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Global Change: Ecosystem Science and Policy (MSc)

Taught in English. Master of Science (M.Sc.), jointly awarded by Justus Liebig University Giessen and University College Dublin


OverviewTeaser Englisch

The international Master's course "Global Change: Ecosystem Science and Policy" is jointly offered by Justus Liebig University Giessen (JLU), Faculty of Biology and Chemistry, and University College Dublin (UCD), Ireland, School of Biology and Environmental Science. The programme has a duration of 16 months and comprises 120 credit points. It is completely taught in English.

Graduates will receive a joint Master's degree from both universities. The first semester is based at University College Dublin, where students have to pay the programme tuition fee.

Further information


Global change refers to planetary-scale changes occurring in complex socio-ecological systems. Understanding the intricate changes in our land, air and water requires advanced scientific knowledge in measurement, modelling and prediction. This joint international MSc course between the University College Dublin (UCD) and the Justus Liebig University Giessen (JLU) is a response to these global change challenges.

  • The course starts in September at UCD in Ireland. This first semester is followed by a 6 week work placement in a company or institution of your choice (January to February).
  • The second semester continues in March at JLU in Giessen, Germany.
  • The third semester comprises the individual research project which can be undertaken in working groups, either at UCD or JLU. On completion of the research project students will produce a minor thesis in the form of a scientific paper.

Tuition fees: The MSc Course is a fee-paying programme. Further information

Composition of the Study Programme

Composition of the Study Programme (new modules)


Master of Science (MSc)

Jointly awarded by Justus Liebig University Giessen and University College Dublin


Duration of studies

3 semesters (16 months) – 120 credit points (cp)


Composition of degree programme

Graduates will be equipped with three generic skill sets:

  • Global change science (climate change, ecosystem research, biodiversity, land use change, resource management etc.),
  • Policy and communication (policy and law, regulation and governance, stakeholder involvement, policy advice etc.),
  • Data management, analysis and reporting (research methods, data collection, data analysis and evaluation, modelling etc.)



The Master’s course comprises 12 core modules and two optional modules:

UCD modules, 35 credit points:

Core modulescp
Quantitative Methods for Engineers 5
Plant-Atmosphere Climate Interaction 5
Global Change Ecology – Introduction 5
Science and Policy 5
Environmental Impact Assessment 5
Environmental Law and Policy 5
Optional module (5 cp), e.g.:cp

a. Biodiversity

b. Peatland and Environmental Change




JLU modules, 35 credit points:

Core modulescp
Global Change: Modelling and Advanced Techniques 5
Designing and Managing Global Research Projects 3
Political Consulting - Environmental Policy and Development Cooperation 6
Resource Economics and Environmental Management 6
Biodiversity Informatics 3
Climate-relevance and Resource Efficiency of Sustainable Farming Systems 6
Optional module(s) (6 cp), e.g.:cp

a. Field Methods in Global Change Research

b. Human Health Impacts of Climate Change: the International Dimension

c. Adaption to Global Change

d. Stress Ecology

e. Into the Footsteps of a Researcher

f. Man in Past Climates and Climate Change Impacts








Module Work Placement (20 cp)

Module Research Project / Thesis (30 cp)


Application: Commencement of studies

Commencement of studies

Only possible in the winter semester

The course starts in September (September - December) at University College Dublin (UCD). The first semester is followed by a 6 week work placement (January - February). Students continue their studies at Justus Liebig University Giessen (second semester; March - July). The third semester (August - December) is comprised of the Master's thesis which can either be written at UCD or at JLU.

Application: admission and registration

Application for admission and registration

Application and enrolment for the course take place at University College Dublin.

To apply online go to, create a user account, select "Postgraduate Programmes" and select "MSc Global Change: Ecosystems and Policy".

Application: Entrance requirements

Entrance requirements

Applicants must hold a Bachelor's degree with at least 180 ECTS-points and an average grade of 2.48 (UCD grade points, see special regulation § 26 of the table comparing JLU/ UCD grade points) or better in one of the following scientific fields:

  • Biology
  • Agricultural Studies
  • Natural or Environmental Sciences

On an individual basis, the Examination Board may accept other study programmes as equivalent and may also subject them to specific requirements.

Application: Language requirements

Language requirements

As the entire degree course is taught in English, applicants must provide proof of sufficient knowledge of written and spoken English if the first degree was not obtained in English. The following test results will be accepted as proof of sufficient language proficiency:

  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) paper-based: 600 points
  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) internet-based: 100 points
  • IELTS Academic Test (International English Language Testing System): 6.5 points

See for required results in other approved English competency tests.

Career Options

Career Options / Career Opportunities

Career Options / Career Opportunities

Recent global developments in fields such as climatology and climate change, population distribution, land use, biological systems and ecosystems, resource development and exploitation by industry and society create new and increased responsibilities in the complex interaction of society and environment. The new multidisciplinary skills that you develop in this Master's course will be your best asset not just in the field of research but also in organizations that are directly or indirectly involved in these areas, such as academic institutions, state or local authorities, national or international organizations, industrial companies and consultancies, for example.

Graduates of the course can be employed in areas ranging from public relations to consulting work in politics and business, the media, analytical studies of system relationships as well as environmental research and development. The skills you acquire, particularly through the completion of the thesis, provide a strong foundation for PhD research.


Contact: Study Advisor

Subject Advisor


Programme Co-ordinator (UCD)

Dr. Florence Renou-Wilson

Phone +358 87 2836078


Programme Co-ordinator (JLU)

Regina Gaitsch

Heinrich-Buff-Ring 38

35392 Giessen

Phone +49 641 99 35003



Head of Degree Programme (JLU):

Prof. Dr. Christoph Müller

Justus-Liebig Universität Gießen

Institut für Pflanzenökologie, IFZ

Heinrich-Buff-Ring 26

35392 Giessen


Phone +49 641 99 35301 (Secr.)



Contact: Central Study Advisor (JLU)

Central Study Advisor (JLU)