Educational quality of the programme

At VUB the quality of the education takes centre stage. This isn't something we say lightly: we scrutinise our programmes regularly to align them with changing student needs in a rapidly changing society.

Our strengths

  • Expertise from 3 universities combined in 1 programme: the master programme is jointly organised by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Universiteit Gent and Universiteit Antwerpen, each with their own complementary focus and expertise.
  • Interdisciplinary: the programme offers an integrated approach of biological, geological, chemical, physical and social aspects of aquatic environments in its widest sense. As the students are trained in both fundamental and applied sciences, they graduate as scientists familiar with policy-making.
  • International Master Programme (ICP): β€˜Oceans & Lakes’ is supported by the VLIR-UOS (Flemish Interuniversity Council – University Development Cooperation) and hence comprises a well elaborated development-oriented curriculum. The international, diverse student group provides an ideal setting for peer training.
  • Hands-on education: field and laboratory courses and training abroad, for example on research vessels ensure that students gain knowledge and skills in authentic environments.
  • Personal guidance: the course coordination office advise students on their individual programme options and provide help where necessary. The excellent teaching staff is very dedicated and highly approachable.


Where do we get this information from?

We routinely ask our students for their honest opinions about the study programme during their academic careers. We also consult our professors and assistants and gauge the expectations in the future field of work. Lastly, we receive structured feedback from our former students and compare our programmes with others at home and abroad.


Opportunities for development

  • The programme attracts students with diverse academic backgrounds. For interdisciplinary programmes, and Oceans & Lakes is no exception, it is a continuous challenge to maintain the balance between providing students with the same background knowledge while simultaneously covering sufficient depth of knowledge.
  • Because students have diverse academic and cultural backgrounds, there is a huge potential for peer training. While consistent efforts have been made to leverage the potential of peer learning, Internationalisation@home activities could be more structurally embedded in the programme.
  • In addition to the theoretical classes and field courses, more laboratory classes could be incorporated in the programme.


What is the programme working on now?

  • The programme will consult the professional field to keep track of the expectations regarding the competences of graduated students.
  • As the participation of alumni in the programme is highly valued, continuous efforts are made to bring in their expertise into the curriculum.
  • The programme is establishing new collaboration with universities abroad, which has as an effect that the programme attracts more students and can offer more internship positions.
  • The programme is optimising the balance between lacustrine and marine sciences by adding more courses about lacustrine sciences to the curriculum and by including more examples about lacustrine sciences to existing courses.


This public information is part of VUB’s quality assurance and was approved by the Course Council in 2021.