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Environmental Management and Geographic Information Systems (Distance Learning MSc)

Course Description

This course will commence

September 2017

The PgDip/MSc course in Environmental Management and Geographic Information Systems is PART-TIME and offered by DISTANCE LEARNING. It is accredited by the Institution of Environmental Sciences (https://www.the-ies.org)

This course aims to satisfy an industrial and public sector demand for science-­qualified environmental management personnel who can analyse environmental issues and propose viable solutions in fields such as conservation, agriculture, forestry, industry and countryside planning.

It provides a balanced programme studying the core elements of Environmental Management combined with a more detailed study of the techniques of the principles and practice of GIS. It enables students to develop an advanced understanding of the functioning of ecosystems through the study of biodiversity and pollution monitoring and to equip them with the analytical GIS tools to enable effective ecosystem analysis. The GIS elements of the course develop an enhanced understanding of theoretical material relating to data models, data sources and quality, data management, GIS functionality and data analysis. The course provides students with hands-­‐on experience of key GIS packages and other analytical software. Examples are drawn from across the spectrum of physical and social environmental contexts.

Students resident in the UK and Ireland will be provided with a student copy of Esri ArcGIS software free of charge.

Modular Structure

Principles of GIS

This module introduces the theory and practice of Geographic Information Systems, and is intended to provide an understanding of the breadth of potential GIS applications and to equip students with key concepts and skills relating to the input, management, manipulation, analysis and output of spatial data. Lecture-based teaching of key concepts is reinforced by linked practical exercises which allow students to develop competence in ESRI’s ArcGIS package. The module assumes no prior knowledge or experience of GIS.

Spatial Data Management

This module builds on the knowledge and practical skills gained in the Principles of GIS module to provide students with further experience in the acquisition, manipulation and analysis of spatial data. Methods for generating and collecting digital spatial data from primary and secondary sources are considered, and data processing, selection, integration and analysis extensively practiced. Lecture and practical sessions include digitising, geo-registration, GPS, accessing and using secondary sources, spatial join and overlay, network analysis and 3D modelling, and incorporate experience of a variety of large and small scale vector and raster datasets. The module also incorporates practice in statistical analysis and interpretation. Development of GIS software skills focuses on ArcGIS and extensions.

Biodiversity Management

Biodiversity managers make decisions based on understanding ecosystems and by applying ecological principles to achieve their objectives. This module covers key scientific topics, which are crucial for developing effective biodiversity management plans in different ecosystems. It exemplifies how ecological-social-economic factors interact to influence our ability to conserve and manage biodiversity.

Pollution Monitoring

This module provides the knowledge and skills necessary to monitor pollution of the environment. The topics included are: the key elements of the monitoring programmes for air, water and land; sample collection; chemical methods of analysis, including quality assurance; biological methods of analysis, including toxicity tests and bio-assessment; use of environmental models; statistics, data analysis and assessing compliance and; critical loads.

Spatial Analysis

This module builds on the introductory material of the previous GIS modules studied, covering key concepts of spatial data analysis and modelling, and providing extensive practical experience of ESDA and spatial modelling within a GIS environment.

GIS for Environmental Managers

This module examines the application of GIS to environmental management, modelling and impact assessment. It aims to enable students to appreciate the need for properly researched information to support strategic and operational environmental management decisions, and to be aware of the means by which such information can be obtained and evaluated.

Environmental Management Project

This module provides the opportunity for the student to demonstrate the skills acquired during the course, in the form of a final project. The project is presented in the form of a scientific paper on an area agreed with the student’s supervisor.

Visit the Environmental Management and Geographic Information Systems (Distance Learning MSc) page on the Ulster University website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Applicants must hold a degree with at least 2:1 Honours standard or equivalent or demonstrate ability to undertake the course through the accreditation of prior experiential learning.

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