Research course

Polar and Alpine Change

University of Sheffield · Department of Geography

Entry requirements

Minimum high 2:1 undergraduate honours degree (equivalent to 65% weighted mean grade) in a relevant subject, e.g. physical geography, environmental/earth/ocean sciences, geology, physics, natural science.

You will also need to display evidence of engagement with and/or aptitude in geoscientific research through a personal statement and research document (e.g. undergraduate dissertation report).

Months of entry


Course content

Prepare for a research career in cold-regions science with our MSc(Res). You’ll develop key analytical skills and research techniques, conduct a year-long independent research project, and have the opportunity to become an active member of the department's Ice and Climate research group.

Course description

This unique course prepares you for a research career in cold-regions science, notably within the disciplines of glaciology, glacial geomorphology, polar climatology/oceanography, environmental science, polar biogeochemical processes, or their intersections. We train graduates from a range of scientific disciplines.

The course operates at the cutting edge of climate science and cryospheric science, as its key focus is to explore the expressions, mechanisms and impacts of rapid ongoing changes in our planet’s cold regions.

Field class

The field class is an integral part of the course, which is usually in the summer towards the end of the academic year. The costs for this field class are not included in the tuition fee. You'll gain an in-depth knowledge of the location you visit. You'll also develop skills in relevant research approaches and techniques.

The field class combines taught sessions with group research. Group work undertaken by students in previous years includes: meteorology, glacier hydrology, glacial geomorphology and glacier reconstruction using geomorphological evidence and relative dating techniques. The most recent field class location has been Western Greenland and, in years previous to that, Svalbard.

The cost during our recent trip to Western Greenland in August 2022 was about £2,600 per student (covering flights, accommodation, food and local logistics).

While we hope to return to Western Greenland, the destination for your field class may change from year to year in response to our course content, new scientific opportunities, feedback from past students or wider global events. This could mean it's delivered online, or delivered online while using a UK destination for some learning activities. We will contact students in advance of any changes to our field classes.

Please see our University website for the most up-to-date course information:

Information for international students

English language requirements

Overall IELTS score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component, or equivalent.

For more information about entry requirements for international students, please visit

Fees and funding

You can also apply for one of our masters scholarships, for example to support your fieldwork, or if you are from a developing country.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MSc(Res)
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Postgraduate Admissions Tutor
+44 (0)114 222 7900