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Home > Courses > Courses for 2017 > Undergraduate > Environmental Geoscience
More in this section Earth Sciences

Environmental Geoscience MSci

UCAS code F631
Year of entry 2017
View 2018 entry »
Course Length
4 years full time
Department Earth Sciences »

 

Population growth, global industrialisation and other related issues are putting our planet under unprecedented strain. As an Environmental Geoscientist you'll be in a position to apply both acute problem-solving skills and the profound understanding of humanity’s relationship with the planet required to help overcome some of our most significant threats.

This four-year programme gives you a thorough understanding of environmental geoscience, and is an ideal preparation to progress into postgraduate study or a scientific or technical career.

The Department of Earth Sciences is consistently ranked among the country’s top 10 (The Complete University Guide and The Guardian 2016). As an Environmental Geoscience student you'll contribute to our leading research and work alongside our expert academics in a friendly, community-focussed department.

Participating in exciting fieldwork opportunities in the UK and overseas will develop your scientific understanding and hands-on experience of environmental, ecological and health issues. Choose from a range of optional modules in years two, three and four, tailoring your learning experience to fit your interests and career ambitions.

You’ll graduate with an integrated Masters (MSci) degree from one of the UK’s most highly-regarded departments, with the practical and research skills you need to pursue a rewarding career in your chosen field.

This programme has been developed to lead students to posgraduate study and and is also recommended for those who wish to undertake a broader and deeper study of the subject. It will prepare you for careers in petroleum geology, environmental engineering, geographic analysis and other exciting sectors. 

  • Benefit from a pioneering research culture, with 94% of Department of Earth Sciences research ranked world-leading or internationally excellent – no.2 in the UK. ( Research Excellence Framework, 2014).
  • Enjoy extensive fieldwork opportunities in the UK and Europe.
  • Gain a practical skillset geared towards a career in Earth Sciences and other related fields.
  • Become a part of a friendly, community-focussed department with a high staff-to-student ratio.

Core modules

Year 1

Global Tectonics

In this module you will develop an understanding of the evolution of major features of current and past tectonic activity of the Earth. You will look at the current understanding of the Earth’s interior, considering its importance for both the kinematic and tectonic evolution of the planet. You will also explore how plate boundaries have formed, the dynamic processes involved, the types of data used to investigate these regions both onshore and offshore, and the importance of these processes to society. 

Introductory Sedimentology

In this module you will develop an understanding of the surface processes and the mechanisms of weathering, transport and deposition. You will look at the classification of sediments and sedimentary rocks, and consider depositional facies analysis and interpretation of the paleoenvironment. You will also examine the use and interpretation of sedimentary logs, triangular diagrams, vector scales and granylometric data in analysing sedimentary rocks.

Environmental Issues with Maths

In this module you will develop an understanding of the fundamentals of environmental geology, including the connection between ecology and geology, the rates of geological processes, and the structure of the Earth. You will look at natural hazards such as earthquakes, volcanism, tsunamis, landslides and flooding. You will also consider the origin and usage of water and energy resources and examine the geological tools available to study climate change. You will learn how to manipulate algebraic equations and expressions, gaining familiarity with several types of charts, diagrams, and projections commonly used in geological sciences, such as log-log plots and stereonets. 

Igneous and Metamorphic Geology 1

In this module you will develop an understanding of crystallography, rock-forming minerals, their occurrence and textures in igneous and metamorphic rocks. You will look at igneous and metamorphic geology, volcanic and plutonic rocks, mineral identification, crystallisation, silicates, metamorphic rocks and textures. You will also examine the origin of chemical variation in volcanic rocks, metamorphic rocks and textures, and ore minerals. 

Physics and Chemistry of Earth

In this module you will develop an understanding of basic concepts in chemistry and physics and how to apply these to geological processes. You will look at atoms and atomic structure, the periodic table of elements, reactions, equations, geochemical analysis, the composition of the earth, interpretation of phase diagrams, solubility of minerals, weathering and the hydrological cycle. You will also consider Newton’s Laws, kinematics, circular motion, planetary orbits, gravity, magnetism, electricity, resistivity, stress, strain, seismicity, isostasy, radioactivity, and geochronology.

