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Programme of Communities and Ecosystems

The Master’s specialisation in Communities and Ecosystems is taught at the Faculty of Science. It has a course load of 120 EC* (two years). The first year of this specialisation contains five compulsory courses in the first quartile. You can compose the rest of the programme with specialisation and free electives, internships, literature theses and optionally a field course in Switzerland or Ireland.

  • Compulsory courses (15 EC)
  • Specialisation elective (3 EC)
  • Philosophy elective (3 EC)
  • Science electives (9 EC)
  • Free electives (6 EC)
  • Two internships (2 x 36 EC)
  • Literature thesis 1 (6 EC)
  • Literature thesis 2 / field course (6 EC)

Compulsory courses

  • Quantitative Conservation Biology (3 EC)
    Quantitative Conservation Biology is about the current state-of-the-art of species and system-based conservation. This includes analysing data on species abundance and modelling  the potential roles of pressure factors and the efficacy of management options.
  • Management of Ecosystems(3 EC)
    In this course you’ll learn how  biogeochemical research can be applied in nature management and restoration. By focussing on biogeochemical and ecological key factors and processes, you’ll gain insight into the actual causal relationships between environmental changes and ecosystem responses.
  • Microbiology of Wetland Ecosystems or Biodiversity and Ecological Assessment (3 EC)
    In the course Microbiology of Wetland Ecosystems, you’ll become familiar with the main biogeochemical cycles on earth, and the diversity of microorganisms that are driving these element cycles. Biodiversity and Ecological Assessment focuses on the importance of biodiversity for functioning of (semi) aquatic ecosystems and the assessment of biodiversity values in river systems.
  • Environmental and Ecological Modelling (3 EC)
    You’ll gradually learn to build your own model for environmental problems such as eutrophication and chemical pollution (food chain accumulation). Guest-lectures demonstrate how models are used in different settings, ranging from fundamental research to consultancy.

Specialisation electives

You can choose your specialisation elective from a list of selected courses. Examples are:

Science electives

Sciences electives are courses of your interest within the field of natural sciences. These courses should be approved by the Examination Board.

Free electives

A free elective can be any course taught at Radboud University, another Dutch university or abroad. Your free electives should be approved by the Examination Board.

Philosophy Elective

A list of philosophy electives from which you may choose is provided.

(International) internships

During your internships, you’ll be responsible for your own experiments, under the supervision of one of our top researchers at the Institute for Water and Wetlands Research (IWWR). Most students choose to perform their first internship at Radboud University and their second internship at a governmental organisation, an NGO, a company or abroad. Recent examples are: the Netherlands Institute for Ecological Research, NatuurPlaza, B-Ware, Wageningen University and the University of Western Australia. Also, it is possible to apply for a grant to perform an internship at the Max Planck Gesellschaft, one of the world's most renowned research institutes. For other suggestions, you can contact one of the professors above or you can confer with our teaching staff or the student advisor.

At Radboud University, relevant departments include:

See ‘Our research in this field’ for a description of these departments.

More details

Read more about the courses, reading requirements and course schedule in the online prospectus.

* European Credit Transfer System (ECTS)
The workload of an academic year is equivalent to 60 European credits (EC), where 1 EC point is 28 hours of study.