More about master in environmental science

After you have taken a bachelor's degree, you can apply for one of our four master's programs in environmental science. The master's programs extend over two years, which corresponds to 120 higher education credits. Most programs are also aimed at foreign students and the teaching is therefore given in English.

Environmental Sciences

Environmental science studies the threats to our common future on Earth, but also the opportunities human society has to tackle these challenges. As a student of the master’s programme in Environmental Science, you will gain in-depth knowledge and competence regarding all aspects of environmental problems (causes, emissions, impacts, and mitigation measures), and how those aspects interact. You will be prepared to work as an environmental expert, working towards a sustainable future.

The structure of the program

The program begins with two compulsory courses:

ES2613 Global change - problem, analysis, measures (7,5hp)

Scientific environmental knowledge is the foundation for promoting ecological, social, and economic sustainability and is at the core of today’s crucial global change issues. Society is in critical need of environmental scientists that are well-founded in natural science, but at the same time have a good understanding of the societal context for working with environmental issues. It is the goal of this course to provide both and to prepare you for working towards a sustainable future as an environmental expert.

Read more about ES2613

ES2614 Resource efficiency - energy, material flows and ecosystem service (7,5hp)

The course is an introductory course in the master program Environmental Science and can also be studied as a freestanding course. The course gives an overview of the problems with resource limitations mankind are facing. Both global and local perspectives are applied. The concepts, tools and indicators used in the area are studied. An important part of the content is also what kind of measures that are available to improve the situation, and how they can be efficiently implemented. The course gives a solid base for societal environmental work.

Read more about ES2614

Then, based on your background and self-interest, you can choose to specialize. For example, you can take one of the following courses at the advanced level:

KEM170 Atmospheric Chemistry (15hp)

Chemistry is everywhere, even in the air you breathe. Understanding atmospheric chemistry is important to describe how natural and man-made gaseous air pollutants are produced, transformed or removed from the atmosphere.

Read more about KEM170

ES2417 Energy and Environment: Processes, Efficiency, and Impacts (15hp)

In this course you will learn about the global energy system and how our human needs for energy affect the Earth and environment.

Read more about ES2417

BIO506 Plant ecophysiology in a global change perspective (15hp)

Land ecosystems provide food, energy and materials to humans. They also exert strong control over the global cycles of carbon, nutrients and water, thereby influencing the Earth’s climate. On this course, you will learn about how plants physiologically respond to environmental conditions and ongoing global change, as well as how this in turn affect large-scale ecosystem processes and climate. The course prepares you for working with issues related to plants, ecosystems and global change in authorities, companies, NGOs or the academia.

Read more about BIO506

ES2413 Chemical Risk Assessment (15hp)

You will learn about the scientific background to current approaches for the environmental risk assessment of chemicals. Furthermore, you will get an overview of how risk assessment is actually implemented in national and trans-national procedures and of the socio-political context in which this process takes place.

Learn more about ES2413

You can also choose courses in applied environmental science:

ES2611 Environmental Management Systems (15hp)

The course is designed for students that have studied environmental science and want to learn how to carry out hands on environmental work. The course aims to provide skills in designing and implementing an environmental management system (EMS), such as the worldwide very common ISO14001, including environmental auditing. Also the European version EMAS is addressed. After the course, the student is well trained to either implement an EMS in a company/organization or work as an auditor checking such systems.

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ES2419 Environmental Impact Assessment

This course will give you advanced knowledge on Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) in an international perspective.

Read more about ES2419

ES1601 Environmental Economics (15hp)

You will understand why market economies produce pollution and why regulations are needed. Social solutions to the problem are explored, and you will learn how to analyze the effectiveness of control alternatives and policies.

Read more about ES1601

The program ends with a compulsory course, Advanced Environmental Methodology, and your degree project, which can be carried out in close collaboration with a research group or linked to a state or private organization.

You can also choose to take the course Advanced Environmental Methodology during the first year in order to be able to devote an entire year to your degree project or participate in an international exchange during the second year.

