natural resources management- Forestry, Agriculture, Environment 

Sustainable management of the Earth’s natural resources is of concern to us all

The world’s population is expected to reach nine billion people by the year 2045. Although the majority will live in cities, the demand for food and other resources will nevertheless place unprecedented pressure on the Earth’s natural environment. Not only increasing population but also growing welfare leads directly, or indirectly, to problems such as deforestation, overgrazing, and the contamination of land and water resources.

Developments in remote sensing technology have enabled us to observe the Earth’s surface in great detail and almost continuously. Never before has it been so easy to monitor and map our natural environment. Yet to understand the complexity of factors involved in such processes as deforestation, land use change and environmental degradation, environmental managers must not only collect relevant data but also interpret and analyze them to obtain useful information to support decisions that can lead to more sustainable use of natural resources. In carrying out these tasks, environmental managers collaborate with professionals from a wide range of disciplines. Geo-information technology – in particular modeling and decision support systems − plays an important role in this rewarding multidisciplinary work.

For whom is this master’s course relevant?

The master’s course in Geo-information Science and Earth Observation for Natural Resources Management  leading to an MSc degree is designed for young and mid-career professionals who work in the field of natural resources management and who wish to develop a critical understanding of, and competence in, using modern methods of working with spatial data. The MSc degree course aims to develop practical skills as well as academic skills leading to independent research and the defence of an MSc thesis.

Participants will normally have a BSc or similar first degree in environmental science or in a discipline related to natural resources management, such as ecology, forestry or agriculture. If you have such a background and a keen interest and motivation to study in an international multidisciplinary environment, then the master’s course in Natural Resources Management may be for you.

What is the master’s course content?

The MSc degree course not only emphasizes the multidisciplinary aspects of natural resources management but also offers you the opportunity for in-depth study in your particular field of interest. The Department of Natural Resources has particular teaching and research experience in three knowledge clusters: Forestry, Agriculture and Environment.

During the first block of the course, you will acquire knowledge and skills in applying geo-information science and earth observation to natural resources management. After this, in the second block, you will spend four months developing more in-depth knowledge and technical skills in order to analyze problems and identify and structure relevant information in selected aspects of natural resources management. A range of specialized exercises, case studies and projects related to forestry, agriculture, and environment are offered during this second block of the course. For further details, see the Study guides.

Following this period of in-depth study, you will continue to develop an understanding of the purpose and use of research in natural resources management and will study advanced topics to support your planned research. These advanced elective topics are designed to cater for the specialized needs of participants with a special interest in either forestry, agriculture or the environment. Before your actual research work commences, you will spend a number of weeks working with staff and fellow MSc students in a research group (see Research themes) to prepare yourself for your own independent research project.

In recent years, MSc graduates in Natural Resources Management have carried out their research on a range of research topics, but primarily in three specialized areas: 1. Forestry, including research relating to the carbon cycle and climate change; 2. Agriculture and in particular research relating to food security and 3. Environment, including a variety of topics related to ecology and biodiversity. A selection of recent MSc theses can be found at the Library's Academic Output pages.

What will be achieved?

Participants will learn to:

  • analyze a problem encountered in natural resources management practice and develop an appropriate method for studying and/or solving the problem
  • apply appropriate methods for spatial data acquisition, verification and quality control
  • use geo-information science and earth observation technology to generate, integrate, analyze and display spatial data
  • evaluate and apply relevant and appropriate methods and models for data analysis and problem solving in natural resources management
  • carry out in-depth study of two advanced topics that are relevant to your research
  • apply research skills to formulate and carry out an independent research project
  • communicate and defend findings of this research work.

About your diploma

Upon successful completion of this programme you are entitled to the degree Master of Science. You will receive an (Academic Education) Diploma in Geo-information Science and Earth Observation from the University of Twente.

Along with your diploma you will receive a Diploma Supplement, providing the name of the specialization, the description of the nature, level, context, and status of the study completed.

Why choose this course?

The course offers a unique opportunity to share experiences in natural resources management with young scientists and professionals from all over the world. The teaching staff have a wealth of research and practical experience in the application of geo-information science and earth observation in the specialized fields of forestry, agriculture and environment as well as for natural resources management in a broader sense. This experience has been gained in many different environments and in many different countries. You will study and undertake research in a friendly, multicultural and multidisciplinary environment.

Career perspective

With their acquired knowledge and skills in the spatial sciences, graduates of the Natural Resources Management courses are well qualified to work in government departments, NGOs and commercial companies operating in the fields of forestry, agriculture and the environment. Others return to or obtain teaching positions in institutes for higher education. Approximately one in five MSc graduates proceed to undertake PhD research.

how to apply?

Select a course in the Course Finder and click the register link. This will take you to the ITC online course application system. More information about studying at the faculty ITC can be found on the ITC Study webpages.

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