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Program Earth and Environmental Sciences

Earth and Environmental Sciences

BSc undergraduate program

This program combines traditional disciplines in geosciences such as geochemistry, geophysics, oceanography, and environmental sciences, and connects these to social sciences, economics, and management. Students learn about the sustainable exploration and management of natural resources, the evolution of the Earth’s crust, climate, and oceans, and about the anthropogenic impact on natural systems. Practical, international field excursions, involvement in ongoing research projects, and internships are integral parts of the program. The Jacobs Geoscience program was highly ranked in the recent CHE RANKING 2015

Program Structure and Content

Modul EES
Year 1
Take 3 CHOICE Modules, at least one free selection
Inorganic Chemistry and Environmental Systems
The bi-functional module “Inorganic Chemistry and Environmental Systems” provides an introduction to (inorganic) chemistry and to fundamental geosciences and the anthropogenic impact on the natural (near-) surface environment of Earth. Two introductory lecture courses “Introduction to Inorganic Chemistry” (focus on the elements of the PSE, molecular compounds derived from them, redox reactions) and “Earth and Environmental Systems” (focus on Geodynamics, Petrography, Soil Science, Hydrogeology, Geomorphology, and anthropogenic impact on the (near-) surface environment) are complemented by an on-campus laboratory course (Inorganic Chemistry Lab) and an off-campus field-lab (excursion) to develop fundamental practical skills.
Physics of Natural Systems
Physics of Natural Systems provides an introduction to the physical description of natural phenomena and covers fundamental topics in physics and earth and environmental sciences (EES). Important concepts from mechanics, thermodynamics, fluid dynamics, electromagnetism, atoms and nuclei are introduced and applied to essential processes in Earth, marine, and planetary sciences. Structure and dynamics of natural systems are studied with moderate use of mathematics. Practical sessions will cover important experimental techniques and tools. This module provides a foundation for the higher level EES and Physics modules Earth, Ocean, and Environmental Physics, Physics and Technology, Theoretical Physics, and Physics of Matter.
Year 2
Take 3 CORE Modules, at least 2 from study program
Fundamental Earth and Environmental Sciences
The module “Fundamental Earth and Environmental Sciences” is comprised of essential geoscience courses that represent the backbone of a sound university education in the geosciences. Core courses on Sedimentology, Structural Geology, Volcanism and Metamorphism are complemented by applied courses in environmental and resource geoscience. If relevant, both marine and terrestrial systems are discussed. A key element of these courses are on-campus practicals during which the students are introduced to geological methods and techniques. These essential practical skills are further expanded upon and applied in a real-world scenario during a five day off-campus geological field camp.
Earth, Ocean and Environmental Chemistry
The module “Earth, Ocean and Environmental Chemistry” is comprised of fundamental geochemistry courses that represent the backbone of a sound university education in geochemistry and geochemistry-focussed environmental and resource science. Core courses on igneous and aqueous (trace) element geochemistry and introductory courses on stable and radiogenic isotope geochemistry are complemented by a course on the biogeochemical aspects of environmental and resource science and an off-campus field camp focusing on environmental sciences. All courses address terrestrial as well as marine systems.
Earth, Ocean and Environmental Physics
The module “Earth, Ocean, and Environmental Physics” covers topics and methods that are essential in geophysics and physical oceanography. Emphasis will be on the quantitative assessment of physical processes and structures in terrestrial and marine systems. Important concepts are introduced and studied in lectures, and then applied and consolidated in practical courses such as field trips and computer labs on remote sensing and data analysis. The module constitutes one of the CORE pillars of the Earth and Environmental Sciences (EES) program and in general may complement the education of students interested in a physics-based presentation of fundamental EES topics.
Year 3
Take CAREER Modules, choose between World and Campus Track
1. World Track
5th Semester:
  • Program-specific Internship / study abroad
6th Semester:
  • Program-specific Project / Thesis Module
  • Program-specific Specialization Module
  • Exemplary course offering:
    • Resources and Environmental Behaviour of Critical High-Technology Metals
    • Earth, Ocean and Environmental Sciences Field Lab
    • Current Topics in Earth and Marine Sciences
    • Current Topics in Resource and Environmental Sciences
    • Theoretical and Computational Physical Oceanography

2. Campus Track
Students who do not enter the World Track follow the Campus Track
5th and 6th Semester:
  • Program-specific Project / Thesis Module
  • Program-specific Specialization Module (please see World Track for exemplary course offering)
  • Additional CORE Module
For further information, please see the program website: