Master of Bioscience Engineering: Agro- and Ecosystems Engineering (Leuven)

Master of Science

Agro- and Ecosystems Engineering is about ensuring the prosperity and wellbeing of current and future generations in both the global North and global South. Agro- and ecosystems provide a wide range of essential goods and services such as food, water, energy and biodiversity. Yet, the contemporary context of population growth, rapid urbanisation, economic globalisation, climate change, deforestation, soil pollution and degradation challenges the future provisioning of a sufficient quantity and quality of these goods and services. 






What is the Master of Agro- and Ecosystems Engineering all about? 

The Master of Agro- and Ecosystems Engineering (ACE) provides in-depth knowledge of the functioning and management of natural and production-oriented ecosystems. You can choose to focus on either temperate or (sub)tropical settings, or a combination of both. You complement the interdisciplinary core programme with a major specialisation in one out of four different domains: biological production, abiotic and biotic environment, bio-economics, and bio-geo information



The production major focuses on agro-ecosystems, and includes specialisation tracks in crop production, production forestry systems (achieved trough a semester in Chile) and hortology (achieved trough a semester in South Africa).

The environment major provides to in-depth understanding of the biophysical functioning of both natural and agro-ecosystems with the aim of improving the management of these ecosystems' biodiversity, soil and water resources. The major includes specialisation tracks in soil and water systems, forest and nature systems, and ladscape systems.

The economics major focuses on the economic and policy-related aspects of agro- and ecosystems, with in-depth courses in the field of agricultural, food and natural resources economics.

The information major addresses earth observation and geo-data management technology, with in-depth courses covering both the technological aspects of this area and their applications in the field of terrestrial resources.



Are you looking to broaden your horizons? There are ample opportunities to conduct part of your master's thesis research at various partner institutions abroad. In addition, European residents can undertake their master's thesis research at a European or other partner university within the framework of the Erasmus+ programme. The Faculty also welcomes initiatives of students who want to do a work placement in a company or organization abroad, as well as exchange programmes with partner universities.

Two optional specialisation packages require one semester to be spent at a partner institution: the Production Forestry package is organised at the University of Temuco (Chile), while the specialisation in Hortology takes you to the University of Stellenbosch (South Africa).

More information:


Application deadline for 2019-2020

1 March 2019 (for non-EEA citizens) 
1 June 2019 (for EEA citizens) 

KU Leuven uses an online application system. You can download and submit your application form via Students with a Flemish degree can consult

Tuition Fee

The tuition fee for 2018-2019 is € 922.3 for EEA citizens and € 6,000 for non-EEA citizens – with an exception for citizens from OECD/DAC recognized developing countries for whom the tuition fee is € 922.3.

Please consult the website for the most recent information: 



Is this the right programme for me?


This MSc is designed for highly motivated students with a solid background in exact sciences and a keen interest in the functioning and sustainable management, design and engineering of agro- and natural ecosystems.

ACE is open to any applicant holding an academic bachelor's degree in engineering (bioscience engineering, agricultural engineering, environmental engineering, or any equivalent engineering degree), and to applicants holding other bachelor's or master's degrees encompassing thorough coursework in at least two of the following three domains (i) mathematics and statistics, (ii) Earth and environmental sciences, and (iii) biology and ecology. Students may be required to take strengthening elective courses to fill any gaps in educational background. 


Admission requirements

Admission requirements Master of Bioscience Engineering : Agro- and Ecosystems Engineering 




Career paths

The interdisciplinary nature of ACE ensures that graduates are sought after by various professional fields related to biological production systems and ecosystem management, with particular emphasis on plant production, natural resource economics and policy, sustainable environmental management, and applications of earth observation and geomatics. 

Abundant employment opportunities exist in public sector organisations, both nationally and internationally, NGOs and private companies, and can be both technical in nature, research-oriented, or at the policy/management level. Finally, ACE provides excellent preparation for undertaking PhD research. 

In Belgium, graduates of the ACE programme are entitled to use the professional title of 'Bio-ingenieur' ('Bioscience Engineer') .


Start your career, during your studies 

During your bachelor's and master's programme you can already shape your own profile by choosing a certain specialisation, studying abroad (Erasmus), doing a work placement, or starting your own business.

The Student Career Centre is happy to put you on the right track towards your first work experience. The centre also coaches you in the search for an interesting job and helps you with job interviews. For students wanting to start their own business KU Leuven also has Lcie, the KU Leuven community that encourages students with innovative and entrepreneurial ideas.

Don’t know where to start? The Student Career Centre's databases contain offers for jobs, volunteer work, innovation projects and student jobs. You can also visit one of the events organised by the Career Centre.


