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Teaching and Learning


Teaching is carried out by members of the Environmental Science and Policy Research Theme. The teaching team covers a wide range of applied research backgrounds from geoscience (geology, geophysics, geochemistry and geobiology) to engineering (geotechnical and hydrogeology).

Dr Peter Brabham  Dr Tim Jones
Dr Phil Renforth Dr Emma Paris 
Mr Lee Foulkes    Mr Ewan Thomas

Teaching core staff: Upper row from left to right: Dr Peter Brabham, Dr Tim Jones. Middle row: Dr Phil Renforth, Dr Emma Paris (MSc Administrator). External staff lower row from left to right: Mr Lee Foulkes, Mr Ewan Thomas

  • Dr Peter Brabham, environmental geophysics, landscape visualization & coal energy
  • Dr Tim Jones, atmospheric pollution, toxicity of pollutants
  • Dr Phil Renforth, soils, rainfall-induced landslides, soil wettability


Teaching and Learning

Teaching and learning activities includes formal lectures, laboratory and field activities. Group teaching is usually small, not exceeding 25 students. As the programmes include a strong quantitative component, several courses are delivered in a sequence of lectures and problem-focused learning activities where the students are required to solve numerically or with the assistance of specialist software real problems (example: Water in the Environment and Geotechnical Engineering). 

All teaching and learning activities are designed so that the students develop the appropriate transferable skills: numerical, laboratory, field and spatial including writing and oral presentation, suitable to the needs of the environmental engineering industry and environmental regulators. The skills build on the base knowledge of students, providing critical scientific understanding of environmental processes.

Details of the specific modules taught in this course can be found here


Teaching and Learning

Students are also encouraged to attend various seminars organized by the School and professional organizations. This includes the seminars by the South Wales Engineering Group of the Geological Society (which are held at the School), the South Wales branch of the Institute of Civil Engineers (held at the School of Engineering). This academic year 2009-2010 the Applied Environment Geology students will be required to attend the workshop Managing Geotechnical Risk organized by the Engineering Group of the Geological Society. The MSc also runs a series of seminars to both MSc programmes. Case Studies for 2012-2013:

  • 17 Jan 2013 Managing Geotechnical Risk, Paul Maliphant, Halcrow, Cardiff
  • 24 Jan 2013 UK Shallow Ground Properties and Geohazards, Dr Helen Reeves, British Geological Survey, Keyworth
  • 31 Jan 2013 Engineering Applications of Sequence Stratigraphy, Dr Jacqueline Skipper, Geotechnical Consulting Group, London
  • 07 Feb 2013 Delivering Waste Treatment Infrastructure in Wales, Taliesin Maynard, Welsh Government, Cardiff
  • 14 Feb 2013 The British Gas Industry - Considerations for the use of Environmental Forensics, Dr Russell Thomas, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Bristol
  • 21 Feb 2013 Groundwater Protection and Monitoring, David Jones, Environment Agency, Cardiff

The School also runs its own external, internal and lecture series of interest to the students wishing to pursue an academic career.


Teaching and Learning

A course companion of teaching and learning material are provided to promote student-centred learning and accommodate students with different backgrounds. These include lecture handouts, textbooks (available in the Science library and Trevithick library), access to journal papers, and protocols and standards. All modules are delivered via the Learning Central (a web E-Learning  platform) to allow remote accessfor   student resources. 


Most modules operate with a mixture of exams and coursework assessments, with the intention of testing knowledge and skills. The two modules, Project Planning, Design and Management and Remote Sensing and Applied Geophysics are assessed 100% by individual professional reports.  

Most of the coursework to be completed outside the lecture is summative. The in-lecture problem-focused learning activities are formative and designated to develop the skills. 

The exams take place in late March- early April. The exam timetable is centrally managed by the University’s Registry Division.

The Masters project is conducted between May and September, resulting in a dissertation that should not exceed 20,000 words. The project is also presented orally to the fellow students, academic staff and the external examiners. The dissertations are assessed independently by two internal examiners and quality is overseen by the external examiner


There are established procedures to assess the quality of teaching. Several members have conducted (or are conducting) Cardiff’s Postgraduate Certificate in University Teaching and Learning. Teaching staff involved in the MSc courses are peer reviewed annually. The course also receives feedback from our external examiners: Professor David Toll (Durham University) until 2012 and Dr Tony Price (Warwick University) from 2013. Students and staff meet several times during the teaching year at the MSc Staff Student Forum which includes the School’s Director of Teaching to discuss any problems.