ESSMER is the follow-up program of EES and will start in Fall 2023!
The most pressing problems of the 21st century include environmental degradation such as climate change, loss of biodiversity, soil degradation, and air pollution, and increasing resource scarcity urging for a more sustainable use of Earth’s resources. The BSc program Earth Sciences and Sustainable Management of Environmental Resources (ESSMER) is an interdisciplinary science major with a strong focus on phenomena and processes occurring at the Earth’s surface. Our students develop a holistic understanding of the system Earth, anthropogenic interaction with its land, atmosphere, oceans and biosphere, and management of environmental resources, including water, soils, biological and energy resources, and minerals. The ESSMER program is based on a solid foundation in science disciplines and uses key methodological tools and concepts from Earth Sciences and data management combined with the concepts of sustainability and resource management.
The BSc program Earth Sciences and Sustainable Management of Environmental Resources (ESSMER) at Constructor University is an interdisciplinary science major with a strong focus on phenomena and processes encountered at or near the Earth’s surface. Our students develop a holistic understanding of the Earth’s surface environment with its interacting land masses, oceans, atmosphere, and biosphere, and of the human impact on this environment. The ESSMER program is based on a solid foundation in chemistry, mathematics, physics, and economics. It combines traditional geoscience disciplines such as geology, environmental science, and digital geoscience using key methodological tools and concepts from geochemistry, geodata analysis and data management as well as sustainability economics. The modular curriculum allows for an excellent integration of additional optional complementary courses from the social sciences, e.g., economics and management, and from the life sciences, e.g., biochemistry, cell biology and microbiology. This unique structure underlines the importance of a holistic understanding of environmental topics from different perspectives including chemistry, physics, and economics.
The ESSMER program imparts the knowledge and the skills that allow our graduates to address topical challenges and key research questions including the sustainable and responsible exploration of natural resources, the short- and long-term evolution of the Earth’s climate and oceans, the scientific processing and analysis of large volumes of digital Earth data and pressing anthropogenic challenges to the natural environment. The ESSMER program is ideally suited for proactive and engaged students who are passionate about planet Earth and our natural environment, its dynamics, and the impact of human activities, who enjoy working outdoors, and who wish to contribute to finding solutions to pressing real-world problems, while being aware of the economic consequences of their actions.
The undergraduate program at Constructor University is a three-year, 180-credit-point program designed to prepare students for a wide range of career paths.
The “4C Model” is the program's backbone, with disciplinary content grouped into three themes according to study years: CHOICE-CORE-CAREER. Additionally, the “CONSTRUCTOR Track”, an integral part of the program, runs parallel throughout the program. It provides students with multidisciplinary content and essential skills such as argumentation, data visualization, societal engagement, and communication.
The curriculum allows students to tailor their education to their goals and to explore different fields of study, with the flexibility to change their major within the first year. Moreover, the programs include a mandatory internship and a study-abroad opportunity in the fifth semester to provide students with hands-on experience and a global perspective.
The ﬁrst study year is characterized by a university-specific offering of disciplinary education that builds on and expands upon the students’ entrance qualifications. A unique feature of our curriculum structure allows students to select their major freely upon entering Constructor University. The Academic Advising Services offers curricular counseling to all Bachelor students independently of their major, while Academic Advisors support students in their decision-making regarding their major study program as contact persons from the faculty.
To pursue Earth Sciences and Sustainable Management of Environmental Resources as a major, the following CHOICE modules (30 CP) need to be taken as mandatory modules:
- CHOICE Module: Fundamentals of Earth Sciences (7.5 CP)
- CHOICE Module: Environmental Systems and Global Change (7.5 CP)
- CHOICE Module: Microeconomics (7.5 CP)
- CHOICE Module: Macroeconomics (7.5 CP)
These CHOICE modules introduce the students in the 1st semester to the fundamentals of Earth Sciences and Sustainable Management of Environmental Resources (e.g., the structure of the Earth, its major compartments, plate tectonics, and geological timescales, and in the 2nd, semester provide more specific knowledge of geological phenomena, climate change and the human impact on the natural environment. At the same time a broad introduction in Economics is given in the first year. More advanced economics skills builds on this in the following years.
The remaining CHOICE modules (15 CP) can be selected in the first year of studies according to interest and/or with the aim to allow a change of major until the beginning of the second year, when the major becomes fixed.