Faculty of Bioscience Engineering
Kasteelpark Arenberg 20
3001 LEUVEN, Belgium
tel. + 32 16 37 77 12 or + 32 16 37 91 33

Study Advice Service
Naamsestraat 80 box 5415
3000 LEUVEN, Belgium
To contact us, please complete the contact form on our website


Visit the faculty website.

Visit the website of the programme.

1. Have a broad, engineering-oriented knowledge of the biotic and abiotic components of agro- and ecosystems, of their functions, services and values, and of their interrelationships across a large range of spatial and temporal scales;

2. Have profound scientific knowledge in at least one of the following domains: (i) land-based biological production systems (agri- and silviculture); (ii) systems for the conservation and management of the natural environment in relation to the biological production (soil, water, climate, biodiversity); (iii) agricultural and environmental economics, (iv) data acquisition and information processing related to the three previously mentioned domains;

3. Be capable of analyzing, using a systems approach, the interactions between and within agrosystems, ecosystems and the socio-economic context from at least one of the following perspectives: (i) production systems; (ii) environmental management; (iii) economics and (iv) data requirements and information processing. Dependent upon the applicable perspective, being capable of understanding, formulating, parameterizing, validating and implementing models of the biophysical, ecological, bioeconomical, statistical, spatio-temporal and/or combined types. Being capable of optimizing decisions regarding land use taking account all ecological, agronomical, engineering and socio-economical constraints;

4. Be capable of integrating knowledge about agro- and ecosystems and related engineering technologies in geographically targeted projects and interventions at local to regional scales, as well as in policy preparation and evaluation at regional to global scales;

5. Be capable of positioning agro- and ecosystems in various societal, cultural, economical and policy contexts and in interdiciplinary work and research frameworks. Be aware of the research, societal and corporate challenges regarding agro- and ecosystems and their management;

6. Be capable of functioning in interdisciplinary teams and of taking up starter leadership. Be capable of comparing the domain- or discipline-specific approach with the approaches of other domains and disciplines. Be aware of the values but also of the limitations of the disciplines for contributing to the sustainable management of agro- and ecosystems.

7. Problem-oriented formulation and analysis of complex problems within the expertise domain, by dividing these into manageable subproblems and designing solutions for specific cases with attention for the application possibilities and broader conceptual impact.

8. Independently conceive, plan and execute an engineering project at the level of a starting investigating professional. Conduct and critically interpret a literature search according to scientific standards, with attention for the conceptual context and the application potential.

9. Use intradisciplinary and interdisciplinary insights to select, adapt or eventually develop advanced research, design and solution methods, and adequately apply these and scientifically process the obtained results; motivate the choices made based on the foundations of the discipline and the requirements of the application and business context.

10. Act from a research attitude: creativity, accuracy, critical reflection, motivation of choices on scientific grounds.

11. Groundbreaking, innovative and application-oriented development of systems, products, services and processes; extrapolation with attention for the business context. Extract new research questions from design problems.

12. Control system complexity using quantitative methods. Have sufficient knowledge, insight and experience in scientific research to critically evaluate the results.

13. Act from an engineering attitude within a generic and discipline-specific context: result-oriented attitude, attention for planning and technical, economical and societal boundary conditions like sustainability, risk and feasibility assessment of the proposed approach or solution, focus on results and achievement of effective solutions, innovative and transdisciplinary thinking.

14. Work using a project-based approach from a generic and disciplinary context: formulate goals, keep focus on specific objectives and development route, operate as a member of an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary team, develop leadership, operate in an international or intercultural environment, report effectively.

15. Have the economic and business insight to place the contribution to a process or the solution of a problem in a wider context.

16. Weigh specifications and boundary conditions and transform them into a high quality system, product or process. Extract useful information from incomplete, conflicting or redundant data.

17. Communicate written and verbally about the own field in the language of instruction and in the languages that are relevant for the specialism.

18. Communicate and present subject matters in fluent language and graphically to colleagues and laypersons.

In the context of the wellbeing law certain data must be stored for each student and they must be informed timely on the subject of:

  • the risks to which the student is exposed during the study programme (practicals, traineeships, master's theses,…)
  • the associated preventive measures for each risk, such as medical follow-up, personal protective equipment and instructions.
The risks and preventive measures are collected in the HSE-file for students. Through this link you can consult the HSE-file. The HSE-file will be used for traineeships and/or master’s theses. For more information about traineeships, we refer to the following site: traineeship.. For questions, please contact the HSE Department.





120 ECTS (2 years full-time)




1st semester: end of September -> end of January (exams in January)

2nd semester: half of February -> July (exams in June)


1 March (for non-EEA citizens)

1 June (for EEA citizens)

TUITION FEE 2018-2019

€ 922.3 for EEA citizens

€ 6,000 for non-EEA citizens, with exception for citizens from OECD/DAC recognized developing countries for whom the tuition fee is € 922.3

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Faculty of Bioscience Engineering