Earth Structures

In this module you will develop an understanding of the principles of structural geology and the interpretation of geological maps. You will look at large scale geological structures and learn how to recognise them on geological maps. You will consider how to interpret maps, recognise outcrop patterns, geological structures and geological relationships on maps, and how to draw cross sections. You will also examine smaller scale structures in hand specimen and outcrop, and analyse structural data in order to understand larger scale structural relationships.

Introductory Palaeontology

In this module you will develop an understanding of palaeobiology and palaeoecology. You will look at the the diagnostic characters of the major groups of fossils in the laboratory and field, and compare and contrast examples from the main categories of fossils, learning to differentiate between them. You will also examine the diversity of fossils and see how this can be applied in both stratigraphy and palaeoenvironmental analysis. 

Scientific and Geological Field Skills

In this module you develop an understanding of the skills required to practice geology in the field, carrying out a series of activities in South Devon and Pembrokeshire. You will learn to describe and interpret the origin of sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic rocks and how to prepare a geological map and cross-section using standard symbols. You will examine stereographic projections, sedimentary logging, the construction of stratigraphic columns for the identification of rocks, and the analysis of structural features using sterenets. 

Year 2

Stratigraphy and History of Life

In this module you will develop an understanding of the key events in the history of life and their environmental impact using the fossil and sedimentary record. You will analyse fossil assemblages using stratigraphic principles such as absolute dating, lithostratigraphy, biostratigraphy and sequence stratigraphy. You will consider how to interpret sedimentary rocks, and examine the importance of fossil assemblages in the interpretation of events in earth history. 

Regional Geology

In this module you will develop an understanding of the geological evolution of the British Isles, interpreting regional geological history from geological maps. You will learn to describe rock specimens, and examine how palaeoenvironments can be reconstructed using case studies. You will also consider the application of stratigraphic techniques and use evidence from several different fields of geology to evaluate competing hypotheses for geological evolution.

Geohazards

In this module you will develop an understanding of the hazards associated with geological activity, their causes, and approaches to risk management. You will look at volcanoes, earthquakes, and radon, and the hazards associated with the exploitation of geological resources and associated anthropogenic activity, including asbestos, the mining industry, and contaminated land. You will examine a variety of geological and geochemical data, and learn to interpret and analyse these in order to make scientifically justified decisions as to the level of risk.

Geochemistry

In this module you will develop an understanding of advanced chemical concepts relevant to the Earth Sciences. You will focus on isotope geochemistry and consider techniques that are directly applicable in most geological contexts. You will attend practical classes and conduct a small project involving the analysis and interpretation of a real geochemical dataset.

Year 3

Advanced Concepts and Techniques in Geology
GIS and Remote Sensing
Environmental Geoscience Report
Methods of Environmental Investigation

Year 4

Individual Environmental Geoscience Project

Optional modules

In addition to these mandatory course units there are a number of optional course units available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course units that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new units may be offered or existing units may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.

Year 1

Only core modules are taken

Year 2

Sedimentary Basin Analysis

 

Igenous and Metamorphic Geology

 

Applied Geophysics

 

Computational Earth Sciences

 

Structural Analysis and Remote Sensing

 

Advance Scientific and Geological Field Skills

 

Geological Field Skills for Environmental Students

 

Year 3

Marine Geology

 

Advanced Topics in Sedimentology

 

Aqueous Geology

 

Volcanology

 

Advanced Techniques in Tectonic and Structural Interpretation

 

Mineral Resources

 

Advanced Palaeontology

 

Year 4

Research Proposal

 

Water Quality - Diagnosis and Management

 

Air Pollution - Monitoring, Impacts and Management

 

Modern Climate Change

 

Oceans and Atmospheres

 

Contaminated Land Case Study

 

Environment Inorganic Analysis

 

Advanced Igneous Petrogenesis

 

Seismic Processing and Interpretation

 

Geodynamics and Plate Tectonics

 

Interpretation of Structural Settings

 

Coal Geology

 

Reservoir Characterisation

 

Terrestrial Palaeoecology

 

Palaeoclimates

 

Environmental Field Investigations

 

The course has a modular structure, with students taking sixteen course units at the rate of four per year. Some course units are compulsory while others are elective, thereby providing flexibility and choice. Assessment is by a mixture of coursework and end-of-year examination in varying proportions, depending on the course units you choose to take.

