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Environmental Diagnosis and Management MSc

UCAS code
Year of entry 2018
Course Length
1 year full time
2 years part time
Department Earth Sciences »
Main Campus
Egham »


Humankind’s ceaseless pursuit of progress has brought countless advances in our quality of life, but has often had an adverse effect on the world around us. Our environment is vulnerable to threats including contamination, pollution and waste, and as such it’s the work of professionals in the environmental sector to preserve and restore our important natural resources for the benefit of future generations.

Study Environmental Diagnosis and Management at Royal Holloway, University of London and you’ll develop the skills and knowledge you need to address some of our most important environmental issues. This thorough Masters programme has been developed with expert industry advice to help graduates progress into rewarding careers in the environmental sector or go on to further postgraduate study. You’ll benefit from first-class research-led teaching, and get the chance to network with environmental consultancies and engineers, local and industry regulatory authorities and leading research institutes.

You’ll study in a department consistently ranked among the UK’s top 10 (The Complete University Guide and The Guardian 2016), and contribute to our renowned research culture through your own Independent Research Project. Follow your passion for the environment at Royal Holloway and graduate with a Masters degree geared towards securing you a rewarding career in the environmental sector. 

  • 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. (REF 2014)
  • Graduate with a Masters degree from a department consistently ranked among the UK’s top 10 (The Complete University Guide and The Guardian 2016).
  • Follow a programme developed with expert industry advice to maximise your prospects for employability and postgraduate study.
  • Environmental Diagnosis and Management students have been awarded numerous EMpower research projects, funded by companies within the nuclear industry.
  • Work towards the Arup Prize for Best Performance Overall, awarded to the programme’s best student. 

Core modules

Case Studies

You will look at three case studies:

Contaminated Land Case Study

In this case study you will assess risks to human health posed by chemical contamination of soil at the former gravel extraction and landfill site of Hounslow Heath, which is now used as a nature reserve. Working in teams, you will design and execute the site investigation, analyse and interpret data, quantitatively assess health-risks, and produce and individual site report. Your risk assessment will follow Defra, EA and WHO policies and procedures to establish pollutant linkages, and consider remediation options.

River Thames Basin Case Study

In this case study you will follow the non-tidal River Thames from its source at Thames Head to Richmond Lock, including several major tributaries with distinct agricultural, industrial and urban inputs. You will conduct fieldwork and laboratory analyses to diagnose water quality in chemical, physical and ecological terms, combining these with desk-top studies to determine environmental, ecological and health impacts. Staff from the NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) in Wallingford and the Environment Agency (EA) in Wallingford and Reading will talk about the major management issues faced within the River Thames Basin, and provide you with the opportunity to consider your case study findings within the wider context of the EU Water Framework Directive.

Royal Holloway Campus Air Quality Case Study

In this case study you will become part of an environmental consultancy company which will survey ambient and indoor levels of NO, NO2, N2, O3, CO, CO2, and CH4 within the Royal Holloway Campus. Upon completion you will produce a report with clearly identified individual contributions that summarises your findings, and if appropriate, makes recommendations to the College to manage its air quality.

Environmental Diagnosis

This module comprises of four components:

Communication, Co-operation & Careers

You will acquire advanced knowledge and a critical understanding of how to convey in a professional manner, scientific, technical and managerial information to specialists, such as environmental consultants and research scientists, and non-specialists. You will gain practical experience in a wide range of written and verbal communication media, project management, and team dynamics, learning how to manage yourself, colleagues and projects efficiently, and become an effective team member. You will also gain advice on career opportunities and undertake a case study of enivornmental impact assessment.

Environmental Inorganic Analysis

You will acquire practical experience, advanced scientific and techical knowledge, and a critical undertsanding of quality assured sampling strategies, preparation procedures and analytical systems for environmental inorganic pollutants derived from natural and man-made processes. You will also become familiar in the use of quality assured sampling stregies, preparation processes and analytical methods for heavy meatals in different environmental media.

Diagnostic & Management Tools

You will acquire practical experience, advanced knowledge and a critical understanding of applications of statistical analysis of environmental data. You will become familiar with a range of diagnostic and management tools, such as the principles and applications of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to interpret and illustrate environmental data. You will also look at how to conduct environmental risk and exposure assessments.

Environmental Organic Chemistry, Pathways and Toxicology

You will acquire practical experience, advanced knowledge and a critical understanding of the major classes of organic compounds and the key physical and chemical properties that govern their distribution in soil, water and air, persistence degradation pathways, and interactions with biological systems. You will look at the principles and relative merits of gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS) for organic compounds in solid, liquid and gaseous media, and sampling strategies and preparation procedures to produce quality assured data.

