Master of Sciences in Physical Land Resources

Subject - Soil Science

  • Applications for 2019-2020 are open




A country's physical land resources are a fundamental pillar of support for human life and welfare. Worldwide, population pressures and severe degradation, pollution and desertification problems are threatening this - for several countries relatively scarce - natural resource, and cause competition between agricultural or industrial purposes, urban planning and nature conservation. To guarantee a proper use and management of this for a nation basic commodity, well trained specialists with a thorough knowledge of the properties and characteristics of this natural resource, and a solid insight in factors and measures that may alter its actual state and value are warranted and call for a high standard scientific and practical education.

This programme aims at training researchers, academics, government staff and expert consultants in the inventory and detailed characterization of land capacity, and of soils in particular. Graduates should be able to understand the development and evolution of soils under natural conditions or following human interference using field, map, laboratory and remote sensing data. They should have the scientific knowledge to use and manage soil and water in a sustainable way, and to optimize land use under different natural and environmental conditions.

Learning Outcomes

The Master of Science in Physical Land Resources aims at delivering experts with a broad, advanced up-to-date knowledge in the field of physical land resources and soils in particular, that are capable to integrate this knowledge with the acquired techniques, skills and attitudes, and to apply them in their professional life. Special consideration is given to analyzing problems in developing countries.


The Master of Science degree programme in Physical Land Resources is a two year, full time course.
The first year provides a fundamental basis in physical land resources, with a main subject in either Soil Science or Land Resources Engineering. The second year offers specialised courses in one of the two main subjects. The students have to prepare a master dissertation in the second year. Successful completion of the programme leads to the award of an Master of Science degree in Physical Land Resources.
The course curriculum of the first year, and of the main subject in soil science of the second year is organised at the Ghent University, whereas all courses of the main subject in Land Resources Engineering of the second year are lectured at "Vrije Universiteit Brussel".
The academic year starts the last week of September. However students are advised to arrive in Ghent in the first week of September to follow the preparatory summer course.

A wide variety of teaching methods are used in the PLR programme. All course units, except for “Internship” and “Master Dissertation” include lectures. Lectures are fundamental to provide students with the necessary basic knowledge in order to acquire the requested competences .
Besides lectures the following teaching methods are very frequently used: practical classes, PC-room classes and coached exercises. Teaching methods like guided self-study, group work and microteaching are occasionally used.
Field work and excursions are naturally an important component of the Physical Land Resources programme, especially in the first year.


All course details can be found in the programme catalogue.

Admission Requirements

Each application file is evaluated by an admission board and has to be approved by the Faculty Council and by the Rector's office, irrespective of the diploma obtained.

  • Applicants must have a Bachelor's degree of minimum 3 years from a university or recognized equivalent. Good overall scores (at least a second class or equivalent, preferably higher) are recommended.
  • Applicants are expected to have a basic science training in (1) mathematics or statistics and (2) chemistry or biochemistry, and an overall academic education background in a relevant discipline like (either) agriculture, biology, forestry, environment, land and water management, physical geography, geology or civil engineering verifiable through their transcripts.
  • Language requirements:
    The applicant must be proficient in the language of the course or training programme, i.e. English. The English language proficiency can be met by providing a certificate (validity of 5 years) of one of the following tests: (TOEFL/IELTS predictive tests and TOEIC will not be accepted)
    -    TOEFL IBT 80
    -    TOEFL PBT 550
    -    ACADEMIC IELTS 6,5 overall score with a min. of 6 for writing
    -    CEFR B2 issued by a European university language centre
    -    ESOL CAMBRIDGE English CAE (Advanced)

    Language of instruction is not accepted anymore, except:
    a.  applicants who have a diploma (Secondary Education, Academic Bachelor Degree, Master Degree) awarded by an (recognised) institution in the Flemish Community
    b.  applicants who are nationals from or have obtained a bachelor and/or master degree in a higher education institute with English as mode of instruction in USA, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland or Canada, and in the latter case a certificate that the mode of instruction was English has to be submitted.

Applicants that do not  meet the language requirements can request an exception by adding a motivated letter to the application file.

Application Procedure

Academic Admission

We urge you to complete the procedure as described on the following website for academic admission. Without finalizing your academic admission procedure, it is not possible to compete/be selected for a scholarship. Do respect the deadlines for academic admission. Files received beyond the deadline will not be taken into consideration whatsoever. For all questions in relation to this procedure, please contact

Practical Information


  • Tuition fee
  • Living & accommodation expenses: min € 850/month
  • Some scholarship schemes take charge of particular costs

Contact & Info

MSc in Physical Land Resources

Coupure Links, 653 - 9000 Ghent, Belgium