United Nations University

The United Nations University (UNU) is the academic arm of the United Nations (UN). It bridges the academic world and the UN system. Its goal is to develop sustainable solutions for current and future problems of humankind in all aspects of life. Through a problem-oriented and interdisciplinary approach it aims at applied research and education on a global scale. UNU was founded in 1973 and is an autonomous organ of the UN General Assembly. The University comprises headquarters Tokyo, Japan, and more than a dozen Institutes and Programmes worldwide.


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Master of Science (M.Sc.) programme: Geography of Environmental Risks and Human Security


The Master of Science in the “Geography of Environmental Risks and Human Security” is offered by the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences of the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-University of Bonn in cooperation with the United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) as an international degree programme with a research-oriented profile.

Applications are closed for the October 2015 intake. The call for the October 2016 intake is planned for December 2015 to March 2016.

The two-years programme educates students in a interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary manner on how to investigate and manage various resources related to environmental hazards by implementing science-based principles and methodologies to disaster risk management.

It offers an in-depth introduction into both problem-oriented research methods, theory and concepts as well as real life challenges and problems that international and UN organizations are dealing with, deriving from research areas such as vulnerability assessment, resilience analysis, risk management and adaptation strategies within linked human–environment systems as well as environmentally induced internal displacement and transboundary migration.


The main purpose of the MSc programme is to provide postgraduate students with detailed knowledge, critical understanding, strategies and the tools required to take an interdisciplinary approach towards environmental risks and human security.

Upon completion of their study, students will be able to:

  • understand and analyse scientific inquiry in physical and human geography and related disciplines, focusing on vulnerability and environmental risk in developing countries;

  • understand and apply appropriate methods for research design regarding data collection and analysis, particularly focused on contemporary qualitative and quantitative methods

  • formulate new research questions and apply the acquired knowledge in the context of international organizations and mechanisms; and

  • produce scientific writing, presentation and proposal writing; perform project management tasks.

Course structure

The course structure and its contents address innovative issues and new concepts to better understand the complexity of physical changes in the earth system (e.g. climate change, hazards) and its interactions with societal processes (vulnerability, resilience) producing risks.

During four semesters, students attend 11 modules (120 ECTS), including introduction seminars, research methods, an internship as well as the master thesis. The language of instruction is English.

Fields of study include:

  • Social ecological systems;

  • Earth system science;

  • Risk management and governance; and

  • Disaster management and disaster risk reduction.


What we offer

  1. Joint Master of Science Degree Certificate from the United Nations University and University of Bonn

  2. Problem-oriented and in-depth learning combined with practical case studies

  3. Intercultural and interdisciplinary learning environment

  4. Strong focus on developing countries

  5. Possibility to engage in ongoing research projects at both institutions

  6. Possibility to incorporate current development issues and real world problems into the academic work

  7. Close cooperation with the UN & international organizations

Further information

Admission requirements

How to apply 


Programme flyer

Course structure



Applications are closed for the October 2015 intake. The call for the October 2016 intake is planned for December 2015 to March 2016.

Application form

Application form