Environmental Sciences MSc

  • Programme duration: Full-time: 12 months  
  • Programme start: September 2020
  • Entry requirements: You'll need a 2:1 Honours degree or better in an appropriate field of study. Individual consideration is given to mature students with significant and relevant experience and with professional qualifications.
Environmental Sciences msc

Module details

Students must choose three optional modules for each semester. In semester one, students must take either ENVS525 Politics of the Environment or ENVS529 Environmental Assessment of Policies, Plans, Programmes and Projects.

If an equivalent to ENVS609 has been taken as part of a first degree, ENVS609 may be replaced by ENVS563, subject to the Programme Director's approval. 

ENVS529 and ENVS560 should be taken as a pair to receive IEMA accreditation.

Compulsory modules

Introduction to Environment and Climate Change (ENVS425)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterFirst Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

To teach techniques of soil and sediment sampling and field description;
To provide examples in the field of how sedimentary deposits can be used for palaeoenvironmental reconstruction;
To provide an introduction to various laboratory techniques for analysing soils and sediments;
To provide an introduction to the regional environmental history;
To use a combination of the above to define and execute a small research project;
To provide an overall introduction to recent and past environmental changes, our understanding behind these changes, forcing and feedback mechanisms as well as an overview of recently developed methodological tools for reconstructing past climates and environments.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Demonstrate the ability to undertake team work in both field and laboratory settings.

(LO2) Employ a range of instrumental techniques for environmental sampling.

(LO3) Evaluate and apply field and laboratory observation for palaeo reconstruction.

(LO4) Design and undertake an independent research project.

(S1) Problem solving skills

(S2) Numeracy

(S3) Teamwork

(S4) Organisational skills

(S5) Communication skills

(S6) IT skills

Project Design and Management (ENVS484)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterSecond Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

To initiate the preliminary research for the dissertation project with the development of a project design (aims and objectives), the background research (literature review), the methodology and expected outcomes. This module aims to achieve the acquisition of time management and independent thinking skills.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Students successfully completing this module will be able to: Design an individual research project.

(LO2) To show a criticaly informed understanding of which appropriate methodology(ies) to choose for the investigation of the research topic.

(LO3) Identify, access and critically use bibliographic resources and databases.

(LO4) Demonstrate a sound awareness of time and project management.

(LO5) Show an understanding on the importance of background research and hypotheses for a successful completion of a project research.

Dissertation - Environmental Sciences (ENVS490)
LevelM
Credit level60
SemesterSummer (June-September)
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

To develop the ability to undertake an individual research project building on the knowledge and skills acquired elsewhere in the programme.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) In a format suitable for their programme and discipline area, students will demonstrate the ability to execute an individual research project building on the design developed in ENVS484 or ENVS496

(LO2) students will be able to select appropriate research strategies and undertake appropriate methods of data collection and analysis

(LO3) students willbe able to synthesize different information sources to form coherent arguements and relate research findings to relevant applied issues

(LO4) students will be able to write up the results of the research project and interpret the findings in light of the broader knowledge base and literature

(LO5) students will be able to use bibliographies, referencing and citations in the appropriate and correct manner to support their academic work undertaken

(S1) Adaptability

(S2) Problem solving skills

(S3) Communication skills

(S4) Organisational skills

Optional modules

Geohazards and Risk Mitigation (ENVS410)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterFirst Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting50:50
Aims

The module aims:
A. To examine in detail the research frontiers of understanding of diverse natural hazards;
B. To consider the objectives of risk mitigation strategies and their problems of implementation. Role Playing 'Game' to provide realistic experience of conflicting interests, uncertainty and decision making;
C. To examine the problems of dealing with uncertainties on a range of time-scales, including geological time-scales, and to review statistical methods for semi-quantitative analysis;
D. To develop consensus on future research directions that would mitigate risks from natural hazards.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Students will be able to demonstrate understanding of the nature, origins and possible outcomes of natural hazards and be able to evaluate natural hazards and derive parameters involved in specific risk mitigation.

(LO2) Students will be able to use numerical methods for risk quantification and dealing with uncertainty., and make effective oral communications / presentations of complex data sets and complicated arguments.

(LO3) Students will be able to demonstrate understanding of the processes involved for the evaluation of hazards and the preparation of risk assessments through state-of-the-art summaries.

