Master of Science in Environmental Science

| Training the next-generation of environmental professionals | The Master's program and its three orientations | Career prospects


© Mariethoz © UNIL

Training the next-generation of environmental professionals

Human activities are a regular cause of imbalances in natural systems and the societies that depend upon them, at the local, regional, and global scales. Understanding the underlying physical, chemical and biological processes is essential for resolving contemporary environmental problems.

While environmental data are now being produced at high frequency and high resolution, there are still very few professionals that are adequately trained to deal and make sense of this huge data flow. The understanding of environmental issues is represented in the form of numerical  methods and models that allow informed management decisions to be made. However, such models must take into account data gathered through observation and monitoring of the phenomena concerned. Otherwise, the information they provide will be of little real value.

The Master of Science (MSc) in Environmental Science does not only provide an appropriate scientific basis in environmental geoscience, but it also addresses how the environmental data flow can be used to better inform environmental modeling, and how modeling can be used to make predictions from monitoring data. It addresses application areas that are affected by both physical and chemical processes (e.g., groundwater systems, landslides, landfills, point- and diffuse sources), as well as the interaction of environmental stressors with the biota. This interdisciplinarity will help to form professionals that are capable to address increasingly complex interactions between the critical zone, different biomes, and human activity.

NEW from Sept. 2020

In order to promote the integration of our master's students into the professional world, the new study plan for the master's degree in Environmental Sciences will make it possible for students to carry out long-term internships (up to one semester) in public institutions or companies and to be credited up to 20 ECTS.


The Master's program and its three orientations

The Master's program includes compulsory courses organized in two core modules, targetting the acquisition of key methological and numerical skills.

The Master's students can choose between three orientation modules

Natural hazards and risk or

Aquatic science or

Earth surface processes in mountain Environmnents

In the first year, students will take compulsory courses from two core modules and their chosen orientation module. In the second year, students complete free-choice courses along with their Master’s thesis.

This curriculum of 120 ECTS credits has a duration of four semesters after the Bachelor's degree. All compulsory courses are given in English (C1 recommended level).


Career prospects

• Research institutes
• Consulting firms
• Branches of the public administration responsible for environmental policy
• Non-governmental organisations dedicated to environmental protection
• Environmental management in companies

Refer to:


Studies at our faculty