Earth Sciences

The Department of Earth Sciences studies the Earth as a fully coupled system with emphasis on the interactions between the geo-, hydro-, bio-, cryo-, and atmosphere. Our main goal is to improve our understanding of the processes (including anthropogenic) that ultimately shape our planet and affect our daily lives. We offer high-class teaching and carry out our ambitious and innovative research in a dynamic academic environment, supported by excellent research facilities.

Earth Science is vital to the future of society. Research into deep Earth processes that shape the planet, into the evolution and change of past and present Climate and into the scarcity of Resources such as economically relevant minerals, oil and water are fundamental to sustainable use of Earth’s resources. These research efforts require  a complex Earth system approach of both an experimental and theoretical nature. We use state of the art in-house and field laboratories, complemented with a suite of modelling and Earth Observation tools to achieve our research goals (KNAW Agenda 2020: Perspective on the earth sciences).

Within the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam the complex issues of an increasing world population, the use of natural resources and the associated changes in the environments of people at the global level are recognised as vital areas to focus research resources. Earth Sciences take a leading role in the implementation of this theme (VU Strategic Plan 2011-2015).

The Department of Earth Sciences consists of 2 research clusters:

The Department can thus study all aspects of System Earth with an integrated approach to the dynamics of System Earth. This approach is designed to quantify the interplay and feedback mechanisms between all parts of dynamic Earth. The two overarching themes form the basis of successful funding from national agencies and the EU and provide the focus for our (inter-) national cooperation.  Importantly, the themes provide the framework for the talent strategy of Earth Sciences with which we aim to consolidate our position as a centre of excellence for the study of Earth Sciences in the Netherlands.

Our strong research basis forms the core of our teaching programs. Our BSc and MSc programs are consistently rated among the best in natural sciences in the Netherlands. NVAO, Elsevier

Earth Sciences continue to deliver curricula that lead to great student satisfaction and excellent employment opportunities, ranging from industry, teaching, and policy to research.