Thursday, September 27, 2012

Master of Science in Physical Land Resources

Tenable at Ghent University & Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Period: September 2013 - September 2015
Language: English
Number of VLIR-UOS Scholarships: 16
Promoter: Prof. E. Van Ranst (Ghent University)
Prof. W. Cornelis (Ghent University)
Prof. O. Batelaan (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)
Link to application form:
Ghent University
Physical Land Resources Programme Secretariat
T +32 (0)9 264 46 38
F +32 (0)9 264 49 91
Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Department of Hydrology and Hydraulic Engineering
T +32 (0)2 629 30 21
F +32 (0)2 629 30 22

Programme content
A country’s physical land resources are fundamental for human life and welfare. Worldwide population pressure and severe degradation, pollution and desertification problems are threatening these natural resources leading to competition between agricultural and industrial purposes, urban planning and nature conservation. To guarantee proper use and management of what is a basic commodity for a nation, well-trained specialists are given thorough knowledge of the properties and characteristics of this natural resource and solid insight into factors and measures that may alter their actual state and value.

The purpose of the main subject in Soil Science is to train researchers, academics and government staff in the inventory and detailed characterisation of land capacity, particularly soils. Graduates understand the development and evolution of soils under natural conditions or following human interference, using field, map, laboratory and remote-sensing data. They have the knowledge to use and manage soil and water in a sustainable way and optimize land use. The main subject in Land Resources Engineering offers training in non-agricultural use and application of soil, and includes geotechnical aspects (use of soil as building material or for foundations, slope stability and stability of excavations), the role of soil water and groundwater for water management and supply, and soil management in relation to environment and land use (erosion, sediment transport, coastal development and protection).

The first year provides a general and comprehensive foundation in physical land resources and as such is accessible to students with a good scientific background who have a limited knowledge of physical land resources. The first year courses are mainly general courses and (25%) main subject courses in the field of either Soil Science or Land Resources Engineering. All 1st year courses are lectured at Ghent University. In the second year the student continue the same main subject as in the first year: students of the option Soil Science continue their studies at Ghent University and those of the option Land Resources Engineering will be lectured at Vrije Universiteit Brussel. The first semester of the 2Nd year consists of 6 elective courses and the 2nd semester is fully reserved for the master dissertation. (30 credits out of 60). 

All courses have a theoretical and a practical part. Some courses include fieldwork and may be supplemented with excursions. The first year programme provides for informative and interdisciplinary seminars that allow students to participate actively and work independently. The thesis (second year) must be defended orally, in public before a jury.

Admission requirements

Each application will be evaluated by a board of admission of the specific programme and has to be approved by the Faculty Council and by the Rector’s office
i) Entry conditions
Applicants must have a Bachelor's degree of minimum 3 years with good overall scores (at least a second class or equivalent, preferably higher) from a university or recognized equivalent.
ii) Language knowledge
The applicant must be proficient in the language of the course or training programme, i.e. English. Command of the English language is a very important criterion for admission. With the exception of those who have a diploma (Secondary Education, Academic Bachelor Degree, Master Degree) issued by an institution officially recognized by the Flemish Government, applicants must be able to prove their proficiency in English. There are 4 possibilities to supply this proof:
1.     TOEFL certificate (the UGent TOEFL code is 2643) with:
       a minimum total score of 550 on the paper based test, or
       a minimum total score of 79 on an internet based test.
        The test validity is max. 2 years.
2.     IELTS with a minimum overall band score of 6. The test validity is max. 2 years.
3.     Proof of at least 1 year of comprehensive English-based instruction at a university or recognized equivalent.
Remark: TOEFL/IELTS predictive tests are not acceptable.

iii) Specific academic admission criteria
Applicants are expected to have a basic science training in (1) mathematics or statistics and (2) chemistry or biochemistry, and an overall academic education background in a relevant discipline like (either) agriculture, biology, forestry, environment, land and water management, physical geography, geology or civil engineering. Relevant research or working experience of about 2 years is recommended but not a prerequisite, unless the former field of study (degree obtained) was not directly relevant for or pertaining to soil science or land resources engineering.

Type of diploma
Master degree


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