Full time 12 Month(s)
Volcanoes threaten millions worldwide and improved hazard mitigation is a high priority. Our well-established MSc allows you to study alongside leading volcanologists in one of the largest groups of environmental scientists in the UK.
This MSc is ideal preparation for PhD research or work in the environment sector, and is suitable for students with a wide range of first degrees including Geography, Geology, Environmental Science and Physics.
As well as gaining a strong theoretical grounding, you will spend time in the laboratory and in the field, including field trips to study volcanic rocks in the nearby Lake District and a highly popular field module on Mount Etna.
You will study six taught modules which include core modules on volcanic and other geological hazards and optional modules which provide broader learning and practical skills in areas of particular benefit to aspiring volcanologists. Modules are taught by world experts from Lancaster Environment Centre and our partner institutions.
You will join our active volcanology group and conduct an independent dissertation research project under supervision from an internationally recognized researcher, taking advantage of our well-equipped experimental and geochemical laboratories. Within our group there are additional opportunities to participate in seminars, workshops and discussions.
Examples of previous dissertation topics are:
You will study a range of modules as part of your course, some examples of which are listed below.
Taking a broad look at geological hazards, this module will cover everything from contemporary events to those that have shaped the Earth over geological time. The module explores in depth the fundamental processes involved in these events and how and to what extent such events can be predicted. Case histories of national and international disasters will be used to illustrate these hazards, and the inherent risks and potential mitigation measures will be discussed.
A demonstration and elaboration of the geological processes responsible for the occurrence, recurrence and magnitude of hazards will be given. Students will also learn to apply and report on the methods of prediction and mitigation strategies of geological hazards, and will apply simple prediction scenarios of geological hazard occurrence using geological datasets.To this end, students will develop skills in integrating sparse quantitative measurements and qualitative observations in order to derive interpretations from relevant datasets.
The module underscores far-reaching concepts such as using the past to inform the future and environmental risk. It will ultimately develop a sense of human-place in the geological world, promoting an understanding of how the geological world impacts human society, and what can be done to limit that impact.
This module aims to provide you with knowledge of volcanoes and volcanic systems. Its foundations are an understanding of the properties and behaviour of volcanic materials gained through laboratory, theoretical and field study. The module emphasizes the widely-applicable physical and chemical processes that occur during volcanic activity, including variations in solubility, rheology, phase, density and permeability. The interaction of volcanic processes with the biosphere, atmosphere and hydrosphere are discussed. The products of volcanism, together with the hazard and benefits to life on Earth are studied.
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.
The aim of this module is to introduce the concept of the Earth system and how the different components (atmosphere, ocean, ice and ecosystems) all interact with each other to shape the Earth's climate and control how the climate might change. The module will cover issues related to recent climate change, including natural and human drivers of the change. It will introduce the computer models and global observation networks that scientists use to understand the Earth system. It will also discuss the role of atmospheric chemistry and climate in the Earth system, including issues related to air quality, greenhouse gases and aerosols.
Overall, this module aims to provide an introduction to the physical processes which influence global climate change, leading to a better understanding of Earth system science.
This module aims to explore and reconfigure the ways in which climate change is understood through a focus on the social, rather than the scientific-environmental discourses that have dominated the policy and politics of climate change. This module give you a wide-ranging and intensive introduction to the politics, cultures and theories of climate change research in the social sciences and humanities. You will be able to critically evaluate different theoretical perspectives on a range of climate change debates and present alternative arguments.
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 consists of a full course in statistics and data analysis from a non-mathematical viewpoint. It covers both parametric and non-parametric methods, up to and including generalised linear models. Other topics include data types, graphs, statistics, estimation and testing, categorical and continuous responses, and sampling strategies and designs of experiments.
After taking this module, students will be able to design a sensible experiment or sampling scheme and perform exploratory analysis. They will be able to decide on sensible statistical analysis, including a choice between parametric and non-parametric testing, if relevant, and perform that analysis in SPSS followed by interpretation of the results. They should also be able to realise when the analysis that they need to perform is beyond the materials covered in the module and that they should therefore consult a statistician.
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.
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 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.
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 will allow you to improve your practical and theoretical knowledge of volcanic processes through a residential field course held on an active basaltic volcano. We start off with classroom sessions to introduce the field site and provide insight into some of the magmatic and tectonic processes involved. Then, in the field, you will visit key localities and unravel the complex links between magma properties and eruptive style. We will examine effusive (lavas) and explosive (tephra) products, and will discuss and observe the roles of dykes, fissures and conduits at first hand. The module is usually held on Mount Etna, Sicily, although the location may change in future years.
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 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 will give students a grounding in the scientific process behind chemical risk analysis. The effect of chemicals in the environment will be observed and explained. Concepts such as dose-response relationships and observed-effect levels, as well as modes of entry and routes of exposure to humans, biota and the ecosystem as a whole, will be examined.
A large part of the module will be dedicated to understanding quantitative exposure assessment, which will include the introduction of fate modelling and the prediction of chemical concentrations in different environmental compartments. Students will also be familiarised with current assessment procedures for chemical registration and will partake in group practicals/workshops to understand the steps in chemical risk analysis. They will perform their own chemical risk assessment procedures, learn to use simulation models to predict outcomes, and will understand the role of risk assessment in decision making.
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 interested in Geology, Earth Science, Geophysics, Geography, Physical Geography, Natural Science, or Environmental Science.
Entry requirements: 2:1 (Hons) degree (UK) or equivalent in Geology, Earth Science, Natural Science or Environmental Science or similar.
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 5.0 For details of eligibility see: Pre-sessional programmes
4 week - Overall score of at least 6.0, with no individual element below 5.5 Further 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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