(LO4) Students will be able to demonstrate understanding of the problems of risk communication to varied audiences and the development of consensus, and be able to evaluate critically the conflicting views presented in diverse media, from web, broadcasting, books and research articles.

(S1) Teamwork

(S2) Numeracy

(S3) Ethical awareness

(S4) International awareness

(S5) Communication skills

Research in Anthropocene Environments (ENVS485)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterFirst Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

The aim of this module is to provide students with:

The opportunity to conduct in depth piece of research on a chosen topic within the broad theme of human impacts on the environment;

Provide students with training in research methods and critical analysis techniques;

Teach them to write a short concise abstract (in a conference format);

To present the results in the form of a high impact, high quality A0 poster.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) 1. Demonstrate an understanding of anthropocene environments;

(LO2) 2. Knowledge of a series of key case studies illustrating interactions between human activities and terrestrial and marine ecosystems;

(LO3) 3. Critically analyse and assess previously published materials and synthesize into an appropriate case study;

(LO4) 4. Write a concise abstract;

(LO5) 5. Demonstrate knowledge of poster development and construction;

(LO6) 6. Present a poster in a professional manner.

(S1) Problem solving skills

(S2) Communication skills

(S3) IT skills

(S4) Organisational skills

Coastal Environments: Spatial and Temporal Change (ENVS576)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterFirst Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting60:40
Aims

This module aims to consider the response of physical processes and coastal environments to changes in sea-level and climate.

Attention is given to the geomorphology of coastal environments, its response to external agents, as well as to possible coastal managment strategies.

The module aims at proving students with knowledge and understanding of the physical processes acting along coastal areas, and to promote students capability to critically understand pros and cons of different managment tecniques in relation to future climate change.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Critical understanding of physical aspects of coastal environments from a fluid-mechanics and morphodynamic point of view. Comprehensive understanding of the basic laws of physics behind such processes.

(LO2) In depth and critical understanding of the concept of: spatial and temporal variation, physical processes and landforms, spatial and temporal scales, their relative influences and interactions.

(LO3) Critically understand environments as a result of processes and form interactions. Critically evaluate the relative importance of external agents based on their magnitude, frequency, and spatial characterization.

(LO4) In depth understanding of methodologies and techniques used for the analysis and interpretation of past records, as well as of techniques used as predictive tools. Knowledge and critical evaluation of assumptions behind each methodologies.

(LO5) Development of an informed concern for the Earth and its people. Critically understand challanges connected to climate and environmental change in relation to coastal areas and coastal protection practices.

(LO6) Capability to critically analyse real case studies in the context of previously acquired knowledge. Being able to critically evaluate the suitability of different coastal protection schemes based on projects aims and the main characteristics of external agents.

(S1) Problem solving skills

(S2) Numeracy

(S3) Communication skills

(S4) Organisational skills

Physical Properties of Environmental Archives and Modelling Approach (ENVS433)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterFirst Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

To outline the principles of the application of granulometric, rock magnetic, and geochemical analytical techniques to palaeoenvironmental reconstruction;
To teach the practical laboratory measurement and analysis of the above;
To introduce the theory and practice of methods of advanced data presentation and analysis.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) To make practical measurements of sediment grain-size, geochemical and rock magnetic properties

(LO2) To interpret litho-, magnetic-, and geochemical stratigraphies to reconstruct sedimentary environments, identify sediment sources and reconstruct human impacts

(LO3) to graphically present and statistically analyse a range of uni and multivariate data sets

(LO4) To gain an insight in environmental modelling by developping knowledge and technical capabilities about programming language.

(LO5) To get acquainted with specialised softwares to reconstruct environmental conditions

(S1) Problem solving skills

(S2) Numeracy

(S3) Teamwork

(S4) Communication skills

(S5) IT skills

(S6) Organisational skills

Politics of the Environment (ENVS525)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterFirst Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting50:50
Aims

This unit is designed to critically evaluate the political responses to the growing impact that environmental issues and the concept of sustainability are having on decision making at all levels of governance (international, national and local). More specifically the unit aims to:

Develop a critical understanding of the growing importance of environmental and sustainable development thinking in political decision-making processes;

Explore different environmental attitudes, values and perspectives and examine the impact on various political perspectives;

Develop a critical understanding of the opportunities and limitations of environmental decision making international dimension of environmental politics and its impact on nation states;

Understand the role that environmental pressure groups have in shaping political decisions at the international, national and local levels of governance;

Critically evaluate the policy responses at national and local levels to the new emerging environmental agenda.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) a critical appreciation of how environmental issues are being addressed at all levels of governance;

(LO2)  a critical understanding of different environmental values and attitudes and the way that these impact upon political philosophy and decision-making;

(LO3) a critical understanding of the way that various environmental interest groups impact on political and other decision making processes.

