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Unravel complex interactions between man and environment

Geographers are well versed in both the natural and social sciences and have specialised knowledge of techniques for analysing complex interactions between society and the environment. They make a major contribution to the debate on environmental change, globalisation, and other societal challenges and seek solutions for a more sustainable development of our planet, on both local and global scales. The Department of Geography of Vrije Universiteit Brussel and the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences of KULeuven have joined forces to offer a highly competitive two-year interuniversity master programme in Geography.

VUB and KULeuven: the best of Belgium!

The Geography departments of both Vrije Universiteit Brussel and KULeuven continuously develop and maintain innovative and internationally recognised research programmes on fundamental and applied aspects of Geosciences, Human Geography, and Geo-Information Science covering a wide range of spatial and temporal scales. Most research programmes are international collaborations, and both departments take part in various international research networks.

The offered courses are strongly embedded in the ongoing research programmes of both universities. Through intensive collaboration with members of the different research groups, you will get the opportunity to develop and improve your scientific skills.

If you are more interested in urbanisation, the planning and dynamics of cities, take a look at our Master of Science in Urban Studies.

Frederik Priem, alumnus and PhD student

A well balanced mix

"A well balanced mix of physical, social sciences and spatial modelling skills is what attracted me to study geography, and this is exactly what I got when I started out at VUB. I chose to specialise in GIS and spatial modelling, yet my master programme allowed me to explore other paths as well. My fields of interest were clearly reflected in the choice of my master thesis which focused on spatial analysis of rural poverty in southwest-Ethiopia, for which I had the opportunity to perform field work in this fascinating country."

Public info on the quality of the programme


INFORMATION ON THE EDUCATIONAL QUALITY OF EACH PROGRAMME IS PUBLIC, E.G. DESCRIBING ITS STRENGTHS AND ACTIONS. FOR THIS INTERUNIVERSITY PROGRAMME, THIS INFORMATION IS PROVIDED BY THE PARTNER INSTITUTION.

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Educational quality


TRANSPARENCY IS KEY. HERE AT VUB WE PUT GREAT CARE AND EFFORT IN THE QUALITY OF OUR EDUCATION. FIND OUT MORE ON HOW WE GO ABOUT IT.

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One master, four specialisation modules

The set-up of the programme allows you to match it to your interests and ambitions. Next to a common basis you can choose two out of four specialisation modules: Earth and Climate; Society and Space; Geo-information Sciences and Mixed Methods. The programme offers comprehensive coverage of spatial methods for analysing social and natural phenomena and their interactions. Hands-on training in the use of qualitative and quantitative geographical research techniques prepares you perfectly for your future career.

Common basis (27 ects)

  • Environmental Change (6 ects)
  • Environmental and Resource Economics I (6 ects)
  • Geography of Development (6 ects)
  • Introduction to Remote Sensing (3 ects)
  • Research Seminar (3 ects)
  • Physical Geography OR Socio-Economic Geography Fieldtrip (3 ects)

Specialisation (36 ects)
Choose two modules:

  • Earth and Climate (18 ects)
  • Society and Space (18 ects)
  • Geo-information Sciences (18 ects)
  • Mixed Methods (18 ects)

Strenghtening Courses (27 ects)
Modules

  • Climate and Meteorology
  • Sustainable Development
  • Terrestrial Systems
  • Urban Studies
  • Hydrology
  • Urban Planning and Design
  • Remote Sensing and Data Science
  • Tourism
  • Programming and Web Technologies

Internship (15 ects)

Reorientation Courses (up to 15 ects)

 

courses:

  • Atmospheric modelling (6 ects)
  • Dynamics and Modelling of glacial systems (6 ects)
  • Numerical Modelling (3 ects)
  • River geomorphology (3 ects)

Courses:

  • Economic and Financial Geography (6)
  • Housing and The City (6)
  • Political Ecology (3)
  • StadssalonsUrbains (3)

Courses:

