Test field

Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) Biogeosciences​

Test field
Image: Sebastian Pietschmann

Study contents

The bachelor's program in biogeosciences is based on a sound education in mathematics, physics and especially chemistry in the first semesters. Extensive content from the geosciences (e.g. hydrogeology, environmental geochemistry, soil science) and biosciences (e.g. limnology, microbiology) is taught and integratively combined in courses created especially for the program (bio-geo-lnteractions, mining and environmental law).

The excursions have a high practical relevance. They serve to observe environmental processes in nature in order to better understand and classify them.

In the 5th semester, students can choose from a wide range of elective modules, which makes it possible to study abroad without extending their studies.

A six-week professional internship towards the end of the study program provides an insight into typical professional fields and conveys first contacts to the professional world.

Curriculum Expand entry
Screenshot Studienplan Screenshot Studienplan Image: IGW

The current curriculum for the bachelor's degree program in Biogeosciences is available for download here (German)

Module Catalog Expand entry
Screenshot module catalog Screenshot module catalog Image: IGW

The current module catalog is available for .download here

Additional modules:

Additional modules are those modules that do not count towards the credit points to be earned in the Bachelor's and Master's degrees.

They offer students the opportunity to acquire further competencies in addition to the modules of the Biogeosciences program that are suitable for the subject.

Additional modules are not limited in content; for example, they can be modules on "soft skills" such as language courses, but also subject-related content from neighboring disciplines.

Upon application to the examination office, an additional module can be marked on the certificate if

  • the module was offered through the Friedrich Schiller University (e.g. Foreign Language Center, other faculties...)
  • the module has been awarded credit points
  • the module was completed with a graded examination
  • the student can provide appropriate proof of the module taken.

If you are unsure whether a module you are taking or plan to take meets these requirements, please seek academic advice from the Examinations Office or your subject advisors.

Recommended additional modules

Study/examination regulations Expand entry

Study/examination regulations

The criteria on the basis of which the students' performance is assessed are defined in the study regulations and the examination regulations of the Bachelor's program in Biogeosciences. 

The examination and study regulations are available to students as a download on this page. In addition, students can make use of subject advising services in general cases and consult with the module supervisor in special cases.

Detailed contents of the individual modules can be found in the module descriptions and are presented by the responsible lecturers at the beginning of the semester.

Study regulations

Examination regulations

Audit Committee Expand entry

The examination committee Bachelor Biogeosciences is composed as follows:

  • Prof. Dr. Kai Uwe Totsche (Chairman)
  • Prof. Dr. Erika Kothe
  • Prof. Dr. Kirsten Küsel
  • Prof. Dr. Thorsten Schäfer (deputy chairman)
  • Dr. Dirk Merten
  • Dr. Katrin Krause
  • cand. Bachelor Biogeosciences Peter Wiemuth (student member)

Resolutions and supplementary communications of the Audit Committee

Implementation of project modules (Bachelor and Master)

All project modules must be completed within the times specified in the study plan. Deviation from these times is only possible in exceptional cases and must be justified to the person responsible for the module in advance. The project module must be registered before it begins and the supervisor of the work must be named. An extension of project modules is generally excluded. If these regulations are not adhered to without consulting the person responsible for the module, the project module is considered not to have been carried out.

Bachelor thesis Expand entry

Bachelor thesis registration

Please fill out the application completely and have it signed by both your first and second reviewer. Please write your name and the names of the first and second reviewer legibly! The application signed by the applicant and both reviewers has to be handed in at the examination office of the Faculty of Chemical and Geosciences at least two weeks before the start of the Bachelor thesis.

Application for admission to the bachelor thesis in the course of study Biogeowissenschaften de

Resolution of the Audit Committee (dated 04.09.2013)

A core team is determined, which significantly supports the study program Biogeosciences in research and teaching.

At least one reviewer of the bachelor thesis must come from this core team!

The core team is composed of

  • Prof. Dr. Georg Büchel
  • Prof. Dr. Anke Kleidon-Hildebrandt
  • Prof. Dr. Erika Kothe
  • Prof. Dr. Kirsten Küsel
  • Prof. Dr. Falko Langenhorst
  • Prof. Dr. Juraj Majzlan
  • Prof. Dr. Thorsten Schäfer
  • Prof. Dr. Kai Uwe Totsche
  • Dr. Katrin Krause
  • Dr. Dirk Merten

Extension of the bachelor thesis

According to §12 paragraph 4, final papers can be extended by 3 weeks upon application to the examination board.