(S1) Communication skills

(S2) International awareness

(S3) Ethical awareness

Environmental Assessment of Policies, Plans, Programmes and Projects (ENVS529)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterFirst Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting50:50
Aims

To introduce environmental assessment theory and practice;

To teach relevant assessment methods and techniques;

To make students appreciate the complex nature of environmental assessment.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) 1. Understand why and how EIA and SEA are important to further an environmentally sustainable development and influence policy/practice;

(LO2) 2. Have a clear understanding of SEA and EIA requirements and practices;

(LO3) 3. Know how to collect, analyse and report environmental information and data in SEA and EIA;

(LO4) 4. Be able to analyse environmental problems effectively and choose suitable assessment tools, methods and techniques;

(LO5) 5. Be able to communicate effectively in (and on) SEA and EIA processes.

(S1) Communication skills

(S2) Problem solving skills

(S3) International awareness

Marine Ecology: Theory and Applications (ENVS383)
Level3
Credit level15
SemesterSecond Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting75:25
Aims

To develop the connections between ecological theory and the management of marine communities and ecosystems. The theory covered will mostly be concerned with the dynamics and diversity of communities and ecosystems.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) evaluate the major ecological theories underlying the dynamics and diversity of marine communities and ecosystems.

(LO2) relate problems in marine conservation and resource exploitation to these ecological concepts.

(LO3) use appropriate methods to assess the consequences of environmental change and management for marine communities and ecosystems.

(LO4) recognize the importance of ecological theory in underpinning scientific advice to management.

(S1) Problem solving skills

(S2) Numeracy

Advanced Conservation Biology (ENVS423)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterSecond Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

The aim of this module is to provide students with an appreciation of the variety of approaches used in conservation and the value of a long-term perspective;
Specifically the module aims to provide students with:
An understanding of changes in paradigms underlying ecology and conservation;
An understanding of the strategies used in conservation management, insitu, ex situ, and from global to local;
An insight into the science of restoration ecology and enable students to develop specific skills including essay writing, presentations, critical evaluation;
Help students to gain both team-building skills but the ability to plan and execute work independently.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) On successful completion of this module students should be able to:Understand and summarize how ecological andconservation paradigms have changed over time

(LO2) Demonstrate knowledge of strategies and approaches used in conservation management

(LO3) Critique and analyse published materials and synthesize into appropriate argument

(LO4) Design, orally communicate and critique approaches to conservation management.

(S1) Teamwork

(S2) Organisational skills

(S3) Communication, listening and questioning respecting others, contributing to discussions, communicating in a foreign language, influencing, presentations

(S4) Literacy application of literacy, ability to produce clear, structured written work and oral literacy - including listening and questioning

(S5) Problem solving skills

Business & the Environment (ENVS470)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterSecond Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

To explore the relationships between business and the new environmental agenda;

To develop an understanding of the benefits of a positive approach to environmental management for business;

To develop an understanding of the processes involved in developing environmental management systems for businesses.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) an appreciation of the growing importance of environmental management to business;

(LO2) an understanding of the processes involved in the development of a formal environmental management system

(LO3) an ability to appreciate the advantages and disadvantages of formal verification.

(LO4) an ability to communicate ideas effectively to different audiences

(S1) Communicating to different audiences using a variety of different approaches

(S2) Teamwork

(S3) Organisational skills

Tackling Environmental Issues (ENVS471)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterSecond Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

This  module will promote independent thinking, critical insights, leadership, team work and a sound understanding of environmental issues that affect local, national and international governance.

It will enable students to develop the skills to research a key environmental issue, showing a good grasp of what is required in terms of synthesising the relevant information in an objective and robust manner and communicating this at the right level for a consultancy report.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) demonstrate an appreciation of the environmental dilemmas faced by national. regional and local (e.g. towns and cities) government in adapting to a more sustainable way of living, working and playing;

(LO2) Demonstrate an understanding of the factors that will shape different authorities’ approaches to tackling issues such as climate change (e.g. international and national law, local climate, key sectors of employment, available resources, etc ) or sectoral conflicts for resource use.

