Applied Environmental Geology (MSc)
1 year (full-time) / n/a (part-time) / n/a (distance / e-Learning)
Upon completion of the MSc students will be equipped to:
- Describe and explain the core scientific principles and concepts of soil/rock mechanics, water flow, and the pollution of soil, water and air
- Identify the standards, regulations, policies and legal frameworks required for the professional practice of applied environmental geology
- Research and write a Stage I professional desk study site report of a geo-environmental hazard using primary sources and GIS techniques
- Design and execute a Stage II geotechnical, geophysical, hydrogeological and geoenvironmental site and laboratory investigation, analyse the data and develop remedial solutions for geoenvironmental problems
- Communicate effectively (both written and orally) in multi-disciplinary teams, act ethically and in conformity with health and safety regulations, and assess the sustainability of policies and projects
- Seven months taught course in Cardiff followed by five months professional project, usually as part of an industry placement
- Vocational training, providing in-demand skills in geotechnical and environmental geology
- Strong links with industry and government agencies through invited lecturers and industrial projects
- In 2010-2011 and 2011-2012, over 95% of the students secured employment by the end of their MSc course
- National recognition of academic standards with four consecutive MSc dissertations (2008/2009/2010/2011) being awarded the Curry Prize by the Geologists’ Association
- Accredited by the Geological Society of London, thus can be used as a credit towards the professional Chartered Geologist qualification.
The MSc in Applied Environmental Geology is focused on providing geoscience graduates with the advanced technical and vocational skills appropriate to a career with professional geo-engineering and geo-environmental consultancies, regulatory authorities and government agencies. The Postgraduate degree is fully accredited by the Geological Society of London, which sets out to recognise MSc programmes that offer advanced professional and scientific training in a specific area of the geosciences. The degree can be used as a credit towards an accelerated route to professional qualification as a Chartered Geologist (C.Geol). Other benefits will be open to accredited Masters graduates converting from their Undergraduate geoscience degrees in non-accredited B.Sc. programmes.
The initial 7-month taught course component (Stage I) includes significant contributions from industrial collaborators. In the Stage II component (the professional dissertation project) we endeavour wherever possible to offer students a summer industrial placement to undertake their project work in all areas of the UK and overseas. At the end of 12 months our Masters graduates enjoy excellent employment prospects in the professional geo-environmental and geo-engineering industries both in the UK and abroad.
During Stage I of the programme, students will have around 15-20 hours per week contact time for 15 teaching weeks. In addition, 3 teaching weeks are dedicated to preparation for the industrial project (Stage II).
Stage I - Seven months (Taught courses)
- Geotechnical engineering (including rock engineering, site investigation, geotechnical design)
- Engineering behaviour of soils (including soil mechanics, laboratory testing of soils, quaternary soils)
- Land contamination: assessment, remediation and environmental protection (including environmental geochemistry, contaminated land site investigation, land reclamation & remediation, landfill design)
- Environmental assessment and regulation (including environmental law, environmental impact assessment)
- Remote sensing and applied geophysics (including 3D landscape visualisation, environmental & engineering geophysics)
- Water in the environment (including hydrology, hydrogeology)
- Project planning, design and management (including project training exercises, case studies & seminars, fieldwork & site visits)
- Transferable skills (including computer based modelling, professional report writing, presentation skills)
Stage II - Five months (Project)
There is significant industry input to teaching and dissertation projects, thus ensuring the training you receive is up-to-date and relevant to the needs of employers. The students are offered a summer industrial placement to undertake their project work.
