MSc in Environmental Pollution Management (Ecotoxicology)
An increasing number of chemicals is used by society today, which are also released into the environment. Environmental Pollution Management (Ecotoxicology) is concerned with their potential impacts on the ecosystem. It aims to investigate and discover effects of chemicals on biological systems in order to develop methods for risk management, as well as to predict ecological consequences.
Applications for the winter semester 2024 are now OPEN!
International students can now apply via www.uni-assist.de for our program
Deadlines: June 15th (non-EU) / July 15th (EU-citizens)
For details see „How to apply (international students)” below
The international "Master of Science program in Environmental Pollution Management (Ecotoxicology)" integrates concepts of Environmental Chemistry, Environmental Toxicology, Ecology, Pollution Management and includes Social Sciences and Economics as well. Due to its interdisciplinary and applied approach, the Program enables its graduates to analyze complex environmental problems and to develop practical solutions.
As environmental problems reach far beyond national borders, an international approach is necessary and the situation in developing countries needs special solutions.
The Master in Environmental Pollution Management (Ecotoxicology) is organized by the Institute for Environmental Sciences Landau and its graduates receive the full credits for the nine required topics of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry’s Certification of Environmental Risk Assessors (CRA) program.
Information about the study program
The Master of Science in Environmental Pollution Management (Ecotoxicology) is a tuition free graduation Program in Landau, Germany. The Program is taught in English and attended by students from more than 70 countries. In Landau, our Welcome Center offers video guides, personal support, and will accompany prospective students all the way: Starting with visa applications, finding accommodations, registering with local authorities, obtaining health insurance, and more to ensure an uncomplicated enrollment process here in Landau.
Master of Science (M.Sc)
From of Studies
Language of Instructions
Start of Studies
As an alternative way of contacting us, you can also send us an e-mail to j.wolfram(at)rptu.de.
Which grade is required for admission?
On a four-grade scale the minimum grade is 3 to be accepted for our program. However, we also consider work experience etc. for our decisions.
Am I eligible with my Bachelors/Masters in …?
To be eligible, students should have completed a BSc (or comparable) program providing them at least with basic knowledge in biology/ecology, (environmental) chemistry, physics, and mathematics/statistics.
If you are unsure, you can send a digital copy of your curriculum of your BSc/MSc program to us at msc-ecotox (at) uni-landau.de
What are the semester fees for studying in Landau?
German universities are state-funded; therefore, no tuition fees are charged. You only have to bear a semester fee of currently ca. 175 EUR.
Do I need an English proficiency test (TOEFL, IELTS) to apply?
The whole program is taught in English, so it is required that students have a level of English proficiency that allows them to actively participate in classes. However, no formal proof of English proficiency is required.
Which documents do I need for an application?
All applications are handled by uni-assist, therefore, you should critically check on their website, if you have all required documents assembled (https://www.uni-assist.de/en/how-to-apply/assemble-your-documents/). Here is a list of documents that are at least required for your application. Please be aware that all copies need to be certified and have to be translated to German or English:
- Educational certificates (Diplomas, grade sheets, etc.)
- Curriculum vitae
- Copy of Passport / ID
- Language proficiency certificates (optional)
- Motivational letter (optional)
- Internship, extra-curricular, and other certificates (optional)
When can I apply?
The application period normally ranges from December to June 15th (international applicants) or July 15th (EU applicants). Prospective students with a German Bachelors degree can apply until October 15th.
When should I apply?
We recommend applying as early as possible in order to ensure that international students have enough time to deal with all administrative steps, especially the visa application process (sometimes it can take very long!).
All students take the 9 required modules, as well as a 10-week Research Project Course and an Applied Module at External Organisations of 8 weeks to obtain a deep knowledge in the field of Environmental Pollution Management (Ecotoxicology). Afterwards, students personalize the Program by choosing 2 Modules of the 5 Specialty Areas. Students finish the 4-semester Program with their master thesis.
