Geological and Environmental Hazards MSc
MSc Geological and Environmental Hazards
If you're fascinated by the natural and man-made hazards that affect our planet and want to understand the physical processes that generate natural hazards, then the MSc Geological and Environmental Hazards degree course will take your understanding of the challenges ahead to the next level.
This course focuses on the physical processes that generate natural hazards through an advanced understanding of geological processes, mechanical behaviour of geological materials, field recognition and mapping of hazards, catastrophe modelling, quantitative hazard modelling and risk assessment techniques.
You'll be trained by experts in hazard identification, terrain evaluation, hazard modeling and risk assessment techniques. You'll also learn to manage the impact of floods, earthquakes, landslides, volcanoes, coastal erosion and climate change. You'll understand how to monitor, warn against and help control the consequences of natural hazards.
And when you graduate, you'll have the vocational skills you need to work in the specialist hazard field – making you an attractive candidate for government agencies and specialist insurance, flood risk and geoscience companies.
Our MSc Geological and Environmental Hazards degree course is accredited by the Geological Society of London. It provides advanced professional and scientific training, and an accelerated route for you to attain Chartered Status, such as Chartered Geologist (CGeol) or Chartered Scientist (CSci) when you graduate.
MSc Geological and Environmental Hazards Master's degree entry requirements
Qualifications or experience
- A second class honours degree or equivalent in Geology, Earth Science, Applied Geology, Civil Engineering, Geography, Environmental Science or a related discipline. Industrial experience will also 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 experts with extensive industrial and consultancy experience and strong research portfolios in natural hazards.
- Become skilled in the application of specialist techniques including numerical hazard modeling and simulation, catastrophe modeling, field reconnaissance and geomorphological mapping, geotechnical testing, spatial analysis and remote sensing.
- Learn about physical processes that affect and control natural hazards, including volcanology and earthquakes, flooding and hydrological hazards, coastal erosion, slope instability and landslides.
- Take part in research-based field trips, both locally and overseas, where you will receive specialist field training in hazard identification, mapping and monitoring.
- Complete your own independent research project to academic or industrial standards with opportunities to work with industrial partners on a joint project.
Careers and opportunities
When you graduate, you'll have the vocational skills you need for a career in this specialist environmental field, as well as transferable skills including report writing, working to deadlines, team-working, presentation and communication skills. You'll be qualified to pursue a career in the insurance industry, government agencies or specialist geoscience companies.
What can you do with a Geological and Environmental Hazards degree?
Opportunities exist in the following fields:
- Aid organisations
- Environmental consultants
- Marine and offshore consultants
- Flood risk consultants
- GIS and remote sensing consultants
- Engineering geology companies
- Re-insurance and insurance sectors
This course also has a 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 use these to help you 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.
The course has links to Erasmus projects around Europe, as well as a variety of lab equipment available for thesis work, and various fieldwork opportunities both within the UK and abroad. I’ve greatly increased my geological knowledge, developed new skills in coding … and learned that I am capable of more than I think.
Find out more about what you'll experience on this MSc Geological and Environmental Hazards degree from Course Lead, Dr Malcolm Whitworth.
Malcom: We, obviously, cover topics on each of the natural hazards that we deal with so things like environmental, hydro, meteorological hazards, obviously volcanoes, earthquakes, landslides, flooding. And then we focus on how we might essentially model them, understand them better and try to predict them.
The best thing about this course is it provides students with an opportunity to really look at matters in-depth and ultimately go on to have a career where they're making a real difference.
The MSc course has a number of field excursions. We go to the Isle of Wight, we also go to the Cotswolds, and we also spend eight days in Sicily, in southern Italy to look at varied types of natural hazards in the field setting.
What you'll study on this MSc Geological and Environmental Hazards degree course
Core modules in this year include:
- Geomechanics of Natural Hazards – 30 credits
- Hazard Modelling and Risk Assessment – 30 credits
- Research Skills and Project – 60 credits
- Terrain Evaluation and Natural Hazards – 30 credits
- Volcanology & Seismology – 30 credits
There are no optional modules in this year.
Changes to course content
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:
- practical sessions
- field work
The academic year runs from September to June. There are breaks at Christmas and Easter.
Most teaching takes place during the day on Mondays and Tuesdays.
How you're assessed
You'll be assessed through:
- poster and oral presentations
- projects reports
- literature reviews
- lab 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 practical and formal assessments, so you can improve in the future.
Course costs and funding
Tuition fees (2022 start)
UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students
- Full time: £9,400
- Part time: £4,700 (may be subject to annual increase)
(including Transition Scholarship)
- Full time: £9,700
- Part time: £4,600 (may be subject to annual increase)
- Full time: £18,300
- Part time: £9,150 (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.
You'll be provided with essential safety equipment for fieldwork and site visits (hard hat and reflective jacket). If you require additional field equipment you'll be required to purchase these items. Total costs will be in the region of £145.
The cost of travel or accommodation for compulsory fieldwork is included in the course fee, but you'll need to pay for meals and other living 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.
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.