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Geology×

Masters Degrees in Quaternary Studies

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.

Why study a Masters in Quaternary Studies?

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This course offers comprehensive and flexible postgraduate training in the established yet dynamic field of Quaternary science, with the academic emphasis being on the time-dependent processes affecting environmental change. Read more
This course offers comprehensive and flexible postgraduate training in the established yet dynamic field of Quaternary science, with the academic emphasis being on the time-dependent processes affecting environmental change.

By the end of the course you will have acquired and demonstrated specialist disciplinary knowledge and understanding of key issues pertaining to Quaternary science, in particular the core linking themes of high-resolution palaeoenvironmental records, high-precision dating, and multi-proxy approaches to the investigation of past environmental changes.

You will also be provided with advanced training in techniques used to assess the causes, scale and rapidity of past climate and environmental fluctuations; encompassing field, laboratory, statistical and computing methods used in the acquisition, interpretation and modelling of proxy climatic and environmental data.

See the website https://www.royalholloway.ac.uk/geography/coursefinder/mscquaternaryscience.aspx

Why choose this course?

- The staff and facilities of the Centre for Quaternary Research (CQR) at Royal Holloway, University of London (RHUL) provide a wide range of opportunities for postgraduate training and research 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.

- The Department 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 Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) recognizes this course as "Excellent".

- You will be provided with the temporal perspective necessary for the understanding of many contemporary environmental issues, such as climate change, biological responses to environmental change and soil erosion.

- The distinctive aspects of the research at the CQR are the emphases on high-precision dating, multiproxy palaeoenvironmental reconstruction, quantitative palaeoclimate estimates, high resolution stratigraphy/sedimentology and the influence of Quaternary climate change on early human evolution and dispersal.

Department research and industry highlights

The CQR was established in 1990 and has grown to become one of the leading international research centres in Quaternary science.

Since its inception the CQR has attracted funding from an increasingly diverse range of sources (NERC, AHRC, ESRC, Leverhulme Trust, EC Framework Programs, British Academy). Major research partnerships and initiatives have been forged (e.g. with the Natural History Museum, Museum of London, British Geological Society, English Heritage and Oxford University), which are fostering important advances in understanding Quaternary landscape evolution, quantitative palaeoclimate reconstruction, geochronology, biostratigraphy and Palaeolithic and environmental archaeology. The CQR has also benefited from recent £1.5M SRIF investment in laboratory refurbishment that has enhanced the centre’s research capabilities in OSL dating, tephrochronology, analytical chemistry and soil micromorphology.

On completion of the course graduates will have:

acquired and demonstrated specialist disciplinary knowledge and understanding of key issues pertaining to Quaternary Science, in particular the core linking themes of:
- high-resolution palaeoenvironmental records
- high-precision dating
- multi-proxy approaches to the investigation of past environmental changes.

Assessment

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

Employability & career opportunities

Destinations of our graduates include 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. This course also equips you with a solid foundation for continued PhD studies; around 70% of Quaternary Science graduates over the last decade have gone on to a PhD.

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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The MA Landscape Management and Environmental Archaeology programme is targeted on skills areas that are linked to the needs of the regional labour market and relate to one of the six ministerial priority areas identified by Welsh Government, that of 'Environmental Management and Energy'. Read more
The MA Landscape Management and Environmental Archaeology programme is targeted on skills areas that are linked to the needs of the regional labour market and relate to one of the six ministerial priority areas identified by Welsh Government, that of 'Environmental Management and Energy'.

Course Overview

The MA programme is taught within the School of Archaeology, History and Anthropology, and seeks to embed the student experience into a range of landscapes, both wild and managed, and environments within Wales where unique and particular landscapes are encountered. Many, but by no means all, employment opportunities are focused on the conservation, preservation, exploitation or manipulation of the natural resources.

Industries based on tourism, cultural heritage and sustainability, to name a few, are prime destinations within Wales (and beyond) for graduates from this programme of study. Integral to this is an understanding of what archaeological evidence survives, and what methods and techniques can be used to explore and explain both past and present human relationships to these landscapes and environments. As part of this scheme students undertake a minimum of four weeks voluntary experience with a host organisation as a work placement. This gives students direct experience of a relevant working environment and has proved beneficial to students, the host organisations and the School of Archaeology History and Anthropology. When in a work placement students make a contribution to the objectives of the host organisation.