Detailed description of the study program and the modules:
- Course handbook
- Examination regulation (please note: the English translation is just for information purpose, only the German version is legally binding
- Applied Environmental Chemistry & Environmental Physics,
- Data Analysis & Advanced Modelling,
- Applied Ecology,
- Geoecology and
- Socioeconomics & Environmental Management
ETX1: Methods in Ecotoxicology
You are introduced to methods according to Good Laboratory Practice (OECD) and get to know different ecotoxicological test systems that are used in a regulatory context. Students acquire the understanding of how to work under quality assurance systems, following OECD and GLP guidelines, which are then applied practically in an experiment and summarized in a report.
ETX2: Principles of Ecotoxicology
Students acquire the knowledge of terrestrial and aquatic ecotoxicology, i.e. the effects of chemicals on individual organisms. The curriculum further expands on ecotoxicological effects from to population up to the ecosystem level, how to identify and evaluate proper testing procedures. The module is concluded by learning strategies of how to address such environmental challenges in order to manage ecotoxicological risks and associated adverse outcomes.
ETX3: Tools for Complex Data Analysis
Students learn to design a study and select the corresponding tools for subsequent data analysis. They become able in linking scientific questions to the required methods of data analysis and data processing. With a deepening knowledge, ranging from univariate to multivariate or novel machine-learning approaches, students become more familiar with advantages and disadvantages of respective analysis tools.
ETX4: Effects of Chemical Stressors I
Students are taught the principles of toxicology by leading toxicological experts from the chemical industry. With this course, students acquire the knowledge of routes and reactions in the metabolism, mechanisms of cancerogenity, toxicokinetics, toxicodynamics and become able of deriving toxicological and pharmacological profiles. Knowledge is applied in the laboratory, conducting mutagenicity, developmental, and biotransformation experiments.
ETX5: Effects of Chemical Stressors II
Ecotoxicological knowledge is deepened, learning the interactions of chemical stressors with various organismic and higher-level structures that result in ecosystem alterations impairing their structure, function or ability to provide ecosystem services. Students are then introduced to Landau’s research coordinators and integrated into ongoing research, based on student’s preference, ability and interest. Thus, students gain a first glimpse into project planning and execution, as well as an early opportunity to become a member of Landau’s Institute for Environmental Sciences (iES) research teams.
ETX6: Environmental Analysis
The students gain advanced knowledge about the production, use and effects of various classes of environmental pollutants and their pathways in different ecosystems, including transfer, transformation and transport of pollutants. The course is complemented with practical lab exercises where students will learn sampling and extraction methods for pollutants followed by chemical analysis using GC- and LC-MS.
ETX7: Molecular Ecology I
The students become familiar with major topics in molecular ecology and basic theories of population genetics and phylogenetics. They get an overview of possible methods in molecular ecology and learn examples of their application. The students gain practical experience in phylogenetic analysis software and will be able to interpret the results. Finally, students become capable in applying and interpreting genetic data in the context of ecotoxicology, i.e. the potential effects of chemicals on genetics
ETX8: Models in Ecotoxicology
The students learn the basic principles of models to be used in the exposure or effect assessment in ecotoxicology. They gain insight into the restrictions, sources of errors and are enabled to quantify the uncertainty associated with them. They learn how to use models and to identify situations in which a modelling approach can be of help. They gain the ability to independently analyze a problem situation, to apply a suitable modelling approach and to interpret the results obtained.
ETX9: Risk Assessment and Management
The students acquire the principles of risk assessment and environmental pollution management of chemicals in Germany, the EU and internationally. They will become aware of the legislative and non-legislative background to risk assessment and risk management, the procedure and the role different stakeholders play. They learn to evaluate existing data in order to conduct deterministic and probabilistic risk assessments and to derive appropriate risk mitigation strategies. Students are introduced to software and other IT-solutions that are commonly used in the field of regulatory risk assessment and ecological evaluations for the registration of chemicals.
Applied Module at External Organizations (AMEO)
The module AMEO is an 8-week internship, which can be performed at an external university or a governmental or industrial research institute in Germany or abroad. Students become familiar with working practice, requirements of the job market and career opportunities and can establish business contacts. They apply, confirm and expand knowledge and competences achieved during their study.
