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Masters Degrees in Land-Atmosphere Interactions, United Kingdom

We have 4 Masters Degrees in Land-Atmosphere Interactions, United Kingdom

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This course will provide you with the opportunity to carry out an independent research project under the supervision of our leading academics. Read more
This course will provide you with the opportunity to carry out an independent research project under the supervision of our leading academics.

You will receive training in research methods and take a taught course unit in a relevant subject area. The research topic for your project is agreed with a supervisor in advance and can be in any area of the expertise in the department research groups. The project outline will be developed in consultation with your supervisor and project work is carried out in parallel with the taught courses, becoming full-time during the third term.

This Master’s by Research will provide you with a suitable background to work as a research assistant or as the grounding for further study towards a PhD.

See the website https://www.royalholloway.ac.uk/earthsciences/coursefinder/mscearthsciencesbyresearch.aspx

Why choose this course?

- This course is ideal for graduates in geology and related sciences who wish to carry out independent research over a shorter time period than is possible in a doctorate (PhD) programme. It allows you study at Master's level an aspect of the geological sciences which may not be catered for by specialist MSc programmes.

- You will be involved at every step of the research project - from planning and sample collection, laboratory work, result analysis, to writing your dissertation.

- It is ideal preparation if you are interested in studying for a PhD, but would like to have further preparation and training.

- In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), the Department of Earth Science’s research was ranked equal 6th in the UK with 70% rated as world-leading or internationally excellent in terms of originality, significance and rigour.

- The Department has up-to-date computer interpretation facilities, a full range of modern geochemical laboratories including XRF, quadrupole and multicollector ICP Mass Spectrometry, atmospheric chemistry and a new excimer laser ablation facility, excellent structural modelling laboratories, palaeontology and sedimentology laboratories.

Course content and structure

The course consists of the following three components:

A Research Study Skills Course Unit
- Personal research skills (e.g. safety, time and project management, teamwork)
- IT skills (e.g. literature retrieval, web authoring, databases, modelling)
- Data analysis skills (e.g. statistical methods, GIS systems, sampling techniques)
- Communication skills (e.g. posters, oral presentation, writing papers, web pages)
- Subject-specific skills and techniques. These amount to 55% of the research skills assessment, and for example may include parts of specialist taught courses (see below), a training course on the theory and practice of chemical and isotopic analysis, or other training arranged by the project supervisor. This will include training for research in the general field of the research project, not solely what is needed to carry out the project.

A Specialist Taught Course Unit
You will choose an advanced taught course unit relevant to the subject area of your research project. The following taught units are currently offered:
- Applied Sedimentology and Stratigraphy
- Pollution Sources and Pathways
- Oceans and Atmospheres
- Risk and Environmental Management
- Geographical Information Systems
- Environmental Inorganic Analysis
- Contaminants in the Environment
- Advanced Igneous Petrogenesis
- Seismic Processing and Interpretation
- Geodynamics and Plate Tectonics
- Interpretation of Structural Settings
- Coal Geology
- Petroleum Geology and Evaluation
- Terrestrial Palaeoecology
- Palaeoclimates

Research Project
The project may be on any topic which is within the broad research themes of the Department. You will be linked to a potential supervisor at the application stage and, in consultation with the supervisor, you will develop a detailed project outline during the first half of the first term. Project work is then carried out in parallel with taught courses during terms one and two, becoming the full-time activity after Easter. A bound dissertation is submitted for examination in early September.

On completion of the course graduates will have:

- an advanced knowledge and understanding of a variety of analytical, technical, numerical, modelling and interpretive techniques applicable to the specific field of earth sciences

- the articulation of knowledge and the understanding of published work, concepts and theories in the chosen field of earth sciences at an advanced level

- the acquisition of knowledge from published work in the chosen area of earth sciences to a level appropriate for a MSc degree.

Assessment

Research Study Skills: this is assessed by coursework and theory examination and will include short written assignments, a seminar, worksheets and practical tests. These assessments contribute 12.5% of the course marks.

Specialist Taught Course Units: these are mostly assessed by a written, theory examination and coursework. The unit assessment contributes 12.5% of the course marks.

