Faculty of Mathematics, Physics
and Informatics
Comenius University Bratislava

Environmental Physics, Renewable Energy Sources, and Meteorology and Climatology

Master's Degree Program

Field:

Physics

Form:

full-time

Usual duration:

2 years

Program director:

prof. RNDr. Ján Urban, DrSc. (until 31.8.2022)
doc. RNDr. Zdenko Machala, DrSc. (from 1.9.2022)

Related study programs:  bachelor's degree programs Renewable Energy Sources and Environmental Physics and Physics

 

This program is offered in English and Slovak languages.

Description of the Study Program

The issues of energy, environment and global climate change are currently the key challenges for humanity. The study program has an interdisciplinary character at the interface of various physics disciplines overlapping with other science disciplines. In addition to the common basics, the study program allows for specialization in environmental physics and renewable energy sources or in meteorology and climatology. Environmental physics and renewable energy sources deal with environmental physics, radiation physics, and energy issues with an emphasis on renewable energy sources. Meteorology studies physical processes in the atmosphere. One of its main tasks is weather forecasting, for which the outputs of mathematical models of dynamic and thermodynamic processes in the atmosphere are mainly used today. Climatology deals with the analysis and research of the long-term regime of atmospheric conditions based on reliable long-term measurements.

What to Expect

The study plan is based on the modular (block) principle to enable students to continuously adjust their focus within the chosen field of study and to expand the scope of study. The profile subjects of the study plan are compulsory or optional subjects, and the student will acquire the knowledge and skills that are essential for the completion of the study program. The study program is prepared in accordance with the needs of practice and monitors the job applicability of graduates.

The master's degree program consists of two parallel blocks: Environmental Physics and Renewable Energy Sources and Meteorology and Climatology. The program is directly related to the bachelor's program Renewable Energy Sources and Environmental Physics, but also enables a smooth transition for graduates of other bachelor's programs in the field of physics. The study program is composed of theoretical and methodological subjects common to both blocks: compulsory profile subjects (Environmental Physics, Data File Analysis Methods, Propagation of Environmental Pollution) and a wide selection of compulsory elective subjects focused on various areas of physics, e.g. geophysics, solid-state or plasma physics, spectroscopy, as well as complex solutions to environmental problems. The study plan also supports the acquisition of practical experience in training and laboratory exercises and subjects focused on measurement and diagnostic methods.

Within the combined study programs, the student chooses, in addition to the compulsory lectures, one of the two blocks of compulsory optional lectures:

The block Environmental Physics and Renewable Energy Sources contains compulsory optional profile subjects focused on hitherto dominantly used non-renewable and promising renewable energy sources and their complex position in global energy, including energy storage methods (Combustion and thermochemical processes, Solar energy and photovoltaics, Nuclear energy and the environment, Hydrogen energy and thermonuclear fusion). Another essential group of subjects are environmental technological subjects, which will be associated with excursions into practice (Air Pollution control Technologies, Water Purification and Treatment, Solid Waste Treatment) and subjects of diagnostic methods of radiation physics (Radionuclide Monitoring Methods, Isotope Methods in Environmental Physics).

The block Meteorology and Climatology is divided into 4 narrower specializations, which assume a good knowledge of the basics of mathematics and physics, as is required for graduates coming from the bachelor's degree program in Physics. The basic specializations and skills that a graduate can acquire include:

  1. Synoptic meteorology and related activities (instruments, radars, satellites, telecommunications, aerology, synoptic maps, forecasts from 1 hour to 10 days),
  2. Climatology and related activities (observation, measurement, statistics, databases, mapping, analyzes, assessments, studies, yearbooks, scenarios, forecasts),
  3. Air pollution and related activities (instruments, measurement, chemistry, ecology, critical loads, legislation, analyzes, forecasts, scenarios, assessments, studies, annual reports),
  4. Numerical methods in meteorology, climatology, air pollution and modeling (data assimilation, model integration, process parameterization, postprocessing).

In these areas, the graduate of the study program will acquire the professional competence to carry out his/her profession or will be prepared for the continuation of some follow-up study.

