Taught course

Environmental Geology and Contamination

Institution
University of Portsmouth · School of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Qualifications
MSc

Entry requirements

A 2:2 honours degree in an Earth Science, Civil Engineering, Chemistry or Environmental Science discipline. Relevant industrial and work experience will be considered on an individual basis. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

Months of entry

September

Course content

Why take this course?

The UK has a significant legacy of contaminants as a consequence of a long history of industrial activity. These pollutants can pose a major risk to human health and the environment.

This course is designed to provide you with the particular expertise required for dealing with contaminated sites. Such expertise is essential to ensuring we maintain habitable, safe and sustainable communities.

What will I experience?

On this course you can:

  • Use our state-of-the-art geological and geotechnic labs for practical work
  • Get hands-on experience of using instruments such as GPS, Total Stations and 3D laser scanners
  • Be taught by recognised experts with extensive knowledge in groundwater hydrology, environmental geology and contaminated land

What opportunities might it lead to?

We will give you the knowledge and practical skills to ensure an interesting and rewarding career in the specialist area of contaminated land consultancy, regulation and remediation, both in the UK and overseas.

Here are some routes our graduates have pursued:

  • Environmental organisations
  • Geotechnical consultancies
  • Mining companies
  • Local authorities
  • Government agencies

Module Details

You can opt to take this course in full-time or part-time mode. The course is divided into three parts. The first two comprise the taught units of the course covering the key conceptual, institutional and applied bases of the subject. The third focuses on your dissertation.

This course covers a mixture of topics including: groundwater hydrology, geochemistry, site investigation, geotechnics and contaminated land assessment.

Here are the units you will study:

  • Soil Mechanics: This unit is fundamental to understanding how contaminants behave and migrate in the ground. You will gain an advanced understanding of the geo-mechanical behaviour of soils, including the description and testing of soils to UK and international standards.
  • Desk Studies and Ground Models: These are an integral part of any contaminated land assessment. You will have training in the development of geological ground models and geomorphological terrain models through desk studies, walk-over surveys and site investigation.
  • Ground Investigation Techniques: You will gain advanced knowledge of ground investigation using invasive techniques, in-situ tests and geophysical methods.
  • Contaminated Land Risk Assessments: You will learn key techniques for site assessment, analytical testing and risk assessment.
  • Field Reconnaissance and Walk-Over Survey: This unit covers techniques which are integral to the course and an essential skill for any graduate wishing to work in this area. You will have fieldwork training in techniques such as walk-over surveys combined with interpretation of remote sensing and aerial photography imagery.
  • Spatial Analysis and Remote Sensing: You will learn integration and analysis of spatial datasets using GIS and interpretation of aerial photography and satellite imagery - key tools for terrain evaluation.
  • Independent Research Project: This provides an opportunity for you to undertake an original piece of research to academic or industrial standards, typically in collaboration with research staff in the department or external industry partners. In addition to submission of a thesis report, you also present the results of your project at the annual postgraduate conference held at the end of September.

Programme Assessment

The course provides a balanced structure of lectures, workshops and practical laboratory work. You will generally be taught in small classes, providing an informal, friendly and supportive atmosphere for your studies.

Assessment is varied, aimed at developing skills relevant to a range of working environments. Here’s how we assess your work:

  • Poster and oral presentations
  • Project reports
  • Essays
  • Laboratory reports

Student Destinations

Contaminated land is listed as one of the key areas in which the UK has a skills shortage. This fact, combined with the vocational nature of this course, means that you will be in high demand from employers looking for newly qualified contaminated land specialists. You will find the majority of such roles in the environmental consultancy sector.

This course will provide you with a variety of transferable skills such as project planning, literature and data reviewing, report writing, along with the more general skills of presentation, communication and so on. It also has strong research and analytical components, ideal if you wish to pursue further research to PhD level.

We aim to provide you with as much support as possible in finding employment through close industrial contacts, careers events, recruitment fairs and individual advice.

Qualification and course duration

MSc

part time
24 months
full time
12 months

Course contact details

Name
Admissions Team
Email
admissions@port.ac.uk
Phone
023 9284 5566