(LO3) Demonstrate the ability to complete a consultancy report and policy briefing on a key environmental issue

(LO4) demonstrate team working skills

(S1) Teamwork

(S2) Communication skills

(S3) Ethical awareness

(S4) Leadership

(S5) International awareness

(S6) Organisational skills

Analysing Climate Processes and Variablity (ENVS475)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterSecond Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

To outline the modes of operation, timescales of variation and drivers of the global climate system;
To introduce major research themes in the global climate system;     To introduce the techniques and approaches for the analysis of ocean, atmopshere and paleoclimate data sets; 
To learn to discuss and present key findings from data analysis of large data sets.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Knowledge of how the Earth’s atmospheric and oceanic system operates, including the various spatial and temporal scales of the processes

(LO2) The external and internals drivers of climate change

(LO3) Basic techniques and research themes in ocean, atmospheric and paleoclimate research

(LO4) Knowledge of the methods of data collection and production in ocean and atmospheric science.

(LO5) Knowledge of the techniques of reconstruction of past climatic conditions

(S1) Assessing the merits of contrasting theories and explanations

(S2) Numeracy and statistical literacy

(S3) Ability to work responsibly, autonomously and with others

(S4) The handling of large datasets

Introduction to Quaternary Micropalaeontology (ENVS542)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterSecond Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

This module seeks to provide a deep and comprehensive understanding on methods and techniques used in micropalaeontology that will enable students to have an insight in a research field that is relevant for environmental sciences as well as geosciences, including biostratigraphy, palaeoclimatology, palaeoecology and palaeoceanography.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Have an understanding at research level of biological proxies that are used to qualitatively and quantitatively reconstruct Quaternary environments

(LO2) Be able to identify at a species level marine and terrestrial key microfossils

(LO3) Understand principles of uniformitarianism and palaeoecology

(LO4) Understand and apply principles of qualitative reconstructions of past conditions

(LO5) Understand and apply principles of quantitativereconstructions of past conditions

(LO6) Appreciate limitations of the biological proxies and the statistical analysis of their relationships with environmental conditions

(S1) Numeracy

(S2) research skills

(S3) laboratory procedures

(S4) Communication skills

(S5) Teamwork

(S6) Problem solving skills

(S7) IT skills

(S8) Organisational skills

Environmental Planning & Management Project (ENVS560)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterSecond Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

This module is based upon the execution of a client based mini-project. The project should help to develop skills of analysis, interpretation and policy prescription. It is well grounded in the Department’s own research activities and draws upon established links with a number of local authorities and other public bodies.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Data collection and analysing skill: to apply skills in selecting, assembling, manipulating, presenting and interpreting data related to environmental assessment and management;

(LO2) Ability to use skills of policy prescription based on these data;

(LO3) Ability to adopt a critical approach to the examination of existing practice in the analysis and evaluation of environmental assessment and management;

(LO4) Understanding of some of the ethical issues that can arise in the relationship between client and consultant.

(LO5) Ability to provide professional consultation inputto clients

(S1) Problem solving skills

(S2) Communication skills

(S3) Leadership

(S4) Teamwork

Geographic Information Science (ENVS609)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterFirst Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

Understand how digital representations of the real world can be created within a GIS including the referencing of geographic features;
To gain familiarity with the unique properties of geographic data including spatial autocorrelation and modifiable areal units;
Appreciate that there are uncertainties in the creation of geographic representations;
Develop skills in the basic use of GIS to create digital representations and understand their constraints within a framework of GIScience

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Gain a sound understanding of the function, concepts  and features of a Geographic Information System

(LO2) Understand those constraints and considerations that are required when implementing a GIS to build geographic representations

(LO3) Develop practical skills in the application of a GIS to those data types often associated with a student's disciplinary area

(S1) Numeracy

(S2) Problem solving skills

(S3) IT skills


Please note ENVS433 is a 30 credit module and is taken across both semesters.

Please note If an equivalent to ENVS609 has been taken as part of a first degree, then ENVS609 may be replaced by ENVS563 Geographic Data Science subject to approval by the Programme Director.