Environmental Geology and Contamination MSc
MSc Environmental Geology and Contamination
Applying for 2021/22 entry? See how you'll be taught in our Covid information for applicants.
Many countries have a significant legacy of contaminants in the ground, caused by industrial and mining activity. These pollutants can pose a significant risk to human health and the environment, so a particular expertise is needed to deal with these contaminated sites.
If you're keen to tackle this important issue, take your studies to postgraduate level, and learn specialist skills, our MSc Environmental Geology and Contamination degree course is for you.
On this course, you'll get the knowledge and skills needed to manage contaminated sites, and learn the importance of maintaining safe, habitable, and sustainable communities. You’ll cover topics including groundwater hydrology; geochemistry; site investigation; geotechnics, and contaminated land assessment, and be taught by recognised experts with extensive expertise in these subjects.
You'll also get theoretical skills as well as practical experience, and we'll give you the support you need to develop your career too – so once you graduate, you can pursue varied roles in the specialist area of contaminated land consultancy, regulation and remediation, both in the UK and overseas.
MSc Environmental Geology and Contamination Master's degree entry requirements
Qualifications or experience
- 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 requirements
- English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.
If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.
What you'll experience
On this course, you'll:
- Learn from recognised experts in the field, with extensive knowledge of groundwater hydrology, environmental geology and contaminated land management
- Use our geotechnical and analytical labs, gaining practical experience in use of range of soil and environmental testing facilities.
- Be trained in fieldwork techniques such as walk-over surveys, sample collection and testing, use of GIS and interpretation of remote sensing
- Learn about risk assessments approaches for contaminated land and water.
- Complete a professional research project, in collaboration with industry partners
Course leader Professor Mike Fowler talks about the MSc Environmental Geology and Contamination at the University of Portsmouth.
Professor Mike Fowler: The best part of the course is the hands on experience in state-of-the-art analytical instrumentation.
We have a comprehensive training, taking samples in the field and on site, doing all of the analysis, interpreting the numbers rigorously and writing up a report. That whole process is something that we concentrate on very strongly.
We've had some very successful research projects which have gone to publication. Some of the industries and sectors that the students go into - contaminated land industries and of course, into further research, PHDs and so on.
Careers and opportunities
Environmental geology and contaminated land are key areas in which the UK has a skills shortage; students on this course receive extensive training so that when they graduate they are able to fill this skills gap.
Combined with the vocational nature of this course, our graduates are quickly employed in the industry, where there is a huge demand for environmental and contaminated land specialists.
What can you do with an Environmental Geology and Contamination degree?
Career opportunities include:
- Environmental organisations
- Geotechnical consultants
- Local authorities and government agencies
- Geo-environmental consultants
This course will provide you with a variety of transferable skills such as project planning, literature and data reviewing and report writing, along with general communication and presentation skills. This course also has strong research skills training, advanced analytical components and an extensive research project, ideal if you wish to pursue further research at PhD level.
We'll give you as much support as possible in finding employment through use of our Alumni network, close industrial contacts, careers events, recruitment fairs and individual advice.
Work experience and career planning
We have an extensive Alumni network from our applied geoscience masters courses and very strong industrial links and we'll help you to identify internships, voluntary roles and opportunities that will complement your studies.
When you finish the course, our Careers and Employability service can help you find a job that puts your skills to work in the environmental, geological and geotechnical industries.
After you leave the University, you can get help, advice and support for up to 5 years from our Careers and Employability service as you advance in your career.
What you'll study on this MSc Environmental Geology and Contamination degree course
A master’s degree is 180 credits in total, comprising four taught units (each 30 credits) and a research project unit (worth 60 credits).
Core modules include:
- Contaminated Land Assessment & Remediation
- Principles and Analysis of Pollution with Metals
- Research Skills and Project
Optional modules include:
- Ecotoxicology and pollution
- Environmental Assessment
- Geological and Environmental Hazards
- Geotechnics and Groundwater
- Ground Models and Ground Investigation
- Principles of GIScience
We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.
Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional modules may not run every year. If a module doesn't run, we'll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.
As well as support by faculty teaching staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University’s Academic Skills Unit (ASK).
ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:
academicwriting notetaking timemanagement criticalthinking presentationskills referencing workingin groups revision, memory and exam techniques
Support with English
If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free In-Sessional English (ISE) programme to improve your English further.
Teaching on this course includes:
- laboratory work
The academic year runs from October to June. There are breaks at Christmas and Easter.
It's divided into 2 teaching blocks and 2 assessment periods:
- Teaching block 1 – October to January
- Assessment period 1 – late January to early February
- Teaching block 2 – February to May
- Assessment period 2 – May to June
Most teaching takes place during the day on Mondays and Tuesdays.
How you're assessed
You'll be assessed through:
- poster and oral presentations
- project reports
- laboratory reports
You'll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.
You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.
Tuition fees (2021 start)
UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students
- Full time: £9,200
- Part time: £4,600 (may be subject to annual increase)
(including Transition Scholarship)
- Full time: £9,200
- Part time: £4,600 (may be subject to annual increase)
- Full time: £17,600
- Part time: £8,800 (may be subject to annual increase)
Fees are subject to annual increase.
Funding your studies
Applying from outside the UK? Find out about funding options for international students.
Additional course costs
These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending.
Our accommodation section shows your accommodation options and highlights how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.
You’ll study up to 6 units a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each unit.
You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.
We recommend that you budget £75 a year for photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.
If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.
The cost of travel or accommodation for compulsory fieldwork is included in the course fee, but you'll need to pay for meals and costs.
Compulsory project work is normally carried out in the UK, and you'll be required to contribute to travel, accommodation and meals, These costs are likely to be in the region of £50 - £500 depending on the nature of the project.
You'll be provided with essential safety equipment for fieldwork and site visits (hard hat and reflective jacket). If you need additional field equipment, you'll need to purchase them. Total costs will be in the region of £145.
If you're from outside of the UK, you can apply directly to us (above) or you can get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region. To find out what to include in your application, head to the how to apply page of our international students section.
If you don’t meet the English language requirements for this course yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.
International students may also be eligible for the School of the Environment, Geography and Geosciences (SEGG) Scholarship. Visit our page to find out more about eligibility and how to apply.
Admissions terms and conditions
When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.