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Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences - Geography Department

Master of Science Global Change Geography -
the Physical Geography of Human-Environment Systems

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. 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

The 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 04-Jan-2018)

Applicants hold a B.Sc./B.A. degree and prove substantial credits in physical geography, statistics and the analysis of geoinformation data. German language skills are not required for this study programme, yet students are advised to visit German classes at the university's language center. All applicants must fully comply with all admission requirements and present a valid application before the dates mentioned below. 

The application and admission procedures are formally outlined in the so-called ZSP-HU, which will be updated for the October 2018 enrolment by 1 May 2018. The following details shall help potential applicants before starting the application procedures:

Upon date of the application deadline, all applicants must...

1) prove English skills at B2-level (equivalents/exemptions see p. 95 in ZSP-HU),
2) have successfully completed 30 ECTS in physical geography*,
3) plus 5 ECTS in statistics**, 
4) plus 10 ECTS in  geo-information science***,

5) and a total of 70 ECTS in 2), 3), 4) and other applied geosciences,
6) present a completed bachelor certificate or a statement from their home university on the successful completion of 150 ECTS (in case of international applicants a statement from the home institution on the completion of the program by October 2018 is sufficient).

* Climate Geography, Geomorphology, Geography of soils/Soil science, Hydrogeography/-logy, Biogeography, Vegetation geography, Landscape ecology, Geo-ecology, Earth system science, Land system science

** statistics and non-spatial modeling

*** GIS, remote sensing, geostatistics, spatial modeling, digital cartography

All requirements are formally described in the ZSP-HU section for the MSc Global Change Geography. An English translation of this ZSP-HU section with more details on the above mentioned requirements can be found here.

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.


For starting the study programme in October 2018:

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!). The application period lasts from 1 June - 31 August 2018. The winter term then starts on 1 October 2017.

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 lasts from 1 May - 15 July 2018.

In either case, the online application system does provide all documents that are needed to prove given requirements according to the ZSP-HU section for the MSc Global Change Geography. A legally not-binding translation of this section (including information on English B2 equivalents) can be found here
Please read all information in the online system of HU or uni-assist very carefully

For further information on requirements and procedures, see this application brochure and hu.berlin/apply.

We look forward to your application!


Dr. Sebastian van der Linden




Study and examination regulations

(legal information and module descriptions)



German (legally binding)