In their second year, students take a total of 45 CP from a selection of in-depth, discipline-speciﬁc CORE modules. Building on the introductory CHOICE modules and applying the methods and skills acquired so far, these modules aim to expand the students’ critical understanding of the key theories, principles, and methods in their major for the current state of knowledge and best practice.
To pursue Earth Sciences and Sustainable Management of Environmental Resources as a major, all the following mandatory CORE modules need to be taken:
- CORE Module: Geochemistry of Environmental Systems (7.5 CP)
- CORE Module: Physics of Planet Earth (7.5 CP)
- CORE Module: Natural Resources and Hazards (7.5 CP)
- CORE Module: Advanced Field Laboratories (7.5 CP)
- CORE Module: Finance and Sustainable Management of Natural Risks (5 CP)
- CORE Module: Sustainability and Infrastructure Investments (5 CP)
- CORE Module: Economics of Environmental Resources (5 CP)
The CORE Modules are arranged as three sets of units, with each comprising one fall (F) and one spring (S) module. The student chooses the Fall (F) and Spring (S) semester modules Sustainability and Infrastructure Investments, Economics of Environmental Resources, and Finance and Sustainable Management of Natural Resources to focus on economics, finance and sustainable management. Additionally, Geochemistry of Environmental Systems and Natural Resources and Hazards to focus on Geochemistry and Resources and their impact on the environment, and module pair Physics of Planet Earth and Advanced Field Laboratories to focus on geophysics and extended field laboratories (for details see section 7 Module Descriptions). The contents of these paired CORE modules are structurally connected, and completion of both modules will be guaranteed by scheduling.
During their third year, students prepare and make decisions about their career path after graduation. To explore available choices and to gain professional experience, students undertake a mandatory summer internship. The third year of studies allows ESSMER students to take Specialization modules within their discipline, but also focuses on the responsibility of students beyond their discipline.
The 5th semester also opens a mobility window for a diverse range of study abroad options. Finally, the 6th semester is dedicated to fostering the students’ research experience by involving them in an extended Bachelor thesis project.
As a core element of Constructor University’s employability approach students are required to engage in a mandatory two-month internship of 15 CP that will usually be completed during the summer between the second and third years of study. This gives students the opportunity to gain first-hand practical experience in a professional environment, apply their knowledge and understanding in a professional context, reflect on the relevance of their major to employment and society, reflect on their own role in employment and society, and find a professional orientation.
The internship can also establish valuable contacts for the students’ bachelor's thesis project, for the selection of a Master program graduate school or further employment after graduation. This module is complemented by career advising and several career skills workshops throughout all six semesters that prepare students for the transition from student life to professional life. As an alternative to the full-time internship, students interested in setting up their own company can apply for a start-up option to focus on developing their business plans.
The CONSTRUCTOR Track is another important feature of Constructor University’s educational model. The Constructor Track runs orthogonal to the disciplinary CHOICE, CORE, and CAREER modules across all study years and is an integral part of all undergraduate study programs. It provides an intellectual tool kit for lifelong learning and encourages the use of diverse methodologies to approach cross-disciplinary problems. The CONSTRUCTOR track contains Methods, New Skills and German Language and Humanities modules.
Methods and skills such as mathematics, statistics, programming, data handling, presentation skills, academic writing, and scientific and experimental skills are offered to all students as part of the Methods area in their curriculum. The modules that are specifically assigned to each study programs equip students with transferable academic skills. They convey and practice specific methods that are indispensable for each students’ chosen study program. Students are required to take 20 CP in the Methods area. The size of all Methods modules is 5 CP.
