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M.Sc. Environmental Earth Sciences

Please notice that a new enrollment to the master program "Environmental Earth Science" is no longer possible.

Department of Earth Sciences

All information on the M.Sc. Environmental Earth Sciences provided on this website aims to give a basic overview about the master's program and is subject to change. You can find more detailed information in the study and examination regulations (PDF) and in the  regulations on the allocation of study placements (PDF).

  • Application period: April 15 - May 31
  • Program start:         Winter semester
  • Language:              English
  • Degree:                   Master of Science (M.Sc.)
  • Duration:                 4 semesters

The double degree master's program in Environmental Earth Sciences, which is offered by the Department of Earth Sciences (FU Berlin) in collaboration with Nanjing University (China), has a standard study period of four semesters and closes with a Master of Science degree. The language used in class is English, German is optional.

The information given refers to the study and examination regulations of 2011
(from the beginning of the 2011/12 winter semester).

Graduates of the master's program will be able to familiarize themselves rapidly and independently with subject matter in the Earth and Environmental Sciences and to plan, implement, and finalize process- and system-oriented projects using a goal-oriented approach. They are able to select the appropriate working methods, instruments, and techniques for the topic in question.

They are familiar with the interrelations between the solid Earth, the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, and the biosphere in terms of environmental science; they have a comprehensive understanding of the processes within and between the various geospheres and are able to analyze and interpret them. They have gained knowledge of fundamental and advanced geoscientific methods, including field methods, and are able to apply them.

As a result of their study stay in China, graduates possess knowledge of regional environmental systems and geoscientific processes.

In the master's program, evidence of study and examination performance totaling 120 credit points (CP) has to be provided, comprising

  • 60 CP in modules  at Freie Universität Berlin and 30 CP in course units of the study period abroad at Nanjing University (China)
  • 30 CP for the master's thesis with defense and accompanying colloquium.

The Sample Degree Program can be found here (PDF)!

Studying at Nanijing University (China) for one semester is an integral part of the master's curriculum and is scheduled for the second semester of the master's program. The coursework and exams during this study period abroad are part of the master's program.

The supervisors responsible for the master's program support students in their plans and preparations for studying abroad. They provide information about possible funding of travel and subsistence costs.

The Chinese Nanjing University will issue a separate certificate confirming the coursework performed in the course units studied at the Chinese Nanjing University. Portrait of Nanjing University.

1. Modules totaling 60 CP are taken at Freie Universität Berlin:

1.1. Of the required courses, modules totaling 44 CP are taken at Freie Universität Berlin as follows

        • Module: Geographical Information Processing for Advanced Students (10 CP)
        • Module: Ecosystem Dynamics (20 CP)
        • Module: Evinronmental Hydrogeology (6 CP)
        • Module: Weather and Climate Diagnosis (8 CP)

1.2. Of the elective courses, modules totaling 16 CP are taken at Freie Universität Berlin as follows:

1.2.1 Of the following two modules, one module totaling 6 CP must be chosen and completed:

        • Module: Landscape-Forming Processes and Material Flows (6 CP)
        • Module: Morphodynamics (6 CP)

1.2.2 Of the following modules, a student must choose and complete one module totaling 10 CP or

two modules each totaling 5 CP:

        • Module: Modelling in Environmental Hydrology (10 CP)
        • Module: Landscape Archaeology (10 CP)
        • Module: Climate Models (5 CP)
        • Module: Environmental Hydrology in Practice (5 CP).

2. The mandatory study period at Nanjing University, China comprises 900 hours (30 CP).

2.1. The course unit Chinese language course totaling 300 hours (10 CP) must be completed.

2.2. A total of 5 course units from at least three different subject areas must be chosen and completed.

Each course unit totals 120 hours:

      1. Subject area „Ocean Dynamics
      2. Subject area „Terrestrial Environmental Systems
      3. Subject area „Global Change and geochemical processes
      4. Subject area „Atmospheric processes
      5. Subject area „Laboratory and computer analysis

The individual modules of the mandatory and elective areas of the master's program can be found in the current study and examination regulations of 2012 (PDF).

At the end of the master's program a master's thesis must be submitted. The master's thesis is about 18,000 words long and must be written in English.

Study and examination regulations, sample degree program

Contents and qualification objectives of the modules are regulated by the study and examination regulations.

The structure of the master's program is further illustrated by the sample degree program.

Both can be found here.

Please notice that a new enrollment to the master program "Environmental Earth Science" is no longer possible.

Studying at Nanijing University (China) for one semester is an integral part of the master's curriculum and is scheduled for the second semester of the master's program. The coursework and exams during this study period abroad are part of the master's program.

The supervisors responsible for the master's program support students in their plans and preparations for studying abroad. They provide information about possible funding of travel and subsistence costs.

