918 Environmental Health and Science, MSc, master


Environmental health and science are interdisciplinary academic fields that integrates physical and biological sciences, (including but not limited to Ecology, Biology, Soil Science, Water, Geology and Atmospheric Science to the study of the environment, and the solution of environmental problems. Environmental science provides an integrated, quantitative, and interdiscipllinary approach to the study of environmental systems.

Environmental health includes those aspects of the human health and disease that are determined by factors in the environment. It also refers to the theory and practice of assessing and controlling factors in the environment that can potentially affect health.

Emphasis will be placed on how and why different management strategies can contribute to sustainable use, conservation / protection and the recovery of natural and environmental resources. The study program is research and management oriented and provides thorough experience of laboratory and fieldwork.

We believe that interdisciplinary thinking for increased understanding and wish that the students should have a broad educational background including scientific methods and experience with the use of statistical tools and GIS.

Target Group and Admission Requirements

This Master's degree programme is especially designed for applicants with educational background in the areas of the natural sciences, health and the environment, science and mathematics, or other relevant education. Furthermore, the study programme is relevant as continuing education for employees with various professional backgrounds who want to improve their educational qualifications. The instruction is structured so that it is possible to take the programme on a part time basis.

Admission requirements

For admission to the Master's degree programme, a Bachelor’s degree (or Cand. Mag. degree) is required which includes 60 ECTS credits within the relevant natural sciences/environmental subjects. Average mark C is required. Exception may be made based on individual evaluation. Any relevant professional experience may also be considered in addition to educational background.The application process will pay attention to the relevant academic background of the applicants in relation to the tutor expertise available.

Aim of the Programme

The Master’s degree programme aims to provide students with thorough multidisciplinary knowledge about the natural environment, health and the environment with special focus on terrestrial and aquatic issues, both natural and as a consequence of human impacts. Also impacts on human health is included.

Specific learning goals will vary depending on whether the aim is purely scientific or if it is related to an element of management ability. Emphasis will be placed on sampling of relevant information (already published or produced by the students themselves), organization and publication according to scientific standards.

Substantial emphasis will be placed on critical and independent work by the students. This applies particularly to the Master’s thesis. They must be able to understand and critically evaluate information, methods and research results. The students on the programme will practice multidisciplinary cooperation and communication and learn how scientific research and results reporting is accomplished.

Learning outcome

A candidate who has completed the Master’s degree in Environmental Health will have achieved the following learning outcomes, defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:


  • Has advanced knowledge within relevant disciplines such as botany, zoology, microbiology, genetics, biotechnology, ecotoxicology, geology, soil and hydro-geology or limnology
  • Has in-depth knowledge of selected topics, processes and mechanisms related to key environmental factors and their effects (see course descriptions)
  • Can examine questions in the subject area on the basis of the traditions of the field


  • Able to apply professional skills to make informed choices/decisions in theoretical and practical issues in the relevant fields
  • Has the ability to reflect on professional decisions and make adjustments if necessary
  • Able to find, evaluate and refer to information and scholarly subject matter and present it orally and in writing
  • Able to use the relevant government regulations in administrative tasks, planning and impact assessment
  • Able to carry out an independent, limited research and development project under supervision
  • Able to use GIS

General competence:

  • Able to apply knowledge and skills in new areas
  • Able to communicate comprehensive independent work and master the subject area’s forms of expression
  • Able to contribute to new thinking and innovation processes

Curriculum and structure

MSc Environmental Health
Code Course title Credits O/V *) Credits pr. semester
  S1(A) S2(V) S3(A) S4(V)
4301 Natural Science Methods 10.00 O 10      
4302 Genetics 10.00 V 10      
4307 Applied Microbiology 10.00 V 10      
4502 Alpine Biodiversity and Climatic Change 10.00 V 10      
4323 Applications in Water Science 10.00 V 10      
4311 Ecological Methods 10.00 V 10      
4308 Ecotoxicology 10.00 V   10    
4325 Boundary Layer and Local Climates 10.00 V   10    
4313 Biotechnology 10.00 V   10    
4324 Georesources and Groundwater 10.00 V   10    
4309 Biogeography 10.00 V   10    
5702 Geographical Analysis 10.00 V   10    
4316 Special Syllabus 10.00 V 10 10    
4319 Supervised Project 20.00 V 20 20    
4317 Master’s Thesis 60.00 O     30 30
Total: 30 30 30 30
*) O - Mandatory course, V - Optional course