Following an introductory discussion with the supervisors, the students perform the (research) work on their own and discuss the obtained results regularly with their supervisors. The content depends on the actual research questions in the selected research organizations. Topics or possible positions will be suggested by the staff of the Institute for Environmental Sciences or maybe suggested by the students. The topics should be directly related to applied problems relevant in these external organizations and should ideally offer the students opportunities to apply their knowledge and skills in areas, which are not the particular research areas at the Institute for Environmental Sciences in Landau. They include, but are not restricted to the following areas:
- Engineering aspects (e.g. hydrology, mitigation techniques)
- Multimedia modelling
- Food web modelling
- Fish, bird or mammal ecotoxicology and risk assessment
- Agricultural sciences
- Specific aspects in regulatory ecotoxicology
- Risk communication, economic or societal aspects
Research Project Course (RPC)
The students work independently on a research topic of the university for a total time of about 10 weeks. The topics depend on the actual research conducted in the various research groups. However, all topics do have an interdisciplinary character covering at least two different disciplines (e.g. chemistry and ecology, or physics and risk assessment). The students submit proposals for topics selected from a list provided by the teaching staff including a time and resource planning as well as an independently conducted literature search. Following an introductory discussion with the supervisor, the students perform the research work on their own and discuss the obtained results regularly with their supervisor. Following the practical work, the students write a report including the theoretical background, the methods used, the results obtained and a discussion of the results based on the relevant scientific literature. The students present and defend the outcome of their work at an oral presentation. Following successful completion, the students are able to plan a scientific work package, conduct the work, evaluate the results based on the relevant literature and present the outcomes.
The content depends on the actual research questions in the research groups associated with the Institute for Environmental Sciences. They include, but are not restricted to the following areas:
- Chemical experiments in the lab
- Environmental colloid chemistry
- Environmental organic chemistry
- Physical transport or transfer processes of environmental chemicals
- Ecotoxicological lab tests
- Ecotoxicological field studies
- In situ or monitoring work in the field
- Molecular genetics
- GIS data analysis
- Data analytics, modelling, and machine learning
- Literature reviews
- Exposure, effect or landscape modelling
- Assessment or management of risks
- Visa Application and Entry Requirements
- Fees and Funding
- Health Insurance
- First Steps after Arrival
Before you proceed, please watch our video-guide on how to apply via uni-assist: Youtube
In short, you will have to register in the Uni-Assist-Portal, pay an application fee and supply all necessary documents or certificates. Please be aware that some of the mandatory copies need to be certified and have to be translated to German or English
Please be aware that you no longer have to send your documents to uni-assist via post. Your application can now be handled fully digitally. Furthermore, you can also submit preliminary grade sheets /transcripts of records, if you haven’t fully completed your studies yet.
All applications are handled by uni-assist, therefore, you should critically check on their website, if you have all required documents assembled (Uni-Assist-Portal). Here is a list of documents that are at least required for your application.:
High School diploma (certifying your qualification for a Bachelors program, certified copy)
Bachelors diploma (certifying your qualification for a Masters program, certified copy)
Transcripts of records (grade sheets of the above-mentioned diplomas, certified copy)
Copy of Passport / ID
Language proficiency certificates
Internship, extra-curricular, and other certificates
Once your complete documents are processed and validated by uni-asst (ca. 4 weeks) then we will give you a definite answer regarding your acceptance / rejection within one week (average).
Application via Student Registration Office (Studierendensekretariat)
Students with a German bachelor degree must apply via the Student Registration Office ("Studierendensekretariat") at the Rhineland-Palatinate Technical University of Kaiserslautern-Landau.
The university opens application for winter term approximately in June.
Students must use the university application portal. You will receive a binding list of required documents after online application.
Please address questions regarding your application to the Student Registration Office
General application deadline is October 15th for the winter semester
If admitted, you must still enroll at the Rhineland-Palatinate Technical University of Kaiserslautern-Landau. Enrollment can be done in person or by mail, for the latter you have to send the requested documents. Personal enrollment takes place at the Student Registration Office, Westring 2, Landau.
A step-by-step list of the application and enrollment process can be found here (German).
We are looking for highly motivated students interested in working on ecotoxicologically relevant problems using an interdisciplinary approach.
In order to qualify for the Master of Environmental Pollution Management (Ecotoxicology) Program several requirements must be fulfilled.
Higher Education Entrance Qualification
Anyone wanting to study at a German university needs a higher education entrance qualification ("Hochschulzugangsberechtigung“), respectively a master entrance qualification ("Masterzugangsberechtigung“).
