International Master of Science in Soils and Global Change (IMSOGLO) - Erasmus+ Programme

February 28, 2022

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Location (s):

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Denmark
  • Germany
Vienna, Ghent, Aarhus, Göttingen


Global change has profound effects on soils that are observed throughout the world. This emphasizes the need to train more people worldwide who understand how soils react to global change and are able to develop preventive actions and remediation strategies to increase soil resilience. Study at 4 leading European universities and make the difference.


This 2-year master programme contains 120 ECTS credit units and leads to the joint diploma of International Master of Science in Soils & Global Change.

Language of instruction: English.

Programme Learning Outcomes

In a few words: IMSOGLO graduates have the knowledge and skills to characterize soils and understand soil evolution in an ecosystem context under global change (because they understand the underlying processes and interactions).

In detail: IMSOGLO graduates will…

  1. possess a broad knowledge at an advanced level in basic disciplines (soil physics, soil biogeochemistry, land information systems, meteorology and climatology);
  2. understand the evolution of soil (agro-/forest/natural) ecosystems under natural conditions and human-impact, as well as its relation to global change;
  3. have the ability to characterise soil physically, biologically and chemically, using advanced techniques to understand soil processes, to translate this to soil quality and to assess the influences by and on natural and anthropogenic factors;
  4. possess the basic methods to conduct field work (soil survey, soil profile description, soil sampling), interpret analytical data, classify the soil, and manage and interpret existing geospatial (soil) data;
  5. have the ability to plan and execute target orientated experiments or simulations independently and critically evaluate the collected data;
  6. possess a holistic understanding of interactions and processes in the agro-ecosystem and natural ecosystems, using statistical tools and advanced (geospatial) information- and modelling techniques;
  7. have the ability to act from a researchers’ perspective: creativity, accuracy, critical reflection, curiosity, justification of choices based on scientific criteria;
  8. have the ability for independent integration and extension of acquired knowledge to update concepts and innovate implementation possibilities, knowing the limits of own competences;
  9. have the ability to participate in and lead interdisciplinary groups that contribute the development of sustainable environmental solutions at local, regional and global scale;
  10. possess qualifications for employment in private and public-sector companies and organisations where high level expertise in soil management is required;
  11. have the ability to communicate, orally and written, in words and in graphs, on the own discipline to experts and the general public.


IMSOGLO contains two specialization options of 90 ECTS, to be chosen at application time and to start after the 1st semester (30 ECTS).

Soil biogeochemistry and global change is organized by Ghent University (Belgium), the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna (Austria) and the University of Göttingen (Germany) and leads to a joint master diploma issued by these three universities.

Keywords: microbiology; agroforestry; agro-ecology; lab experimentation.

Specialization-specific learning outcomes:

IMSOGLO graduates who took the specialization Biogeochemistry will additionally be able to …

  1. sample, measure and describe basic concepts of biogeochemistry, in particular element cycles and fluxes in (agro-) ecosystems;
  2. recognise the impact of soil properties and processes on plant nutrition and health;
  3. evaluate the role of trees in land use systems, with particular emphasis on agroforestry;
  4. develop appropriate field designs and experimental procedures to address testable hypotheses;
  5. design, apply and evaluate experiments using both stable and radioactive isotopes;
  6. understand the role of soil microorganisms for soil properties and plant nutrition in relation to their activities in the environment.

Physical land resources and global change is organized by Ghent University (Belgium) and Aarhus University (Denmark), and leads to a joint master diploma issued by these two universities.

Keywords: Prevention and remediation of soil degradation in an agricultural context; Land evaluation for ecosystem functioning; Soil water & C-cycles in an agricultural context; Modelling soil water and element fluxes and soil development for various vegetations.

