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MSc Sustainable Resource Management: Policy & Practice

Course Description

This novel course applies a multidisciplinary approach to environmental sustainability based on the specialisms of NUI Galway and University of Limerick. You investigate biodiversity and conservation during Semester 1 in NUI Galway, and evaluate urban sustainability in UL for Semester 2. Much of the teaching is delivered through fieldwork in Semester 1 and there is usually a European fieldtrip in Semester 2. You spend Semester 3 undertaking a research project, based at either institution. Assessment is ongoing and there are no exams. You avail of facilities from both colleges throughout the year and will graduate with a jointly awarded degree.


Semester 1: NUI Galway
Ecosystem Assessment: Appraise geology, hydrology and biodiversity to undertake ecological assessments. 10 ECTS
Biodiversity and Conservation: Assess Nature Conservation legislation, policy and practice in Ireland. 5 ECTS
The Environment and Human Health: Evaluate benefits to health from biodiversity. 5 ECTS
Environmental Problems and Solutions: Critique and develop innovative solutions to real world problems. 10 ECTS

Semester 2 University of Limerick
Material and Energy Flows: Review attributes of material and energy flows within urban systems. 9 ECTS
Urban Form and Transport: Evaluate impacts of urban form and transport:on the environment. 9 ECTS
Urban Household Sustainability: Analyse attributes of household consumption and explore household sustainability. 6 ECTS
Sustainable Life-cycle Engineering: Judge policies and design approaches to tackle problems facing the electronic sector. 6 ECTS

Semester 3 Research Project: 30 ECTS. Individual dissertation based either at NUI Galway or University of Limerick



You learn how to undertake assessments to comply with legislation.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship

You pitch your year-long environmental role to a panel.

Varied Assignments

Formal reports to using technology: film, wiki, poster, leaflet formats.

Applied Community Knowledge

You learn how to value stakeholders and engage communities.

Direct experience of sustainable problems and issues

You learn from policy-makers and practitioners working in the field.

This multidisciplinary course equips you with the necessary skills and knowledge to apply to today's competitive workplace.


Graduates gained employment in Ireland, UK, USA, Australia, and elsewhere, in diverse areas such as: University researcher; PhD student; industry based environmental management, environmental analyst, environmental consultant, environment, health and safety officer, environmental quality control officer; consultancy based climate change researcher, waste management officer, agri-environment advisor. Graduates also work for biomedical companies and local authorities.


Apply online to http://www.graduateschool.ul.ie



Visit the MSc Sustainable Resource Management: Policy & Practice page on the National University of Ireland, Galway website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Anna Trego

Hi, my name is Anna Trego and I finished the Masters course in Sustainable Resource Management: Policy and Practice in 2014. This 1-year taught course is split between the University of Limerick and NUI Galway, offering students access to all of the facilities at both universities. The course is ideal for anyone interested in environmental issues surrounding biodiversity, conservation, sustainable development and material flows. It attracts students of all backgrounds – regardless of primary degree choices – making discussions rich with perspective. The variety of assessments, which ranged from making short films and group presentations to detailed individual research papers – provided us with a wide array of communication styles. The course is specifically designed around current environmental issues in Ireland and is deeply rooted in community involvement, which provides the opportunity to network. Personally, my favorite part of the course was the chance to choose our thesis project for the final semester. I had the opportunity to work in an Environmental Microbiology lab helping to design and test anaerobic wastewater treatment systems for Sub-Saharan Africa. I enjoyed it so much that I decided to expand my project into a Ph.D. research project. I am eternally grateful to the opportunities provided by the Sustainable Resource Management course and faculty for opening doors I never would have predicted.

(Student Profile)

Oisin Duffy

My name is Oisín Duffy, I graduated from Sustainable Resource Management: Policy and Practice in 2012. If you are interested in ecology, environmental science or sustainable development, then this course is for you. The course consists of a semester in National University of Ireland, Galway and the University of Limerick.
The themes and topics in the course nicely complemented the surrounding environment of both universities, topics in Galway were generally more related to rural Ireland while in Limerick they were very much focused on urban life. The majority of the learning in Galway was hands on, through fieldtrips and was very much applied but there were also group and individual presentations along with regular assignments. In Limerick the work was slightly more theoretical and encouraged us to critique methods, claims and techniques in relation to the sustainability of urban housing and transportation, waste and electronic consumer goods.
I returned to Galway to carry out my thesis, the modules earlier in the year regarding ecology, biodiversity and conservation encouraged me to take on a practical ecology project and so I studied the factors influencing bat activity along the River Corrib. Since graduating I have been involved with the Irish Wildlife Trust, Galway Botanic Gardens, Wildlife Articles, Wildlife Rehabilitation Ireland, Ireland’s BioBlitz, Bat Conservation Ireland, Glenveagh National Park, Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland and completed a wonderful internship with the National Biodiversity Data Centre. Certainly none of this would have been possible without graduating from the course and I would highly recommend it to anyone.

