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The Department of Geography and Earth Sciences (DGES) at Aberystwyth offers a range of Masters programmes that provide the opportunity to specialise in particular areas of interest. We have always been at the cutting edge of innovations in teaching and research, which is why Aberystwyth is the UK University of the Year for Teaching Quality (The Times & The Sunday Times, The Complete University Guide 2018). In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF2014), DGES was positioned in the top ten of UK Geography departments with regard to its research power, providing a measure of the quality of research, as well as the number of staff undertaking research.
We are committed to providing a challenging and fulfilling course of study for all our postgraduate students. Group work, individual attention and personal contact are hallmarks of the postgraduate culture at Aberystwyth. Students join a thriving research culture and all students are encouraged to become fully integrated in the academic community. There are many opportunities for informal as well as formal contact with staff, and we encourage students to make the most of them. During term time, we hold a seminar series led by visiting speakers who are leading debates within the human and physical geography fields.
DGES has excellent research facilities with a range of well-equipped laboratories and field equipment. It is constantly reviewing, updating and investing in equipment to ensure its continued position as one of the best equipped Institutes of Geography and Earth Sciences in the UK.
1.Remote Sensing and GIS
The Institute has been awarded Centre of Excellence status for research in eCognition software, and IDL ENVI and Erdas Imagine are included within the remote sensing software suite. Specialised software is available for radar interferometry, photogrammetry and hyperspectral processing. GIS software includes ArcGIS and ArcInfo. The laboratories have just been fully refurbished and are equipped with state of the art Windows and Linux workstations with field equipment including a Leica Terrestrial Scanner. There is also a dedicated research laboratory for postgraduate students with 18 brand new workstations.
The Department has extremely well equipped laboratories in this area including:
Ice and Climate Facility - this suite of equipment has been assembled to enable field-based analysis of the relationships between climatic drivers and ice-mass responses. The facility is based around oceanographic and geodetic GPS equipment that has been deployed in Antarctica and Greenland.
Aberystwyth Cold Laboratory - this facility provides a sub-freezing working environment for sampling ice and analysing its physical composition. This includes ice sampling and thin sectioning apparatus as well as a G50 automatic ice fabric analyser.
4.Aberystwyth Luminescence Research Laboratory
The Aberystwyth Luminescence Research Laboratory is involved with dating a variety of Quaternary sediments in the age range from 100 years to 200 000 years using state-of-the-art methods and equipment. The laboratory is fully equipped including two single grain laser luminescence readers, and a wide range of facilities for measurement of environmental radiation doses. The laboratory is one of the best equipped and most dynamic in the world, with a reputation for innovation.
5.Sediment Core Analysis Laboratory
A major use of this facility is in the study of lacustrine cores of Quaternary environmental change. An Itrax X-ray fluorescence (XRF) core scanning system is capable of producing digital X-radiograph images, digital colour images, and measurement of elemental abundances using XRF at a spatial resolution as fine as 200µm. Other equipment is available for grain size analysis, carbon coulometry and magnetic susceptibility.
6.Quaternary Palaeoecology Laboratory
The Department has a suite of facilities for the preparation and analysis of pollen and diatoms from Quaternary sediments. A dedicated set of chemical laboratories are available for sample preparation, and an adjoining laboratory is equipped with a range of microscopes for analysis. Also housed here are reference collections and a library of reference publications.
7.Geochemistry Research Laboratories
The Department maintains a specialist geochemistry laboratory to support the work of the research groups. Facilities include: 3 atomic absorption spectrophotometers; a quadrupole and a high resolution magnetic sector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (ICP-MS) with two UV laser ablation systems for high resolution solid sampling; an anodic stripping voltameter; and standard chemical and microwave digestion facilities.
The newly refurbished Digital Map Library provides individual workstations for students and access to digital mapping resources such as Digimap and Getmapping. The University's Hugh Owen Library has a full collection of books and periodicals covering the research needs of the Institute and the National Library of Wales (one of only five UK copyright libraries, and five minutes walk from the Institute) has an archive of historical maps, in addition to its other holdings.
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Our MSc in Environmental Change, Impact and Adaptation is an innovative, bespoke, multi-disciplinary programme that addresses the challenges that climatic and other environmental changes pose to society. Read more
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