Final works (diploma theses)

Compulsory subjects for both blocks necessarily include the Diploma Seminar (1-2) and Diploma Thesis (1-2), which are directly related to the focus of the student's diploma thesis and lead him/her to independent processing of the latest literature in the field, the establishment of relevant and new scientific hypotheses, and its theoretical, numerical or experimental processing, as well as clear communication of the achieved results in the written form of the diploma thesis and orally in its defense. Thesis topics cover all areas of the study program, especially focused on renewable energy sources, environmental and radiation physics, meteorology and climatology. The thesis solves experimental problems, simulations of physical phenomena, theoretical approaches with a focus on their own contribution to solving the envisaged problems and objectives of the thesis.

Graduates' Career Opportunities

The focus of graduates specializing in environmental physics and renewable energy sources reflects the current requirements of the society. They can find employment in the field or in a wide range of related fields. The most typical examples of graduate jobs are:

  • basic and applied environmental research (Slovak Academy of Sciences, international research centers, world and domestic science centers),
  • universities and educational institutions,
  • development laboratories and institutes dealing with environmental issues (pollutant control in the environment, applications of radionuclides in practice, metrology of ionizing radiation),
  • nuclear energy (internal and external dosimetry),
  • meteorological and hydrological service,
  • public health authorities (guiding health protection against the effects of ionizing radiation, monitoring compliance with the principles of radiation protection in workplaces with ionizing radiation, monitoring of radioactivity in the environment),
  • public and state administration sphere (application of the principles of state policy in the field of environmental protection, supervision of nuclear power plants),
  • private sector (implementation of renewable energy sources in practice, environmental analyzes, control of radioactivity in natural environments and living spaces, analysis of samples of environmental components, environmental impact assessment, personal dosimetry, measurement of radioactivity in the environment),
  • various branches of industry, energy and transport, where graduates will work as technologists and environmental managers)
  • trading companies for renewable energy sources, nuclear technology, laboratory equipment and radiation sources,
  • data centers, banks and insurance companies (data processing, statistical analysis, computer networks). 

Graduates of meteorology and climatology are prepared for a job in a wide range of professions related to: weather, climate, air pollution, transport, agriculture, industry, health, environment, forestry and water management. They will find positions in Slovakia and abroad, especially in various departments of the Slovak Hydrometeorological Institute (in Bratislava - Koliba and the airport; in Banská Bystrica; in Gánovce near Poprad; in Košice). They can also be employed in other institutions throughout Slovakia (Institute of Geophysics of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, Hydromelioration, Research Institute of Water Management, Institute of Hydrology of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava, University of Agriculture in Nitra, Forestry Research Institute and the Faculty of Forestry of the Technical University in Zvolen, in state and public administration and elsewhere). Some of the graduates also work at similar workplaces in the Czech Republic or abroad. The most typical examples of graduate specializations are:

  • Synoptic meteorologist in normal operation (daily weather forecast)
  • Aviation meteorologist in normal operation (weather forecast for aviation security)
  • Numerical meteorologist - solution and operation of dynamic models for weather forecasting
  • Aerological meteorologist - measurement and analysis of parameters in the open atmosphere up to 40 km
  • Meteorologist for satellite and radar measurements - distance methods of meteorological monitoring
  • Meteorologist for ground measurements and instrumentation - methods of measurement and testing of instruments
  • Meteorologist for the study of solar radiation - globally coordinated measurement and processing
  • Mountain meteorologist, climatologist - study of meteorological processes in high mountains
  • General climatologist - research in climatology, processing of scenarios, maps, atlases, and monographs
  • Applied climatologist - processing and distribution of climatological information
  • Microclimatologist - climatology of the ground layer, enclosed spaces and stands
  • Bioclimatologist (biometeorologist) - applications to biological systems and human health
  • Agrometeorologist (agroclimatologist) - applications for agriculture
  • Forest meteorologist (climatologist) - applications for forestry and forest ecosystems
  • Hydroclimatologist (hydrometeorologist) - applications for hydrology and hydroprognosis
  • Speleoclimatologist - applications on the microclimate of caves
  • Meteorologist for avalanche prevention - applications for avalanche prognosis and prevention
  • Meteorologist for the study of air pollution - diffusion of pollutants in the boundary layer
  • Meteorologist for long-distance transport of pollutants in the atmosphere and critical loads - interstate transmission
  • Meteorologist studying ground-level and total ozone in the atmosphere