Master of Science (M.Sc.) programme: Geography of Environmental Risks and Human Security

Application Procedure

    The Master of Science in the “Geography of Environmental Risks and Human Security” is offered by the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences of the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-University of Bonn in cooperation with the United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) as an international degree programme with a research-oriented profile.

    The two-years programme educates students in a interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary manner on how to investigate and manage various resources related to environmental hazards by implementing science-based principles and methodologies to disaster risk management.

    It offers an in-depth introduction into both problem-oriented research methods, theory and concepts as well as real life challenges and problems that international and UN organizations are dealing with, deriving from research areas such as vulnerability assessment, resilience analysis, risk management and adaptation strategies within linked human–environment systems as well as environmentally induced internal displacement and transboundary migration.

  • Documents required for application are:

    • Résumé/CV: A current résumé including a chronological listing of employment and other significant activities must be submitted with any application.
    • Official transcriptions: Applicants shall submit an official transcript from each college or university in which they were enrolled for any period of time, showing all courses, grades and degrees received (kindly note that only certified transcripts will be accepted. In cases where the transcript is written in any language other than English, a certified translation of the transcript into English or German is required. Translated versions can be certified either by the  originating university or an official national or international institution).
    • Further certificates on professional expertise, if any.
    • Application form

    Optional: Personal statement (highly appreciated):
Applicants may present a written statement, one to two pages in length, describing their motivation, area of proposed research, background, past work in the intended field of study, plans for further postgraduate study and any other information they feel is relevant. Applicants who are currently registered in a postgraduate programme at another university may explain why they wish to change programmes.

    Applicants shall submit all required documents in a digital format and scanned into one single PDF document.

    In individual cases applicants might be requested for a telephone interview in case the selection board has specific enquiries which could not be sufficiently explained by the documents provided.

  • UNU-EHS and Bonn University welcome applicants with a strong interest or experience in environmental science and international organizations and structures. Women and applicants from developing countries are strongly encouraged to apply.

    Applicants should:

    • possess a first, professionally qualifying higher education programme of study in Geography or in a related or com¬parable study programme in which they accumulated at least 100 credit points within 3 of the following 4 topics:
      • Physical Geography, Geosciences and Environmental Sciences with a focus on Earth System Science
      • Human Geography and Social Sciences with a focus on space, society and development
      • Science methodology and empirical research methods
      • Spatial planning and policyTopics in which less than 10 credit points were obtained will not be considered
    • possess sufficient proficiency in the English language at least at the level of B2 of CEFR [TOEFL 577; Computer TOEFL 213; IELTS 6.5, or equivalent];
    • be highly motivated to learn in a multicultural and interdisciplinary environment.


    Capacity-related admission restrictions (numerus clausus) remain unaffected.

    Admittance to the study programme is only possible following a successful evaluation of the application for acceptance in the joint Master’s programme Geography of Environmental Risks and Human Security with the cooperating higher education institutions pursuant to the respective selection procedures and regulations of these institutions.

  • The course structure and its contents address innovative issues and new concepts to better understand the complexity of physical changes in the earth system (e.g. climate change, hazards) and its interactions with societal processes (vulnerability, resilience) producing risks.

    During four semesters, students attend 11 modules (120 ECTS), including introduction seminars, research methods, an internship as well as the master thesis. The language of instruction is English.

    Fields of study include:

    • Social ecological systems;
    • Earth system science;
    • Risk management and governance; and

    Disaster management and disaster risk reduction.