Full time 12 Month(s), Part time 24 Month(s)
With a strong emphasis on practical study, you will be taught by both University academics and industry professionals, and will gain the key skills and professional training required for a rewarding career as a practitioner or researcher.
Our programme is unique in that it is taught jointly by University academics and professionals from leading environmental consultancy JBA Consulting, the Environment Agency and the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, which has a one of its major research facilities based at Lancaster. Graduates gain the skills and knowledge to progress careers with a water consultancy, water regulator, water company or research organisation.
You will study six modules and complete a dissertation project. The jointly-taught core modules have been professionally accredited by the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management and will provide you with the key skills of a water professional by addressing the principles of catchment hydrology, sustainable surface water management, groundwater assessment, methods of catchment protection, principles of lake ecology, managing coastal flooding, flood forecasting, the design of river structures and the restoration of river channels. Optional modules covering wider environmental and social science skills are also available.
Practical work is an important component of the programme, with modules including challenging fieldwork in Cumbrian and Lancashire catchments, and laboratory work involving the use of flumes, water quality analyses and computer models.
We encourage you to undertake your dissertation research project with an external partner in the water sector or as an integral part of our ongoing research activities in water resources. Each year we offer a large selection of possible projects with external partnership or internship opportunities including JBA Consulting, the Environment Agency, United Utilities and many other organisations. We also welcome projects that strengthen your existing partnerships. You will be supervised by one of our active researchers with relevant expertise.
Examples of recent dissertation topics are:
You will study a range of modules as part of your course, some examples of which are listed below.
Students will be given an introduction to the foundations of lake ecology, an area with an acknowledged national lack of expertise. The module presents a holistic approach to the drivers and internal interactions that control water quality in lakes.
Those who take this module will be taught basic ecological principles, which will be elucidated using lake ecology. They will also be introduced to the various applications of state-of-the-art techniques and provided with essential background information for dealing with regulation such as the Water Framework Directive.
This module also includes a field trip and practicals that will give students experience of working with the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology in a management/policy context. Modelling to predict impact of management measures is also an important aspect of the module, and an appreciation of its principles and uses when it comes to lakes and catchment will be encouraged.
Students will come to understand the state-of-the-art tools and approaches needed to study and manage lakes as used in industry, government and science.
Please note, this is a core module for the Water pathway.
Students will cultivate an appreciation of the scale and variety of groundwater resources within the UK and overseas. The vulnerability of these resources and the various procedures and challenges for the implementation of policies for their protection will also be a major focus during this module.
The module will introduce the principles of groundwater flow and transport for which both physical and mathematical aspects of groundwater systems need to be discussed. Use will be made of computer models to solve practical problems relevant to the water industry. The students will also gain hands-on experience of groundwater investigation methods in the field.
Those who take this module will learn to apply a specific groundwater model (MODFLOW) to a number of problems, after considering the different methods that are widely used for investigating groundwater systems. Students will then learn to state the limitations of such models for practical use and will numerically evaluate the model results that they gather.
This module will ultimately impart the skills needed to prepare reports for a Head of Section as if working for an organisation such as the Environment Agency.
Catchments are increasingly perceived as complex and highly interconnected systems. This presents significant difficulties for those who manage catchments, but also a range of novel and timely research opportunities. In this context, the module aims to provide you with understanding and practical experience of key research and management challenges facing the future management of catchments. The module will take the Eden catchment as a case study, and draw on the latest land and water management framework, derived from the Water Framework Directive, as a basis for discussion. After analysing this framework and identifying significant challenges, you will use a combination of field, laboratory and data analysis techniques to investigate research questions related to biophysical processes within catchments. These investigations will lead to an appreciation of the limits to current knowledge and the opportunities for future research.
This module provides an introduction to basic principles and approaches to computer-aided modelling of environmental processes with applications to real environmental problems such as catchment modelling, pollutant dispersal in rivers and estuaries and population dynamics. Emphasis is placed on the use of computer-based methods and practical examples and you will be introduced to general aspects of environmental systems modelling.
This module covers the full develoment, execution and delivery of the Masters dissertation. In addition to your dissertation project, you will also be offered a series of 1 hour support seminars on specific research skills to cover areas such as scientific communication, data presentation, statistics, referencing and other IT skills. Assessment for this module includes a poster presentation and a 10,000 word dissertation.
Students will be provided with a solid foundation in key hydraulic processes, the impact of structures and an overview of the generic types of river model during this module. This includes how to select the most appropriate model for a particular application for flood risk management e.g. flood warning, flood risk mapping for spatial and emergency planning, broad scale screening studies, detailed feasibility and design of flood mitigation measures.
In addition to this, commercially available 1D, 2D and integrated models will be available to use during the module. Students will critically evaluate these commercially available models and select the best model for a specific application. This involves learning to identify and quantify where uncertainty exists in data and modelling, and how it should be dealt with.