Along with the emphasis on ‘employability’, students engage in a rigorous academic training grounded in the discipline that is Archaeology. Students are schooled in the concepts and practices required to undertake good academic research. Field and laboratory experiences underpinned with both legal and theoretical frameworks are core attributes of this scheme. Core staff teaching the scheme are actively engaged with a wide range of professional bodies, undertaking contract research, acting as advisors, or are recognised specialists in their field.

Such staff operate at the crossing point of archaeology as an academic discipline and industry and community. The programme benefits considerably from the experience and expertise of UWLAS (University of Wales, Lampeter Archaeological Services) which provides a professional consultancy service across a range of areas including dendrochronology, pollen analysis, archaeozoology, quaternary stratigraphy, soils and sediments analysis.

Modules

-British Landscape and Environmental Field Class
-Research Methodologies
-Heritage Project Management in the Modern World
-Advanced Palaeoenvironmental Methods
-Work Placement
-Dissertation

Key Features

Draws upon a range of expertise in the School. Our lecturers are active within the consultancy world of environmental archaeology which gives the programme a strongly vocational tilt. Extremely good record of finding students who have completed the course employment opportunities many within the sector.

Assessment

A range of assessment methods are used from essays and short written evaluation, to the creation of publicity flyers, feasibility reports, oral presentations and reflective pieces.

Career Opportunities

The programme has a good record of matching students to the needs and requirement of the labour market.

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The MRes Landscape and Environmental Archaeology is a programme that is divided into a 60 credit taught part and a Dissertation of 120 credits amounting to up to 30,000 words in total. Read more
The MRes Landscape and Environmental Archaeology is a programme that is divided into a 60 credit taught part and a Dissertation of 120 credits amounting to up to 30,000 words in total. The programme is targeted on skills areas that are linked to the needs of the regional labour market and relate to one of the six ministerial priority areas identified by Welsh Government, that of 'Environmental Management and Energy'.

Course Overview

The MRes programme is taught within the School of Archaeology, History and Anthropology, and seeks to embed the student experience into a range of landscapes, both wild and managed, and environments within Wales where unique and particular landscapes are encountered. Many, but by no means all, employment opportunities are focused on the conservation, preservation, exploitation or manipulation of the natural resources.

Industries based on tourism, cultural heritage and sustainability, to name a few, are prime destinations within Wales (and beyond) for graduates from this programme of study. Integral to this is an understanding of what archaeological evidence survives, and what methods and techniques can be used to explore and explain both past and present human relationships to these landscapes and environments.

Along with the emphasis on ‘employability’, students engage in a rigorous academic training grounded in the discipline that is Archaeology which comes to a head in the Dissertation of between 25,000 and 30,000 words. Students are schooled in the concepts and practices required to undertake good academic research. Field and laboratory experiences underpinned with both legal and theoretical frameworks are core attributes of this scheme.

Core staff teaching the scheme are actively engaged with a wide range of professional bodies, undertaking contract research, acting as advisors, or are recognised specialists in their field. Such staff operate at the crossing point of archaeology as an academic discipline and industry and community. The programme benefits considerably from the experience and expertise of UWLAS (University of Wales, Lampeter Archaeological Services) which provides a professional consultancy service across a range of areas including dendrochronology, pollen analysis, archaeozoology, quaternary stratigraphy, soils and sediments analysis.

Modules

Students will choose three modules. Below is an illustrative list of modules available:
-British Landscape and Environmental Field Class (40 credits)
-Research Methodologies (compulsory)
-Heritage Project Management in the Modern World
-Advanced Palaeoenvironmental Methods
-Work Placement
-Dissertation

Key Features

Draws upon a range of expertise in the School. Our lecturers are active within the consultancy world of environmental archaeology which gives the programme a strongly vocational tilt. Extremely good record of finding students who have completed the course employment opportunities many within the sector.

Assessment

A range of assessment methods are used from essays and short written evaluation, to the creation of publicity flyers, feasibility reports, oral presentations and reflective pieces.

Career Opportunities

The programme has a good record of matching students to the needs and requirement of the labour market.

Read less

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