Master's Programme in Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, 120 credits

About the education

The Master’s program in Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology is intended to help you to understand how the Earth's landscape, landforms and sediments have been formed during the Quaternary, or even longer time spans.

The program begins with two mandatory courses. Here you acquire more in-depth knowledge on climate and environmental change, geomorphology and glaciology, learn how to analyse and interpret landscape and climate changes, and focus on dating methods, presentation techniques, and scientific publishing.

The first semester starts with a field course to northern Scandinavia dealing with the Quaternary climate history, glacial and periglacial landforms, and subarctic and Arctic environments.

During semester 2-3, you will be focusing on our courses based on research for which we are internationally competitive such as climate modelling, bio- and lithostratigraphy, palaeoglaciology, permafrost or additional subjects through our range of elective and optional courses. A large part of the teaching is conducted in the field and in the laboratory and our teachers are active researchers giving you a direct contact with ongoing research. Year two ends with a thesis, which is generally linked to an ongoing research project. Unique opportunities for Master thesis projects are available at our alpine research station located in Tarfala, Kebnekaise.

The program is especially useful if you plan a continuation in research but also gives you transferable skills and knowledge that are useful in working life. Understanding of landscape development in a rapidly changing world is essential, and with a master's degree in Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, you will be attractive to employers in both state and local government and the private sector.

Application documentation specific for this programme:

In addition to the documents required by (, you need to send in application documentation specific for this programme: Personal letter (maximum one page) and CV.

Please read the information at the education website.

Subject: Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology

Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology is part of both Earth Science and Geography, and deals especially with the climate and its change in time and space; water in all its forms; glaciers and ice sheets; the soil cover and the earth’s surface landforms; vegetation distribution in time and space; and the function and change of natural and cultural landscapes over time. Environment and natural resources are in focus, with an overall objective to contribute to sustainable resource use and sustainable development.

The main themes of research and teaching in Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology at Stockholm University are:

- Biogeography and Geomatics. Biogeography includes the interactions between land use, biodiversity and ecosystem services, and the importance of the landscape for vegetation distribution in time and space. Geomatics involves the development and use of geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing, cartography and visualization, with focus on landscape analysis and landscape information for issues within earth, life and environmental sciences.

- Climate and Quaternary Science. Within this theme we focus on the dynamic development of climate and environment and the interaction between ecosystems, climate and environmental changes during the Quaternary (from 2.6 million years ago to the present).

- Environment, resource dynamics and management. This theme encompasses the entire environmental field, with particular emphasis on the society's interactions with the natural environment. Within research and education we turn to professionals and students who need a broad knowledge in the field of environmental management.

- Geomorphology and glaciology. Through the study of the earth's surface landforms and the processes acting on the earth's surface, we contribute with knowledge that is useful in planning, such as the location of hazardous waste, roads and other infrastructure, and in the interpretation of the interactions between society and the natural landscape. We also study glaciers and polar environments, including glacial, alpine and periglacial systems and environments, which are central in the earth's climate system.

- Hydrology and water resources. Natural and anthropogenic variations in land, soil and water resources have a direct impact on human activity, and by studying this variability we contribute to the knowledge of environmental and societal development possibilities and risks associated with the use of land and water. We also study the effects of different strategies for handling risks, and relate research results to environmental monitoring and legislation, and to management of land, soil and water resources for sustainable development.

Area of interest: Science and Mathematics

Science and mathematics help us understand how the world around us is connected – from the origin and structure of the universe, to the development and function of humanity and all other organisms on earth.

Scientific knowledge makes it possible to critically examine the credibility of information in different areas of everyday life, society, and the media.

As a scientist or mathematician, you will be attractive on a large job market that covers all parts of society and includes everything from pure technology companies to environment and healthcare, as well as research.

Department responsible for education

Department of Physical Geography