Students will benefit from the availability of a mobile hydraulic flume. It is owned by the JBA Trust for educational purposes and will be used to demonstrate hydraulic principles relating to good river weir and culvert design.
With this knowledge gained from these tools, students will be able to apply industry standard flood estimation and modelling techniques to solve real problems in the context of flood risk management and the latest legislation and policy.
The module will cover the concepts and theory involved in river restoration techniques and introduce a geomorphological approach to sustainable river management. It will be based on case studies and examples of river restoration projects, delivered in the context of the developing legislative and policy drivers, such as the Water Framework Directive (WFD). It will also include a field trip to visit a local river (the River Lune) to demonstrate assessment techniques, identify sustainable solutions and provide case study material.
Students will learn how the Water Framework Directive (WFD), the ‘Catchment Based Approach’ (CaBA) and the principles of Integrated Catchment Management (ICM) influence and drive river and catchment management. They will also consider the main hydro-ecology and hydromorphology assessment techniques. This will enable students to understand the process, techniques and key steps involved in designing a sustainable river restoration scheme.
Students will learn about the processes that lead to coastal erosion and flood risk, including tides, storm surges and waves. They will be introduced to estimation and computational techniques used to calculate extreme sea level and wave heights and for the production of tidal graphs for flood inundation modelling.
It will be delivered in the context of applying these technical approaches and concepts to decision making faced by coastal asset owners, planners, developers, etc. and will also introduce the concepts of predicting climate change impacts, the principles of adaptation, resilience and uncertainty, and how to incorporate these into flood risk management.
Students will gain an understanding of different types of numerical and physical models available for coastal flood modelling (e.g. empirical, 2D or 3D grid-based, offshore circulation, wave transformation), their strengths and weaknesses and how to deal with uncertainty.
Students will also gain skills in how to assess, quantify and mitigate the risks to coastal assets, people and the environment. In addition, this module encourages comprehension and assessment of coastal processes reports, wave overtopping studies and coastal flooding studies.
Bringing together the latest methods and applied techniques in catchment hydrology and modelling, students will gain a solid foundation in the key concepts of hydrology, hydrometrics and basic hydrological processes operating at a catchment scale.
Teaching will focus on the practical application of skills and industry standard techniques in the context of the latest legislation, guidance and policy. The module will introduce commercially available models and allow students to critically apply these models in a range of worked case studies and examples.
Students will learn to critically assess the main hydrological assessment and modelling techniques in order to effectively use hydrological data. However, they will also be expected to deal with instances where there is an absence of local data, to the extent that they will know which estimation or modelling technique to choose when faced with uncertainty in a real world situation.
This module will deliver an introduction to flood risk management in the context of UK policies, legislation and spatial planning. It will provide a grounding in flood risk related responsibilities and will teach students the key concepts in urban hydrology and sustainable drainage systems (SuDS). To this end, the module will cover the design of SuDS systems, from outline design concepts to assessment of performance, estimation of flow and water quality loading.
Students will come to understand the capabilities and applications of the commercially available hydraulic models (e.g. Microdrainage, MUSIC) and the relative advantages/disadvantages of each, plus the data requirements. They will also learn how to plan, design, construct and manage a SuDS scheme in accordance with the relevant legal and regulatory framework.
By the end of this module, students will demonstrate the skills required to undertake a Flood Risk Assessment and will be able to select and apply the best techniques and models for estimating design flows in urban drainage systems.
This module will provide you with a broad view of issues related to contaminated land, in particular: typical contamination problems; methodologies for assessing the extent and seriousness of contamination; and the applicability and effectiveness of remediation techniques as a function of contaminant and site conditions.
The legislation pertaining to and the processes used to assess the risk associated with contaminated land will be appraised, as will risk-based approaches to contaminated land assessment in general. The fate and behaviour of contaminants in the environment will also be examined. Students will gain knowledge in these matters via the risk assessment and remediation case studies.
An awareness of the scale of contaminated land in the UK will be acquired, and students will gain the ability to scientifically discuss the processes which control the behaviour of chemicals in soil.
Please note, this is a core module for the Pollution pathway.
This module provides a theoretical foundation for the study of development and the environment from a geographical perspective. You will focus on understanding the ways in which scholars have brought together development theory with the analysis of nature-society relations in the majority world. You will be provided with a critical understanding of the evolution of contemporary development discourses and new ways of thinking about the relationships between environment and development.
Current approaches to cutting-edge research in the environmental sciences are highly dependent on digital data, and a wide variety of different data types can now be accessed relatively easily. You only need to consider the data required to understand climate change to appreciate the diversity of information that is currently available, and which is needed to address the biggest global issues.