The Chinese Nanjing University will issue a separate certificate confirming the coursework performed in the course units studied at the Chinese Nanjing University. Portrait of the Nanjing University.

Necessary documents for enrollment at Nanjing University:

a) Undergraduate degree certificate (original or notarized copy one) and

b) Undergraduate degree transcripts (original or notarized copies ones).

These documents must be submitted by the 15th of November.

Please note that additional expenses for the flight and accommodation may arise during the stay in China. Freie Universität Berlin acts to ensure some kind of funding in order to support the participants of the master´s program during the semester abroad. However, Freie Universität Berlin cannot guarantee any financial support to cover the allowances related to studying in China.

Students do not pay any tuition fees; the university only charges semester fees and contributions each semester. Further information can be found here.

Please note that additional expenses for the practical course of the module Ecosystem Dynamics will arise during the study. The amount of these expenses is based on the costs incurred such as travel, accommodation, etc..

Throughout the degree program, students will be advised by both a German supervisor (Department of Earth Sciences of Freie Universität Berlin) and a Chinese supervisor (School of Geographic and Oceanographic Sciences, School of Earth Sciences and Engineering, and School of Atmospheric Sciences of Nanjing University, China).

The Center for Academic Advising and Psychological Counseling of Freie Universität Berlin will provide general student advisory services.

General information and addresses for application can be found here.

The mentors offer consultation and support by students for students (mainly for new students). Contact details of the lecturers and mentors can be found here (only in German).

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Graduates of the master's program are qualified for professional employment or for doctoral studies. Possible fields of employment and activity include public authorities, associations, organizations, industry, NGOs, development agencies, engineering and geo consulting, insurance companies, consultancy, administration, and politics.

Graduates can work within the public sector, mainly in higher education and research establishments as well as subject-related federal and regional authorities.

International research establishments and organizations also provide various employment opportunities. The study period at the University of Nanjing and the regional competences they have acquired open up fields of employment in China as well. 

The Study and Examination Regulations can be found here (PDF).

The Sample Degree Program can be found here (PDF).

The Entry Regulations can be found here (PDF).

What are the admission requirements?

Admission is limited. The number of placements available in the master's degree program is specified in the admission regulations of Freie Universität Berlin for each admission date. Further information can be found under Application, Admission and Enrollment


Am I eligible for the master program?

Please note that your eligibility for the master program is assessed based on the Regulations on the allocation of study placements at the end of the application procedure. Therefore no assessment on your personal eligibility can be given before you have finally applied for the master program.


Are there any special/additional procedures for international students?

As an international student, you need to consider certain matters concerning your language skills and educational qualifications. You can find detailed information under Studying at Freie Universität Berlin. If you have any further questions do not hesitate to contact us. Contact information is available under Contact and Academic Advising.

Do I need to understand or speak German or English?

The official course language at Freie Universität Berlin and Nanjing University is English. In addition, you will be required to successfully complete a Chinese language course during the study period at Nanjing University. More information under Application, Admission, and Enrollment.


Does the FU Berlin provide bridging course to fulfil the admission requirements?



How do I apply for the master's program?

The application for admission must be submitted in writing to the university management – Applications and Admissions Office – of Freie Universität Berlin. Further information is available under Application, Admission, and Enrollment.

When do I apply for the master's program?

April 15 - May 31, Program start: Winter semester.

Where can I find detailed information about the program content?

Detailed information about the program content and the modules included can be found in the Program Structure.

Is it possible to combine the master's program with a minor subject?

It is not possible to combine the master's program with a minor subject. However, you are allowed to choose specific elective courses from different departments and areas of interest. Get more information under Program Structure.

Is it possible to apply for a scholarship at Freie Universität Berlin

Freie Universität Berlin does not award any grants or scholarships. Students, however, do not pay any tuition fees; the university only charges semester fees and contributions each semester. Further information can be found here


Working while studying in Berlin

To get a job it is necessary as citizen from non-EU countries to have a residence and working permit. But even then as student you are not allowed to work fulltime. It is 120 full days or 240 half days per year, this limit cannot be crossed. Those wanting to work more than these days have to apply again for more time. If wanting to work during the holidays the 120/240 regulation is also valid. Internships are only excluded from the rule if they are obligatory for the study program.

Everybody who wants to earn money in Germany needs a tax payer’s account number, this means you need to register at the finance office. For so called 450€-Jobs (meaning you don’t earn more than 450€ per month) you do not pay taxes but for jobs during the holidays where you probably earn more, taxes get relevant. You need to be careful if you get any financial help like for example a scholarship how much money you are allowed to earn in addition. (Source)

Does FU Berlin provide scholarships for international students?

No, however more details on scholarships for international students can be found here.

Does FU Berlin provide an accommodation service?

Yes, more details can be found here.