Research Project: the project dissertation must be submitted in early September. It will be marked by both an internal and an external examiner, and will be defended at an oral examination with both examiners. The project assessment contributes 75% of the course marks.

Employability & career opportunities

Subject to agreement and suitable funding, MSc by Research students can transfer to the MPhil/PhD programme at Royal Holloway. They may use the research carried out for the MSc towards the PhD, and count the time spent towards MPhil/PhD registration requirements, provided that the MSc research forms a coherent part of the PhD, and that the transfer is approved prior to submission of the MSc research dissertation.

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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This programme aims to introduce students to the concepts of soil for the 21st century and is suitable for students wishing to pursue a career in land-based management or environmental protection. Read more

This programme aims to introduce students to the concepts of soil for the 21st century and is suitable for students wishing to pursue a career in land-based management or environmental protection.

Soils underpin the sustainability of terrestrial ecosystems and are key to food production. Soils form the basis of all agricultural production, but they also store water, mediate the impact of pollutants, provide biological habitats, have an impact on the accumulation of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere, are involved in dealing with society’s waste, are a source of extractable minerals and provide the foundations for the housing and roads on which society depends.

You will learn about soil function and management, and soil classification, assessment and analysis, with a strong emphasis on practical skills. You will gain expertise in the relationship between soil and sustainable approaches to land resource use.

This programme is run in collaboration with Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC).

Applicants who applied after 12 December 2016 receiving an offer of admission, either unconditional or conditional, may be required to pay a tuition fee deposit. Please see the fees and costs section for more information.

Programme structure

This programme involves two semesters of compulsory and option taught courses followed by a period of individual dissertation project work.

Compulsory courses typically will be:

  • Soil Protection and Management
  • Soils Science Concepts and Application
  • Dissertation

Option courses:

In consultation with the Programme Director, you will choose from a range of optional courses^. We particularly recommend:

  • Analysing the Environment
  • Analysing the Environment Study Tour
  • Culture, Ethics & Environment
  • Ecosystem Dynamics and Functions
  • Human Dimensions of Environmental Change and Sustainability
  • International Development in a Changing World
  • Principles of Environmental Sustainability
  • Principles of GIS
  • Project Appraisal
  • Atmospheric Quality and Global Change
  • Frameworks to Assess Food Security
  • Integrated Resource Management
  • Spatial Modelling
  • Ecosystem Values and Management
  • Environmental Impact Assessment
  • Land Use/Environmental Interactions
  • Participation in Policy and Planning
  • Sustainability of Food Production
  • Interrelationships in Food Systems

Courses are subject to timetabling and availability and are subject to change.

Field trip

An integral, week-long study tour lets you refresh skills learned on the programme and develop new tools and techniques, useful during the dissertation process. The tour has historically been held in Mende, France. In addition to the formal taught component, students had the opportunity to go rafting and visit the Aven Armand caves.

There may also be a short tour during induction week, to give students a chance to get to know each other.

Learning outcomes

Students will:

  • gain a knowledge and understanding of the relationship between soils and sustainable land management
  • gain an understanding of soil sampling and analysis, interpretation and reporting
  • be able to assess soil management issues and develop improved management plans
  • understand the function of soils in relation to sustainable land use and societal needs

Career opportunities

A recent report by the British Society of Soil Science (BSSS) identified soil science as an area in which there are critical skills shortages, meaning graduates will be in high demand.

Soil scientists are employed in a broad range of vocations including environmental consultancy, research, overseas development, environmental impact assessment and analysis, site reclamation and remediation, and conservation as well as advising on government policy, archaeological excavations and laboratory analyses, forensics, and landscape design.

Student experience

Would you like to know what it’s really like to study at the School of GeoSciences?

Visit our student experience blog where you can find articles, advice, videos and ask current students your questions.



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The UK has a significant legacy of contaminants as a consequence of a long history of industrial activity. These pollutants can pose a major risk to human health and the environment. Read more

Why take this course?

The UK has a significant legacy of contaminants as a consequence of a long history of industrial activity. These pollutants can pose a major risk to human health and the environment.

