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.