The informal application is to be submitted in writing by the candidate to the BGW Examination Committee (for the attention of Prof. Totsche). The consent of the first examiner must be obtained in advance and documented on the application. The reason for the extension must not be the candidate's own fault. Informal applications must be submitted no later than 2 weeks before the deadline for submission of the thesis as specified in the admission letter. The application should preferably be submitted via the Hydrogeology Secretariat.

After examination of the application, the candidate and the examination office will be informed about the decision.

gez. Kai Totsche (28-06-2012)

Study abroad in Bachelor Expand entry

"If you are still unsure whether you should do a semester abroad, no matter where - do it! You will gain an incredible amount of experience during that time, how to cope with teaching methods that are completely different from what you are used to, or how to communicate with hands and feet because no one understands you."

(Judith Schepers after her stay in Aarhus, Denmark)

Motivation of the study abroad

Studying abroad offers many opportunities such as learning another language, getting to know another culture and other people. You can discover new places and gather many impressions, and last but not least, a stay abroad can also improve your professional opportunities.

Ideally, a semester abroad can be taken without extending the duration of your studies.

Youtube: Go out - (d)ein Semester im Ausland.

Information about studying abroad in the Biogeosciences program

For the Bachelor of Biogeosciences, the 5th semester is suitable for studying abroad. For the Master's degree, the second semester is suitable; alternatively, project module or Master's thesis can be completed abroad under certain conditions.

Attention: Start planning your semester abroad 15 months before the planned stay if you want to apply for funding.

With regard to the modules taken abroad, students must consult with the subject advisors (Prof. Dr. K.U. Totsche and/or Dr. D. Merten) in advance. Otherwise, no recognition of the work done abroad can be granted. For the possible recognition, detailed information about the university visited, the contents and workloads of the modules are required. The content of the modules taken abroad must match the content of the Bachelor's degree program in Biogeosciences, but must not correspond to the courses offered in the Bachelor's degree program as part of the elective courses in the 5th semester. It is essential that you have the agreed modules to be taken confirmed by your departmental advisor by signature before your stay abroad. If possible, use the Learning Agreement (see below). 

Die organisatorische und finanzielle Planung des Auslandsaufenthaltes obliegt den Studierenden, das Internationale Büro der Friedrich-Schiller-Universität bietet Ihnen jedoch umfassende Beratung.  Bitte planen Sie einen Vorlauf von etwa 15 Monaten ein, da die Bewerbungsfristen für eine mögliche Finanzierung ca. 1 Jahr vor dem möglichen Auslandsaufenthalt liegen.

Attention: Please inform yourself first very comprehensively about the offered modules via the internet before you contact the subject coordinators!

In many cases the receiving university requires a Learning Agreement. This can be downloaded via Erasmus information of the Friedrich Schiller University de. Please use this form to have the modules chosen abroad countersigned by the subject advisor.

Please also take into account that in many countries it will be more difficult for you to successfully complete modules due to a foreign language of instruction. Therefore, you should plan more courses than only the 30 LP.

Experience reports on studying biogeosciences abroad. Expand entry

Career prospects after graduation

Graduates bring comprehensive subject-specific scientific and methodological skills. In addition, they have the communicative skills to present science to the public and to sensitize society to environmental pollution. Through the possibility of a semester abroad, they gain important intercultural skills. 

Jena biogeoscientists are excellently equipped for work in a wide range of professional fields, such as nature conservation, remediation of contaminated sites, and environmental education. In addition, master's graduates are eligible for doctoral studies in Germany and abroad, especially in the fields of geosciences, biology and chemistry.

  • Engineering offices for subsoil investigations, hydrogeology, remediation of contaminated sites
  • Oil and gas industry, raw material supply
  • Research coordination
  • Research institutions
  • Public relations, museums, geoparks

Detailed information can be found here [pdf, 81 kb] de.

Slavko Pasalic (M.Sc. Biogeosciences) Expand entry
Slavko Pasalic (M.Sc. Biogeowissenschaften) Slavko Pasalic (M.Sc. Biogeowissenschaften) Image: Slavko Pasalic

Just when I was faced with the difficult decision of whether to study biology or geology, I heard by chance about the then new degree program in biogeosciences. It was immediately clear to me that this combination of both desired fields was exactly the right thing for me.
During the bachelor's program, my expectations were fully met and I decided to do my master's degree in Jena. Originally, I wanted to go into research, but during the master's program my interests shifted. So I started looking for work in the private sector.

Due to my focus in the final theses in the field of analytical chemistry, I also looked for corresponding jobs. Through an internship in the environmental analytical laboratory at Eurofins in Jena, I got the chance to join Eurofins in Freiberg, where I worked as an employee in the project secretariat/test management group. There I mainly wrote test reports, looked after customers, prepared quotations and checked laboratory results.