Entrance qualification is not checked by the university, but by Uni-assist (see application process). Uni-assist provides all further information on higher education entrance qualification.
A Bachelor degree in Environmental Science, Natural Science or Earth Science is required.
Basic academic knowledge may be acquired in the fields of Ecology, Environmental Chemistry, Geographic Informations Systems and Mathematics/Statistics. If necessary, previous knowledge may be complemented in preparatory courses.
The Program is conducted in English. Therefore, good active and passive English language skills are essential. However, no formal proof of English proficiency (e.g., IELTS, TOEFL) is required.
Proficiency of German is not a requirement for application. However, we recommend to learn some basic German for daily life. While Germans also speak English, you will generally find life in Germany easier if you speak German.
In an opinion paper in the journal Integrated Environmental Assessment & Management, Harris et al. (the open access paper can be found here) identified the following requirements for the training of future Ecotoxicologists:
- interdisciplinary training at the own university or at another institute or laboratory (see e.g. general learning target and AMEO module in the list of modules)
- participation of business and government experts in academic research and guest lectures (see e.g. modules ETX4 Effects of chemical stressors I and ETX9 Risk Assessment and Management in the list of modules)
- training in the basic principles of test guidelines and QA and GLP regulations that are used in industry (see module ETX1 Methods in Ecotoxicology in the list of modules)
- training that allows considering the potential regulatory impact of academic research throughout the research process (see e.g. modules ETX2 Principles of Ecotoxicology and ETX9 Risk Assessment and Management in the list of modules)
Landau's Master in Environmental Pollution Management (Ecotoxicology) program provides all of these skills and opportunities allowing students to become well-educated Ecotoxicologists suited to the current and future job market.
The Program enables the graduates to conduct independent scientific work and prepares in particular for independent and leading positions in the numerous emerging fields of Environmental Pollution Management (Ecotoxicology). The graduates are able to take responsibility in a professional manner in: Scientific facilities and research institutes, authorities, public offices and ministries with a regulatory role, Non-governmental organizations, industry and consulting enterprises. The international orientation of the program qualifies graduates for a global job market. In addition, the Master program prepares for a PhD study.
The Institute for Environmental Sciences is globally connected through international research projects and student exchange programs. The international nature of the Program is achieved through numerous international research and teaching staff, regular seminars from guest lecturers from abroad, and possible internships all over the world.
Living in Landau
Nestled between the Rhine river plains and the Palatinate Forest, the small city of Landau, with its more than 7,500 students, offers a true university city atmosphere. In the heart of German wine country (the so-called German Tuscany because of its mild climate and many castles), wine festivals are in season throughout the year. The Palatinate Forest, the largest contiguous forest in Central Europe, part of a trans-border biosphere reserve with France, provides excellent outdoor recreational possibilities like hiking, rock climbing, or mountain biking, and is a paradise for all nature lovers. You can also easily reach major German and European cities like Frankfurt (2 h), Munich (4 h), Cologne (2.5 h), Paris (4 h), Basel (2 h) and Strasbourg (2 h).
For more information, please check the local tourism website for Landau and the Palatinate region:
Landau Tourismus (only available in German)
Pfalz (only available in German)
News from the EcotoxBlog
“I value very much the excellent education and the close individual support from the teaching staff during my studies that allowed me to pursue own research ideas and to find my field of interest. A cooperation of the university with the German Federal Environment Agency enabled me to gain experience in the environmental risk assessment of pesticides. I qualified for a traineeship in the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and am now working in the field of pesticide risk assessment at the Federal Environment Agency, Germany.”
