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Masters Degrees (Glaciers)

We have 3 Masters Degrees (Glaciers)

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Study Quaternary Science at Royal Holloway, University of London and you’ll receive comprehensive postgraduate training on the time-dependent processes that affect environmental change, helping you to understand and confront some of the most profound issues of our time. Read more

Study Quaternary Science at Royal Holloway, University of London and you’ll receive comprehensive postgraduate training on the time-dependent processes that affect environmental change, helping you to understand and confront some of the most profound issues of our time.

This flexible Masters programme is offered jointly with London’s prestigious Natural History Museum, and The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) recognizes this course as 'Excellent'.

You’ll acquire an advanced knowledge and understanding of key issues within Quaternary Science, including high-resolution palaeoenvironmental records, high-precision dating and multi-proxy approaches to the investigation of past environmental changes.

The Department of Geography is one of the leading centres for international geographical research in the UK. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework our research environment was recognized as overwhelmingly world class.

The staff and facilities of the Centre for Quaternary Research (CQR) at Royal Holloway provide a wide range of opportunities, including participation in internationally significant research programmes in Quaternary science and links with potential employers. This consortium of staff constitutes the strongest teaching team in the UK for the provision of Masters' teaching in the field of non-marine Quaternary earth science and environmental change. You’ll have the chance to contribute to this leading research culture with your own individual research project.

Study a Masters degree in Quaternary Science and you’ll develop a thorough understanding of many contemporary environmental issues, including climate change, biological responses to environmental change and soil erosion. and be well placed to pursue a rewarding career in your chosen field.

  • Masters programme offered jointly with London’s prestigious Natural History Museum.
  • Study in a department ranked 2nd in the UK for research by the Research Excellence Framework 2014.
  • Gain a thorough understanding of some of our most pressing environmental issues.
  • Graduate with excellent employability prospects and a strong opportunity to progress into further postgraduate study.

Course structure

Core modules

  • Quaternary Sedimentology and Stratigraphy
  • Quaternary Paleoclimatology
  • Palaeoecology, Dating and Quantification
  • Techniques of Quaternary Research
  • Oral Presentation
  • Field Training Programme
  • Dissertation

Optional modules

In addition to these mandatory course units there are a number of optional course units available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course units that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new units may be offered or existing units may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.

  • Quaternary Palynology
  • Coleoptera
  • Micromorphology of Quaternary Sediments
  • Theory and Applications of Luminescence Dating
  • Quaternary Microfossils
  • Quaternary Mammals
  • Late Quaternary Palaeohydrology
  • Chironomids and Environmental Change
  • Glaciers in the Climate System
  • Quaternary Tephrochronology
  • Palaeofires

Teaching & assessment

You will benefit from small group learning and an intense but friendly atmosphere, and will receive individual mentoring and career advice from our staff (both from your personal tutor and a dissertation supervisor).

Assessment is carried out by a variety of methods including coursework, practical exercises, field reports and a dissertation.

Your future career

Study Quaternary Science at Royal Holloway and you’ll graduate with excellent employability prospects. Our recent alumni have gone on to enjoy careers in the British Geological Survey, Natural England, the Environment Agency, journal publishing houses, Research Councils, environmental archaeology and museums, as well as academic positions within universities. 

Over the past decade, around 70% of Quaternary Science graduates have gone on to study at PhD level, with the Royal Holloway Centre for Quaternary Science providing opportunities to participate in internationally significant research programmes.

  • 90% of Royal Holloway graduates in work or further education within six months of graduating.
  • Strong opportunities for postgraduate training and research, and active links with potential employers.

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Visit our website for more information on fees, scholarships, postgraduate loans and other funding options to study Glaciology at Swansea University - 'Welsh University of the Year 2017' (Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017). Read more

Visit our website for more information on fees, scholarships, postgraduate loans and other funding options to study Glaciology at Swansea University - 'Welsh University of the Year 2017' (Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017).

The Geography department is always keen to attract high-quality postgraduate students to join our research groups.

The MSc by Research Glaciology enables students to pursue a one year individual programme of research. The MSc by Research would normally terminate after a year. However, under appropriate circumstances, this first year of research can also be used in a progression to Year 2 of a PhD degree.

You will be fully integrated into one of our established research groups and participate in research activities such as seminars, workshops, laboratories, and field work.

Key Features

Swansea is a research-led University and the Department makes a significant contribution, meaning that as a Postgraduate Geography Student you will benefit from the knowledge and skills of internationally renowned academics.

In the latest Research Assessment Exercise, 95% of Geography research at Swansea was judged to be of international quality, and 60% was regarded as World-leading or internationally excellent.

The Geography department’s research groups are involved in a number of projects including:

Advancing application of stable isotopes in tree rings as indicators of climate/environmental change

Quantification of the past and future contribution of glaciers and ice sheets to Sea level rise

Understanding the response of the biosphere to variations in climate

Understanding international migration patterns and processes associated with both forced migration and labour migration and ‘mixed flows’

Cities and Urban Theory - with a focus on the interface between Human Geography and Continental Philosophy, especially with respect to deconstruction, structuralism and poststructuralism


As a postgraduate Geography student you will have access to:

Computer laboratory with 24 computers providing general IT software and programmes dedicated to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing Computer laboratory with 10 high-performance Linux workstations delivering software tools for advanced GIS and remote sensing applications

Specialist laboratory suites for stable isotope ratio analysis; tree ring analysis; extraction and identification of organic compounds; pollen extraction and analysis; rainfall simulation; tephra analysis; soil and sediment characterisation

In addition, the computing facilities include 15 dual-processor workstations for Earth Observation, a 20-node multiprocessor Beowulf cluster, and the Department’s IBM ‘Blue Ice’ Supercomputer, used mainly for climate and glaciological modelling.


