As with most courses, this Masters course in Environmental Science: Pollution and Monitoring (PM) is taught in a range of discrete modules for teaching and assessment, throughout the academic year. However, it is convenient to consider the course as being divided into three equal portions in order to emphasise the course structure and content. The three portions overlap in time, throughout the academic year, and aim to maintain an even balance of work throughout the study period, whether Full Time or Part Time. The three portions are outlined below:
A) Two 30-credit taught modules specific to the PM programme: 60 credits, 1/3 of your MSc:
The module develops an understanding of the key aspects of sampling techniques in acquiring representative samples of air, soil and water for environmental monitoring. Students will be able to learn the key analytical techniques and develop the practical skills in monitoring of environmental pollution. Students will be able to understand the importance of environmental monitoring programmes to control environmental pollution and the use of statistical methods to interpret analytical data into useful knowledge. Assessment is by a combination of coursework and written examination, and employs both group work and individual effort.
This module studies and assesses fundamental scientific aspects of environmental pollution with an emphasis on sources, pathways and receptors and technical approaches to controlling exposure. Attention will be focussed to study the environmental and technological issues in the management and control of water, air and land pollution. Students will be able to critically evaluate and develop integrated approaches to environmental pollution control and also understand the national and international drivers that control air, land and water pollution.
B) Four 15-credit taught support modules (shared with other programmes) for broad-based scientific knowledge of relevant processes, and essential skills, to underpin your Legislation and Management work: 60 credits, 1/3 of your MSc:
Sustainable Development in Practice
This module addresses the skills required to analyse, research and tackle sustainable development problems. This is achieved via a series of group projects that illustrate the complex interplay of environmental, societal and economic implications for a range of stakeholders in real sustainable development case studies. Developing the process of personal review, reflection and development is the second major aim of the module.
Research and Critical Skills in Environmental Sciences
This module deals with methods and techniques for knowledge analysis. It includes: 1) skills associated with critical and reflective understanding/evaluation; 2) skills associated with communication of scientific issues; 3) issues associated with professional practice and research in environmental sciences; 4) case studies in global climate change development of an integrated understanding of the impacts of climate change on society and the environment and the increasing importance of sustainability as a guiding principle in all arenas of human activity.
The main aim of this module is to introduce the impact of human activities on our planet, especially the living component of our planet; the Biosphere. Humans are now the dominant species on the planet, and our activities are having far reaching consequences. These include impacts on photosynthetic production, increasing mean global temperatures, ocean acidification, altered atmospheric chemistry, altered reflectivity of the planet, freshwater quality, and species loss. Some of these global alterations made by humans may be approaching tipping points that some fear will destabilise whole Earth systems by eroding ecosystems and the services they provide and that we depend on to survive. This module will explore these issue within the context of the nine planetary boundaries outlined by Lynas is the landmark paper in Nature in 2009 (A Safe Operating Space for Humanity). These are (1) Biodiversity loss, (2) Global Warming, (3) Nitrogen Pollution, (4) Land Use, (5) Fresh Water Scarcity, (6) Ocean Acidification, (7) Ozone Depletion, (8) Chemical Pollution, (9) Atmospheric Aerosols.
Environmental Hazard and Risk
This module focuses on understanding the nature of environmental hazards and risk and underpins their importance in management of the environment. The module is broad-ranging in subject matter, considering a range of topics that include (amongst others): 1) the risk management cycle: risk assessment frameworks; 2) Human versus Environmental Risk Assessment; 3) Exposure characterisation: environmental transport and fate of chemicals; 4) toxic substances in the aquatic environment; 5) the precautionary principle; 6) risk management and risk communication; 7) earth and climate hazards and associated risks.
C) One Dissertation module, an individual exploration of a topic of your interest leading to a 10,000-word report worth 60 credits, 1/3 of your MSc:
This is the culmination of your Master's degree and allows development and expression of your abilities to a high level. The choice of topic is largely your own, and we encourage topics that will be of value to you when you leave the course. The dissertation is the last item of work you will submit, right at the end of your course, and is likely to be the most significant part of your MSc. The aims and scope of the dissertation are determined in conjunction with a dissertation advisor. You are encouraged to begin planning your dissertation from the start of your Master's course, but most of the work will be done after portion A and B are completed.