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Geology×

Masters Degrees in Quaternary Studies

We have 3 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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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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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.

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