To pursue ESSMER as a major, the following Methods modules (20 CP) need to be taken as mandatory modules:
- Methods Module: Mathematical Concepts (m, 5 CP)
- Methods Module: Statistics with R (m, 5 CP)
- Methods Module: Chemistry for Natural Scientists (m, 5 CP)
- Methods Module: Econometrics (m, 5 CP)
New Skills Modules
This part of the curriculum constitutes an intellectual and conceptual tool kit that cultivates the capacity for a particular set of intellectual dispositions including curiosity, imagination, critical thought, and transferability. It nurtures a range of individual and societal capacities, such as self-reflection, argumentation and communication. Finally, it introduces students to the normative aspects of inquiry and research, including the norms governing sourcing, sharing, withholding materials and research results as well as others governing the responsibilities of expertise as well as the professional point of view. Students in this study program are required to take the following modules in their second and third year:
- New Skills Module: Logic (m, 2.5 CP)
- New Skills Module: Causation and Correlation (m, 2.5 CP)
- New Skills Module: Argumentation, Data Visualization and Communication (m, 5 CP)
Furthermore, they must choose either
- New Skills Module: Linear Model/Matrices (me, 5 CP) or
- New Skills Module: Complex Problem Solving (me, 5 CP)
as well one of the following modules:
- New Skills Module: Agency, Leadership and Accountability (me, 5 CP) or
- New Skills Module: Community Impact Project (me, 5 CP).
German Language and Humanities Modules
German language abilities foster students’ intercultural awareness and enhance their employability in their host country. They are also beneficial for securing mandatory internships (between the 2nd and 3rd year) in German companies and academic institutions. Constructor University supports its students in acquiring basic as well as advanced German skills in the first year of the Constructor Track. Non-native speakers of German are encouraged to take 2 German modules (2.5 CP each), but are not obliged to do so. Native speakers and other students not taking advantage of this offering take alternative modules in Humanities in each of the first two semesters.
Career prospects are excellent, as there is an increasing demand for graduates with a science-based background in both Earth and Environmental Sciences and management skills to solve the most pressing issues of our future societies.
- Our applied geophysics area currently focuses on Petroleum Systems Modelling, Seismic Exploration, Gas Hydrate research and Marine Geophysics.
- Research activities in Space Physics include auroral plasma physics, analysis of multi-spacecraft observations in geospace, and the study of how geomagnetic variations affect System Earth.
- Research areas for Planetariy Geology include various aspects of Comparative Planetology, such as: aeolian, fluvio-lacustrine, glacial fluid escape processes, impact cratering and the study of Terrestrial (geological) analogues for better interpreting space-based data and planning future exploration. (Big) data discovery, access and analysis for planetary science is also covered.
- Environmental Geochemistry
- Marine Geochemistry
Oceanography at Constructor is divided into four areas of emphasis:
- Biological Oceanography: examines the processes governing the distribution, abundances, and production of plants, animals, and nutrients in the oceanic ecosystem. Emphasis is on investigations of bacteria, phytoplankton, zooplankton, and benthic organisms. Progress entails identifying the patterns of variability in space and time, determining the processes producing and maintaining the patterns, then quantifying the processes.
- Chemical Oceanography: investigates the complex chemistry, distribution and cycling of dissolved substances, nutrients, and gases in seawater, the mechanisms controlling them and their origins and fates.
- Marine Geology & Geophysics: studies marine sediments (their formation, transport, and deposition); ocean basin formation (plate tectonics); processes governing shoreline formation; and the origin, structure, and history of the oceanic crust and upper mantle.
- Physical Oceanography: endeavors to understand and predict motion in the sea. Scales of motion range from millimeters through tidal and current scales to the great ocean gyres. The distribution of physical properties (temperature, salinity, sea ice) and air-sea interaction and its implications for climate are fertile areas of research.
Around 30 Constructor students and scientists had the chance to do research on Planetary Sciences, Geophysics and Oceanography during their exciting ROBEX Summer School on the Italian island Vulcano in June 2018. The excursion was part of the research alliance „Robotic Exploration of Extreme Environments”, together with the DLR (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt).
More about the project: http://robexsummerschool.de/
The study program Earth Sciences and Sustainable Management of Environmental Resources is part of the School of Science.
Designing solutions for a healthier world has always been one of the great challenges of science.
The goal is to make a healthy life possible for each human being and for the growing world population as a whole. Food, plants and marine algae can have a positive effect on health similar to that of conventional medicine.
However, scientists first have to identify and isolate bioactive substances and explore their safe application through transdisciplinary cooperation between geo science, life sciences, physics and chemistry.
Become part of a global community
Constructor University Students come from all over the world to live and learn at Constructor University. Our student body represents 110 nations. They form an ambitious campus community whose internationality is unprecedented in Europe. Constructor University’s green and tree-shaded 80-acre campus provides much more than buildings for teaching and research.