M.Sc. Environmental Sciences and Humanities

Anthropogenic climate change, natural degradation, and loss of biodiversity but also sustainable energy production, resource depletion, and waste disposal demand immediate action and governance. The management of these environmental challenges has already caused and will increasingly engender ethical concerns, dilemmas, and conflicts.

The Master’s program in Environmental Sciences and Humanities educates a new generation of environmental scientists with a special competence in environmental humanities and ethics for resolving governance challenges in the fields of the environment, sustainability and climate change. The unique competences acquired in this master are integrative and comprehensive knowledge on how to analyze environmental conflicts and to propose ethically sound solutions to environmental conflicts.

  • Profile of the study program

    The Master program in Environmental Sciences and Humanities educates generalists in environmental sciences with a special competence in environmental humanities and ethics. All modules consist of course units providing more general overviews or introductions to the fields of studies and allow for specializations in specific fields of environmental sciences and humanities. The program is based on an interfaculty and a humanistic approach. Within this highly interdisciplinary setting, students achieve key competences in all fields of environmental sciences ranging from biology, geosciences to environmental economics and law to a key focus on environmental humanities with a special emphasis on ethical decision-making in environmental practice.

  • Structure of classes and lectures

    The MSc study programme in Environmental Sciences and Humanities spans over two years (four terms), corresponding to a minimum of 120 ECTS credits.

    All course units of this program make true interdisciplinarity possible as they are followed in their faculties and departments of origin together with students from the respective fields. The program is divided into six modules and the master thesis:

    1. The key module, the specialty of this master program, consists of courses in the fields of the environmental humanities and in ethics. Examples are courses in environmental ethics, methods of ethical decision-making and courses in environmental history and political ecology (18 ECTS).
    2. The geosciences module deepens knowledge in methods and theory of earth sciences, human and physical geography (18 ECTS).
    3. The environmental biology module extends knowledge in ecology and biological evolution (18 ECTS).
    4. The sustainable economy module provides the necessary background in economic thinking in the context of sustainability (10,5 ECTS).
    5. The environmental law module focuses on public law at national, European and international levels (10 ECTS).
    6. The humanities and theology module extends humanist background to environmental challenges (6 ECTS).

    Finally, the master thesis is interdisciplinary, focusing on ethical or humanist aspects of environmental governance and practice (30 ECTS).

    A Supporting courses module, comprising elective courses from the modules above to achieve the necessary competences not acquired during Bachelor studies. The selection of the courses must be approved by the director of the programme. It comprises the necessary ECTS credits to reach the minimum total of 120 ECTS credits. 

    In conjunction with the courses from the humanities and theology module the environmental humanities module aims at building in-depth competences in humanist approaches to environmental challenges while a special focus lies on ethics and ethical decision-making. The other four modules provide the necessary generalist background to understand the basic scientific, economic and legal aspects of environmental issues to be governed today. Depending on their prerequisites, students follow more advanced or more basic courses. The master thesis allows a specialization on the ethical aspects of the chosen field of research.

  • Skills acquired and career opportunities

    Students of this Master program develop and strengthen their capacities of analytical thinking, precise reasoning and detecting the ethical implications of environmental practice. In addition, students acquire general scientific, economic and legal knowledge concerning environmental challenges of today and specialize in the context of their master thesis. Studying at the multi-lingual University of Fribourg allows students to gain language competences in French, German and English. However, most of the courses are taught in English.

    A Master in Environmental Sciences and Humanities qualifies for further research in the fields of environmental sciences and humanities, especially applied ethics and philosophy. Job opportunities include the fields of environmental administration and public institutions (local, national, regional, and international), urban and regional planning, environmental consulting, sustainable development, and NGOs with a focus on the environment.

  • Admission

    Master's degree programmes are built on the knowledge and abilities that were acquired when obtaining a Bachelor's degree.
    Holders of a Bachelor's degree awarded from a Swiss university can be admitted to a Master's degree programme within the corresponding branch of studies (requires the acquisition of minimum 60 ECTS credits at Bachelor level in the corresponding discipline) without any additional requirements. The same applies to holders of a Bachelor's degree awarded by a foreign university, provided that the Bachelor's degree is recognised and considered equivalent by the University of Fribourg.
    Holders of a Bachelor's degree awarded from a Swiss university or holders of a Bachelor's degree awarded by a foreign university, provided that the Bachelor's degree is recognised and considered equivalent by the University of Fribourg, can be admitted to a Master's degree programme within another discipline with prerequisites (must be successfully completed before starting the Master's degree programme) or additional requirements (can be completed during the Master's degree programme). According to existing agreements, holders of a Bachelor's degree awarded from a Swiss university of applied sciences can also be admitted with prerequisites or additional requirements.
    The respective conditions of admission for each Master's degree programme are reserved