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Environmental Geography (Human Geography)

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The Master Environmental Geography focuses on the relationship between humans and their ecosystem. Environmental challenges can be approached from different perspectives, which are analysed while taking spatial dynamics into account. You will examine the consequences of environmental changes on both local and global economies and study international climate change governance.

UvA online Open House

This year, you won’t be able to attend any busy on-campus events with lots of people. But our online Open House is the perfect way to get to know UvA study programmes and university life from the comfort of your own home.

Every study programme has an Open House page with videos, FAQs and live events. On the main Open House website you can discover all our programmes,explore the city and campus, and get inspired during our theme weeks.

Environmental Geography: Governance for Sustainability

The Master's in Environmental Geography focuses on human-ecosystem interactions and is well-placed to throw light on the daunting environmental challenges facing our planet. It could be argued that we have gone beyond the earth’s carrying capacity and are approaching planetary boundaries. Other arguments hold that human ingenuity will equip us to deal with new challenges in the future. This programme focuses on the relationship between humans and their ecosystems. This is done by taking a strong spatial perspective and researching the impact of both global and local environmental change on humans.

Climate change governance 

The Master's in Environmental Geography will begin with a broad coverage of all the key issues and will then focus on climate change governance – the causes and impacts, politics, policies and measures that can deal with climate change. This programme will examine the causes of climate change and will focus on the dynamics of energy and land-use challenges. It will also consider the impacts of climate change and focus on changing hydrological regimes and their effect on global biodiversity, food, water, livelihoods and infrastructure at local and global levels.

Real-life dynamics and relationships at various levels 

Environmental Geography will not just offer an abstract focus, but will also look at the real-life dynamics and relationships experienced at

  • a global level (changing North-South relations)
  • regional level (supranational and transboundary experiences)
  • national level (policy dilemmas and hybrid governance arrangements)
  • and local level (the opportunities and limits of action in specific contexts, whether urban or rural). 
FMG Human Geography - Environmental Geography - Sudan - the black pharaohs
Sudan - Photo: Retlaw Snellac (Flickr)

Studying Geography in Amsterdam 

Geography is all about studying people, space and place - and Amsterdam is the perfect place to do that. First of all the city of Amsterdam itself is the perfect location and junction to study, explore, experience geography. Secondly, the University of Amsterdam, a major research university, offers a Master’s programme taught by one of the highest ranked geography departments in continental Europe. Last but not least, the Graduate School of Social Sciences (GSSS) of Amsterdam provides a vibrant and international academic community. The GSSS values diversity in both research and academic content, academic staff and student population.

FMG Human Geography: Environmental Geography
Photo: J.D. Hancock

Focus on research: academic staff

The lecturers in the Master's track Environmental Geography are all active researchers involved in the Amsterdam Institute of Social Science Research (AISSR), Amsterdam research centres such as Centre of Urban Studies, IMES, ACCESS EUROPE and numerous international research networks and projects. They bring this research expertise and their networks to the programme.

This track builds on cutting-edge research projects from the related research group of the Amsterdam Institute of Social Science Research. Insights from these research projects are integrated into the main thematic course, and the Master's thesis projects which take place in the second semester of the programme.

The teaching in this track is organised in small groups. This results in small scale research communities in which academic staff and students work closely together in a less formal and more open environment.

Student profile

The Master’s programme Human Geography welcomes

  • both international and Dutch students; 
  • both UvA alumni and students from other (Dutch and foreign) universities;
  • both students with a bachelor degree in Human Geography & Planning and students with a bachelor degree in a related discipline and field of study. 

This makes the group of students very diverse and results in an international classroom with attractive group discussions as all participants bring in their specific background and experiences.

The programme is very high-level and demanding, and we expect students to devote full attention to their studies during the entire year. Students are actively involved in the content of the programme by organising track seminar sessions, but are also continuously challenged by involved academic staff to explore the boundaries of human geography. 


Within various interdisciplinary and problem oriented projects, the programme encourages students to develop their skills in:

  • GIS – Geographical Information Systems
  • Social Science research methods – both qualitative methods, quantitative methods, and mixed methods;
  • Presentation and Communication – to pitch an idea or present research outcomes;
  • Cooperation – to work in teams and evaluate the work of peers.

The combination of taught skills, together with the specialisation track and the focus in the thesis will prepare students for their future career as a geographer in a wide array of institutional contexts: either public service, profit sector or civil society, either local, national, international or transnational organisations.

Ambition in research?

For students interested in this field of study, we also offer a two-year Research Master’s programme in International Development Studies and Urban Studies.

Degree certificate

Environmental Geography is a track of the accredited degree programme Human Geography. After successful completion of this programme, you will receive a legally accredited Master’s degree in Human Geography and the title Master of Science (MSc).

Facts & Figures
Degree programme MSc Human Geography
Type Regular study programme
Mode Full-time
Credits 60 ECTS, 12 months
Language of instruction English
Starts in September
CROHO code 66620