  • Advanced Earth Observation Techniques (3 ects)
  • Remote Sensing of the Environment (3 ects)
  • Geospatial Information Technologies (6 ects)
  • GIS programming (6 ects)

Courses:

  • Interactive Data Visualization (6 ects)
  • Modeling Land Use Change (6 ects)
  • Natural Risk Management (3 ects)
  • Qualitative Research Methods (3 ects)

Specialisation module: Earth and Climate

This module focuses on environmental processes such as global warming, ice – climate interaction, meteorology, and geomorphology. Students who choose this module, gain a deep understanding of the physical aspects of the environment and a synthetic view on environmental issues. Combined with strengthening modules, it will provide them with all the knowledge needed to understand and participate in geo-scientific research.

Specialisation module: Society and Space

Given the imminent climate crisis and the ever-increasing impact of humans on our planet, a true understanding of how society and space relate to each other is needed. In this module students focus on the processes of economic development, urbanisation and urban development, policy and governance, but also on how use of the natural environment impacts social inequality. Through the strengthening courses, students can further specialise in themes such as sustainable development and tourism or the interdisciplinary field of urban studies and urban planning.

Specialisation module: Geo-information Sciences

This module offers the latest methods and techniques for spatial data collection and data processing, particularly in the area of remote sensing. You will also develop a strong understanding of modelling the complex interactions between human and the environment. Combined with the strengthening modules, students will be become experts in the use of spatial data in those fields where it matters most, such as environmental management, spatial planning, transport and mobillity.

Specialisation module: Mixed Methods

In the Mixed Methods module students deepen and broaden their knowledge of quantitative and qualitative research methods. Ample opportunity is provided apply these methods to geographic problems and to deepen the understanding of novel research approaches. How can we use Big Data to tackle complex urban problems ? How can one model land use changes? And what are state-of the art techniques for qualitative research? Combined with the other modules, you will master geographical methods and apply them to human-environment interactions.

Learning outcomes

Learning outcomes describe the intended knowledge and understanding, skills and attitudes that you must master after completing your studies.

Do you want to know more about the specific learning outcomes of this programme? Click here for more information.

THE WORLD IS YOUR OYSTER

International experiences give incredible opportunities and memories that last forever. They can also seriously improve your academic performance and your career prospects. That is why we want our students to go out into the world and become true world citizens. At VUB, the world is your oyster!

Field trips and excursions

As a geography student you are privileged. As the Earth is your study subject, you need to go out there and discover the world so you can truly understand it. Field trips and excursions are a crucial element of your study programme, and allow you to look at the world from either a physical or societal perspective. The departments at both universities have a host of research projects and collaborations from which you can benefit. That means you might spend a few months abroad for fieldwork in the framework of your master thesis (Equatorial Africa, Asia, South-America, European cities, etc.). You can also include a semester in another (European) country in your study programme or do an internship abroad. As you can see, the world is your oyster!

Erasmus+

Do these international excursions give you an appetite for more? The departments at both universities have a whole host of research projects and collaborations from which you can benefit. That means you might spend a few months abroad for fieldwork in the framework of your Master's thesis (Equatorial Africa, Asia, South America, European Cities, etc.). You can also include a semester in another (European) country in your study programme or do an internship abroad.

Go abroad?

Possibilities

Where will you go?

Destinations

AFTER GRADUATION

A master degree opens doors in many different branches and sectors. You will be able to work in the private sector, (non-) governmental organisations, or continue your academic career as a PhD researcher. Not sure what your next step should be? The VUB helps you with your first steps on the job market.

Your job? Solving real-world problems!

Geographers integrate the study of physical and human systems. They are in equal parts natural and social scientists and have specialised knowledge in geographical information science techniques.

There is a growing interest for the multidisciplinary approach geographers can offer to solve real-world problems at all spatial scales - from local to global - and a strong demand for competent professionals in the broad field of geospatial sciences. As a graduate from the interuniversity programme Master of Geography, you may be recruited by public authorities, private companies and research institutions dealing with urban and regional planning, mobility and transportation, tourism, environmental conservation and management, natural risk assessment, as well as by a multitude of providers and users of geodata-based tools and services.

