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Masters Degrees (Palaeoecology)

We have 8 Masters Degrees (Palaeoecology)

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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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This course will provide you with the opportunity to carry out an independent research project under the supervision of our leading academics. Read more
This course will provide you with the opportunity to carry out an independent research project under the supervision of our leading academics.

You will receive training in research methods and take a taught course unit in a relevant subject area. The research topic for your project is agreed with a supervisor in advance and can be in any area of the expertise in the department research groups. The project outline will be developed in consultation with your supervisor and project work is carried out in parallel with the taught courses, becoming full-time during the third term.

This Master’s by Research will provide you with a suitable background to work as a research assistant or as the grounding for further study towards a PhD.

See the website https://www.royalholloway.ac.uk/earthsciences/coursefinder/mscearthsciencesbyresearch.aspx

Why choose this course?

- This course is ideal for graduates in geology and related sciences who wish to carry out independent research over a shorter time period than is possible in a doctorate (PhD) programme. It allows you study at Master's level an aspect of the geological sciences which may not be catered for by specialist MSc programmes.

- You will be involved at every step of the research project - from planning and sample collection, laboratory work, result analysis, to writing your dissertation.

- It is ideal preparation if you are interested in studying for a PhD, but would like to have further preparation and training.

- In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), the Department of Earth Science’s research was ranked equal 6th in the UK with 70% rated as world-leading or internationally excellent in terms of originality, significance and rigour.

- The Department has up-to-date computer interpretation facilities, a full range of modern geochemical laboratories including XRF, quadrupole and multicollector ICP Mass Spectrometry, atmospheric chemistry and a new excimer laser ablation facility, excellent structural modelling laboratories, palaeontology and sedimentology laboratories.

Course content and structure

The course consists of the following three components:

A Research Study Skills Course Unit
- Personal research skills (e.g. safety, time and project management, teamwork)
- IT skills (e.g. literature retrieval, web authoring, databases, modelling)
- Data analysis skills (e.g. statistical methods, GIS systems, sampling techniques)
- Communication skills (e.g. posters, oral presentation, writing papers, web pages)
- Subject-specific skills and techniques. These amount to 55% of the research skills assessment, and for example may include parts of specialist taught courses (see below), a training course on the theory and practice of chemical and isotopic analysis, or other training arranged by the project supervisor. This will include training for research in the general field of the research project, not solely what is needed to carry out the project.

A Specialist Taught Course Unit
You will choose an advanced taught course unit relevant to the subject area of your research project. The following taught units are currently offered:
- Applied Sedimentology and Stratigraphy
- Pollution Sources and Pathways
- Oceans and Atmospheres
- Risk and Environmental Management
- Geographical Information Systems
- Environmental Inorganic Analysis
- Contaminants in the Environment
- Advanced Igneous Petrogenesis
- Seismic Processing and Interpretation
- Geodynamics and Plate Tectonics
- Interpretation of Structural Settings
- Coal Geology
- Petroleum Geology and Evaluation
- Terrestrial Palaeoecology
- Palaeoclimates

Research Project
The project may be on any topic which is within the broad research themes of the Department. You will be linked to a potential supervisor at the application stage and, in consultation with the supervisor, you will develop a detailed project outline during the first half of the first term. Project work is then carried out in parallel with taught courses during terms one and two, becoming the full-time activity after Easter. A bound dissertation is submitted for examination in early September.

On completion of the course graduates will have:

- an advanced knowledge and understanding of a variety of analytical, technical, numerical, modelling and interpretive techniques applicable to the specific field of earth sciences

- the articulation of knowledge and the understanding of published work, concepts and theories in the chosen field of earth sciences at an advanced level

- the acquisition of knowledge from published work in the chosen area of earth sciences to a level appropriate for a MSc degree.

Assessment

Research Study Skills: this is assessed by coursework and theory examination and will include short written assignments, a seminar, worksheets and practical tests. These assessments contribute 12.5% of the course marks.

Specialist Taught Course Units: these are mostly assessed by a written, theory examination and coursework. The unit assessment contributes 12.5% of the course marks.

Research Project: the project dissertation must be submitted in early September. It will be marked by both an internal and an external examiner, and will be defended at an oral examination with both examiners. The project assessment contributes 75% of the course marks.

Employability & career opportunities

Subject to agreement and suitable funding, MSc by Research students can transfer to the MPhil/PhD programme at Royal Holloway. They may use the research carried out for the MSc towards the PhD, and count the time spent towards MPhil/PhD registration requirements, provided that the MSc research forms a coherent part of the PhD, and that the transfer is approved prior to submission of the MSc research dissertation.

How to apply

Applications for entry to all our full-time postgraduate degrees can be made online https://www.royalholloway.ac.uk/studyhere/postgraduate/applying/howtoapply.aspx .