Specialization-specific learning outcomes:

IMSOGLO graduates who took the specialization Physical Land Resources will additionally be able to…

  1. describe and model the soil water cycle and its relation to soil degradation and soil management;
  2. design soil water management strategies under a changing climate;
  3. recognise soil threats and to identify promising ecosystem services for a field situation;
  4. measure and model erosion risk, soil compaction and the other soil threats identified by the EU;
  5. characterise the relation between the C-cycle and the climate at different scales;
  6. apply land evaluation techniques to identify and choose between promising land management alternatives in a regional context.


  • Founded in 1872, the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, known too by its acronym BOKU, comprises 15 departments and four service centres in and around Vienna. BOKU has about 12 000 students (20% international), about 700 scientists employed on a project basis, about 74 full professors and about 130 associate professors. BOKU is a unique Austrian research and teaching organisation with strong focus on soil and terrestrial ecosystems, biotechnology, resources and societal dynamics, water-atmosphere-environment, living space and landscape, renewable raw materials, food-nutrition-health and nano sciences.
  • Ghent University ( was founded in 1817. Currently (2020), it has 11 Faculties and attracts over 46,000 students, with a foreign student population of about 13% (40% of PhD students). Annually, the university received about 6,200 foreign students. In 2016, the university invested over 297 million Euros in research projects and employed around 7,900 academic staff members. Ghent University is currently ranked 66th in the Shanghai and 103th in the Times ranking, respectively, and the university is one of the fastest growing European universities in terms of research capacity and productivity. For IMSOGLO-matters, the general and UGent coordinator is Prof. dr. Peter Finke (
  • Aarhus University is a young, modern university established in 1928. It has grown to become a leading public research university with international reach covering the entire research spectrum. Around 12% of 39.000 students are international, representing over 106 nationalities. The university is consistently ranked as one of the world’s top universities. It was ranked number 65 in the 2018 Shanghai ranking and among the world’s 100 best universities in 17 out of 42 subjects in the latest 2018 QS World University Rankings by Subject. According to Universitas 21 Ranking 2017 Denmark ranks fourth best in the world in proving higher education. Denmark is widely cited as one of the world’s most liveable places.
  • The University of Göttingen is an internationally renowned research university. Founded in 1737 in the Age of Enlightenment, the University is committed to the values of social responsibility of science, democracy, tolerance and justice. It offers a comprehensive range of subjects across 13 faculties: in the natural sciences, humanities, social sciences and medicine. With over 30,000 students and offering up to 200 degree programmes, the University is one of the largest in Germany. Two Faculties are involved in IMSOGLO, i.e. the Faculty of Geosciences and Geography, and the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences (with the Department of Crop Sciences as the Lead).

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Admission Requirements

Academic requirements

  • Academic Bachelor degree (minimum 180 ECTS credits) in pure or applied sciences (e.g., chemistry, biology, geology, civil or agricultural engineering, environmental or agricultural sciences, etc.) or an equivalent level from a recognised university or Engineering College.
  • Sufficient academic knowledge of mathematics, physics and chemistry is a requirement.

Language requirements

The applicant must be proficient in English:

  • ACADEMIC IELTS 6,5 overall score with a min. of 6 for writing
  • CEFR C1 Issued by a European university language centre
  • ESOL CAMBRIDGE English CAE (Advanced)
  • 'Language of instruction' is not accepted as proof of language proficiency, except for nationals from USA, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland or Canada that are holders of a certificate of an English taught degree of min. 60 credits issued by their home university .


Deadline: February 28, 2022

Cost/funding for participants:

The EMJMD scholarship is a full scholarship that covers tuition fee, monthly allowance and travel costs up to a total of 49000 EUR for the full 2-year master programme.

  • The tuition fee is automatically paid from the scholarship.
  • The student receives 1000 EUR/month allowance as support for housing and general subsistence outside of the country of residence of the student (food & leisure).
  • A travel allowance up to 3000 EUR/year (can be lower depending of distance to coordinating university).
  • An installation contribution of 1000 EUR, one time for partner country students (non-EU/non-EEA).
  • All nationalities can apply.
  • Application deadline: 1st of March 2021. Notification of scholarship nominees on April 1st 2021.



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