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Master of Science in Environment and Natural Resources

The MSc in Environment and Natural Resources will make you into an environmental expert and a sustainability specialist. Choose your specialisation from Agrofood Systems, Biodiversity & Ecosystems or Ecological Engineering.

Check out this video about the Master of Science in Environment and Natural Resources: This is what it’s like to study at the ZHAW in Wädenswil (2:56min)
For detailed information, please click on «study programme, admission, registration»

Why pursue a Master’s degree in Environment and Natural Resources?

Careful land use and a sustainable economy are the key societal challenges of the coming decades. How can we bring about change that leads to sustainable development? What strategies, methods and conditions will make this transition possible? These questions form the starting point for the inter- and transdisciplinary Master's in ENR programme.

The goal of the new consecutive MSc is to provide in-depth, disciplinary training. Simultaneously, graduates of this environmental Master's programme, which is unique among universities of applied sciences, possess strong skills in combining technical, scientific and social science disciplines.

"I chose this Master's program because it takes an interdisciplinary approach to addressing environmental challenges. The scientific modules allow me to strengthen my scientific skills, and I can bring my professional and academic experience into play when examining socio-economic questions. In my opinion, networked thinking makes it possible to take vital action in the field of sustainable development."

Sebastian Bradford, Agrofoodsystems, Life Cycle Assessment Research Group

Good reasons for a Master’s study in Wädenswil

 "The world is in need of unconventional interdisciplinary solutions, which can be found at the intersection of society, nature and technology. Our Master’s programme produces the experts and specialists that are needed in the fields of sustainability and the environment!"

Martina Weiss, MSc programme director at the Institute of Environment and Natural Resources

Study programme and course content

  1. At the beginning of the programme you choose your personal specialisation (Master Research Unit, MRU). 
  2. Additionally, you choose a research group at the institute where you will complete your Master Studio (Project Work 1 and 2 as well as Master’s Thesis.

The integration into a research unit, where half of your studies are completed, enables you to pursue an individual specialisation and provides you with an in-depth insight into research and development work. In addition, this model also provides you with the opportunity to develop a professional network of partners from industry and research during your studies. To strengthen your methodological competence, you choose either the scientific or the socio-economic research profile in order to be able to analyse scientific questions from an appropriate perspective.

«For me, the Master's degree in Environment and Natural Resources was the logical step to deepen my knowledge of the scientific working methods after my Bachelor's degree. What appealed to me was the interdisciplinary approach to problems that are tackled in the specialist modules. A wide range of modules also enabled me to customise my education according to my interests.»

Valerio Volpe, Technical-Scientific Assistant in the Soil Quality and Land Use Research Group at Agroscope

Choose your specialisation from the following Master Research Units (MRU)

Agrofood Systems: Explore the issues of sustainable food production and the associated challenges of climate change, landscape development and resource consumption.

"One of the highlights of my Master’s experience was the many interesting discussions with students from other disciplines." Ennio Mariani, MRU Agrofoodsystems, Geography of Food research group

Biodiversity & Ecosystems: Examine and explore interactions and connections in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.

"This Master’s programme gave me the opportunity to gain in-depth expertise in the field of data analysis through international exchange." Adrian Hochreutner, MRU Biodiversity & Ecosystems, Environmental Planning research group

Ecological Engineering: Research and develop sustainable energy, sustainable mobility systems and the role of eco-technologies as key elements of a sustainable society.

"The Ecological Engineering specialisation in this Master’s programme allowed me to customize my studies so that I could specialise in building energy simulation." Manuel Hunziker, MRU Ecological Engineering, Renewable Energies research group

Module overview

Admission

Step Your task
Bachelor’s degree You need a Bachelor's degree in environmental sciences, a related field or an equivalent degree.
The admission of persons with university degrees from areas outside the subject area is examined on a dossier basis and may be subject to conditions.
Academic Regulations
Annex to the Master's programme
Full-time/part-time You decide on a study model. The advantage of a dual Master programme is that your part-time studies are continuously enhanced by your own practical experiences, and you can immediately transfer your newly acquired theoretical knowledge into your everyday working life. Special courses and events are also offered during lecture-free time in summer and winter.
MRU and research unit You need to decide on one of our three Master Research Units (MRU). Within the MRU you choose a research unit in which you complete your Master Studio (Project Work 1 and 2 as well as Master Thesis). These decisions change the structure of your studies and must therefore be made at the time of registration.
Information on the possible subjects and research units can be found on the website of the respective MRU. Please note that the places for students in the research units are limited. It is recommended to register as soon as you have made your decisions.
Registration You apply online: Registration
Suitability assessement After the registration, your documents will be examined and you will be invited to an interview, which will focus ...
  • on the admission to studies (specific professional competencies for the selected MRU, study ability and motivation).
  • necessary requirements in the case of Bachelor's Degree in unrelated fields and
  • language competence in English and German (for at least one of the two languages level C1, for the second level sufficient knowledge.)
  • This assessment decides on your definitive admission to the Master's programme. About your final admission you will be informed as soon as possible after the assessment.
    After the admission After you have been admitted to the study programme, you work out your individual study plan together with your tutor in the weeks before the start of your studies. In addition to the possible optional modules, you decide to strengthen your methodological competence by choosing a research profile, either scientific or socio-economic, in order to be able to analyse scientific questions from an appropriate perspective. You will then have time for individual preparation. The course begins in September in calendar week 38.

    International Mobility

    "For my Master’s thesis, I get to work on something that is very close to my heart: I am travelling to Bolivia on a freighter and studying the impact that the ageing population of cocoa farmers has on the long-term development of their businesses. My findings will be used in an ongoing project of the research group."

    Aline Roth, Student Environment and Natural Resources

    Cooperations

    The Master’s is based on close cooperation in the form of a double degree with the University of Ljubljana. This allows ZHAW students to complete a 4th semester in Slovenia, gaining a university degree (120 ECTS) and qualifying them to begin a Ph.D. programme.

    Working with these collaboration partners makes for a more diverse curriculum. There is also collaboration in research and teaching with the Agroscope and the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape (WSL).

    There is also close cooperation with the following institutions:

    • to the website of the University of Zurich Department of Geography
    • to the website of ZHAW Institute of Sustainable Development (INE)
    • zur Webseite Forschungsinstitut für biologischen Landbau (FiBL)
    • zur Webseite ZHAW Departement für Soziale Arbeit
    • to the website ZHAW School of Management and Law
    • to the website of ZHAW Institute of Applied Simulations
    • to the website of ZHAW Institute of Chemistry and Biotechnolgy
    • to the website of ZHAW Institute of Food and Beverage Innovation

    Do you have any questions?

    Please contact us ...