Programme content

This 2-year master programme contains 120 ECTS credit units and leads to the joint diploma of International Master of Science in Soils & Global Change.

Language of instruction: English.

Programme Learning Outcomes

In a few words: IMSOGLO graduates have the knowledge and skills to characterize soils and understand soil evolution in an ecosystem context under global change (because they understand the underlying processes and interactions).

In detail: IMSOGLO graduates will…

  1. possess a broad knowledge at an advanced level in basic disciplines (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, as well as its relation to global change;
  3. have the ability to characterise soil physically, biologically and chemically, using advanced techniques to understand soil processes, to translate this to soil quality and to assess the influences by and on natural and anthropogenic factors;
  4. possess the basic methods to 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. have the ability to 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. have the ability to act from a researchers’ perspective: creativity, accuracy, critical reflection, curiosity, justification of choices based on scientific criteria;
  8. have the ability for independent integration and extension of acquired knowledge to update concepts and innovate implementation possibilities, knowing the limits of own competences;
  9. have the ability to participate in and lead interdisciplinary groups that contribute the 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. have the ability to communicate, orally and written, in words and in graphs, on the own discipline to experts and the general public.


IMSOGLO contains two specialization options of 90 ECTS, to be chosen at application time and to start after the 1st semester (30 ECTS).

Soil biogeochemistry and global change is organized by Ghent University (Belgium), the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna (Austria) and the University of Göttingen (Germany) and leads to a joint master diploma issued by these three universities.


microbiology; agroforestry; agro-ecology; lab experimentation.

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Specialization-specific learning outcomes:

IMSOGLO graduates who took the specialization Biogeochemistry will additionally be able to …

  1. sample, measure and describe basic concepts of biogeochemistry, in particular element cycles and fluxes in (agro-) ecosystems;
  2. recognise the impact of soil properties and processes on plant nutrition and health;
  3. evaluate the role of trees in land use systems, with particular emphasis on agroforestry;
  4. develop appropriate field designs and experimental procedures to address testable hypotheses;
  5. design, apply and evaluate experiments using both stable and radioactive isotopes;
  6. understand the role of soil microorganisms for soil properties and plant nutrition in relation to their activities in the environment.

Physical land resources and global change is organized by Ghent University (Belgium) and Aarhus University (Denmark), and leads to a joint master diploma issued by these two universities.


Prevention and remediation of soil degradation in an agricultural context; Land evaluation for ecosystem functioning; Soil water & C-cycles in an agricultural context; Modelling soil water and element fluxes and soil development for various vegetations.

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Specialization-specific learning outcomes:

IMSOGLO graduates who took the specialization Physical Land Resources will additionally be able to…

  1. describe and model the soil water cycle and its relation to soil degradation and soil management;
  2. design soil water management strategies under a changing climate;
  3. recognise soil threats and to identify promising ecosystem services for a field situation;
  4. measure and model erosion risk, soil compaction and the other soil threats identified by the EU;
  5. characterise the relation between the C-cycle and the climate at different scales;
  6. apply land evaluation techniques to identify and choose between promising land management alternatives in a regional context.

The full programme with courses is shown below:

Programme overview

2022 -2023

Master year 1

TypeCourseInstructorStudy hoursCredits (ECTS)
MandatoryPedologyPeter Finke1355
MandatorySoil ChemistryFilip Tack1355
MandatorySoil PhysicsWim Cornelis1355
MandatoryLand Information SystemsFrieke Vancoillie1355
MandatorySoil GenesisPeter Finke1355
MandatoryApplied StatisticsAisling Daly1255

Depending on the chosen specialization:

