This proposal describes the structure, content and organisation of a new joint MSc program in environmental science entitled “Soil, Water and Biodiversity: the European Approach (ENVEURO)”. The program focus on the relationships between natural resource uses in Europe and the effects it has on environment and health, and aims at providing analytical and management tools as well as environmental technologies for sustainable production systems in areas with high pressures on natural resources. Water resources takes a central role in the program as water quantities and quality is a powerful measure of mass and energy balances in agriculture, industries and households including pollutional loads. Furthermore, Europe is at the global frontier with respect to monitoring and regulation of water resources. This provides an excellent platform for development of a MSc program based on European knowledge and experience leading to candidates who will have excellent skills for jobs in all public and industrial sectors working with optimization of production within the regulative and legislative frames set for maintaining high environmental and health standards.
The MSc which initially will comprise four of the ELLS universities (UHOH, BOKU, SLU, KVL) runs over 2 years and has an extent of 120 ects. It is composed of four semester packages – each with an extent of 30 ects: a basic semester package (BSP), two advanced semester packages (ASP) and a thesis work. The BSP comprise a compulsory one-week introcourse and a 15 ects e-learning course on “Environmental Management in Europe”. After having passed the BSP, the student can choose among five different specialisations: water resources, environmental impacts, soil resources and land use, ecosystems and biodiversity, and environmental management. A specialisation implies that the student has at least one ASP plus the thesis work within that specialisation. Each of the partner universities offers ASPs within three specialisations. Semester packages comprise compulsory and elective courses and study activities. A number of semester packages based on courses taught in English at the partner universities have been composed. The thesis work typically has an extent of 30 ects, but may be extended to 45 ects by inclusion of experimental work during the two ASPs. The thesis is co-supervised by two teachers coming from two different partner universities. A three-week summer course is placed between the first and second advanced semester package. The student has to stay at at least two universities during a full MSc and the stay outside the homeuniversity should have a duration of at least one semester. The typical student is expected to spend the first year at the home university. Students can start at any of the four universities, but a common admission system with common admission criteria will be established and managed by an ENVEURO advisory board. This board is responsible for the curriculum development, coordination, evaluation and academic standards of the MSc program – and refers to the study councils at the partner universities.
The MSc program does not substitute already running MSc programs at the partner universities and it brings in new approaches and competences: i) a strong context where management systems sets the frame for all other activities, ii) a strong root in European experience and with focus on water, iii) a strong interaction between students and teachers stimulated by intro- and summer courses, e-learning and shifts between institutions, and iv) good opportunities for composing strong individual study programs assembled from complementary courses offered by the four European universities.