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M. Sc. Geography of Environmental Risks and Human Security


Module schedule and handbook

The module schedule and handbook provide information on the course structure.

The Programme consists of eleven modules of which nine are taught in the first three semesters, followed by a compulsory internship and the independent work on the Master-Thesis.

Examination regulation

The examination regulations can be found here (in German, English translation follows).

Modules are credited according to ECTS and are evaluated based on the results of written examinations, essays, project reports, (simulation) exercises, presentations and active participation.

Requirements and application

Important dates:

The Joint Master Programme has an annual intake. The programme usually starts in October. Applications are accepted during the application period from November 15 to January 15 for the next year intake.

Admission semester:

Winter semester only


Applicants must possess a first, higher education qualification (Bachelor’s Degree) in Geography or a related / comparable professionally certified study programme. Out of all higher education qualifications earned (Bachelor’s, Master’s, additional academic coursework, etc.) applicants must have accumulated at least 100 ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) within courses related to the 3 following  areas:

  1. Human Geography and Social Sciences with a focus on spatial patterns, society, development;
  2. Science methodology and empirical research methods;
  3. Physical Geography, Geosciences and Environmental Sciences with a focus on Earth System Science.

A strong motivation to contribute to the area of Human Security and management of risks related to Environmental Change is a pre-requisite to study in this Master’s Programme. Applicants should be highly motivated to learn in a multicultural and interdisciplinary environment.

A minimum of 2 years of related professional experience is required for candidates from developing countries who additionally wish to apply for a scholarship under the Development-Related Postgraduate programmes (Epos) of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

Non-native English speaking applicants must prove sufficient proficiency in the English language.

For further details on the application requirements, please consult the FAQ.



Finding a suitable internship is not an easy task. You can find documents about past internships of Joint Master students on eCampus in the Joint Master Geo Risk folder, this might help you to get an idea about suitable institutions and organizations. You can additionally find a list about possible scholarships for internships on eCampus.

If you have found an internship, you need to hand in the internship agreement form to inform the programme office. Please make sure that you read the internship report outline before writing your report and use the correct cover page included in the report outline.

In order to receive the 12 CP for your internship, 4 weeks after completing your assignment, you are required to:

Master thesis


From 2017 onwards, the Joint Master’s Programme is part of a selected group of international postgraduate programmes that benefits from the EPOS funding scheme offered by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). Hence, we will be able to offer a certain number of fully funded scholarships to students from “developing countries”.

Eligible candidates should fulfill the following requirements in addition to the general eligibility criteria for the Master’s programme:

  • Being a candidate from a “Developing Country” (according to the classification of the DAAD)
  • Having at least two years of practical work experience (e.g. with an NGO, GO, or the private sector) in a field related to the study programme
  • Having graduated from the Bachelor no longer than five years age
  • Having completed no other Master in a similar field of studies


Aiming at a career as a practitioner in a field related to the programme of study
Students wishing to be considered for these scholarships need to apply for the programme as well by filling the applications forms for the DAAD; acceptance to the former does not guarantee acceptance to the latter.

The selection process for the Epos funding among shortlisted candidates will happen between February and April each year.



The two-year Master´s programme content adresses theoretical and methodological debates in geography to better understand the complex emergence of environmental risks and natural hazards and their implications for human-nature relations (vulnerability, resilience, adaptation) and how to deal with them in practice. Jointly organized by the Department of Geography and the United Nations University in Bonn, it provides a unique combination of advanced conceptual and applied engagements with the field of environmental risks and human security in an international context. The language of instruction is English.

Fields of study include:

  • Geographical approaches to risk, vulnerability and resilience
  • New approaches to development geography
  • Earth system science
  • Qualitative & Quantitative Methods, as well as GIS & Remote Sensing
  • Social-ecological systems, Risk & Technology
  • Risk management and governance, forecast & prediction
  • Disaster management, disaster risk reduction (DRR) and humanitarian response.

Since its launch in October 2013, a total of 98 students from 24 countries have been studying within the Master programme.
More information on the programmes objectives and career opportunities you can find here.

More information on the research topics of the Department of Geography you can find here.

For additional information please contact:

Karen Hattenbach
Educational Programme Coordinator
Tel: 0228 815-0212