Environmental Sciences (Master)

 Why study ... Environmental Sciences?

The master’s programme and research network Environmental Sciences is a hub for students and scientists who want to apply deep scientific thought to the earth environment and some of its most urgent problems. Geoscientists, life scientists, geographers, chemists, physicists, mathematicians, economists and lawyers come together to tackle these problems in a collaborative way. Our goal is to prepare a new generation of professionals and scientists for solving the challenges ahead.

The interdisciplinary programme focuses on the analysis of fundamental environmental processes using know-how from a wide range of scientific fields. This disciplinary diversity is reflected not only in the diversity of the fields of expertise of the faculty, but also in the diversity of students coming from various areas of science.

The master's programme deals with the scientific principles underlying the relationship between humans and the environment, focusing on system analysis. For this purpose, students acquire extensive skills in the relevant fields of natural sciences, in particular earth sciences and biology. The curriculum is internationally oriented and courses are held in English.

Master of Science

Degree Programme Code: 066 299

4 semesters / 120 ECTS credits

Language: English

Special Admission Requirements


Facts & Figures

  • Students: n.a.
  • Graduates in the last academic year: n.a.
  • Number of semesters needed for graduation (median): n.a.

Data updated on: 25.05.2020

*Click here for further information on statistical data in the field of teaching and learning. (in German)

Study Programme

Environmental Sciences is an interdisciplinary programme that deals with processes that control the earth system and the impact of human activities on this system. The programme emphasises a rigorous process level understanding of important problems in environmental science to learn how to analyse the complex earth system. Therefore, scientific methods of earth sciences, physical geography, life sciences, chemistry, physics and mathematics are used.

The workload of the master’s programme comprises 120 ECTS credits, which is equivalent to a period of four semesters, and consists of the following (groups of) modules:

  • Introduction
  • Fundamentals (Environmental Chemistry and Geochemistry; Environmental Biology; Environmental Pollutants, Element Cycles)
  • Systems (Marine Systems; Ground and Surface Water Systems; Atmospheric Systems; Terrestrial Systems)
  • Integrated Knowledge (Legislation, Policy and Economics; Models in Environmental Sciences; Seminar on Environmental Sciences)
  • Specialisation (A: Biogeochemical Cycles and Global Change, B and C: Environmental Pollution and Remediation)
  • Master’s thesis and public defence

After getting an overview of the field of study of Environmental Sciences in a ring-lecture and a seminar, students focus on basic issues in environmental chemistry and geochemistry, environmental biology, pollutants and element cycles. They get acquainted with a process oriented view on environmental systems including marine systems, ground and surface water systems, atmospheric and terrestrial systems. Students learn to integrate mathematical models into various processes. Courses in legislation, policy and economics focus on the implementation of the process level understanding of natural systems into these fields.

After this first part of the curriculum, students deepen their knowledge by either studying pre-defined fields of specialisation or by exploring their own combination of subjects within the environmental sciences. Fields of specialisation include ‘Biogeochemical Cycles and Global Change’ and ‘Environmental Pollution and Remediation’.

The degree programme is completed with a master’s thesis and an oral public defence.

Five Concepts

which you will deal with during your studies (examples):

  • Geochemistry
  • Element cycles
  • Atmospheric systems
  • Water systems
  • Terrestrial systems
  • and many more...

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Student's Opinion

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“Environmental Sciences is a multifaceted course programme with an interdisciplinary approach. It provides a great foundation in many different aspects of environmental sciences integrating the latest scientific standards in geochemistry, biochemistry, ecology, hydrology, biology, environmental risk assessment and many more.

I believe that this course is giving me the right tools to understand the science behind nature so I can explore new ways of solving the most pressing environmental issues of today such as destruction, degradation, exploitation and pollution.

The teachers are inspiring and share their fields of expertise with students, and are thus able to guide you on your chosen path.

This course allows me to build on my background experience working in the field of environmental protection with whaleofatime.org.”

- Irene Schleining, BSc

 Overview of the programme structure & topics

Here you find the current offer of courses for this programme to gain better insight into the topics and structure. For more information please click on the respective level.

After Graduation

The faculty and students focusing on environmental sciences enjoy a global visibility and reputation. For example, the QS-World University Ranking by Subject has ranked the Environmental Sciences programme among the best 100 programmes worldwide.

Vienna aims at educating future decision-makers in the fields of science, economy, public administration and in international organisations. Thanks to their system- and process-oriented, academically sound education, graduates have a wide range of job opportunities in:

  • public administration, authorities and federal offices (environmental departments of provincial governments, the Environment Agency Austria, the Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety, international public institutions)
  • international organisations (e.g. FAO, UNEP, IAEA, NGOs, etc.)
  • private planning and engineering offices as well as consulting activities (for example regarding environmental impact assessments, planning and surveying, or in the area of environmental due diligence)
  • large-scale enterprises and infrastructure providers (environmental protection officers, project planning)
  • science and research (a variety of research institutions that deal with environmental issues, universities, the corporate sector)

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Graduates' Perspective on the Degree Programme

Graduate Survey

The University asks graduates to provide their opinion about the degree programme immediately after graduating. The survey results show how graduates evaluate the degree programme they completed from a subject-specific and organisational perspective.


The graduate survey is an important feedback tool for continuously improving the quality of studies.

Career Tracking of Graduates

The tracking of graduates provides information about the career paths of the University of Vienna graduates and aims at providing guidance for career entry after graduation (e.g. questions about the duration of job search until first employment after graduation, salary development and sectors that graduates are active in).

3 years after graduation ...

  • 75% of graduates residing in Austria are gainfully employed.
  • graduates earn approx. € 2,891 gross/month.
  • 12% of graduates work in the scientific research and development (non−university) sector.

*You can find precise information on implementation, evaluation and use as well as further data for this degree programme in the graduate tracking "Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Statistics".