(Student Profile)

Ivor Daly

Hi I’m Ivor Daly and I graduated with an MSc. Sustainable Resource Management: Policy & Practice in 2012. I would highly recommend this unique and very rewarding MSc. programme. Provided by first class Lecturers, Researchers and Guest Speakers from industry, the course covers an array of subject areas which are becoming more prevalent through Government Policy, Legislation and Economy “Greening”. The programme provides excellent lectures – in the lecture hall and also in some idyllic site locations, giving the student first hand experience of the subject matter while also allowing them to experience various types of working roles which may be pursued first hand. I have found that since graduating from this course that my employment opportunities increased, although in a time of recession and economic downturn. Opportunities exist within the Public, Private and Industrial sectors. The course also provides students with a knowledge base to purse a particular area of the course content to PhD level. Ivor Davy MSc., CEng., BEng(Hons)., MIEI.

(Student Profile)

Rosie Byrne

Hi, my name is Rosie Byrne; I graduated with a MSc in Sustainable Resource Management: Policy & Practice in 2013. The first semester takes place in NUI Galway; the second is in UL, with the third in either campus, depending on your research project choice. Completing a course in two different universities may appear a little daunting at first, but participants very much gain from the greater knowledge and skills base, and approach of the two institutions. I returned to education as a mature student and was concerned that my lack of background in environmental science would be a disadvantage in undertaking this course. I was able to talk to the course co-ordinator before applying and discuss what I hoped to learn and also what my experience could bring to the course.
Learning and assessment is based around problem-solving, individual and group research, group discussion, site visits, report writing and presentations. In addition to course lecturers, we also had guest speakers from many fields including consultancy, industry, and regulatory bodies. A number of these guest speakers provided practical experience and information in employment opportunities and job seeking. Others also provided feedback on assignments, giving us real-world opinion and the benefit of their experience. The combination of classroom learning and site visits provides valuable understanding in putting theory and policy into practice and how the built and natural environments interact. The class were a mix of backgrounds and ages and this helped us to learn from each other and work together. The smaller class size allows for greater interaction with lecturers and tutors and greatly facilitates group discussion and learning. Feedback and support provided throughout the course helps and encourages you to learn, improve, expand and challenge your thinking. This was especially the case when completing the research project. I am currently employed in UL as a full-time researcher, working on an EU Research Project on Community Sustainability. The position requires me to travel to communities in Ireland and around Europe, which provides excellent opportunities for networking and seeing best practice elsewhere. I really enjoyed my time on this course and would highly recommend it.

(Student Profile)

Aidan Windebanks

Hi, my name is Aidan Windebank and I am a graduate from the 2014 Sustainable Resource Management: Policy and Practice program. I would recommend this course to anyone interested in a career in the varied world of environmental resource management and consulting. I was an international student coming from the United States, with different viewpoints and backgrounds and was immediately accepted in the class. The class size is kept very small which provides opportunities for great class discussions and lots of one on one teaching and advice. The one-year taught program covers a wide variety of environmental issues covering everything from environmental assessment to policy implementation and mitigation. The modules cover varying topics of the professional environmental world to leave students open to many different career paths and professional choices. For example, sustainable transportation and urban systems are covered as well as field ecology, biodiversity and conservation. Modules are taught not only by well-informed professors in the academic world, but also frequented by outside professionals who help with the course and provide a different perspective. I am very satisfied with the education I received at the University of Ireland Galway and know that it will help bring me to a fulfilling career in the environmental world.

