MSc (Full Time)
Minimum Length:12 Month(s)
Maximum Length:12 Month(s)
Director of Studies:Professor KT Semple
Educational Aims: Knowledge, Understanding and Skillsback to top
Course Overview and Aims
The MSc in Environmental Science is designed to provide students with a background in another area of physical or natural science with one year of in-depth training in a broad range of topics within the general field of environmental science. The emphasis will be on the chemical and physical processes that occur in the natural environment and how these processes are modified by man. With an intake of students having a diverse range of first degrees and previous work experience the course aims to develop the students in the following areas, in order to equip students for the specific and generic demands of proceeding directly into either employment or doctoral research in this environmental sector:
- Transferable skills
- Subject knowledge specific to environmental science
- Scientific methodologies
The taught element of the course, which accounts for 50% of the final assessment, provides students with a basic understanding of the physics and chemistry of the natural environment and the ways in which man affects the natural environment. The atmosphere, hydrosphere and surface/near surface lithosphere are all studied, although the structure of the course allows students to focus on one or more of these compartments of the Earth system if they wish. The quantitative aspects of Earth system science are emphasised; the course offers more than a qualitative description of the environment.
A range of transferable skills modules are available to students through the joint science faculty Graduate Training Programme. Transferable skills (scientific writing, statistical methods, computing, presentation skills, project management etc.) are also developed throughout the taught modules and the extended research project.
On completion of the taught component of the course, the students undertake an extended research project which comprises the remaining 50% of the degree. The projects are tailored to allow the students to develop particular areas of speciality relating to environmental science. The framework of the project enables students to enhance environmental problem solving methodologies through the focussed application of appropriate scientific methodologies.
Learning Outcomes: Knowledge, Understanding and Skillsback to top
Students completing the MSc programme will be expected to have gained transferable skills, subject specific knowledge and scientific methodology to Masters level. In addition to these outcomes, which are considered in more detail below, the course nurtures working relationships between students and active researchers/practitioners both internally and externally.
Transferable skills outcomes
Transferable skills are initially developed through the breadth of the Graduate School Training Programme (GTP) This comprises modules in:
- Statistical methods
- Computer support
- Scientific Writing
- Oral Presentation
- Project Management
Further re-enforcement of transferable skills is achieved through varied methods of delivery and assessment of the subject specific modules which include group presentations, reports and essays, and associated practical and analytical work. The individual research projects consolidate and extend transferable skills both through the execution of the research work and the writing of the associated thesis. The range of transferable skills that students are expected to gain includes:
- IT literacy in industry-standard word-processing, analysis and presentation software.
- Presenting information in verbal, electronic and hardcopy media.
- Numeracy, including mathematical and statistical modelling.
- Project management.
- Interpersonal skills in group settings.
- Self management and motivation.
Subject specific knowledge outcomes
Subject specific knowledge is developed through research informed teaching and associated reading. Initially this is achieved through the subject-specific modules that employ a range of delivery and assessment styles including lectures, practical workshops (including paper-based, computer-based, laboratory-based and site-based studies), and seminars.
Students are expected to self-learn using reference material to further develop their perceptual models, and to field visits are provided illustrate the associated practicalities. More depth to subject-specific knowledge is added through the specialisation of students in their chosen research projects. The range of subject specific knowledge that students are expected to gain is reflected in the breadth of modules available in the taught programme. These cover the whole range of physical environmental science.
Scientific methodology outcomes
Students' scientific methodology is developed at all stages of the programme and in particular through their chosen research projects. Initially, scientific method is nurtured through the written and verbal feedback of staff to students during the taught elements of the programme, along with the exposure of students to the scientific literature. The research project affords the opportunity for closer staff-student interactions where a critique of scientific method occurs within a research active environment. The range of scientific disciplines that students are expected to gain include:
- Developing a robust scientific argument.
- Formulating and testing hypotheses.
- Assessing contrasting scientific theories.
- Identifying, abstracting and synthesising scientific information.
- Problem solving and decision making.
- Identifying, abstracting and synthesising scientific information
- The use of experimentation within a scientific problem solving exercise.
- Handling complexity and uncertainty.