All academic staff in Geography are active researchers and the department has a thriving research culture and a strong postgraduate community.

The results of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 show that Geography at Swansea University is ranked joint 9th in the UK for research impact and 11th in the UK for research environment.

Research groups include:

Environmental Dynamics


Global Environmental Modelling and Earth Observation

Migration, Boundaries and Identity

Social Theory and Urban Space

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Overview. Our MSc in Geoscience Research is a research-focused postgraduate taught master's course with industry and international placement opportunities designed for a career in research, academia or a discipline related work setting. Read more


Our MSc in Geoscience Research is a research-focused postgraduate taught master's course with industry and international placement opportunities designed for a career in research, academia or a discipline related work setting.

The course consists of six modules spread over three semesters, including an extensive research project in geoscience, environmental science or physical geography.

Project areas range from applied and environmental geophysics to igneous petrology, volcanology, Quaternary environments, palaeoclimates, palaeoceanography, biogeochemistry, landscape ecology, sedimentology, palaeontology, renewable and alternative energy, and petroleum geoscience.

A distinct feature of this master’s programme is the opportunity for UK students to complete a placement at one of several European, North American and Asian partner institutions, all of which have established research links with Keele staff. However, as a UK student, you can also choose to carry out your research project here at Keele or in collaboration with local or UK-based industry. As an international student, you will undertake your research and placement at Keele University under the supervision of international experts in their chosen research area.

The emphasis on the substantial ‘hands on’ research training with the provision of an international placement option makes this programme unique within the Higher Education Sector in the UK and will thus increase your employability. We believe that this will help to develop future employees with an international outlook.

The MSc Geoscience Research programme at Keele offers the added value of the Distinctive Keele Curriculum (DKC), which develops students' intellectual, personal and professional capabilities (Keele Graduate Attributes) through both subject-specific and generic workshops and activities.

See the website https://www.keele.ac.uk/pgtcourses/geoscienceresearch/

Course Aims

The principal aim of this Masters course is to develop your generic and specific research skills in an area of the Geosciences or related scientific disciplines, which will enhance your employment prospects. On completion of the programme you will:

- Have a systematic understanding of knowledge, and a critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights, much of which is at, or informed by, the forefront of the chosen research area in Geosciences;

- Gain a conceptual understanding to evaluate critically current research and advanced scholarship in the discipline area;

- Be able to evaluate methodologies and develop critiques of them and, where appropriate, to propose new hypotheses;

- Possess developed scientific skills and knowledge, and transferable skills, in a UK-based or international workplace setting;

- Have a comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable to your own research;

- Attain organisational and commercial awareness.

For those students undertaking a placement/research project in Europe the work and achievement on the programme will be documented in the EU Europass, a record of achievement signed by all parties. All students are required to pursue the University’s ‘Realise’ scheme which enables them to identify their personal and professional skills and development needs.

Course Content

The MSc programme is full-time for 12 months, starting in September.

The programme comprises six modules including a research project/placement which is undertaken either at Keele University or on placement with a host institution overseas:

- Research Skills (30 credits)

- Literature Review (15 credits)

- Modern Language Module* or Academic English for Postgraduate Students** or Geoscience Option Module*** (15 credits)

- Research Project Design and Management (30 credits)

- Dissertation (90 credits)

*Students undertaking their research project at a host institution overseas will choose a modern language module or a language and culture module for their international placement.

**International students for whom English is not their first language will take Academic English for Postgraduate Students to further improve their English language skills.

*** UK/Native English speaking international students undertaking their research project at Keele University or a host institution in the UK can take a selected Geoscience option module relevant to their research area. These may include: Natural Hazards; Glaciers & Glacial Geomorphology; Global Environmental Change; Water Resources; Hydrological & Engineering Geology; Structure and Geodynamics; Economic Geology; Advanced Topics in Sedimentology; Exploration Geophysics for the Hydrocarbon Industry; Petroleum Geology; Volcanic and Magmatic Processes.

Teaching & Assessment

You will be taught by experienced, well qualified and enthusiastic staff. All of the staff are research active within the discipline, accomplished at working on research funded work both nationally and internationally. The programme team are enthusiastic to share their teaching, research and professional experience to help you achieve success in your studies.

You will complete formal assessment on all modules. Assessments will include presentations, reflective diary, reports, reviews, portfolio and a dissertation. During your placement this will include keeping an extensive record of the training attended and skills obtained, with a reflective report (for the research training portfolio), as well as a dissertation on the project undertaken during the placement.

The research project/dissertation is based on the submission of a 20,000-25,000 word report that is undertaken in conjunction with an academic supervisor and, where appropriate, an industrial collaborator.

Additional Costs

There will be additional costs in terms of living expenses, travel and insurance related with the placement if you choose to undertake your research project with an overseas host institution. The amount required will be dependent on the cost of living associated with certain countries.

UK Students choosing a placement research project in an EU member state will be eligible to apply for an ERASMUS scholarship.

Employment Case Studies

Our research-focused course with industry and international placement opportunities leads our graduates into a diverse range of careers.

Our students have chosen careers in research, academia or a discipline related work setting, including geotechnical and environmental consultancies, and local, regional, national or multi-national corporations.

For examples of what graduates are doing now, see here - https://www.keele.ac.uk/gge/applicants/postgraduatetaughtcourses/mscgeoscienceresearch/employmentcasestudies/

Find information on Scholarships here - http://www.keele.ac.uk/studentfunding/bursariesscholarships/

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