The first year is foundational and marks do not count towards your final degree, whereas the second year, year abroad and final year marks do count – with more importance being given to the final year marks in order to reward progress and achievement.

Typical offers

Typical offers
A-levels ABB-BBB
Required/preferred subjects

Required subject: a Science subject (one from Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry, Biology, Geology or Geography).

The offer given will take into consideration:

  • The educational context in which academic achievements have been gained.
  • Whether the Extended Project Qualification is being taken.

At least five GCSE passes at grade A*-C including English and Mathematics.

All applications will be subject to a selection interview, providing that minimum academic requirements are met.

Other UK Qualifications
International Baccalaureate 6,5,5 at Higher Level  including a Science subject (Physics, Maths, Chemistry, Biology, Geology or Geography), with a minimum of 32 points overall.
BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction, Distinction, Distinction in a science subject. Substantial Maths content required.
BTEC National Extended Diploma Distinction, Distinction in a related subject, plus A2 grade B in a science subject.
BTEC National Extended Certificate

Distinction plus A2 grades B, B, one of which must be a science subject.

Welsh Baccalaureate

Requirements are as for A-levels where one non-subject-specified A-level can be replaced by the same grade in the Welsh Baccalaureate - Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate.

Scottish Advanced Highers

AB including a Science subject: Physics, Maths, Chemistry, Biology, Geology or Geography (only acceptable when combined with the required Scottish Higher grades as published).

Scottish Highers

AABBB (only acceptable when combined with the required Scottish Advanced Higher grades as published).

Irish Leaving Certificate

H2,H2,H3,H3,H3  including H3 in one Science subject.

 
Access to Higher Education Diploma

Pass in a relevant subject with at least 30 level 3 credits at Distinction and 15 level 3 credits at Merit including minimum of 15 Level 3 credits in Science units at Distinction.

Other UK qualifications

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International and EU entry requirements

Please select your country from the drop-down list below

English language
requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall and minimum of 5.5 in each subscore.  For equivalencies please see here

For more information about entry requirements for your country please visit our International pages. For international students who do not meet the direct entry requirements, we offer an International Foundation Year, run by Study Group at the Royal Holloway International Study Centre. Upon successful completion, students can progress on to selected undergraduate degree programmes at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Environmental Geoscience (MSci) at Royal Holloway, University of London is geared towards leading students to further postgraduate study and to scientific or technical careers in the Earth Sciences. You’ll graduate with a Masters degree , as well as a practical skillset that will prove attractive to employers in a variety of sectors. The Department retains excellent industry connections, with representatives regularly visiting the campus to provide careers opportunities for current students.

Our alumni have gone on to achieve rewarding careers in Earth Sciences and other related disciplines.

  • 90% of graduates in work or further education within six months of graduating.
  • All of our Earth Sciences programmes are accredited by the Geological Society, providing graduates with qualifications recognised and respected by employers in a variety of fields..
  • Jobs fairs, skills workshops and visits from industry representatives provide students with excellent career opportunities.

Home and EU students tuition fee per year 2017/18*: £9,250

International students tuition fee per year 2017/18**: £15,600

Other essential costs***: £120

How do I pay for it? Find out more.

*Tuition fees for UK and EU nationals starting a degree in the academic year 2017/18 will be £9,250 for that year. This amount is subject to the UK Parliament approving a change to fee and loan regulations that has been proposed by the UK Government. In the future, should the proposed changes to fee and loan regulations allow it, Royal Holloway reserves the right to increase tuition fees for UK and EU nationals annually. If relevant UK legislation continues to permit it, Royal Holloway will maintain parity between the tuition fees charged to UK and EU students for the duration of their degree studies.

**Royal Holloway reserves the right to increase tuition fees for international fee paying students annually. Tuition fees are unlikely to rise more than 5 per cent each year. For further information on tuition fees please see Royal Holloway’s Terms & Conditions.

***These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree programme at Royal Holloway. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing etc., have not been included.

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