Mandatory courses
4301 Natural Science Methods is an obligatory course in methods. A foundation in statistics equivalent to 10 ECTS credits is desirable. If this is not included in the admission application, the student should take a course in statistics, either independently or as part of the Master’s degree programme (see below “Approval of Bachelor’s degree courses”).

Elective courses
The table above is for the academic year 2010/11.

Please note: In order for an elective subject to be offered, a sufficient number of students must sign up for the course. This is evaluated for each separate course. If too few students have signed up, the course may be postponed until the following academic year. Under special circumstances, an elective course may be discontinued. Such decisions will be taken up with the students so that the quality of the programme is maintained.

Post-graduate courses from other institutions may be accepted if they are relevant. We encourage students to take advantage of student-exchange arrangements with foreign universities and colleges: http://www.hit.no/AF/Administrasjon-Boe/Internasjonalt-kontor/Studier-i-utlandet

Limitation regarding some courses
Some of the courses only accept a limited number of applicants, for instance 4307 Applied Microbiology and 4313 Biotechnology.

Approval of Bachelor’s degree courses

Up to 10 ECTS credits of Bachelor’s degree level courses may be approved as part of a Master’s degree, if the Master’s degree supervisor recommends this in order to strengthen the subject profile of the thesis. Normally, such approval concerns courses from the third year of a Bachelor’s degree. However, mandatory courses from Bachelor’s degree programmes which are included in a student’s application to the Master’s degree will not be approved.

Approval of practical work experience (course code 4320)

Students who can document relevant practical experience can apply to have up to 30 ECTS credits approved for at least one year’s work; this must be thoroughly documented and reported, or students must submit a certificate from employers. The practical experience must be directly relevant to the Master's thesis. The supervisor will determine if the work experience is relevant or not by considering its content, scope and quality; in other words, the practical experience must constitute more than just “routine” work.

The practical experience must be concluded and approved before the student may submit his/her thesis.

The study program consists of various courses comprising in total 60 ECTS and a Master’s thesis (60 ECTS). The teaching is largely based on one-week modules, and laboratory and field-oriented teaching. It provides a flexible study program, and places high demands on students’ ability to work independently.


An exchange period (30 ects/one semester) abroad may be accepted as part of the degree. For more information, please visit: http://www.hit.no/eng/HiT/Student/Student-Exchanges

Teaching and Learning Methods

All the courses are a combination of lectures, field work, field trips and laboratory exercises (see course descriptions for details). All the field work and laboratory exercises are mandatory (absence of up to 20% of the mandatory part of courses will be accepted).

Combining theory and practice is central throughout the program. This will provide the students with necessary theoretical knowledge as well as practical experience required to be prepared for employment or further studies. The Master thesis is based on independent study under the supervision of Professors.

Theory and Practical Training

Our aim is to educate graduates with good multidisciplinary knowledge in the field of Environmental Science.

Independent work will be emphasized especially for the Master thesis. The student will be trained to understand and critically evaluate information, methods and research results. Students will also learn interdisciplinary collaboration and communication, and how scientific research and reporting is accomplished. Completion of this program will qualify for PhD studies.

Assessment Methods

All courses have a final exam. Some of the courses may also have additional assessment such as laboratory reports/ field reports or smaller written assessment (see course descriptions for details).

Minor adjustments may occur during the academic year, subject to the decision of the Dean

Publisert av / forfatter Mona Sæbø <mona.saboSPAMFILTER@hit.no>, last modified Anette Norheim Fredly - 23/10/2012