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Physical Geography (MSc)

As of winter semester 2017/18, this degree programme got replaced by the Master of Science Climate & Environmental Sciences.
What is the degree programme about?

In Physical Geography students can refine their knowledge in their main areas of interest. Some of the areas worked on at the Institute of Geography are unique in Germany and are well-known internationally. Research deals with the human-environment relationship, palaeoclimatology and climatology, as well as with high mountain ecosystems, with regional focus areas in different climate zones and on different continents. Current research covers the Alps, the Andes, Antarctica, Alaska and Ethiopia. Other projects deal with the mountainous region of Central Asia, the Middle East and the Mediterranean. However, the Institute of Geography is also involved in research projects in Germany, particularly in Bavaria. Students participate in current research projects. Innovative modules such as 'Teaching research' and 'Research workshop' equip students for interdisciplinary collaborations, active participation and organisation and region-specific research problems.

Core subjects and specialisation options

Since winter semester 2015/16, students have the option to specialise in climate research, geoinformatics and environmental research.

Furthermore, you can improve your skills in geographic information systems (GIS) and remote sensing, climate modelling and dendroecology, as well as your pedological laboratory methods.

Modules and degree programme structure
  • 1st–3rd semester: specialisation subject
    In the first two semesters you deepen your knowledge of your chosen specialisation, in particular through comprehensive methodological training. You take modules in your elective subject and at the half-way point in the degree programme you carry out field work, enabling you to put the knowledge gained so far into practice. Through research project work, you are actively involved in the organisation and logistics of research, knowledge generation and knowledge transfer.
  • 4th semester: Master's thesis
    In the fourth semester you prepare an academic thesis and present your work in a presentation followed by a discussion.
Good to know
  • The degree programme covers a wide range of theory and methods, giving you the opportunity to choose your own specialisation subjects according to your personal interests. Students obtain very practice-orientated knowledge which they can apply in their future careers. However, they may also decide to focus on research.
Admission requirements

For Physical Geography applicants require an above average Bachelor's degree in Geography or in a related subject (e.g. agricultural sciences, forestry, landscape ecology, geoinformatics, ecosystem management, environmental engineering, geography teaching degree programme for Gymnasium, climate and environmental science).
Applicants with a degree grade of 2.3 or better can be accepted by the Admissions Committee immediately after the preliminary selection stage. Applicants with a degree of up to 2.5 will be invited to an oral examination. Applicants with a degree grade worse than 2.5 will not be accepted.


You can apply for the summer or the winter semester through the application portal campo. If you have not yet completed your Bachelor's degree at the time of application, you must have obtained a minimum of 150 ECTS credits. Your average grade should be 2.5 or better. In exceptional cases, applicants who have not yet obtained enough ECTS credits may be allowed to provide proof of these before the qualification assessment process.

More information on the application procedure is available at

Degree programme start date and application deadlines

Please find more detailed information on how to apply for a Master or advanced degree programme on the following website:

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Please note: Despite careful checks, we cannot rule out errors or omissions. For this reason, all prospective students are advised to seek detailed information from FAU's Student Advice and Career Service (IBZ) before commencing their studies.

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Degree type: Master of Science (MSc)
Type of study: Master
Location: Erlangen
Standard duration of study: 4 Semester
Start date of degree programme: Summer Term, Winter Term
Language: English, German
Admission: Qualification assessment
Early entrance programme: no
Part-time study: no
Faculty: Faculty of Natural Sciences

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Student Advice and Career Service
Student Advice and Career Service (IBZ)
information sheet
Information material
What is the difference between town and country? (German)
What is climate research? (German)
How do different districts develop? (German)