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Master of Science in Geology: major basins and orogens

Master (ISCED 2011 level 7)


Duration 4 semesters
Entry level Bachelor
Cost € 113.20 - € 961.90 / year

The Master in Geology – organized jointly by Ghent University and Catholic University of Leuven – offers an in-depth training in general geology and a specialized training in selected disciplines of geology. Emphasis is put on acquiring general academic skills such as research and exploration, reporting, co-operation with fellow students and researchers. The student receives the necessary training to analyze and solve new, broader and more complex geological problems. One obtains the scientific attitude to solve these problems by selecting and applying advanced methods (qualitative and quantitative field analysis, direct and indirect observation techniques, physical and chemical analytical techniques, modelling of geological processes etc).

One should not only have hands-on knowledge of the techniques and the basic principles, but also be able to appraise the potential and the limitations of the different techniques. In a rational and scientific way, he/she is able to process and to report the research results, to publish them in reports and in a master thesis (monograph), and to present and defend these results orally in a structured way, aided by modern communication techniques.

The Master in Geology has the social attitudes and skills to work in an interdisciplinary team with the aim to reach the best possible coherent solution for a specific problem.

The master's programme offers the possibility to specialize in one of the four majors offered:

  • Basins and Orogens (60 credits)
  • Groundwater and Mineral Resources (60 credits)
  • Geodynamics and Georesources (54 credits)
  • Surface Processes and Paleo-environments (55 credits).

Depending on the chosen major, students take up an additional 30 to 36 credits for elective courses. In the second year, a research project (master's dissertation) of 30 credtis is scheduled. The master's dissertation is an original piece of research work. It aims to develop and strengthen the research capacity skills of the students. The student selects a topic and is given guidance by a supervisor. The master's dissertation consists of a literature review part, practical research and an original analysis of the topic.

The University of Ghent also provides a Dutch programme. 

If you want to combine your master’s degree with a teacher’s degree, then there is the option of following an ‘Educatieve master’ instead of the above described master. 

Structural components

Application procedure

Please apply via the website:

Learning outcomes


Competence field 1: Competence in one or more scientific disciplines

  1. Advanced knowledge of Earth, its structure, rocks and evolution, the evolution of Life, and an advanced insight into the way this knowledge was acquired and the correlation between the steering factors. Apply this insight creatively to analyse and solve new and complex theoretical or experimental problems.
  2. Apply innovatively the specialised knowledge of 'Basins and Orogens', 'Groundwater and Mineral Resources ', 'Geodynamics and Georesources' and 'Surface Processes and Paleoenvironments'.
  3. Have the attitude to apply supporting disciplines during professional activities or research in an independent, critical and constructive manner.
  4. Understand and examine the connection with other relevant disciplines and integrate these in a more advanced research or applied context.
  5. Demonstrate a profound insight into the newest scientific developments of at least one geological sub-discipline.
  6. Apply the acquired geological knowledge, insights and methods in scientific, geology-supporting domains.

Competence field 2: Scientific competence

  1. Design and perform problem oriented research and assess the quality of both phases.
  2. Critically observe and reflect on existing and new theories, models or interpretations with the discipline.
  3. Show creativity to formulate hypotheses and new correlations, and formulate an opinion based on limited, incomplete or conflicting data and information.
  4. Design and carry out experiments or simulations, critically and objectively evaluate and interpret the collected data, and elaborate models.
  5. Observe methodological, collect and curate data, register and handle data, analyse and evaluate within a research context. Discriminate between major and minor elements and keep an overview of knowledge and applied methods.
  6. Assess, analyse and evaluate critically information from international scientific journals and databases, and synthesize the information in a structural way.
  7. Moderate and handle unforeseen changes in the research process.

Competence field 3: Intellectual competence

  1. Show systematic and critical independent reflection on own thinking and acting, and translate this into conclusions and more adequate solutions.
  2. Have a professional attitude towards new scientific developments and their applications in a broad scientific, economic or societal context.
  3. Adopt an active attitude towards permanent development of knowledge and lifelong learning.
  4. Formulate independently logical and analytical lines of thought within and outside its own discipline, and evaluate critically complex thinking.
  5. Thinking and acting proactively towards problem solving in a multitude of situations.
  6. Generalize problems and discuss these on an appropriate level of abstraction.

Competence field 4: Competence in collaboration and communication

  1. Present own research orally and written, ideas and opinions during professional activities.
  2. Communicate and argue on research results with specialists and non-specialists, and with a general public.
  3. Communicate on own research and results with specialists and non-specialists in a second language.
  4. Communicate, cooperate and act in a supportive and inspiring manner.
  5. Be able to work in a team, often on the field and during long periods, and develop leadership and responsibility.

Competence field 5: Competence in social responsibility

  1. Assess the social effects of scientific developments and contribute to the social debate and adopt an open attitude.
  2. Adopt an ethical and social responsible attitude.
  3. Integrate social responsibilities and engagements in a professional activity.
  4. Instruct government organisations about findings in our fields of expertise, and conduct policy-supporting research in the field of environment and natural resources.

