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Environmental Science by Research MSc

Course Description


Both natural environments and those heavily influenced and altered by human activities are ever-changing. This programme will allow you to investigate aspects of envionmental change with either an environmental science or physical geography focus at time-sclase ranging from the present to several hundreds of thousands of years. You will be able to learn techniques that incorporate cutting-edge field and/or laboratory methods and equipment with an expert in your filed. The support available can be on a one-to-one basis and culminates in a substantial MSc thesis - ideal for those looking to continue on to PhD or to work independently as a consultant, for example.

The programme:

- places you with one or more internationally acknowledged experts in a field of study, with superb research and analytical facilities, ensuring a top-quality learning environment
- offers you the opportunity to link with partner organisations, providing work experience opportunities and insights into the structure and operation of these organisations
- combines a taught element to provide key research methodology, approaches and debates relevant to the field of study along with a research element to focus on a specific area of interest
- provides access to superb research and analytical facilities and a top-quality research environment
- provides you with a range of transferable skills suitable for further research and employment, including analytical field and laboratory skills, data modelling, statistical analysis, project management and critical evaluation of information.

Which topics can I study?

Projects available from our Earth Surface Science specialists change every year and a full list is available on the School of Geography website at http://www.geog.qmul.ac.uk/admissions/essresearch/index.html. Recent topics included:
- environmental impact of historical landfill
- lateral moraine formation
- analysis of glaciotectonic structures
- assessment of rare species
- analysis of braided river channel networks The programme will equip students with a range of transferable skills and attributes sought by diverse graduate employers. In addition, the programme will provide students with knowledge and understanding relevant to employment in organisations such as Environment Agency, Defra, Natural England, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, British Geological Survey and environmental consultancies. The opportunity to develop links with partner organisations as part of the research project will create work experience opportunities and provide insights into the structure and operation of these organisations.

Why Study at QMUL Geography?

The School of Geography at Queen Mary University of London is recognised as an international centre for excellence in teaching and research. Our work is at the forefront of human geography, shaping debates and providing significant new insight and understanding. We are also known for our friendly, collegial and welcoming ethos and are home to many of geography and environmental science's best known scholars. Almost 80 per cent of the School’s research outputs (books and articles) are rated as world-leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*) placing it 5th in the UK for this measure. Scores increased across all areas and the School is ranked joint 11th for geography in the UK overall (REF 2014).

This programme is led by Dr Sven Lukas, Reader in Quaternary Sedimentology.

Visit the Environmental Science by Research MSc page on the Queen Mary University of London website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Lucy Diggens

2307.jpg "I had already studied my undergraduate course in the School of Geography and this focused my interest and developed my knowledge of glaciers and sub-glacial processes. I really enjoyed being in the department and knew it had great laboratory facilities to help me specialise further at postgraduate level.

"My MSc gave me the chance to learn how to use scanning equipment such as a tomograph in the Centre for Micromorphology. I’m now directly applying these x-ray computer tomography skills in the work that I am doing on a project analysing sediment samples from Poland in order to increase our understanding of the formation of mega-scale glacial lineations.

"I'm currently working as a part-time research assistant in Queen Mary's Centre for Micromorphology in the School of Geography and I’m hoping to use my skills in the future to either work as a research technician, or apply for a PhD. QMUL has helped by providing access to these facilities, which are not widely available in universities."


Chevening Scholarships - 20+ Awards

The programme makes awards to outstanding scholars with leadership potential from around the world to study postgraduate courses at UK universities.

Value of Scholarship(s)

Full tuition fees


Available to students across the UK and Overseas (from a Chevening-eligible country).

Application Procedure

Visit the Chevening website for more information.

Further Information



Walter Oldershaw Award - 8 Awards

Eight awards will be available across all masters degrees offered by the School of Geography for 2016 entry.

Value of Scholarship(s)



Home/EU and international students are eligible to apply.

Application Procedure

Interested applicants must submit a 300-word statement elaborating why they should be considered, highlighting their academic and professional merit and details of how the award will further their professional development. Applications should be sent to the Postgraduate Studies Manager () by Friday 15th July 2016. Successful candidates will be informed on the 22nd of July 2016 and must confirm acceptance by the 15th of August 2016. Further details or queries should be addressed to the Director of Masters Programmes, Dr Kavita Datta ().

Entry Requirements

An upper second class honours degree or higher in a relevant subject from a UK university (or an international equivalent) together with two supportive references is usually required. It is not a requirement to have previously studied geography and we encourage applications from students from a natural and environmental sciences background. Applicants must specify a topic from our current topics list (see below) that they wish to investigate and include a research proposal with their application. Candidates are expected to have good English language ability and to meet the standard of the IELTS, or equivalent, at a level of 6.5.

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Recipient: Queen Mary University of London
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