Examples of MSc dissertations titles for 2008-2012 include:
- Assessment of chlorinated solvent pollution in a sandstone aquifer at the Chapelcross site
- Stability assessment of Lower Carboniferous Limestone using field data and finite element modelling: a case study from the Avon Gorge, Bristol
- Bromsgrove landfill: a geochemical and geophysical characterisation of the closed landfill site
- A study on the role of the river terrace deposits in the water balance of the Cotswold Basin
- The role and function of Biosparge curtains in order for their possible reduction/removal at a contaminated site
- Construction phase monitoring of the Olympic Park Groundwater
- Investigation of problematic soils along a proposed rail line in Central Queensland (Australia)
- Evaluating the betterment and sustainability of a chlorinated solvent remediation technique
- An investigation into the coastal erosion processes at Happisburgh cliffs, Norfolk coast
- A framework to deal with PAH contamination at a former coking works: a case study
- Utility of quantitative X-ray powder diffraction methods to determine the forms of lead in selected contaminated soils
- The geotechnical issues related to the redevelopment of Barry Docks
Teaching Methods & Resources
The course is taught through a combination of lectures, practicals and fieldwork. We also have a series of invited lectures as well as strong links with the Geological Society.
The MSc course is fully integrated with the CPD lecture programme of the Southern Wales Group of the Geological society of London.
The course is assessed via a range of means including exams, presentations, practical assessment, industrial placement and a Dissertation of 20,000 words.
Students on the programme benefit from a dedicated lecture room, study room, soil and hydrogeology laboratories.
Key academic staff teaching on the programme include:
- Dr Tim Jones, contaminated land, Director
- Dr Peter Brabham, geophysics, Convenor
- Dr Phil Renforth, engineering geology, Lecturer
Dr Peter Brabham and Dr Tim Jones are both fully qualified Chartered Geologists (C.Geol).
Invited guest speakers from the professional geotechnical and geo-environmental industry contribute to the teaching and learning programme.
South Wales provides a wide range of highly relevant geoenvironmental and geotechnical case studies and site visits. These include site visits to the Cardiff Bay Barrage, acid mine drainage from abandoned mines and active landslides in the south Wales Valleys. Field work includes surveying skills, rock engineering to the Rhondda Valley and Cardigan, site investigation visits to the Mumbles, Bournville landslide, as well as contaminated land studies at Barry Docks and Bryn Pica landfill site.
Students are also involved in hands-on laboratory work covering several modules. This includes standard laboratory tests covering the physical and mechanical properties of soils and water flow experiments to learn hydrologic and hydrogeologic concepts. The School has excellent geochemistry, geotechnical, analytical and IT laboratories plus a wide range of geophysical and GPS based field surveying equipment.
As a student you will learn to use numerical tools to model real world geotechnical problems. Application software such as CorelDraw, Surfer, ArcGIS as well as professional geoengineering software such as Rockscience and Landsim are all used throughout the course.
In 2010-2011 and 2011-2012, over 95% of the students secured employment by the end of their MSc course. Employers for 2008-2012 include:
- Blaenau Gwent Council
- Buro Happold
- Cardiff University (PhD)
- Centrica Energy Upstream
- CMS UK
- Coffey International Ltd
- Dwr Cymru Welsh Water
- Earth Science Partnership Ltd
- Environment Agency
- Hafren Water
- Imperial College London (PhD)
- Miller Argent
- MLM Environmental
- Norfolk County Council
- RAW group
- Remedx Limited (RSK Group)
- Sanctus Ltd
- SLR Consulting
- Statens Vegvesen
- Tata Steel
- Tweedie Evans Consulting
- University of Manchester (PhD)
- Vertase F.L.I Ltd
- Viridor Waste Management
- Western Coal Corp.
- WSP Environmental
- WYG Environment
1st or 2nd class UK Honours degree or equivalent. Suitable for graduates in Earth sciences and related subjects; environmental science and related subjects; mining, civil, processing and environmental engineering and related subjects.
Note: International students pursuing part-time programmes of study are not eligible for Tier 4 (General Student) visas and must have alternative leave to remain in the UK if they intend to study at the University in person.
UK & EU Full Time Fees: (Payable annually and those stated are for 2015/16 unless otherwise stated below).
International Full Time Fees: (Payable annually and those stated are for 2015/16 unless otherwise stated below).
Next intake: September each year
Name: Dr Peter Brabham
Telephone: +44 (0)29 2087 4334