Master's Programme in Earth Science – Physical Geography

120 credits

Do you want to learn about how the Earth's surface has evolved over time, or how it is influenced by environmental changes? Do you want to work with analyses of nature's own archives to understand these changes? In the Master's Programme in Earth Science, specialising in Physical Geography, you study Earth processes that change and shape the Earth's surface through interaction with the climate and the environment over different time scales.

Autumn 2023 Autumn 2023, Uppsala, 100%, On-campus, English

Autumn 2024 Autumn 2024, Uppsala, 100%, On-campus, English

The specialisation in Physical Geography has a focus on environmental change and landscape development over different scales in time and space, but also on how glaciers and ice sheets work and their role in Earth's systems. The programme combines courses in glaciology, geomorphology and environmental and climate change with methodological courses such as GIS and field methods.

During the programme, you can expect to:

  • Investigate glaciology, geomorphology and climate change with methodological courses such as GIS and field methods.
  • Understand how the climate and environment have changed from both quantitative and qualitative analyses of nature's archives.
  • Learn about human-Earth interaction and the impacts of natural hazards.

The Department of Earth Sciences at Uppsala University is one of the most comprehensive academic departments of its kind in Europe. Research in Earth science focuses on subjects that range from the Earth's core to the atmosphere. It focuses on scales from sub-microscopic minerals and fossils to the formation of mountains and oceans, and in time from the formation of the Earth to the processes currently reshaping the planet.

Research in Physical Geography at the Department is oriented towards glacial processes and the link between glaciers and the climate system, but also environmental change and geochemical cycles.


The programme leads to the degree of Master of Science (120 credits) with Earth Science as the main field of study. After one year of study, it is possible to obtain a degree of Master of Science (60 credits).

The first semester starts with the course Dynamics of Earth Systems - Global Change, which provides a chance to explore interactions between Earth systems and how they change with time, which is further developed in Climate variations. Method courses are also offered from the first semester with Applied geoinformatics and Statistical and Data analysis. The Presentation and Publication course helps you to develop your communication skills.

The second semester focuses on glaciology and glacial processes and geomorphology, together with a course in field techniques and methods.

The third semester offers courses on environmental change over geological time scales, water and society and current research topics within physical geography and hydrology. These courses are followed by courses on snow physics and hydrology and natural hazards.

The fourth and final semester of the specialisation is a degree project in the form of an independent project.

Courses within the programme

See the programme outline for courses within the programme.

The teachers in the Master's Programme in Earth Science are experts in their respective fields, giving you up-to-date contact with front-line research in an open and creative educational atmosphere. The teaching consists of a balanced mix of theoretical and practical work providing experience in both research and industry-oriented applications. Excursions, fieldwork and study visits are included in some courses.

Instruction in the Master's programme builds on your experience and knowledge from your previous education. You are expected to actively participate and contribute to the learning environment and take responsibility for your own and others' learning. The teachers are responsible for creating opportunities for active learning at individual and group level. Purposeful and respectful dialogue between teachers and students contributes to the constant improvement and development of courses.

Examination generally includes written exams, complemented by seminar presentations/discussions, project work, laboratory work and field reports.

The Master's Programme in Earth Science, specialising in Physical Geography, prepares you with skills and knowledge for a career in the field of management of the environment within private and governmental organisations.

Our graduates work at, for example, Berg AB, Sweco AB and Tyréns AB. Job titles include Geochemist, Consultant, Geoscientist, etc.

The programme also provides good opportunities for postgraduate education with subsequent research careers.

Career support

During your time as a student, UU Careers offers support and guidance. You have the opportunity to take part in a variety of activities and events that will prepare you for your future career.