Atmosphere, Climate and Ecosystems

The master’s programme in Atmosphere, Climate, and Ecosystems adds resources to the understanding of and solutions for the UN Sustainable Development Goals. It provides you with the opportunity to study the complex global system made up of the atmosphere, climate, and ecosystems, and the related global challenges. As a graduate of the programme, you will be prepared to enter society with broad knowledge in natural science and special competence in a specialized field of science, intermixed with global challenges.

The structure of the program
During the first year, two compulsory courses are given:

GVN460 Climate Change in an Earth System Perspective (7,5hp)

The course aims to give basic knowledge of the Earth System focusing on the atmosphere and terrestrial biosphere as well as their interactions. We will go through composition, properties and active processes in the atmosphere. In addition, the course aim to give a comprehensive introduction to environmental problems associated to atmospheric science, as well as an overview of historical climate changes.

Read more about GVN460

GVK460 Biogeochemistry (7,5hp)

The course provides knowledge about fundamental biogeochemical processes and global biogeochemical cycles. Key topics are: 

  • The biogeochemical production and consumption of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide)
  • The links between biogeochemical processes and global environmental changes (suchas climate warming and eutrophication).

The course addresses biogeochemical cycles in the Earth System as a whole, including atmosphere, biosphere, lithosphere and hydrospehere

Read more about GVK460

In addition, you have the opportunity to choose from a number of courses in the following areas:

  • Aerosols
  • Applied climatology
  • Atmospheric chemistry
  • Energy and Environment
  • Geographical information systems
  • Global changes in a biological perspective
  • International environmental agreements
  • Ocean and atmospheric circulation
  • Paleoclimatology
  • Remote analysis

The program is part of the Nordic network Atmosphere – Biosphere Studies, which means that you can choose additional courses at other Nordic universities.

Year 2
In the last year, you do your degree project, which comprises 60 higher education credits (alternatively 45 higher education credits, degree project + 15 elective higher education credits). The degree project gives you valuable experience of research, regardless of whether you do it within the university or in collaboration with a research-related company. We have good contacts with several such companies in the region.


During the master’s programme in Ecotoxicology you will obtain the skills necessary to identify problems related to the presence of toxic chemicals in the environment, develop appropriate problem-solving strategies and learn modern experimental techniques. You will also learn about the bigger societal context in which ecotoxicology operates. All of this will allow you to make a positive contribution to the work conducted at academia and industry alike, but also at governmental authorities and non-governmental organizations.

The structure of the program
The program is divided into three parts:

ES2615 Fundamentals of Ecotoxicology (7,5 hp)

Ecotoxicology studies the effects of chemicals on non-human organisms within an ecosystem. You will learn the fundamentals of ecotoxicology as a scientific discipline, providing knowledge concerning environmental chemicals, methods to study the nature and extent of environmental pollution, and the fundamental techniques necessary to quantify toxic effects on biological systems of various levels of complexity (individuals, populations and ecological communities).

Read more about ES2615


ES2419 Environmental Impact Assessment (7,5 hp)

This course will give you advanced knowledge on Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) in an international perspective. Focus will be on the processes and methods used to implement the goals of EIA, with examples from different countries. 

Read more about ES2419

ES2413 Chemical Risk Assessment (15 hp)

You will learn about the scientific background to current approaches for the environmental risk assessment of chemicals. Furthermore, you will get an overview of how risk assessment is actually implemented in national and trans-national procedures and of the socio-political context in which this process takes place.

Read more about ES2413


BIO435 Ecological Toxicology: Physiology (15 hp)

This is an in-depth course in biology and environmental science that is aimed at those who wish to supplement and deepen their knowledge in ecotoxicology mainly at cellular and individual level but it also covers some aspects at molecular and population level as well. It is an experimental course and intends to provide insight into various ecotoxicological tests, including such used for monitoring the environment. The course is aimed at both the aquatic and the terrestrial environment.

