on the environment, 15 ects (mandatory course)

You will learn to study the causal relationships that can explain climate variations and changes. You will use models and modeled scenarios to study global and regional climate change and possible effects on, for example, hydrology, water resources, ecosystems and ecosystem processes, biodiversity, biogeography, wind energy and storm damage.

 Read more about the course Climate change and its impacts on the environment

Ecosystem modelling, 15 ects (alternative 1, spring period 1)

Simulation models are important tools in the environmental sector to produce a basis for environmental policy decisions and planning. In research contexts, modeling is used to describe complex systems. and to increase understanding of different ecosystems. This course addresses some of the different models used in ecosystem and environmental sectors, industries and research disciplines.

Read more about the course Ecosystem modelling 

Spatial Analysis, 7.5 credits and Geographical Databases, 7.5 credits (alternative 2, spring period 1 - previous 15 credits GIS required)

In the course Spatial Analysis, you will gain knowledge about correlations between geographical data, regression methods, geostatistics, the scale problems in spatial analysis and geographical data, and basic structure of geographical decision support systems. The course Geographic databases contains theoretical and practical concepts in geographical databases, including design, implementation and application aspects. Note that the two courses require that you already have 15 credits of GIS.

Read more about the course Spatial Analysis

Read more about the course Geographical Databases

Satellite remote sensing, 15 credits

In this course, you will gain knowledge in digital satellite-based remote sensing for studies of the earth's environment and the human impact on it. You will also learn data processing and image processing methods and thematic map production. The course gives you an overview of important application areas, such as climate, forestry, urban applications and water management and how to use satellite data.

Read more about the course Satellite-based remote sensing

Year 2:

Starting with the autumn semester:

Elective,  15 credits (alternative 1, autumn period 1)

Study at our department or at another department at Lund University, or elsewhere.

Geographic information systems, basic course, 15 credits (alternative 2, autumn period 1)

You learn cartography, geographic information in digital formats, basic analysis of geographic data, present information in digital maps and more. GIS is a very useful tool in nature conservation, urban planning, analysis and other areas, and is therefore a sought-after knowledge of many employers.

Read more about the course Geographical Information Systems

Global ecosystem dynamics, 15 ects

The course is about ecosystem processes in natural, production-oriented and urban ecosystems. You study how ecosystem processes are affected by direct and indirect climate effects, as well as by different actors and their need for ecosystem services. The course has an interdisciplinary perspective to illuminate the interaction between local, regional and global drivers and changes.

Read more about the course Global Ecosystem Dynamics

Degree project master, 30 credits (mandatory course)

The degree project is your independent work, where you immerse yourself in a topic that interests you. You have a supervisor and can, for example, do your degree project in one of the research projects that our talented researchers at the department work with. You can also choose to do your degree project in collaboration with companies, other universities or organizations. You make the layout and subject delimitation in consultation with your supervisor.

Read more about the course Master degree project

Programme facts

Level: Master
Credits: 120 ECTS
Program starts: Autumn
Language of instruction: English
Prerequisites: General admission requirements and courses equivalent to a bachelor's degree (180 ECTS) in natural sciences, or engineering in relevant areas.

How to apply for this programme