In this module you will learn the fundamentals of retrieving, annotating, analysing and interpreting digital data from a variety of sources, applying integrated, scientific methodologies. You will develop data manipulation skills and an awareness of the tools available to maximise the value of heterogeneous digital data. We demonstrate everyday problems in data collection, both avoidable and unavoidable, and explore techniques that minimise their impact. We discuss the strengths and weaknesses of current software for data mining and visualisation, and you will get hands-on experience of data integration using spreadsheet, database and GIS technologies.
This module will introduce you to the fundamental principles of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing and shows how these complimentary technologies may be used to capture/derive, manipulate, analyse and display different forms of spatially-referenced environmental data.
Students will gain a critical understanding of key concepts, principles, tools and techniques for the management of natural resources and the environment. Particular attention is given to the challenges of dealing with complexity, change, uncertainty and conflict in the environment, and to the different management approaches which can be deployed in ‘turbulent’ conditions.
Contemporary environmental problems will be examined and interpreted from both an academic and policy perspective. In order to do this effectively, students will learn to evaluate and critique arguments and evidence related to environmental problems, and will demonstrate advanced understanding of alternative management concepts through constructive debate.
This module focuses on the fate and behaviour of contaminants in the environment, considering fundamental principles and processes which control their fate in environment systems. You will gain and understanding of the fundamental principles relating to the fate and behaviour of contaminants in environmental media for scientists with relevant degrees.
During this module, students will gain both theoretical and practical experience of analytical chemistry techniques used to obtain environmental data, from sampling and storage to analysis and data interpretation. They will learn about entire sampling analytical systems and the fundamentals of common analytical techniques such as mass spectrometry and chromatography.
Students will come to understand the typical applications of the selected instrumental methods, as well as the principles of quality assurance and method validation, ensuring the high quality of analytical results for statistical interpretation etc.
Students will be introduced to the interactions between microorganisms and naturally occurring organic matter, and how this relates to the degradation and persistence of environmental pollutants. The mechanisms of organic matter decomposition and pollutant degradation will be discussed in detail, with emphasis being placed on environmental systems, particularly that of soil.
The application of these processes in biological treatment of chemically contaminated ecosystems will also be considered, with the strengths and weaknesses of the processes being highlighted using case studies.
The module will encourage discussion of pollutant degradation in the environment, focusing on the interactions between pollutants and the abiotic and biotic environment and how this impacts on biodegradation.
After completion of the module, the students will be aware of the importance of microorganisms within different ecosystems, considering biotic interactions, nutrient cycling and organic matter turnover. Furthermore, they will be cognisant of the role of microorganisms in waste treatment systems, how microorganisms adapt to and metabolise man-made chemicals, and their role in the assessment and remediation of contaminated land.
Students will consider four inter-related, important factors (soil water, nutrients, physics and biology) that determines a soil’s ability to produce crops, and the agricultural/economic consequences of failing to manage this resource properly. Most agricultural production is dependent on the soil not only to anchor plants, but to supply their hydraulic and nutritional needs. This module will teach students a range of management approaches that contribute to the long-term ability of the soil to sustain agricultural production. They will learn to compare and contrast soil carbon stocks in agricultural/non-agricultural land and to evaluate methods used to raise soil carbon status.
From this, students will learn to recognise effective soil and plant-based crop nutrient management. They will also be able to evaluate the impacts of plant-microbe interactions on crop disease and nutrient status, and appraise the impact of soil erosion on water body pollution.
Please note, if taking the Food Security pathway this is a core module.
Having a basic level of numerical skill is required in order to perform well in many LEC PGT modules. This modules provides baseline numerical, statistical and mathematical skills to underpin academic modules and as an employability skill in its own right.
Information contained on the website with respect to modules is correct at the time of publication, but changes may be necessary, for example as a result of student feedback, Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies' (PSRB) requirements, staff changes, and new research.
Designed for: Graduates wishing to increase their skills and competencies to gain employment and a career in the water sector (water consultancies, water regulators, water companies or research organisations) as a practitioner or researcher.
Entry requirements: 2:1 (Hons) degree (UK) or equivalent in Environmental Science, Hydrology, Water Management, Chemistry, Geography or a similar degree
If you have studied outside of the UK, you can check your qualification here: International Qualifications
We may consider non-standard applicants, please contact us for further information.
IELTS: Overall score of at least 6.5, with no individual element below 6.0
We consider tests from other providers, which can be found here: English language requirements
If your score is below our requirements we may consider you for one of our pre-sessional English language programmes:
10 week - Overall score of at least 5.5, with no individual element below 5.0For details of eligibility see: Pre-sessional programmes
4 week - Overall score of at least 6.0, with no individual element below 5.5Further information is available at English for Academic Purposes
Assessment: Coursework, presentations, examinations and dissertation
Funding: All applicants should consult our information on Fees and Funding.
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