Phd?


If you want to continue your academic career, you can apply for a PhD position at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. All you need is a promoter, research subject and sufficient funding. Are you up for this challenge?

More info
Harry Zekollari, PhD student

Unforgettable excursion to the Alps

"Studying at VUB opened my mind and was my introduction to the fascinating world of physical geography. After an unforgettable excursion to the Alps I decided to focus on this region for my Master's thesis and during my last year I had the opportunity to participate in two field work campaigns on a glacier in Switzerland. The thrill and excitement of working on a glacier made me realise that this was the environment where I belonged and where I wanted to spend the coming years of my life.
After my Master in Geography, I therefore started a PhD focusing on glaciers, ice caps and ice sheets around the world. During my PhD I travelled to some of the most remote places on earth and had the unique opportunity to visit ice masses in the European Alps, Alaska, Russia, Spitsbergen and even Antarctica. Working and living for several weeks in the Belgian Princesse Elisabeth research station, the first 'zero-emission' station in Antarctica, was an absolute highlight. It has been a truly amazing adventure so far and I often realise that non of this would have been possible if I had not studied Geography at VUB. It was probably the best choice I made in my life, one I would recommend to anyone."

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Admissions

Direct admission or online application? Find out more on this page.

Academic requirements

Direct admission - Flemish degrees:

  • Bachelor of Science in Geography
  • Bachelor of Science in Geography and Geomatics

Online application:

For other bachelors, admission will be evaluated based on academic records and skills. The following minimum requirements are requested:

  • 6 ECTS in social processes
  • 6 ECTS in physical processes
  • 6 ECTS in geo-information sciences
  • 9 ECTS mathematicsand statistics
  • 3 ECTS basic programming.

Specialisation modules:

  • Earth and Climate: applicants are required to have a solid background in natural sciences.
  • Geo-information Sciences and Mixed Methods: experience in programming, use of GIS and spatial analysis techniques is required for both modules.
  • Society and Space: applicants are expected to have a clear interest in social sciences.

Equivalency and admission to the programme will be based on a review of each student's academic record and will be evaluated case by case.

Language requirements

All prospective students need to provide a proof of sufficient knowledge of English. For more details have a look at the application page.

Online application

Students who don't have a Flemish bachelor degree are required to submit an online application. The application procedure consists out of three steps:

  1. Apply online
    Fill out your personal information and upload your documents.
  2. Screening of your application
    The Admissions Office and the Faculty will check if you are eligible.
  3. Result via e-mail
    If your application is accepted, we will send you a Letter of Acceptance.

All information on the admision procedure, requirements, deadlines and application forms can be found on the application page.

Application deadlines

There are two separate deadlines to submit an application if you are applying with a foreign degree, depending on whether or not you require a visa to enter Belgium.

You can find all information on the application page.

For more details on admission requirements and application

Click here

Practical information

Not sure how to get started? Wondering about housing?

Prepare your stay

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Housing


Depending on your situation, you can either arrange your own accommodation off campus, or apply for a VUB room on campus.

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Brochure

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Tuition fee


All information about our tuition fees in one place.

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Scholarships

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How much money do I need?


A general idea of how much money you'll need for housing, food and other living costs in Belgium.

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Convinced to come and study at the VUB?

Start your application now!

Online Info Session

Do you want to learn more about the VUB and this programme? Are you looking for an opportunity to ask all your questions? Join the online infosession and find out all there is to know!

First Online Info Session: 9 december 2021 (2pm CET)

We will start this online info session with a general introduction to VUB and the application process. After that, we will provide breakout rooms per programme for a more in depth presentation on the specifics of each programme.

Worried you might still have questions afterwards? We will leave plenty of time for a Q&A at the end as well.

Join the online info session

Register now!