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

March 01, 2019

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Location (s):

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


The International Master of Science in Soils and Global Change (IMSOGLO), is a joint Master programme organised byfour leading European universities in the field of soil sciences, covering both biogeochemical and physical aspects. IMSOGLO is a 2 year Master programme (120 ECTS) and leads to the joint degree of International Master of Science inSoils and Global Change.



The programme prepares students from all over the world to the rapidly evolving demands ofindustry, public services and research on the sustainable use and management of soils in a changing environment.The IMSOGLO programme is jointly organised by the following partner universities: Ghent University (UGent), Aarhus University (AU), University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU), and University of Göttingen (UGOE). The consortium was established in order to cover all expertise domains relevant to understand soils and global change.

After a general Module of Soil Fundamentals at UGent, the students will choose a specialisation:

  • The specialisation “Soil biogeochemistry & global change” (at BOKU and UGOE) focuses on sustainable landmanagement at BOKU, concentrating on the relation between globalisation, rural development and associated soilproblems and how sustainable land use can protect the soils and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. At UGOE focus willbe on the biogeochemical consequences of global change from an (agro-)ecological perspective at the scale levels ofthe landscape, the plant production system and the biogeochemistry of plants.
  • The specialisation “Physical land resources & global change” (at UGent and AU) focuses on natural resourcesmanagement for resilience to global change at UGent, concentrating on the how climate change influences soilperformance and how soil management and land use planning can prevent or remediate soil degradation.

At AU focus will be on soil physical and soil C consequences of global change: global soil degradation and ecosystem services,quantification of soil erosion and C-cycling and climate change.The partner universities jointly organise, with associated partners Joint Research Centre (JRC) and Chinese Academy ofSciences (CAS), a joint primer event during the first semester, and either a summer school at BOKU or a field work inChina. During these events, global change related soil problems and advanced solution methods are introduced. Upon graduation, the International Master of Science in Soils and Global Change should be qualified for a professional career in the following fields:

  • Private sector: consultancy in the area of land use planning, assessment, prevention and remediation of soildegradation, carbon sequestration strategies.
  • Research: applied or fundamental research.
  • Public sector: consultancy in land use planning, assessment, prevention and remediation of soil degradation, carbonsequestration strategies and policy development in local, regional and (supra)national administrations.

Learning Outcomes

Graduates will be able to:

  1. perform at an advanced level in 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, in relation to global change;
  3. characterise soil, and can translate this to soil quality and assess the relations to natural and anthropogenic factors;
  4. 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. 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. act from a researchers' perspective: creativity, accuracy, critical reflection, curiosity, justification of choices based on scientific criteria;
  8. integrate and extend acquired knowledge towards innovative solutions, knowing the limits of own competences;
  9. participate in and lead interdisciplinary groups for 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. communicate, orally and written, in words and in graphs, on the own discipline to experts and the general public.


This 2-year programme contains 120 ECTS credit units and has two specialization options of 90 ECTS:

  • Specialization "Soil biogeochemistry and global change" is organized by Ghent University, the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna and the University of Göttingen and leads to a joint MSc-diploma issued by these 3 universities.
  • Specialization "Physical land resources and global change" is organized by Ghent University and Aarhus University, and leads to a joint MSc-diploma issued by these 2 universities.

Both specializations share the introductory module of Soil Fundamentals at Ghent University (first semester, 30 ECTS, which includes a joint primer event) and a joint summer activity at the end of the second semester. The courses and locations during the second and third semester depend on the chosen specialization. Students follow mandatory courses and choose a number of eligible courses up to a total of 30 ECTS per semester. The MSc-thesis is done at one of the universities organizing the specialization, with co-supervision from the other university. It is also possible to do the thesis in conjunction with one of the associated partners: Joint Research Centre of the European Community, or Chinese Academy of Sciences (Nanjing).

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Description of Ideal Candidate:

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: March 01, 2019

Cost/funding for participants:

Complete the form before 1 March 2019 to be considered for a scholarship! A limited number of Erasmus Mundus Joint Master's Degree (EMJMD) scholarships is available for both European and non-European students.

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