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EXPLORE LIFE FROM GENES TO ECOSYSTEMS. Plants, animals, and microbes all play a key role in the sustainability of life on Earth. Read more

EXPLORE LIFE FROM GENES TO ECOSYSTEMS

Plants, animals, and microbes all play a key role in the sustainability of life on Earth. The Master's programme in Environmental Biology offers you the opportunity to explore different organisational levels of life – from genes, cells, and organisms to populations and entire ecosystems. 

In this programme, you will study the fundamental life processes of plants and microbes. The interdisciplinary course content also offers you the chance to examine animal behaviour from an ecological and evolutionary perspective.

TRACKS

Within the Environmental Biology Master, you can select a specialised track from the following: 

TAILOR-MADE STUDY PLAN

Alternatively, you can develop an individualised curriculum suited to your unique interests. We offer you considerable flexibility in choosing specific subfields or topics within Environmental Biology. See the study programme and courses page.



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Bioarchaeology is an exciting and fast-moving interdisciplinary field which combines archaeology with the natural sciences to discover how ancient populations lived. Read more

Bioarchaeology is an exciting and fast-moving interdisciplinary field which combines archaeology with the natural sciences to discover how ancient populations lived. Study for this Masters in Bioarchaeology at Liverpool John Moores University and gain hands-on experience of archaeology excavations at the Poulton Project, carry out novel research and discover new laboratory techniques.

  • Complete this Masters degree in one year (full-time)
  • Gain a broad-based foundation in the field of Bioarchaeology, combining theoretical knowledge and hands-on applied learning at the cutting edge of Bioarchaeology
  • Benefit from world-leading, specialist teaching in dental anthropology, ancient DNA and virtual methods in bioarchaeology, with lectures and practical sessions delivered by specialists in their field
  • Learn from our academic team of internationally recognised experts who are active in research - both in the UK and abroad - through our Research Centre in Evolutionary Anthropology and Palaeoecology
  • Study in some of the best-equipped specialist laboratory settings in the country, featuring extensive human skeletal collections and well-equipped research laboratories
  • Look forward to excellent employment prospects in a wide range of disciplines

You will study the following modules:

  • Archaeological Science and Ancient DNA
  • Dental Anthropology
  • Advanced Osteology and Skeletal Pathology
  • Virtual Methods and Topics In Bioarchaeology
  • Research Methods
  • Archaeological Field Skills (to include two week practice component)
  • Research Project

Further guidance on modules

The information listed in the section entitled ‘What you will study’ is an overview of the academic content of the programme that will take the form of either core or option modules. Modules are designated as core or option in accordance with professional body requirements and internal Academic Framework review, so may be subject to change. Students will be required to undertake modules that the University designates as core and will have a choice of designated option modules. Additionally, option modules may be offered subject to meeting minimum student numbers.

Please email if you require further guidance or clarification.



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This is a unique opportunity for artists to collaborate in the world of science with opportunities in the fields of public health, astrophysics, sports science, technology, museum practice, computing, medicine and forensics. Read more
This is a unique opportunity for artists to collaborate in the world of science with opportunities in the fields of public health, astrophysics, sports science, technology, museum practice, computing, medicine and forensics.

•Enrol on a truly innovative course, collaboratively developed with academic experts across a number of disciplines that include: Art and Design, Science, Education, Health and Community, Technology and Environment
•Enjoy access to a number of different established research centres across Liverpool John Moores University
•Develop real world skills on a programme unique to the UK and decide which areas of art and science you wish to follow as the programme progresses
•Explore art and science project briefs in unexpected forms

This practical, collaborative and vocational discipline can be applied to a rich variety of creative contexts and purposes within collaborative areas in art and science.

The MA is a studio based programme with collaborative practice and discovery at its core. The programme will offer a number of options for study and collaboration including; science and archaeological visualisation, museums, advertising, education, public health, biomedical communications, sports science and forensics.

You will focus on the practical application of art in a science context and be guided in understanding how this translates through a sequence of set and self-initiated projects.

You will define your existing practice and extend its scope and ambition within an art and science context, while studying themes related to public engagement, ethics, data protection and working with humans in research, and developing an understanding of current research happening in collaborative areas in art and science.

The programme will encourage you to work across other disciplines and, where appropriate, collaborate with other MA programmes within the Liverpool School of Art and Design, as well as other postgraduate taught courses across LJMU and external partners. It aims to help you to understand research happening in collaborative areas in art and science, and to develop research skills and relevant approaches to your practice and the critical techniques to support your final project.

Learning takes place predominantly through the creative and critical exploration of research focused Art in Science projects.

The programme is delivered full time over one year and features a significant amount of independent study. You will exhibit your final work at the Masters degree show which involves all Liverpool School of Art and Design's taught postgraduate Masters students.

Facilities and Research Groups

The programme is based in the Liverpool School of Art and Design’s John Lennon Art and Design building, a purpose-built facility in Liverpool city centre which encourages interaction between different disciplines and sharing of ideas and expertise.

As a Masters student on this course you may become linked to our Exhibition Research Centre, Design Lab, Contemporary Art Lab and the Face Lab.