Klaus Swarowsky (Master Ecotoxicology, UBA)
“The Masters Ecotoxicology program comes with a full package of chemical assessment and management modules. Coming from a regulatory institution the National Environment Agency (NEA,The Gambia), the Program gave me the opportunity to fully understand pesticides’ registration approaches by the EFSA through the risk assessment, methods and models modules. Furthermore, through the program, I conducted my internship (AMEO) at the German Environmental Protection Agency (Umweltbundesamt) in the Plant Protection Division where I did independent research on hazard profiling of pesticides. Finally, in my master’s thesis, my research team (MAGIC) gave me free will to conceptualize an independent research topic coined to suit my country’s priorities “Developing a Chemicals Monitoring Scheme for Surface Water Bodies in The Gambia” that is now in the planning phase of implementation.“
Lamin Jaiteh (MSc Ecotoxicology, National Environment Agency-The Gambia)
“One of the few opportunities to study ecotoxicology in Germany is in Landau, where I was happy to experience diversified education and thorough support to establish and pursue my research and career interests. Wide-ranging cooperations of the university and a broad spectrum of research teams enabled me to get to know the studies application fields and consolidate my interests in data processing and risk assessment. Currently I am working as a research assistant and am planning my doctorate with the research group Ecotoxicology and Environment.”
Larissa Zoë Herrmann (Master Ecotoxicology, Rheinland-Pfälzische Technische Universität Kaiserslautern-Landau)
“The broad range of ecotoxicological topics that were covered during the studies as well as the practical skills I got during various lab courses really helped me to find my field of interest. During my studies, I had the chance to do an internship in an ecotoxicological laboratory of the Crop Science division of the Bayer AG. Now after my PhD studies here in Landau, I joined Bayer again as an expert for the risk assessment of plant protection products for terrestrial vertebrates.”
Elena Adams (PhD, Bayer AG – Crop Science Division)
"The master’s program was an excellent choice to gain comprehensive theoretical knowledge in ecotoxicology and ecological risk assessment, combined with hands-on training in research methods. I particularly enjoyed my thesis in collaboration with Environment and Climate Change Canada, for which I assessed the sensitivity of non-target macrophytes to herbicides used for invasive plant control. I was awarded the Ontario Trillium Scholarship to continue my research in the scope of a PhD at Trent University, and I’m excited to contribute to environmental protection efforts in Canada."
Verena Sesin (PhD, Trent University, Canada)
“During my time as a student I enjoyed the interdisciplinary education the Master’s programme in Ecotoxicology had to offer. Gathering theoretical as well as practical knowledge on study design and interpretation of data, fundamental insights in aquatic and terrestrial ecotoxicology, but also a solid understanding for risk assessment and management of chemicals, facilitated the first steps of my professional career. I did a PhD assessing the impact of nanomaterials on aquatic invertebrates in the group Functional Aquatic Ecotoxicology at the Campus LD and am now working as an Ecotoxicologist at BASF SE.”
Simon Lüderwald (PhD, BASF SE)
“I am working since 2016 for the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) a not-for-profit professional organization operating worldwide. The society brings together scientists dedicated to environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology in a wider sense. I am responsible for the certification of environmental risk assessors, awards and many other tasks, where my background in ecotoxicology is essential. During my study at the University of Koblenz-Landau I had the opportunity to experience SETAC and its network from the scientist perspective, which helps me now - together with my in-depth knowledge of the scientific field - in my daily business. Particularly the wide network that I built during my time in Landau is of immense value.”
Rebecca Bundschuh (PhD, Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry)
“Driven by my passion for environmental protection I was lucky to pursue my Master in Landau. This multifaceted program offers a great blend of complex theoretical and practical courses in an inspiring multicultural environment. Several highlights of my studies were undoubtedly AMEO, which enabled me to intern in the Terrestrial Ecotoxicology Team at Bayer AG, the RPC, where in close supervision I could immerse myself into complexities of meta-analysis and data management, being certainly also a beneficial experience for the final thesis, and the course of Environmental Risk Assessment with integrated guest lectures from industry and regulatory agencies, which solidified my interest in regulatory affairs and after graduation, I am working as a Regulatory Ecotoxicologist at RIFCON GmbH.”
Viktoriia Ovcharova (MSc Ecotoxicology, RIFCON GmbH)
“Deciding to study ecotoxicology Master program at University of Koblenz-Landau was the perfect opportunity for me to gain interdisciplinary knowledge which bridges my previous chemistry background with toxicology. Thanks to the flexibility of the program, I was able to gain practical experience during an internship in France as well as in the Netherlands. The Ecotoxicology program gave me the needed foundation and confidence to start and finish a doctoral degree in Ecotoxicology. Overall, I have now acquired the expertise to contribute to chemical safety assessment leading to environmental sustainability.”
Afolarin Ogungbemi (PhD, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research)