After a good two years, I changed jobs and am now working as a research assistant at the Research Institute for Leather and Plastic Sheeting (FILK) in Freiberg. The scope of duties is almost the same as at Eurofins. Since I completed an apprenticeship in the plastics industry before my studies, I can now apply the knowledge from both professions combined here.

Julia Lindner (M. Sc. Biogeosciences) Expand entry
Julia Lindner (M. Sc. Biogeowissenschaften) Julia Lindner (M. Sc. Biogeowissenschaften) Image: Julia Lindner

The nice thing about biogeosciences is that you get the opportunity to learn about many topics, both in theory and in practice.

After my bachelor's degree, I therefore stayed in Jena to be able to deepen the biological background during the master's degree without having to give up the diversity. Through the professional internship in the 6th semester of the bachelor's degree, I came into contact with the Thuringian State Institute for Agriculture (TLL) for the first time, which was then followed by several student assistantships. When I was able to get a job in the EVA project of the TLL shortly after my graduation, I benefited from what I had learned during the last years: Since many topics are touched upon during the studies, one quickly learns to familiarize oneself with new topics. The EVA project is, similar to the study, an interdisciplinary project, which links agriculture, ecology, economy and politics. It is also a cooperation of different levels of science (universities, state institutions, independent engineering offices).

My task is to evaluate, in cooperation with my colleagues, the data accumulated over 10 years at our site in Jena, to coordinate the further course of the experiment and to present the project to the public. My work therefore gives me the opportunity to work both scientifically and practically and thus offers me just the right amount of variety that I have been looking for in my professional life.

More info: www.eva-verbund.de

Franziska Mosebach (Dr., M.Sc. Biogeosciences) Expand entry
Franziska Mosebach, geb. Schäffner (Dr., M.Sc. Biogeowissenschaften) Franziska Mosebach, geb. Schäffner (Dr., M.Sc. Biogeowissenschaften) Image: Franziska Mosebach

My decision for Jena and the course of studies depended on several factors. On the one hand, I had focused my Abitur very scientifically and I also wanted to study something in this direction and on the other hand, I already had friends in Jena who also studied here, and so I could get to know the advantages of Jena as a student city while I was still at school. The course of studies in biogeosciences was newly offered in Jena at that time and I was one of the first who were allowed to start this study. The attraction for me was clearly the innovative idea of combining different disciplines and thus having the opportunity to work in a very diverse way.

I then completed my master's degree in Jena and had the great opportunity to receive a scholarship during my master's degree via the "fast-track" procedure, which allowed me to start my doctoral thesis directly in the field of biogeosciences and thus save one year of study time. During the PhD, I had the opportunity to participate in various projects abroad (e.g. Sweden, Wales, Sardinia) and then also completed a three-month research stay in Sardinia. While still working on my doctorate, I then took a "little breather" for a year when my son was born. After parental leave, I finally finished my PhD and was hired as a research assistant here at the Institute of Geosciences in the Applied Geology group. Since then, I have had the opportunity to continue working on various environmentally relevant issues in a research-oriented manner, as well as to teach biogeosciences and geosciences, teaching students the various methods mainly in the field. The work is very varied and it is nice to now be able to pass on the knowledge about biogeosciences to other students.

Steffi Rothhardt (Dr., M.Sc. Biogeosciences) Expand entry
Steffi Rothhardt (Dr., M.Sc. Biogeowissenschaften) Steffi Rothhardt (Dr., M.Sc. Biogeowissenschaften) Image: Steffi Rothhardt

For me, the study of biogeosciences offered the perfect, varied course program. Numerous lectures, seminars and field exercises later, I started my doctorate at the Institute of Geosciences and meanwhile had the opportunity to do research at the Mineralogical Institute in Paris for three months. After a short stay abroad in the framework of development cooperation in Cameroon, I started working as scientific coordinator of the International Max Planck Research School for Biogeochemical Cycles in Jena in early 2014. I am very satisfied with the varied tasks and the international working environment.

Further information (Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry)

Stefan Neumann (M.Sc. Biogeosciences) Expand entry

Already in my childhood I was very interested in nature and the environment. Therefore, it was clear early on that I would also orient myself in this direction when choosing my field of study. I finally decided to study biogeosciences because of the broad interdisciplinary education. From my point of view, this is particularly important, because in order to understand the processes taking place in the environment, it is always necessary to consider the interactions between the individual environmental compartments.

During my studies and in various internships, I became interested in the topic of contaminated sites. In the treatment of contaminated sites, geological and hydrogeological as well as chemical, but also microbiological knowledge is required. Since this is also a very interdisciplinary discipline, I deliberately chose to work in this field when choosing my career.

