The programme in Physical Land Resources has its roots in the former Master of Science programmes in Soil Science, organised by the International Training Centre for Post-Graduate Soil Scientists (ITC-Gent), and Eremology, organised by the International Centre for Eremology (ICE), both at the Ghent University.
The ITC-Gent has a long-standing reputation in the academic formation and training of soil scientists in basic soil science and survey and agricultural applications of soil science. Founded in 1963, with support of UNESCO, in answer to a large number of requests from abroad, the Institute has trained over 800 students from about 90 different nations from all over the globe.
The ICE was founded in 1989, as a reaction to the disastrous droughts Sahelian countries were suffering from since the early 1970's. As such a special branch of science devoted to the study of desert and semi-desert conditions, named "eremology" (from greek "eremos", meaning : desert) was created. Since its foundation about 70 students from 30 different countries have graduated from the Centre.
For the new programme in Physical Land Resources, started in 1997, an appeal was made to the Faculty of Engineering at the "Vrije Universiteit Brussel", to cooperate and to widen the scope of the course with an option focusing on the non-agricultural use and applications of physical land resources.
A country's physical
resources are a fundamental pillar of support for human life and
welfare. Worldwide, population pressures and severe degradation,
pollution and desertification problems are threatening this - for
several countries relatively scarce - natural resource, and cause
competition between agricultural or industrial purposes, urban planning
and nature conservation. To guarantee a proper use and management of
this for a nation basic commodity, well trained specialists with a
thorough knowledge of the properties and characteristics of this
natural resource, and a solid insight in factors and measures that may
alter its actual state and value are warranted and call for a high
standard scientific and practical education.
The learning outcomes of the M.Sc. in Physical Land Resources are the following :
- Possess a broad knowledge at an advanced level in basic disciplines
(soil physics, soil chemistry, soil mineralogy, meteorology and
climatology) that provide a polyvalent scientific understanding
- needed to evaluate land potential for agricultural and environmental applications, understand the evolution of soils under natural and human-impacted conditions, and contribute to sustainable land use planning and integrated management of land and water (Soil Science); or
- in non-agricultural applications of land, such as geotechnical aspects, the role of soil and groundwater in water resources management and water supplies, and of land management in relation to other environmental and land use aspects (Land Resources Engineering)
- Possess the basics to conduct field work (soil survey, soil profile description soil sampling), interpret analytical data, classify the soil, and manage and interpret existing cartographic and remote sensing data using modern equipment, informatics and computer technology.
- Characterize soil physico-chemically and mineralogically with advanced techniques to understand soil processes, translate this to soil quality and assess the influences by and on natural and anthropogenic factors
- Recognize interaction with other relevant science domains and identify the need to integrate them within the context of more advanced ideas and practical applications and problem solving
- Demonstrate critical consideration of and reflection on known and new theories, models or interpretation within the specialty
- Plan and execute target orientated experiments or simulations independently and critically evaluate the collected data
- Develop and execute original scientific research and/or apply innovative ideas within research units.
- Formulate hypothese, use or design experiments to test these hypotheses, report on the results, both written and orally, and communicate findings to experts and the general public.
The Master of Science degree programme in Physical Land Resources is a two year, full time course.
The first year provides
a fundamental basis in physical land resources, with a main subject in
Soil Science or Land Resources Engineering. The second year offers
courses in one of the two main subjects.
The students have to prepare a dissertation. Successful completion of
the programme leads to the award of an Master
degree in Physical
The course curriculum of the first year, and of the main subject in soil science of the second year is organised at the Ghent University, whereas all courses of the main subject in Land Resources Engineering of the second year are organised at the "Vrije Universiteit Brussel". Students in Land Resources Engineering have to reside in Brussels during the second year.The academic year starts the last week of September. Students are expected to arrive in Gent ten days before the start of the programme. There are two examination periods, in January and in June respectively. For students who fail, there is a re-examination session in August-September.
Outline Master of Science degree programme
1st year (60 credits) :
2nd year (60 credits) :
GENERAL COURSES (45 credits)
1. Option Soil Science (Ghent University)first semester :
ELECTIVE COURSES (min. 30 credits)
One course can be selected from another Master programme at Ghent University. 2 courses can be selected from the option Land Resources Engineering (VUB).
second semester : Master dissertation (30 credits)
2. Option Land Resources Engineering (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)
first semester :
ELECTIVE COURSES (min. 30 credits)
2 courses can be selected from the option Soil Science (Ghent University). One course can be selected from another Master programme at VUB.
second semester : Master dissertation (30 credits)
Each application will be evaluated by a board of admission of
specific programme and has to be approved by the Faculty Council and by
the Rector's office.
Applicants must have a Bachelor's degree of minimum 3 years with good overall scores (at least upper second class or equivalent) from a university or recognized equivalent.
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.
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.
The applicant must be proficient in the language of the course or training programme, i.e. English. The English language proficiency can be met by providing a certificate (validity of 5 years) of one of the following tests :
|Test||Minimum required level||Remarks|
|academic IELTS||6.5||with a minimum score of 6 on the writing part|
|CEFR||B2||Issued by a European university language centre|
|ESOL Cambridge English||Advanced (CAE)|
The following applicants are exempted from providing the language certificate :
|1||Applicants who have a diploma (Secondary Education, Academic Bachelor Degree, Master Degree) issued by an institution officially recognized by the Flemish Government.||this exemption does not apply to Erasmus Mundus Programmes.|
|2||Applicants who are nationals from or have obtained a full bachelor and/or master degree in a higher education institute with English as mode of instruction in USA, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland or Canada, and in the latter case a certificate that the mode of instruction was English has to be submitted.|
Next application round will be announced mid October 2015.
See Econsort website - Application procedures
Costs and Scholarships
See Econsort website - Costs and Scholarships
Department of Soil Management (BW12)
Research Group Soil Physics SoPHy (Prof. Dr. W. Cornelis)
Coupure links 653
Tel. : +32-9/264.46.38
E-mail : PLRprog.adm@UGent.be