This course is designed to provide you with the particular expertise required for dealing with contaminated sites. Such expertise is essential to ensuring we maintain habitable, safe and sustainable communities.

What will I experience?

On this course you can:

Use our state-of-the-art geological and geotechnic labs for practical work
Get hands-on experience of using instruments such as GPS, Total Stations and 3D laser scanners
Be taught by recognised experts with extensive knowledge in groundwater hydrology, environmental geology and contaminated land

What opportunities might it lead to?

We will give you the knowledge and practical skills to ensure an interesting and rewarding career in the specialist area of contaminated land consultancy, regulation and remediation, both in the UK and overseas.

Here are some routes our graduates have pursued:

Environmental organisations
Geotechnical consultancies
Mining companies
Local authorities
Government agencies

Module Details

You can opt to take this course in full-time or part-time mode. The course is divided into three parts. The first two comprise the taught units of the course covering the key conceptual, institutional and applied bases of the subject. The third focuses on your dissertation.

This course covers a mixture of topics including: groundwater hydrology, geochemistry, site investigation, geotechnics and contaminated land assessment.

Here are the units you will study:

Soil Mechanics: This unit is fundamental to understanding how contaminants behave and migrate in the ground. You will gain an advanced understanding of the geo-mechanical behaviour of soils, including the description and testing of soils to UK and international standards.

Desk Studies and Ground Models: These are an integral part of any contaminated land assessment. You will have training in the development of geological ground models and geomorphological terrain models through desk studies, walk-over surveys and site investigation.

Ground Investigation Techniques: You will gain advanced knowledge of ground investigation using invasive techniques, in-situ tests and geophysical methods.

Contaminated Land Risk Assessments: You will learn key techniques for site assessment, analytical testing and risk assessment.

Field Reconnaissance and Walk-Over Survey: This unit covers techniques which are integral to the course and an essential skill for any graduate wishing to work in this area. You will have fieldwork training in techniques such as walk-over surveys combined with interpretation of remote sensing and aerial photography imagery.

Spatial Analysis and Remote Sensing: You will learn integration and analysis of spatial datasets using GIS and interpretation of aerial photography and satellite imagery - key tools for terrain evaluation.

Independent Research Project: This provides an opportunity for you to undertake an original piece of research to academic or industrial standards, typically in collaboration with research staff in the department or external industry partners. In addition to submission of a thesis report, you also present the results of your project at the annual postgraduate conference held at the end of September.

Programme Assessment

The course provides a balanced structure of lectures, workshops and practical laboratory work. You will generally be taught in small classes, providing an informal, friendly and supportive atmosphere for your studies.

Assessment is varied, aimed at developing skills relevant to a range of working environments. Here’s how we assess your work:

Poster and oral presentations
Project reports
Essays
Laboratory reports

Student Destinations

Contaminated land is listed as one of the key areas in which the UK has a skills shortage. This fact, combined with the vocational nature of this course, means that you will be in high demand from employers looking for newly qualified contaminated land specialists. You will find the majority of such roles in the environmental consultancy sector.

This course will provide you with a variety of transferable skills such as project planning, literature and data reviewing, report writing, along with the more general skills of presentation, communication and so on. It also has strong research and analytical components, ideal if you wish to pursue further research to PhD level.

We aim to provide you with as much support as possible in finding employment through close industrial contacts, careers events, recruitment fairs and individual advice.

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The University of Worcester welcomes applications to undertake research towards MPhil and PhD degrees in Atmospheric Science. Research at Worcester has grown significantly in the last 10 years as the University itself has expanded. Read more
The University of Worcester welcomes applications to undertake research towards MPhil and PhD degrees in Atmospheric Science.

Research at Worcester has grown significantly in the last 10 years as the University itself has expanded. As a research student you will join a vibrant student community in our Research School and become part of our dynamic research environment.

You will have the opportunity to be supervised by leading researchers in your field and take advantage of our rich Researcher Development programme which will help you to develop the skills and knowledge you need to complete your research degree but also enhance the skills you will need in any future career.

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