Specialization 1

Soil Biogeochemistry and Global Change

TypeCourseInstructorStudy hoursCredits (ECTS)
MandatoryEcosystem Dynamics and their Effect on Greenhouse GasesSophie Zechmeister-Boltenstern903
MandatorySoil ProtectionWalter Wenzel903
MandatorySustainable Land Use in Developing CountriesGeorg Gratzer903
MandatoryGlobalisation and Rural DevelopmentMartin Kniepert903
Mandatory Soil Problems in Aridic and Semiaridic Regions Eugenio Diaz-Pines903
MandatorySummer School or Field workPeter Finke3
Elective courses (pick four for 12 ECTS)
Possible Impacts of Climate Change on Water Resources
Hubert Holzmann903
ElectiveEnvironmental Risk Analysis and ManagementHans-Peter Nachtnebel903
ElectiveValuation Methods for Natural ResourcesUlrich Morawetz903
ElectiveSoil Management in Tropical and Subtropical Developing RegionsEugenio Diaz-Pines903
ElectiveSoil Fertility and Soil Ecology in Organic AgricultureJürgen Kurt Friedel903
ElectiveAgroforestry in Mountain RegionsGeorg Gratzer903
ElectiveField Trip – Rural Water Management Michael Stockinger101
ElectiveForest Soil BiologyAndreas Schindlbacher903
ElectiveSoil Microbiology CourseKatharina Keiblinger1204

Specialization 2

Physical land resources and Global Change

TypeCourseInstructorStudy hoursCredits (ECTS)
MandatoryClimate ChangeDirk Verschuren1204
MandatorySoil Water ManagementWim Cornelis1355
MandatorySoil DegradationAnn Verdoodt1355
MandatoryLand EvaluationAnn Verdoodt1355
MandatorySummer School or Field workPeter Finke3
Elective courses (pick two for 8 ECTS)
ElectiveEconomics and Management of Natural ResourcesStijn Speelman1204
ElectiveSoil Prospection Stefaan Dondeyne1204
ElectiveDare to VentureJohan Verrue1204
ElectiveScientific CommunicationGeert Jacobs1505
ElectiveInternshipSteven Sleutel1355

Master year 2

Specialization 1: Soil Biogeochemistry and Global Change

TypeCourseInstructorStudy hoursCredits (ECTS)
MandatoryLandscape EcologyDaniela Sauer1806
MandatoryManagement of Tropical Plant Production SystemsReimund Rötter1806
MandatoryMineral Nutrition of Crops under Different Climate and Environmental ConditionsKlaus Dittert1806
Elective courses (pick two for 12 ECTS)
ElectivePesticides IIAndreas von Tiedemann1806
ElectiveSoil Biogeochemistry of AgroecosystemsMartin Maier1806
ElectiveBiochemical Processes in the RhizosphereEvgenia Blagodatskaya903
ElectiveCrop Modelling for Risk ManagementReimund Rötter1806
ElectiveIsotopes in Ecosystem Sciences (e-learning)Michaela Anna Dippold1806
ElectiveEcosystem - Atmosphere ProcessesAlexander Knohl1806
ElectivePlant Nutrition and Plant HealthKlaus Dittert1903
ElectiveField Course on Man-Environment InteractionsDaniela Sauer1806

Specialization 2: Physical land resources and Global Change

TypeCourseInstructorStudy hoursCredits (ECTS)
MandatoryAssessing Soil Erosion RiskGoswin Heckrath1405
MandatoryGlobal soil threats and ecosystem services Bo V. Iversen28010
MandatoryCarbon Cycling and Climate ChangeMathias N. Andersen28010
Elective courses (pick one for 5 ECTS)
ElectiveClimate Through Earth's HistoryMarit-Solveig Seidenkrantz1405
ElectiveOpen Project Work in Soil Physics/1405
ElectiveBioactive Molecules in Agroecology Inge S. Fomsgaard1405
ElectiveSoil-classificationMogens Humlekrog Greve1405
Elective Arctic soils (Field trip Greenland) Lis W. de Jonge1405

Specialization 1: Soil Biogeochemistry and Global Change

TypeCourseInstitutionStudy hoursCredits (ECTS)
MandatoryMaster thesisBOKU University90030
MandatoryMaster thesisGöttingen University90030

Specialization 2: Physical land resources and Global Change

TypeCourseInstitutionStudy hoursCredits (ECTS)
MandatoryMaster thesisGhent University90030
MandatoryMaster thesisAarhus University90030