Environmental Management

This module comprises of three components:

Water Quality, Diagnosis and Management

You will acquire practical experience, advanced knowledge and critical understanding of the roles of aquatic chemistry, biology, ecology, geology and hydrology in the diagnosis and management of the quality of surface and groundwater. You will look at the treatment and management of water and wastewater, including the ecological and physio-chemical methods used to asses the quality of surface and groundwater, and in the process of water purification. 

Air Pollution, Monitoring Impacts and Management

You will acquire practical experience, advanced knowledge and a critical understanding of the dispersion and conversion of gaseous and particulate air pollutants derived from man-made and natural sources, their impacts on health and the environment, and policy-related management issues. You will also look at air quality strategies and monitoring methods, including diagnosis and management of air quality within the UK and EU.

Waste Management and Utiliisation

You will acquire practical experience, advanced knowledge and a critical understanding of management, utilisation and storage options for municipal waste. You will attend study visits to a material recovery facility, a composting facility, an energy recovery facility, and a landfill site. You will also consider how the nuclear and mining industries reprocess waste within the constraints of international legislation and environmental monitoring.

Independent Research Project

In this module you will acquire practical experience, advanced scientific and technical knowledge, and a critical understanding of independent environmental science research, which will be of significant value to your career development. You will be able to choose from a wide range of potential project opportunities providing relevant experience of environmental diagnosis and management in the professional work environment. You will be allocated an academic member of staff to supervise your project alongside any supervisors at relevant external organisations that you may approach. You will submit your thesis and give a verbal presentation of the project at the Research Project Symposium, providing the opportunity to network with potential employers invited from industry, environmental consultancies, regulatory authorities, research institutions and academia.

  • Written examinations test understanding of the principles and concepts taught in the modules and case studies, and the ability to integrate and apply them to environmental diagnosis and management.
  • Assessment of module work and practical computing, laboratory and fieldwork evaluates critical understanding of the environmental science taught, and mastery of producing quality assured data, and its analysis, interpretation, presentation and reporting.
  • Assessment also reflects the ability to work independently and in teams, and to learn during study visits.
  • Assessment of research projects is based on the ability to manage and report on an original piece of independent scientific work.
  • All assessed work has significant confidential written and verbal feedback.

Entry criteria:

UK 2:2 (Honours) or equivalent in one of the following subjects: Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, Ecology, Environmental Science, Engineering, Marine or Physical Science. 

Applicants with relevant professional work experience and other qualifications should contact the Course Director prior to making an application.

Applicants are required to submit a CV as part of their application.

Applicants meeting the entry requirements are informally interviewed using a standard set of questions, preferably in person, but more often for international applicants, by telephone.

English language requirements:

IELTS 6.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in all other subscores. For equivalencies, please see here


If you require Royal Holloway to sponsor your study in the UK, your IELTS must be a UK government-approved Secure English Language Test (SELT)

International and EU entry requirements

Please select your country from the drop-down list below




Students from overseas should visit the International pages for information on the entry requirements from their country and further information on English language requirements. Royal Holloway offers a Pre-Master’s Diploma for International Students and English language pre-sessional courses, allowing students the opportunity to develop their study skills and English language before starting their postgraduate degree.

 Additional information:

  • You will also be required to submit a copy of your C.V. as part of your application.
  • Applicants meeting the entry requirements are invited to view the teaching and research facilities utilised within the Department and elsewhere on campus. They are also informally interviewed using a standard set of questions, preferably in person, but more often for international applicants, by telephone. 

A successful applicant will usually have the following qualities:

  • High motivation and initiative
  • Relevant academic and vocational experience
  • Good ICT skills
  • Relevant experience of practical laboratory- and field-work.

Environmental Diagnosis and Management at Royal Holloway, University of London has been developed alongside expert industry advice to help graduates achieve rewarding careers in the environmental sector and progress to further postgraduate study.  

You’ll have the chance to network and interact with environmental consultancies and engineers, local and industry regulatory authorities and research institutes, helping you to develop up-to-date knowledge and bring relevant industry connections into the workplace. You’ll graduate with a Masters degree from one of the UK’s top departments, and develop advanced research skills that will make you a highly employable candidate in the environmental sector and beyond.

  • Jobs fairs, skills workshops and visits from industry representatives provide students with excellent career opportunities.
  • Programme developed with expert advice to provide graduates with excellent employability prospects.

Home and EU students tuition fee per year 2018/19*: £8,500

International students tuition fee per year 2018/19*: £17,500

Other essential costs**: £520

How do I pay for it? Find out more about funding options, including loans, grants, scholarships and bursaries.

* These tuition fees apply to students enrolled on a full-time basis. Students studying part-time are charged a pro-rata tuition fee, usually equivalent to approximately half the full-time fee. Please email student-fees@royalholloway.ac.uk for further information on part-time fees. All postgraduate fees are subject to inflationary increases. Royal Holloway's policy is that any increases in fees will not exceed 5% for continuing students. For further information see tuition fees and our terms and 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, have not been included.

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