MSc in Geography of Environmental Risks and Human Security

University of Bonn

An outstanding reputation in teaching and research and a unique location make the University of Bonn an especially attractive place to study.
Founded in 1818, the University of Bonn is considered to be one of Germany’s and indeed one of Europe’s leading research universities. As the home of learning to over 35,600 students, the University of Bonn is also one of Germany’s largest institutions of higher education and enjoys a long tradition as the Alma mater for excellent students from both home and abroad. Currently, more than 4,000 (= 13%) international students from all over the world contribute to the international character of the university and enrich both academic and social life in Bonn, making the university one of the most internationally oriented in the country.
Course focus
The Master’s programme addresses theoretical and methodological debates in geography to give students a better understanding of the complex emergence of environmental risks and natural hazards, their implications for human-nature relations (vulnerability, resilience, adaptation), and how to deal with these implications in practice. Jointly organised 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.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
Target Group
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.
Course language English
Application process The Joint Master Programme has an annual intake. The next programme will start in October 2017. Applications are accepted during the application period from November 15, 2016 to January 15, 2017.A completed application packet consists of the following documents:

  1. Completed and signed application form (REQUIRED)
  2. A signed Résumé/CV (REQUIRED)
    • A current résumé including a chronological listing of employment and other significant activities must be submitted with any application.
  3. Official transcripts (REQUIRED)
    • Applicants must submit an official transcript from each college or university in which they were enrolled for any period of time, showing all courses, grades and degrees received
    • Only transcripts that have been certified by the university where the degree was awarded will be accepted
    • In cases where the transcript is written in any other language than English, a certified translation of the transcript into English or German is also required
    • Translated versions can be certified either by the originating university or an official national or international institution
  4. Letter of motivation (REQUIRED)
    • A written statement, one to two pages in length, describing their motivation, area of proposed research, background, past work in the intended field of study, plans for further postgraduate study and any other information they feel is relevant. Applicants who are currently registered in a postgraduate programme at another university should explain why they wish to change programmes.
  5. For non-native English speakers or applicants where English is not the official language, an English language proficiency certificate. (REQUIRED).
  6. Copy of Bachelor Thesis or academic essay written as part of the fulfillment of the first degree (preferably in English). (REQUIRED).
  7. If the candidate wishes to be considered for the Epos funding by the DAAD the candidate should add the DAAD application form, a motivation letter with reference to the current occupation, professional letters of recommendation from your employer (with recent date, stamped and signed), academic letters of recommendation from your university (with recent dates, stamped and signed), as well as a confirmation of employment from the employer in your home country and if possible, a guarantee of re-employment upon your return home.
  8. Other relevant documents to support your application (OPTIONAL):
    • Further certificates on professional experience and expertise (recommended for Epos applicants)
    • Additional Certified Transcripts in cases where additional academic credits were earned outside of Degrees awarded
    • Letters of recommendation

All documents must be scanned and sent together as one single PDF file. Only Epos applicants might organize their application in two files. The file size for each file should not exceed 8 Megabytes (MB). Send completed application packet to:

Only digital versions sent via email will be accepted. We do not accept applications sent via post.

Completed application packets must be received by the application deadline January 15th, at 23:59 CET (Central European Time) for Bonn, Germany. Any applications received with timestamps of 24:00 CET or later on the following day will be automatically excluded.

All candidates get a notification on their application status by mid May 2017.

Scholarships 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” for the student intake in 2017.

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 ago
  • 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.

Candidates that do not fulfill the Epos requirements but wish to benefit from financial support during their studies are invited to apply individually and early to other available funding programmes in Germany. A list of available programmes can be found via the following link:

Course structure Curriculum-Overview_Joint_M.Sc-2017

Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

UNU-EHS EduSphere

Platz der Vereinten Nationen 1

53113 Bonn