Master of Science in Geology

Course content

Our society is facing a number of key challenges, such as the sustainable use and management of the natural resources of our planet (water, soil, mineral resources and energy), and the protection of our population and infrastructure against the natural hazards (earthquakes, volcanic activity and climate change) that come with living on a dynamic planet. To meet these challenges, a fundamental knowledge of the composition, structure, evolution and functioning of our planet is required.

For a geologist “global change” is a familiar topic, with a variety of facets. Our planet is an incredibly dynamic system and unraveling it is one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century.

Ghent University offers a master programme, with the opportunity to specialize in one of the following topics: “groundwater and mineral resources” or “basins and orogens". Both topics address a key element in the system of our planet.

The Department of Geology consists of five research units (hydrogeology and applied geology, marine geology, mineralogy and petrology, paleontology, geomaterials) and conducts research in three major thematic research domains: global change geology, geomaterials and natural resources, and earth sciences and environment.


Ghent University offers a master program in Geology with emphasis on two majors:

- Groundwater and Mineral Resources

- Basins and Orogens,.

The first major focuses on the characterization and protection of two essential ingredients of life on our planet: groundwater and minerals, and addresses the integrated management of those natural resources.
The second major encompasses the origin and evolution of large oceanic and continental sedimentary basins, and orogenic processes, and focuses on sedimentary processes, the dynamics of sedimentary basins, oceans and climates, evolution of the biosphere, geochemistry, geophysics, geodynamics and geochronology.

A very important facet within these studies is development cooperation.



At KULeuven two other majors can be followed:
- Geodynamics and Georesources
- Surface Processes and Paleoenvironments

Course structure


The English master’s programme offers the possibility to specialise in one of the four majors (46 up to 60 credits). Depending on the chosen major students take up an additional 30 to 44 credits for elective courses. In the second year, a research project (master’s dissertation) of 30 credits is scheduled.

The major course package in groundwater and mineral resources deals with the integrated management of the identified compartments (groundwater and minerals). The integrated approach forms an asset for this study.  Environmental impact assessment for instance links the two compartments as an entity. It underpins the forecasting and evaluation of the impact of man on the environment.

The major course package in basins and orogens focuses on sedimentary processes, the dynamics of oceans and climates and the evolution of the biosphere, with micropaleontology, petrological, geochronological and geophysical aspects of orogens.

Beside the major course package, there is also a minor course package for 30 credits. This minor course package consists of elective courses that help the student to get prepared for fundamental research, in the framework of a doctoral study, or straightforwardly for industry. It is also possible to opt for a stay abroad within the space offered by the minor course package.

The master’s dissertation is an original piece of research work. It aims to develop and strengthen the research capacity skills of the students. The student selects a topic and is given guidance by a promoter or supervisor. The master’s dissertation consists of a literature review part, practical research and an original analysis of the topic.


The two-year master's programme (120 credits) consists of four modules.
  • 60 credits for major courses
  • 30 credits for specialising elective courses
  • 30 credits for the master dissertation
The programme is jointly offered with the KU Leuven. The expertise of both institutions give students a broader range of major courses, elective courses, thesis subjects, etc.


The exchange programme contains a preferred list of English courses taught at UGent of the Master of Science in Geology with subjects in Basins and Orogens, and Groundwater and Mineral Resources.

Career perspectives

The strong multidisciplinary foundation of this master programme does not only open doors towards innovative research, but also towards dynamical industrial sectors, governmental agencies, NGO’s, etc. A student in the master programme of Geology also acquires step by step an enormous advantage: the skill to express him/herself fluently in professional English. The world will be his/her work area.

Admission requirements


  • For non-Flemish degrees:

the course is open to students with at least a Bachelor degree in the field of Geology with a minimum of 180 credits.

  • For Flemish degrees:

the list of degrees giving access to this master can be consulted in the online course catalogue.


Check the language requirements for English study programmes.

Application Procedures


International students who want to obtain a diploma or degree at Ghent University apply and enroll as regular students on the basis of a diploma obtained abroad.


International students who temporarily live in a foreign country and attend courses or are involved in other academic activities, have to follow the procedure of exchange students.