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.
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.
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.
What you'll study
Core units include:
- Natural Hazard Processes
- Numerical Hazard Modelling and Simulation
- Catastrophe Modelling
- Programming for Natural Hazards
- Volcanology and Seismology
- Flooding and Hydrological Hazards
- Hazard and Risk Assessment
- Field Reconnaissance and Geomorphological Mapping
- Spatial Analysis and Remote Sensing
- Geo-mechanical Behaviour of Earth Materials
- Landslides and Slope Instability
- Impacts and Remediation of Natural Hazards
- Independent Research Project
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 units may not run every year. If a unit doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative unit.
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.
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:
- academic writing
- note taking
- time management
- critical thinking
- presentation skills
- working in groups
- revision, memory and exam techniques
Teaching on this course includes:
- practical sessions
- field work
How you'll spend your time
Each academic year is divided into 2 teaching blocks and 2 assessment periods:
- September to December – teaching block 1
- January – assessment period 1
- January to mid-May – teaching block 2 (includes Easter break)
- Mid-May to early June – assessment period 2
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.
- A 2:2 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 proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.
Tuition fees (2019 start)
UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students:
- Full-time: £8,700 per year
- Part-time: £4,350 (subject to annual increase)
- Full-time: £15,900 per year
- Part-time: £7,950 (subject to annual increase)
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.
Apply for this course using our online application form.
If you're from outside of the UK, you can apply directly to us 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.
- Subject area
- Geography and environmental sciences
- Earth sciences