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Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology

In this subject we study how our Earth works. The subject is interdisciplinary with opportunities for specialization in areas such as climate variations; water in all its forms; glaciers and ice sheets; the soil cover and landforms; the spread of vegetation in time and space and the function and change of the natural and cultural landscape.

Subject description

The environment and natural resources are in focus, with an overall aim to contribute to sustainable resource use and sustainable social development. Core research and teaching areas are:

Climate Science and Quaternary Geology

We study climate and environmental changes during the Quaternary (the last 2.6 million years). This includes reconstructing past environments in order to understand the landscape of today and to anticipate future environmental change.

Geomorphology and Glaciology

Studying landforms and the processes that operate on the Earth’s surface, is useful in everything from localization of infrastructure, to risk analysis and interpretation of the links between the society and nature. In glaciology, we study glaciers and ice sheets linked to climate change.

Hydrology, Permafrost and Environmental Systems 

Variations in soil and water resources have a direct impact on human activity. Studying these variations contributes with knowledge of environmental issues, society's development potential and risks associated with the use of land and water. We also study the effects of climate change on permafrost.

Landscape, Environment and Geomatics

In biogeography we study the links between land use, biodiversity and ecosystem services, as well as the role human beings for the spread of vegetation in time and space.

Geomatics includes data collection and management using GIS, remote sensing and cartography, with the aim of analyzing natural and cultural landscapes.

Career opportunities

Studying Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology makes you attractive in the labour market or for a research career. Former students are currently working at government agencies and organizations, but also in the private sector as advisors and analysts in consulting firms.

Examples of work tasks: GIS analyst, Geotechnical engineer, Quality and environmental coordinator, Risk management and emergency preparedness analyst, Consultant in polluted land and water management, Hydrologist, Geologist.

Courses and programmes



Our research takes us all over the world, from the Tropics to the poles and to all the continents. In the subject of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, we conduct research within and integrated between four different research units:

  • Climate Science and Quaternary Geology
  • Geomorphology and Glaciology
  • Hydrology, Permafrost and Environmental Systems
  • Landscape, Environment and Geomatics
  • Contact

    Study counsellor Master's (advanced) level