Soil, Water and Environment

Published: 16 March 2020

Soil, water and the environment are of major concern at all levels of society from local authorities to international organisations. This Master’s degree will prepare you to work as a soil/water expert at public authorities at various levels.

Welcome to the new programme page for Soil, Water and Enviroment, former Soil and Water Management.

Important areas of future work include the incorporation of the EU water and soil directives in land use planning processes to minimise contamination of surface and ground water and the development of strategies for reducing losses of nitrogen and phosphorus to near coastal zones. Other areas of high relevance are e.g. soil conservation strategies and assessment of soil carbon pools in the perspective of climate change.

Soil/water experts are needed  within public authorities from local to national levels as well as within research. Those seeking an international career may join development agencies, research institutes, non-governmental organisations, consultancy firms, governmental or international authorities.

UN's sustainable development goals in the education

SLU's educations creates knowledge which contributes to the goals for sustainable development, both in Sweden and internationally.


This programme prepare you for the challenge of developing land and water management while minimising negative impacts on the environment and health. The programme focuses on natural sciences, although you will be trained to work in an interdisciplinary environment.

The use and quality of soil and water resources are intimately linked and must be understood together. The programme provides a comprehensive view of the way soil and water processes interact in a landscape perspective. We explore important pathways for water, nutrients and other elements through soil and plants to the atmosphere or through soil to ground and surface water. The content of the programme is based on contemporary basic and applied research. You will be trained to evaluate the impacts of agriculture, forestry and urbanisation on soil and water quality and to design and apply proper management methods to achieve important environmental objectives. Case studies from Sweden, other European countries and subtropical/tropical countries are used as teaching tools.

The first semester focuses on improving your understanding of the processes governing fluxes of water and matter in the landscape (soil physics, soil chemistry and soil biology). The second semester focuses on land use impacts on water quality, including eutrophication and environmental monitoring and assessments (primarily from a Scandinavian and European perspective). In addition you may choose e.g. a 5 credit course in “Biogeochemistry – element cycles and Climate change” and courses in GIS or systems analysis. The third semester include courses in soil classification, land evaluation, soil and water conservation, safe nutrient cycling and risk assessment of pollutants from a wider international perspective. Optionally you may choose 15 credits within other disciplines (e.g. economy, environmental communication, natural resource management). Finally, during the fourth semester you will complete your master thesis (30 credits).


Admission to the Master’s programme Soil, Water and Environment requires a first-cycle qualification comprising 180 credits and including specialised studies comprising 90 credits within one of the following subjects/disciplinary domains:

  • biology
  • agricultural sciences
  • soil sciences, geo sciences
  • environmental sciences
  • forestry
  • technology

In addition, knowledge corresponding to

  • at least 15 credits within chemistry
  • at least 15 credits within biology and/or soil or earth sciences.

Applicants with the equivalent qualifications obtained by means of a degree from another country, or with the equivalent knowledge obtained in some other way, may also be regarded as fulfilling the specific entry requirements.

This programme is taught in English. For this programme, the English language entry requirement is the equivalent of English studies at the upper secondary (high school) level in Sweden, called English 6.

An applicant with a first-cycle qualification from SLU comprising 180 credits automatically fulfils this requirement. Special rules apply for applicants with qualifications from one of the Nordic countries and some English-speaking countries.

Specific requirements apply for admission to the individual courses included in the programme.


With global change, population growth and more intensive land-use the need for expert knowledge on how to minimize negative impacts on soil and water resources is of key-importance for our survival. This is why the demand for advanced soil/water experts is increasing at different levels within society.

The programme provides a suitable background to continue research education towards a PhD-degree within e.g. Soil Sciences or Environmental Assessment at SLU or within similar areas at another university. SLU is hosting several Research Schools e.g. Focus on Soils and Water.

Student life

Welcome to #studysustainably where you get glimpses of student life as a master student at SLU in Uppsala!


Programme scope: 2 years, 120 credits

Next start: Uppsala, 31 August 2020
Number of admission places: 20

Application period 16 Oct 2019 - 15 jan 2020: All international students
Application period 16 March 2020-15 April 2020: Swedish students and students within EU/EEA

Tuition fee only for non-EU/EEA/Switzerland citizens:

First instalment: 72 500 SEK 
Total programme: 290 000 SEK


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