MSc Physical Geography: Environmental History

The application deadline for Winter Semester 2021/22 (beginners = Semester 1) has been extended to JULY 15th.

Orientation Week (Orientierungswoche)

Next orientation week: October 2021.

Introduction to the M.Sc. study programme

Introductory presentation as well as presentations related to the six elective modules are available as download below. Please be aware that the module "Marine Environmental Archives" should be studied in the 3rd semester.

Please fill in the Selection of consecutive core subjects and hand it in during the "Reading Seminar" until November 26, 2020.

Aims of the Study Programme


The current debate about the reasons and effects of climate change illustrates the need for experts who can understand and explain the complex interrelations that lead to environmental changes through time. Meeting this demand, the M. Sc. “Physical Geography: Environmental History" is a research-oriented master programme in physical geography focusing on the understanding and reconstruction of environmental and climatic history. This master programme is innovative and unique in Germany due to its distinct interdisciplinary approach including courses in physical and human geography, archaeology, geosciences, palaeobiology and environmental physics. To ensure high academic quality and practical orientation, the programme draws on both, expertise within the University of Bremen as well as on partnerships with regional scientific institutions in Bremen and Lower Saxony. All classes are taught in English. Students holding a B. Sc. degree in Geography with a focus on Physical Geography, in Geo- or Earth Sciences with a focus on Sedimentology or Quaternary Geology or in Archaeology focusing on Geoarchaeology are welcome.

Download this file (Flyer_MSc_V10.pdf)Flyer841 Kb
Module Handbook/ Structure of the Study Programme

The module handbook can be downloaded from this page (see below).

Introduction to the M.Sc. study programme, as well as general class schedules for the running study year (winter term and summer term) are available.

1. Semester - Introductory Phase

The introductory phase takes into account the different levels of knowledge and provides basic courses in the form of compulsory lectures and seminars as Consecutive Core Subjects in the disciplines of climatology, environmental physics, geosciences, limnogeology, prehistoric archaeology and vegetation history and archaeobotany. Three out of six Consecutive Core Subjects starting in the first semester and ending at the end of the second semester are elected. The compulsory course Research Process I offers training in presentation techniques and provides a detailed overview of cutting-edge research publications related to the respective fields of the master programme.

General Studies, Internship, Study Abroad

General Studies

General Studies encompass all courses dedicated as such in the study programme of the University of Bremen. A special offer are the eGeneral Studies. Within the master programme General Studies are intended to fill occasional gaps between the required 30 CP and the actually obtained CP, i.e. less than 30 CP in the third semester. Note that the examination office can only take credit for lectures with their full CP. For example, in case 3 CP are missing and you study a 6 CP course, it is not possible to hand in these 6 CP for the missing 3 CP.

Master Thesis

Guidelines to prepare a Master Thesis

The guidelines summarize the procedures to be followed by students planning to write a thesis for their master degree. They discuss prerequisites, administrative and organizational issues as well as time constraints. Moreover, students find guidance about structure and elements generally contained in a Master Thesis.

These guidelines come along with helpful appendices (also available as a docx file from your supervisor):

  • Appendix 1: Application for admission to the Master Thesis (in German as "Antrag auf Zulassung zur Masterarbeit" with English translation)
  • Appendix 2: Grading scheme for a Master Thesis
  • Appendix 3: Layout of the title page
  • Appendix 4: Example for a table of contents

Titles of completed Master Theses

  • Environmental importance of lacustrine sediment from Biển Hồ maar lake, Pleiku, central Vietnam
  • Human and climatic impact on lacustrine sediments from Lake Funda (Flores Island, Portugal) – A geochemical and mineralogical analysis of the last 1200 years
  • Tephrochronology and paleoenvironmental reconstruction of the Fucino Basin (Central Apennines, Italy) between MIS 5e and MIS 6
  • Multi-Objective Optimization of a Global Glacier Mass Balance Model
  • Sea-Level Rise-Induced Increase of the Extreme Event Frequency in Southern Florida and its Impact on the Exposed Population
  • Climate variability in Labrador, Canada, during the past 1500 years: Evidence from a high-resolution palynological record from Lake Melville
  • Isotopic composition of specific carbonates in freshwater lakes as a climate proxy
  • Arctic Soils in a Warming Climate: Plot-scale Changes of CO2 Fluxes after 5 Years of Experimental Warming
  • Reconstruction of environmental changes during the last 80ka based on sedimentological investigations from the Yermak Plateau
  • Fagus sylvatica L. at its Physiological Limits? On the Influence of Location Parameters on Tree Species Distribution in a Strict Forest Reserve in Northwest Germany
  • Interdisciplinary investigations on pingo remnants as environmental archives: a Late Pleistocene-Holocene paleoenvironmental study of northwestern Germany
  • Oxygen and carbon isotopes in subfossil tree rings - potential climate proxies?
  • Multi-Proxy Analysis of a Late Glacial-to-Holocene Sediment Sequence from Lake Melville, Canada


Admission Regulations

The admission regulations are provided for download here. Please note that the English translations of all regulations are guidelines and not legally binding. Only the German regulations ("Aufnahmeordnung" at the end of this page) are legally binding.


  • Completed bachelor programme with 180 CP/ECTS or another comparable scientific study programme providing subject-specific skills approved by university courses of at least 27 CP in subjects such as physical geography, Quaternary geology and/or geoarchaeology. This is usually the case with prior degrees such as:
Rules & Regulations

Rules and regulations are provided for download here. Please note that the English translations (EN) of all regulations are guidelines and not legally binding. Only the German regulations (DE) are legally binding.

Responsibilities and Guidance


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Responsible Person for the Master Course

Bernd Zolitschka is the responsible person for the master course in “Physical Geography: Environmental History”.

Student Adivsory Service

Student councelling including advice for the study abroad is provided by Michael Thiele. Additional information from the general stduent advisory service you find here.

Teaching Stuff

Cooperation Partners

Institute of Environmental Physics (IUP) at Faculty 1: Physics and Electrical Engineering, University of Bremen

Faculty 5: Geosciences, University of Bremen

Institute of History (only in German) at Faculty 8: Social Sciences, University of Bremen

Landesarchäologie Bremen (only in German)

Lower Saxony Institute for Historical Coastal Research, Wilhelmshaven


MARUM - Center for Marine Environmental Sciences, University of Bremen


artec - Sustainability Research Center, University of Bremen