(Student Profile)

Aisling Silke

Hi, my name is Aisling Silke and in 2014 I graduated from the MSc Sustainable Resource Management: Policy and Practice programme.
The course is unique in terms of the structure, with Semester One at NUI Galway focusing on the practical aspects, with extensive fieldwork and site visits detailing ecosystems, conservation, biodiversity and environmental isssues. Semester Two in UL focuses more on the legislation and planning processes that are in place to manage resources in a sustainable manner, such as strategic urban design, sustainable industrial processes and waste management. Students of this course are fortunate to have access to the resources that both universities provide, with very approachable and helpful teaching staff at both institutions.
While my undergraduate degree was not in a scientific field, the support was always in place to ensure all students, regardless of background knowledge, were fully engaged in the subject material. The small class size was also beneficial in this regard.
Prior to completing the course I was offered employment with a multinational medical device company in Galway which I commenced in September.

(Student Profile)

Grainne Barron

Hi my name is Grainne Barron. When I started the joint M.Sc. in Sustainable Resource Management; Policy and Practice in NUIG and University of Limerick, I was apprehensive about returning to academia and unsure about whether the course was suitable for me. Coming from a business background, I was delighted, however, by the multi-disciplinary nature of the course and the other students. Semester one in NUIG was packed with valuable lectures by staff, credible industry members and memorable field trips, with group and individual assignments structured around independent thought and research. I found the style of teaching to be extremely effective. While we were not spoon fed, the course gave us skills to approach any subject or problem, research it effectively and come up with answers. This has been invaluable to me as both a student and more recently in the professional world. Dr. Caitriona Carlin as course coordinator does a wonderful job in Galway of curating semester one, and is extremely inspiring as a lecturer. Her enthusiasm for conservation ecology and the natural world is contagious. Semester 2 in UL focuses on Urban sustainability and emphasizes the issues around managing resources effectively with specific relation to existing practice and policy. This approach provides students with a skillset that allows a reasoned, informed tool for real world problem solving. All this meant that by semester three, when it was time to pursue individual research for my thesis, I had all the skills and ability to access resources I needed to complete a project I enjoyed and was proud of. Since finishing the course I have found work in an Environmental consultancy and am relieved at how relevant everything learned during the M.Sc. has been for this line of work. Returning to study, and completing this course has been one the most profound experiences of my life.

(Student Profile)

Eoghan Dwyer

Hi my name is Eoghan Dwyer. I did an MSc in Sustainable Resource Management: Policy & Practice, which was a 12 months, full time course. Having graduated from my Level 8 course in Heritage Studies, I wanted to further my education in an area of study from my undergraduate course which I particularly liked. Broadly speaking, this area was the natural environment, however, what really encouraged me to choose ‘SRM: P&P’, was that it focussed on encouraging the development of innovative and sustainable solutions to the many challenges that face the development of Ireland in the short, medium, and long term. I was very happy with how the course balanced humanity’s responsibility to the environment, duty to the people living in it, as well as our desire for progress and economic fulfilment. This is something that I think may not be too common in other departments. Whereas other courses may be more inclined to fixate on financial reward, or social justice, or environmental obligation, ‘SRM: P&P’ not only covers each topic, but blends them in a meaningful way, and treats them with equal importance.
An exciting aspect of the course is how the semesters are divided. Semester 1 comprises of the ‘Practice’ section of the course, and is taught in NUIG. Semester 2 comprises of the ‘Policy’ section of the course and is taught in UL. Semester 3 is left to the judgement of the student whether to do the research project either of the institutions. This not only separates the course content in a digestible way, but also adds and extra layer of excitement and enthusiasm due to the participation of 2 prestigious institutions which offer a plethora of extracurricular activities and venues
The scope and content of the course itself was varied, and covered a lot of issues and practices, which is wholly representative of the goal it is trying to achieve. The way the course is taught is also very engaging. By encouraging and expecting input from the student, and debating and critiquing each other’s ideas, under the guidance of excellent staff lecturers, as well as important guest lecturers, this course is an excellent entry point into the world of sustainability. Whereas other courses and career paths may not be certain in terms of their relevance in the future, ‘SRM: P&P’ will inevitably only become only more relevant and sought after with each year.


Entry Requirements

At least a Second Class Honours primary degree (Level 8— National Qualifications Authority of Ireland) in an appropriate discipline, or a professional or other equivalent qualification recognised by both the University of Limerick and NUI Galway. Appropriate disciplines include Environmental Sciences/Engineering or Geography/Biological Sciences/Ecology and Earth Sciences. Mature students with relevant experience are most welcome to apply. A strong personal statement demonstrating interest in the course is also essential as this will be considered as part of the application. Applicants may be required to attend for interview.

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