Masters degrees in Quaternary Studies offer advanced study of the historical properties and processes which formed Earth as we know it today. They offer an interdisciplinary approach, examining the lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, biosphere and cryosphere.
Related postgraduate specialisms include Quaternary Archaeology and Human Evolution. Entry requirements normally include an undergraduate degree such as Environmental Science.
Courses in Quaternary Science investigate the climatic and geological changes associated with repeated ice ages, and the rise of the human species. Their purpose is to help professionals understand current environmental changes, and anticipate future changes.
Training includes methods for creating a time-scale of the geologic past, using dating and surveying methods to create high-resolution paleoenvironmental records. For example, you may examine multi-proxy evidence to reconstruct past environments. Samples may include ice cores, tree rings, sub-fossil pollen, boreholes, corals, lake and ocean sediments, and carbonate speleothems (cave formations).
These samples will help you to formulate theory surrounding the formation of rock systems and continental-scale ice sheets, and assess major changes in sea level and major migrations of animal and plant communities. It may also include analysis of the evolution and extinction of different species.
Careers may include environmental assessment, conservation, legislation and public policy.
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.
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.
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.
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.