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Masters in Hydrology

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
2 years
Full time
Master's degree
On campus
September 2020
Application deadline: Deadline: June 1st for Dutch students & also students from EU/EEA countries
2,143 EUR excl. VAT

Program description

Study a Masters in Hydrology in Amsterdam

The International Hydrology Master's program is in English and requires two years of study to obtain the 120 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) that you need for graduation as a Master of Science in Hydrology. A part of the program is compulsory (96 ECTS out of a total of 120 ECTS). You can choose electives worth 24 ECTS credit points from the Master's program in Hydrology or from other Master's programs in hydrological, natural or environmental sciences.

In the first year, the Hydrology MSc program consists of a combination of lectures, computer workshops, laboratory and field courses in Luxembourg and The Netherlands. This period is used to teach you the basics of theoretical and experimental hydrology, methods to assess hydrological risk for society and you learn to apply knowledge of hydrological processes to real world water management issues.

The second year allows further specialisation in your area of interest, and is concluded by 6-8 months Master thesis project. It includes elective courses at the VU on topics like groundwater, climate modelling, and biogeochemical cycles. Students may also opt to follow specific courses at other universities (e.g. UNESCO-IHE; TU Delft) in the Netherlands at no extra costs (see also Course program).

Understanding the hydrological system and its societal impacts

  • People in Africa and Asia walk an average of 6km to collect water
  • Only about 0.003 percent of the water on Earth can be used by humans

The MSc Hydrology is part of the VU-UvA cooperation: Amsterdam Water Science. The MSc aims at educating students to understand the complex interactions between hydrological processes and the relation with society, and how this may change under future global change:

  • - How does the hydrological system function and how does it relate with climate, vegetation and society? 
  • - How can we ensure there is enough water available for every person?
  • - Can we ensure water quality for agriculture, biodiversity and drinking water? 
  • - How can we minimize the impact of extreme flood events in dense urban areas? 

What do they offer?

  • You will learn to study hydrological processes and societal interactions from an integrated perspective, using real world examples.
  • Their motto is: ‘measuring is knowing’. In the first year, we offer 5 week fieldwork courses in the Netherlands and Luxembourg.
  • For second year MSc Thesis subjects they offer a permanent field site in Kitui, Kenya 
  • You will learn to apply field measurements and theory into estimating water risk for society and explore management options to lower risk.
  • International  MSc Thesis locations: tropical Amazonia, permafrost regions of Siberia, highly urban areas (New York City, Amsterdam and Jakarta).

Admission requirements

Admission requirements: 

  1. A BSc-level knowledge of physics, mathematics, chemistry and basic earth science subjects. The Admission Board decides on admission of any applicant, both Dutch and non-Dutch.
  2. Students with a Bachelor's degree in Earth Sciences - Geology or Physical Geography - from Dutch universities are eligible for admission with no specific course requirements in their optional program component.
  3. Proof of sufficient proficiency in English (English language proficiency test).

Does this course require proof of English proficiency?

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Tuition fees

The cost of this program for students of EU/EEA countries is €2,060.


Master in Hydrology

Continuing studies

Career prospects

Water is one of earth's natural resources that we simply cannot do without. In addition, safe and clean water is becoming increasingly scarce as demand continues to rise all over the world. This means that highly trained water scientists will always be able to find suitable employment.

There are many ways to put your knowledge and training to good use in your professional career. You may become involved in:

  • The science aspects of water through a PhD study on a hydrological subject
  • The management of groundwater exploration
  • Flood management, studies on the effects of land management on discharge
  • Erosion and sedimentation issues and their remediation
  • Quantifying Economic effects from hydrological risk: floods, droughts and pollution
  • Using satellite imagery and GIS to work on global or regional hydrology
  • Using your knowledge professionally to improve the management of water resources

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About this institute

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Welcome to Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (‘VU Amsterdam’) is an internationally renowned research university founded in 1880. The university offers over 175 English-taught programmes at Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD level to more than 26,000 students from all over the world. Students and staff...

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Why study at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

With more than 24,000 students, of which 4,088 are international, VU Amsterdam conducts cutting-edge research into problems of societal and scientific importance.

They distinguish themselves in research and education through four interdisciplinary themes:

  • Human Health and Life Sciences
  • Science for Sustainability
  • Connected World
  • Governance for Society

As a student this will help you to look beyond the boundaries of scientific disciplines, and to seek for tangible solutions for a better world.

In addition, VU Amsterdam regards diversity, whether in culture, conviction, nationality or prior education, as source of innovation and progress, and hence as special strength.

The Dutch higher education system has been ranked in the top 10 by Universitas 21. In the first Times Higher Education University Impact Ranking, VU Amsterdam is ranked 16th worldwide. In this ranking, universities are assessed based on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in order to measure the impact of the universities on society. In the Academic Ranking of World Universities 2018 (Shanghai Ranking) VU Amsterdam holds the 104th position. The international QS World University ranking 2021 places the Vrije Universiteit at number 236 in the world, which means the Vrije Universiteit belongs to the top 20% of the world.

At VU Amsterdam, the teaching style can be described as student-centred: they encourage students to develop their own opinions through independent and creative thinking. This means that teaching is mainly conducted in small tutorials, where interactivity is the norm rather than the exception. At every opportunity, students are encouraged to engage in constructive dialogue with their professors.

Contact info

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

De Boelelaan 1105
1081 HV Amsterdam
Netherlands, the

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