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BIO430 Ecological Toxicology: Ecology (15 hp)

The course is for you who are interested in hazardous substances and their effects in the environment including biological communities and ecosystems. You will get both a theoretical basis in ecotoxicology with emphasis on ecology and experience of different experimental methods, including field sampling. If you are an environmental scientist or biologist that want to work with issues relating to chemicals at a company, as a consultant or at an authority this is a course for you.

Read more about BIO430

One year as a member of a research team or specialized courses in basic or applied environmental science and a shorter degree project.

All our courses

You can specialize in subjects such as conservation biology, natural geography or environmental chemistry. You can also choose from other environmental science courses, which aim to further broaden your environmental science skills or give you tools that you can use in your future work as an environmental scientist.

Period 1 (Aug-Oct)
GV2001 - Regional Environmental Earth Science 7,5 credits (Aug-Sep)
ES1601 - Environmental Economics 15 credits
ES1603 - ​​​​​​​Project work in Environmental Science 15 credits
KEM490 - ​​​​​​​Environmental Chemistry 15 credits
NG0210 - Field course in Subarctic- Physical Geography and Ecology 15 credits

Period 2 (nov-Dec)
GV0340 - ​​​​​​​Earth System Sciences 7,5 credits (Nov-Dec)
GV2300 - ​​​​​​​Remote Sensing and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) 7,5 credits (Dec-Jan)
ES1603 - ​​​​​​​Project work in Environmental Science 15 credits
NG0230 - Climate Change, a Geographical perspective 15 credits

Period 3 (jan-mar)
ES1603 - ​​​​​​​Project work in Environmental Science 15 credits
ES1603 - ​​​​​​​Project work in Environmental Science 15 credits
NG0220 - ​​​​​​​Climate Change and Society 15 credits

Period 1 (Sep-Nov)
ES2613 - Global Change- problems, analysis, mesures 7,5 credits (Sept-Oct)
GVN460 - Climate change in an earth system perspective 7,5 credits (Sept-Oct)
ES2614 - Resource efficiency- energy, material flow and ecosystem services 7,5 credits (Oct-Nov)
GE6000 - ​​​​​​​Urban Cimate and Urban Climate Planning 7,5 credits (Oct-Nov)
ES2413 - ​​​​​​​Environmental Impact Assessment 7,5 credits, 50%
ES2615 - Fundamentals of Ekotoxicology 7,5 credits 50%

Period 2 (Nov-Jan)
ES2413 - ​​​​​​​Chemical Risk Assessment 15 credits
ES2616 - ​​​​​​​Advanced Environmental Methodology 15 credits
ES2611 - ​​​​​​​Environmental Management Systems 15 credits
KEM170 - ​​​​​​​Atmospheric Chemistry 15 credits
GVM510 - Marine Environmental Geology 15 credits
GVK470 - Biogeochemisty 15 credits (Ocv-Dec)

Period 3 (Jan-Mar)
ES2417 - ​​​​​​​Energy and environment: Process, Efficiency and Impacts 15 credits (even years)
BIO560 - ​​​​​​​Animal ecophysiology from a climate perspective 15 credits
BIO435 - ​​​​​​​Ecotoxical Ecotoxicology: Physiology 15 credits
ES2611 - Environmental Management Systems 15 credits 50% (Jan-June)

Period 4 (Mar-Jun)
BIO468 - ​​​​​​​International Biodiversity Resource Management 5 credits (Mar-Apr)
ES2423 - ​​​​​​​Sustainable Development: a case study approach 15 credits
BIO506 - ​​​​​​​Pland ecophysiology in a global change perspective 15 credits
BIO430 - ​​​​​​​Ecological Ecotoxicology: Ecology 15 credits
BIO566 - Stream Ecology and Fish Conservation 15 credits
GVK430 - ​​​​​​​Environmental Geology, case studie 15 credits
KEM720 - ​​​​​​​Aerosols 15 credits (Odd years)

Our facilities

Our courses are mainly given on site in Gothenburg, but all or parts of certain courses can also mean that you are at one of the marine research stations Tjärnö or Kristineberg. There may also be excursions with overnight stays in other places.