Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences - Geography Department

Master of Science Global Change Geography -
the Physical Geography of Human-Environment SystemsAblation Zone - Philippe Rufin.jpg

Humanity has become the major driver of regional and global change in the Anthropocene. While we face planetary constraints regarding resources, climate and ecological resilience, rapid transformations are taking place from local to planetary scales.

The M.Sc. Global Change Geography at Humboldt-Universität aims at providing a broad understanding of these processes from a physical geography perspective with a strong focus on quantitative analysis and modelling approaches.


Programme summary

Master students of the M.Sc. Global Change Geography will gain profound knowledge of current research questions, approaches and insights regarding the interactions between environment and society in the context of global change.Terrace Farming.jpg Therefore, the programme aims at providing knowledge on scientific methods and findings from physical geography, in particular biogeography, climatology, hydrology, remote sensing, sustainability sciences, and geoinformation science.

Students learn to integrate scientific theories, findings, and procedures for analysing and modelling human-environmental systems. In addition, the specialization of scientific key skills such as scientific writing and presenting, the analysis of primary literature as well as special language skills in English is a major qualification goal. The competencies for dealing with questions of global change and sustainable transformation are provided by applying a wide range of teaching and assessment modes such as classical classroom teaching, virtual lessons, research guided project work, intense research seminars and field work. The study programme qualifies students for a wide range of professional fields, such as employment in science, planning, consultancy, nature conservation, development cooperation, specialized media or international organizations.


Programme organization

pcpoolds.jpgThe M.Sc. Global Change Geography is a two-year master programme. Year one consists of compulsory and elective modules. The modular structure of year two with flexible and research oriented specialization modules enables students to tailor the programme around individual interests and career goals. All courses are taught in English. See overview below for details on the program structure and the PDF with the study and examination regulations at the bottom of this page for information on the individual modules.


Exemplary study programme


(Please see the study and examination regulations at the bottom of this page for details on modules. Models for Elective Specialisation can vary on an annual basis.)


Application and Enrolment (updated 1-December-2022)

International students are advised to follow this link for information from the central administration of HU Berlin. All application and admission procedures are formally outlined in the so-called ZSP-HU. Special requirements for this MSc are described in the ZSP-HU section for the MSc Global Change Geography. An English translation of this ZSP-HU section including language requirements can be found here.

Applicants hold a B.Sc./B.A. degree and prove substantial credits in physical geography, statistics and the analysis of geoinformation data. Upon date of the application deadline, all applicants must...

1) have successfully completed 5 ECTS in statistics and/or non-spatial modelling, 
2) plus 10 ECTS in  geodata analysis (i.e. GIS, remote sensing, geostatistics, spatial modeling, digital cartography or similar),

3) plus 30 ECTS in physical geography (i.e. Climate Geography, Geomorphology, Geography of soils/Soil science, Hydrogeography/-logy, Biogeography, Vegetation geography, Landscape ecology, Geo-ecology, Earth system science, Land system science),
4) plus additional 25 ECTS in applied geosciences (i.e. geology, geophysics, geomathematics, geoinformatics, geobotany, geochemistry, ecology, ecosystem modelling meteorology, oceanography, climatology, environmental engineering or planning). For this section credits from 1), 2), 3) that exceed the minimum requirement can be counted.
5) AND present a completed bachelor certificate or a statement from their home university on the successful completion of 150 ECTS in form of this certificate ("Zusatzbescheinigung"). The certificate needs to show that no more than 30 ECTS are missing for the completion of the degree. International  applicants can submit a statement from the home institution showing the total and open number of credit points. International applicants can use this form.

Language skills: English skills at B2-level are required for all students (equivalents/exemptions see p. 95 in ZSP-HU). Students with an academic degree or school leaving certificate from an institution where English is a formal language can use this certificate to prove English skills. Students with a German school leaving certificate may use this certificate to prove their English skills, please refer to page 95 of the ZSP-HU (German only) for details. German language skills are not required for this study programme, yet students are advised to visit German classes at the university's language center. 

For starting the study programme in October 2023:

1) Applicants with a German school leaving certificate and a bachelor degree from a German university apply directly at Humboldt-Universität. So do students who have previously been enrolled at Humboldt-Universität (not Erasmus!). You can also check this webpage, if you are unsure how to apply. The application period starts 02 May and closes 31 May. The winter term begins October, 1st (academic calendar).

2) All other applicants (i.e. with foreign school leaving certificate or foreign bachelor degree) apply via uni-assist. The period for applications in uni-assist starts 02 May and closes 31 MayThe winter term begins October, 1st.

In either case, the online application system does provide all documents that are needed to prove given requirements.
Please, carefully check the requirements prior to starting the online application prodedures using the information from above and linked documents.
We look forward to your application!



Dr. Dirk Pflugmacher


Study and examination regulations

(legal information and module descriptions)


English translation

Original (German, legally binding)