My task as a specialist for water supervision/soil protection/legacy at the environmental protection department of the city of Jena is first and foremost the protection of surface waters. In order to protect the waters from harmful interference, I provide water-legal approvals with the corresponding conditions that enable the harmless use of the waters.

Another focus of my work is the implementation of the European Water Framework Directive in cooperation with the responsible water body maintainer. The aim is to achieve a good chemical and ecological condition of the water bodies of the second order in the urban area of Jena.

Furthermore, I am involved in the preparation of flood protection concepts for the districts of Jena threatened by floods within the framework of the European Flood Risk Management Directive. In addition to preventive soil protection, I am also responsible for the elimination of harmful soil changes at the lower soil protection authority. This includes, above all, the supervision of urban remediation measures. I also manage the Thuringian Contaminated Sites Information System (THALIS) for the urban area of Jena and provide information on the registered suspected contaminated sites in accordance with the Thuringian Environmental Information Act.

Laura Degenkolb (M.Sc. Biogeosciences) Expand entry
Laura Degenkolb (M.Sc. Biogeowissenschaften) Laura Degenkolb (M.Sc. Biogeowissenschaften) Image: Laura Degenkolb

I decided to study Bio-Geo-Sciences because I wanted to contribute to counteracting man-made damage to nature and the environment as effectively as possible.

Initially, climate change was the central issue that moved me and led to my decision.

Later, however, I was also fascinated by renaturation projects, for example in the Ronneburg uranium mining area.

In my studies, I was able to further my education in this direction, both practically and theoretically. In addition, I gained the necessary basic knowledge in the natural sciences to be able to quickly familiarize myself with many other areas.

This is now a great advantage when choosing a career: I can target a wide range of different fields of activity. For example, after completing my master's degree, I started with an internship at the Operating Company for Environment and Agriculture in Saxony, where it also became apparent that I could do well here with my study knowledge. After this internship, I still hope to be able to take over the determination of phytoplankton within the scope of the implementation of the Water Framework Directive in the department of aquatic ecology at the same company.

Christina Jeschke (M.Sc. Biogeosciences) Expand entry

I became aware of the study program Biogeosciences through my work as a student assistant at the "Jena Experiment". There I could participate in the field work as well as in the scientific evaluation of the results. Afterwards I informed myself about natural science courses of studies, which integrate a practical application and later offer various occupational fields. The bachelor's and master's degree program in biogeosciences in Jena provides a very structured way to do this. Jena is not only a multicultural center, but also a traditional and current industrial and scientific location (my region of choice), which is why I decided to study there.

Due to the integration and interaction of different natural sciences, a broad spectrum of knowledge is imparted during the studies. Opportunities to further educate or specialize in individual subject areas and to learn personal professional skills should be taken advantage of through term papers, internships, and hi-vis jobs or other small temporary jobs. This is also a good way to master the transition from university to work.

After graduation, I decided to do in-depth scientific research in isotope geochemistry, with practical application in the remediation of contaminated mining sites. Currently I am working in an engineering office (BIGUS GmbH Weimar) in the field of environmental engineering. The main focus there is the environmental assessment of contaminated sites and the supervision of work in contaminated areas, such as the specification of work and safety plans.

After graduation, it is not only technical qualifications that are decisive. An applicant's personal interest, motivation and commitment also play an important role in getting the job of his or her choice.

Sina Bold (B.Sc. Biogeosciences, M.Sc. Biological Oceanography) Expand entry
Sina Bold (B.Sc. Biogeowissenschaften, M.Sc. Biological Oceanography) Sina Bold (B.Sc. Biogeowissenschaften, M.Sc. Biological Oceanography) Image: Sina Bold

After my Bachelor of Biogeosciences at the FSU Jena and the University of Eastern Finland Joensuu, I completed an international Master in "Biological Oceanography" at GEOMAR, Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, in cooperation with the Christian-Albrechts University of Kiel. During this time I remained faithful to the biogeosciences and biogeochemistry. Among other things, I had the opportunity to participate in a five-week ship expedition with the Polarstern to the Fram Strait, which represents the transition from the Atlantic to the Arctic Ocean. There, I was part of a research group studying plankton ecology and biogeochemistry in the changing Arctic Ocean.

Furthermore, I worked as a student assistant in the research group "Marine Geobiology" at GEOMAR. There I also wrote my master thesis with the title "Sulfate Reduction and Nitrogen Fixation in Oil-Contaminated Marine Sediments".

Currently, I am studying "Science Communication" at Dublin City University, Ireland. I expect to complete this second master's degree in the fall of 2015.

Are you a biogeosciences graduate ready to talk about your career choice experience? Then get in touch with dirk.merten@uni-jena.de.