Competence field 6: Professional competences

  1. Work independently in a multitude of professional situations and contribute to research, the implementation of new techniques and ideas or the development of problem-solving strategies.
  2. Adopt a professional attitude characterised by dynamism, trustworthiness, engagement, accuracy and self-reliance.
  3. Design, carry out and report on innovative research in a scientific way.
  4. Demonstrate knowledge about new scientific developments in a geological sub-discipline, and relate the knowledge towards other aspects.
  5. Major Groundwater and Mineral Resources: Possess a fundamental understanding of the processes steering groundwater flows.
  6. Major Groundwater and Mineral Resources: Have the capacity to assess the possibilities of the exploitation of natural resources (including groundwater) and their sustainable management.
  7. Major Groundwater and Mineral Resources: Possess a deep knowledge of the factors and processes steering the quality of groundwater and be able to elucidate these through interpretation of analytical data.
  8. Major Groundwater and Mineral Resources: Insight into the changes that groundwater can undergo as a result of anthropogenic influence.
  9. Major Groundwater and Mineral Resources: A fundamental insight in the formation, the evolution, the physical, chemical and environmental properties of minerals in the context of environmental and technical applications.
  10. Major Groundwater and Mineral Resources: The capacity to interpret soils maps, and physical and chemical analyses for the evaluation of the quality of soils and other environmental and technical applications.
  11. Major Groundwater and Mineral Resources: Possess the basic techniques to formulate and present adequate scientific advice relating to the quality of groundwater.
  12. Major Basins and Orogens: Demonstrate a fundamental comprehension of the lithospheric processes determining the genesis (rifting) and evolution (subsidence, thermal evolution) of sedimentary basins and the contiguous lithospheric areas, and the expression of these processes in the sediments and crystalline rocks.
  13. Major Basins and Orogens: Demonstrate knowledge of sedimentary fluxes responsible for the infilling of sedimentary basins, of the processes steering the infilling and of the properties and spatial organisation of the resulting sedimentary sequences.
  14. Major Basins and Orogens: Testify of the capacity to discriminate between global (a.o. climate induced) and regional controls and effects of basin and orogen-related processes.
  15. Major Basins and Orogens: Possess the aptitude to disentangle the rock and geochemical logbook of the Earth and life as recorded in basins and to date the record.
  16. Major Basins and Orogens: Comprehension of microfossils and the processes that influence their diversity and areal distribution through time.
  17. Major Basins and Orogens: Insight into magmatic and metamorphic lithospheric processes and of the resulting products (minerals and rocks).
  18. Major Basins and Orogens: Comprehension of the structural analysis of basins and orogens in different stadia of evolution and the chronological reconstruction of this evolution.
  19. Major Basins and Orogens: The ability to design multidisciplinary exploration strategies on different scales for the visualisation of basins and orogens in general and the prospection of sites of exceptional economic importance.
  20. Major Basins and Orogens: Possess the basic skills to provide sound scientific advice relating to the sustainable managements of basins and orogens (exploitation of basins and energy sources, subsurface storage, protection) and the rational evaluation of natural hazards and the social, economic and geopolitical consequences.
  21. Major Surface Processes and Paleoenvironments: Demonstrate the capacity to gather and interpret geological data regarding interactions between geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere. The focus lies on understanding the past and present processes and on placing these processes in a context of 'Global Change' on different timescales.
  22. Major Surface Processes and Paleoenvironments: The fundamental attitude to study processes focusing on the interaction between the different spheres and on the variability of the earth’s surface.
  23. Major Geodynamics and Georesources: Demonstrate the capacity to gather and interpret geological data regarding rockbuilding and -changing processes and mineral resources in the subsurface. The focus lies on the interaction between Earth’s various endogenic physico-chemical processes.
  24. Major Geodynamics and Georesources: The fundamental attitude to analyse and explain the complexity of the various interacting physical and chemical generation processes in the subsurface and to apply this knowledge to the exploration of natural resources.


Admission for students holding a Flemish degree

  1. Immediate Admission
    • Bachelor in de geologie
  2. Admission Subject to Passing a Preparatory Course
    1. MIN 3 SP - MAX 100 SP
      • Bachelor in de bio-ingenieurswetenschappen, afstudeerrichting: land- en bosbeheer 
      • Bachelor in de bio-ingenieurswetenschappen, afstudeerrichting: landbouwkunde 
      • Bachelor in de bio-ingenieurswetenschappen, afstudeerrichting: milieutechnologie 
      • Bachelor in de biologie 
      • Bachelor in de chemie 
      • Bachelor in de fysica 
      • Bachelor in de fysica en de sterrenkunde 
      • Bachelor in de geografie 
      • Bachelor in de geografie en de geomatica 
      • Bachelor in de ingenieurswetenschappen, afstudeerrichting: geotechniek en mijnbouwkunde

Admission for Students holding a Non-Flemish Degree

The course is open to students with at least a bachelor's degree in the field of geology with minimum 180 credits. Information on admission requirements and the administrative procedure for admission on the basis of a diploma obtained abroad, can be found via the following link

ISCED Categories

Marine Geology