Throughout the programme you will have opportunities to visit and potentially collaborate with research centres across LJMU. This may include: The Centre for Advanced Policing Studies, Centre for Public Health, Astrophysics Research Institute, Centre in Evolutionary Anthropology and Palaeoecology and the Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences.

What you will study on this degree

Please see guidance below on core and option modules for further information on what you will study.

Level 7

-Studio practice (Art in Science)
-Research and Practice
-Collaborative practice
-Major project (Art in Science)

Further guidance on modules

The information listed in the section entitled ‘What you will study’ is an overview of the academic content of the programme that will take the form of either core or option modules. Modules are designated as core or option in accordance with professional body requirements and internal Academic Framework review, so may be subject to change. Students will be required to undertake modules that the University designates as core and will have a choice of designated option modules. Additionally, option modules may be offered subject to meeting minimum student numbers.

Academic Framework reviews are conducted by LJMU from time to time to ensure that academic standards continue to be maintained. A review is currently in progress and will be operational for the academic year 2016/2017. Final details of this programme’s designated core and option modules will be made available on LJMU’s website as soon as possible and prior to formal enrolment for the academic year 2016/2017.

Please email if you require further guidance or clarification.

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Become part of something bigger. Take part in a research-led physical geography programme and have an excellent, world-class learning experience. Read more

Become part of something bigger

Take part in a research-led physical geography programme and have an excellent, world-class learning experience.

Find out more about the Master of Science parent structure.

Massey’s Master of Sciences (Geography) will give you the knowledge and skills to understand and help solve some of the world’s most important environmental issues like flooding, coastal erosion, sea level change, landslide hazards and environmental change.

Broad range of equipment and facilities

You will have access to a wide range of techniques and equipment, making it easier to progress your research in a timely and comprehensive fashion. From ground survey equipment like a Trimble RTK differential GPS and S6 robotic total station and a ground penetrating radar to a range of coring apparatus e.g., lake/bog corers, percussion corer and vibracorer and Schmidt hammers for relative age dating of boulders we have the specialist equipment to help your research meet global standards.

Other equipment includes:

  • Fully equipped palynology laboratory
  • SEM, TEM and Confocal microscopes (via the Manawatu Microscopy and Imaging Centre)
  • Classifynder automated microscope system prototype (see http://www.classifynder.com)
  • Laser particle size analyser
  • Sontek M9 river surveyor (ADCP flow meter)
  • Several electromagnetic flow meters
  • Chirp Sub-bottom sonar

Work readiness

Our strong relationship with industry and counciis and the masters programmes research element make our graduates very attractive to potential employers such as environmental consultancies and regional councils.

Globally-renowned expertise

Let our experts help you develop your own expertise.

Massey’s geography lecturers have an extensive range of experience and expertise. The ratio of staff to students is high. Your lecturers will be your mentors, working alongside you to fully engage you in the practical and theoretical aspects of advanced physical geography study, to prepare you for life in the workplace in a specialist sense or preparing you for research at a higher level.

World-leading

Massey’s geography programmes are ranked as some of the best globally. Out of 800 of the world’s leading universities we were ranked in the top 200 in the QS World University Rankings.

Gain expertise in an area of your choice

The physical geography team at Massey research and have expertise in fluvial processes, coastal processes, slope processes, palynology, biogeography, palaeoecology and river solutions. During the course of your studies you can choose to further your knowledge and apply your learning on an exciting research project like:

  • Monitoring active landslides in glaciated valleys
  • Age estimation of ancient glaciated rockslides
  • Refining understanding of marine terrace development
  • Reconstructing the evolution of estuaries and coastal environmentsStatistical analyses of earthquake-induced landslides
  • 3D soil mapping
  • Pollen-based vegetation and climate reconstructions
  • Applications of automated palynology systems
  • Mapping floodplain geomorphology
  • Flood series extension

Why postgraduate study?

Postgraduate study is hard work but hugely rewarding and empowering. The Master of Science will push you to produce your best creative, strategic and theoretical ideas. The workload replicates the high-pressure environment of senior workplace roles. Our experts are there to guide but if you have come from undergraduate study, you will find that postgraduate study demands more in-depth and independent study.

The postgraduate study experience

Some courses in the geography major are taught in block mode, which means you come onto campus for a period. This gives you the opportunity to come to Massey for a semester and spend valuable time with lecturers and fellow students in lectures, seminars, student-led presentations and seminars, lab work, field work day trips, small group discussions, and residential field work.

Not just more of the same

Postgraduate study is not just ‘more of the same’ undergraduate study. It takes you to a new level in knowledge and expertise especially in planning, time management, setting goals and milestones and undertaking research.

Geography options

The Master of Science (Geography) may comprise a selection of courses from across both physical and human geography. However, normally students taking this programme will focus on physical geography and it is this experience that is described in these pages.

Students should also consult the Master of Arts (Geography) programme pages for a description of the equivalent experience in human geography.



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