Environmental Geography (International) (MESci)

Entry year

2018/19

The four year MESci course at Cardiff involves hypothesis testing, critical analysis and problem solving whilst learning about the process and outcomes of research.

Environmental Geographers studying the River Tawe

Environmental Geography is the study of the interaction between humans and the natural environment. Using their distinctive skills set, environmental geographers are able to explain how Earth functions as a system, one with a long history, an ever-changing present and a future affected by our actions.

The MESci builds upon the equivalent BSc course by means of a fourth year that provides specialist training in hypothesis testing, critical analysis and problem solving, whilst learning about the process and outcomes of research. You will undertake a specialist research project in a subject area of your choice, working with a member of staff in their area of expertise, and undertake research in the field during the MESci field course.  Furthermore, the MESci (International) programme allows you to undertake your third year of study at an overseas university. The marks you gain at that university then count towards your Cardiff University degree.

The skills and understanding of environmental geographers make them uniquely placed to solve complex and wide-ranging environmental problems that arise in the landscape. This degree will help you to develop these skills and perspectives by providing opportunities for conducting fieldwork in a range of exciting environments and for conducting cutting-edge research with leading scientists in environmental geography.

For students interested in professional research careers in environmental geography, the four-year MESci provides a strong basis for investigation and research in this subject. 

Distinctive features

A special feature of this programme is that the credits and grades for year three of your degree assessment are acquired at an overseas institution.

This programme involves a common first term allowing you to experience aspects of Earth Sciences and Geography before finally deciding upon which honours degree course you wish to pursue.

We currently offer two overseas fieldtrips on each programme with travel and accommodation costs covered by your tuition fees. Plenty of fieldwork is also carried out locally in South Wales and the UK.

South Wales is a fascinating area in which to explore environmental geography. From the mountains in the north to the great tidal estuary in the south, the area encompasses a huge range of natural environments and consequently provides us with abundant practical study opportunities.

A major summer project between years two and three actively encourages you to devise and design your own independent research. 

In year four you will complete a master's research dissertation, working on a topic of your choice, which provides a range of skills beyond that provided by the BSc, and can widen your career opportunities.

“The School offered excellent teaching and fantastic field trips including Scotland, the Netherlands and Tenerife, along with a high level of academic flexibility, allowing me to adapt and focus my learning to meet my individual needs.”

Victoria Evans, BSc Environmental Geoscience 2009 and MSc Applied Environmental Geology at Cardiff 2010

Key facts

UCAS Code2L4D
Next intakeSeptember 2018
Duration4 years
ModeFull time
Typical places availableThe School typically has approx 150 places available.
Typical applications receivedThe School typically receives approx 740 applications.
Contact

Entry requirements

Typical A level offerAAB, including two sciences (from Chemistry, Physics, Biology,Geography, Geology, Mathematics, Applied Science, Environmental Studies, Archaeology, Computing, ICT, Physical Education (PE), Psychology, or Sports Science) and, where applicable, a pass in the practical element of the science A level. Please note, General Studies will not be accepted.
Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offerThe Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate will be accepted in lieu of one A-Level (at the grades listed above), excluding any specified subjects.
Typical International Baccalaureate offer34 points, including two sciences at HL from Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Geography, Geology, Mathematics, Applied Science, Environmental Studies, Archaeology, Computing, ICT, Psychology, Physical Education (PE), or Sports Science
Alternative qualificationsAlternative qualifications may be accepted. For further information on entry requirements, see the School of Earth & Ocean Sciences admissions criteria pages.
English Language requirementsIf you are an overseas applicant and your first language is not English, please visit our English Language requirements page for more information on our accepted qualifications.
Other requirementsYou will require GCSE Maths at grade C or grade 4 and GCSE English or Welsh Language at grade C or grade 4. 

We are currently working with our students to update and improve the content of this course. The information shown below reflects the current curriculum and is likely to change. The review of the course is expected to be completed by August 2018 and this page will be updated by end of October 2018 to reflect the changes.

This is a full-time four-year programme which follows the BSc route with the equivalent title for the first three years, but with additional small-group teaching on the methodology and philosophy of research. Year 3 is spent at an overseas university. In year four you will undertake a major research project as well as taking specialised modules.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2018/19 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2018. You are advised to check the final module descriptions when they are available to ensure that the programme meets your needs.

Year one

The programme structure is very flexible. All of our Earth and Ocean Science degree programmes share a common first semester. This is designed to give you a sound foundation in Earth Sciences upon which to build. In total you will earn 120 credits for the year, through a mixture of 10-credit and 20-credit modules.

At the end of your first semester you will decide whether to continue with your original degree choice or choose another of our Earth Science degrees.

You will be given the framework for explaining the functioning of the Earth system, including the controls on global climate. You will also learn about anthropogenic issues such as pollution, including its causes, assessment, monitoring and clean-up.

You will study the basics of Earth science necessary for your degree as well as an introduction to maps, topological work and geomorphology. Your first year will also include modules in environmental chemistry and biological systems. 

Module titleModule codeCredits
Planet EarthEA120110 credits
Earth Surface ProcessesEA120220 credits
Dangerous EarthEA120310 credits
Geographical Information SystemsEA120410 credits
Environmental Geography Field SkillsEA120620 credits
Chemistry of the EnvironmentEA121210 credits
Biological EnvironmentsEA121310 credits
Geographical Data AnalysisEA121410 credits
Science and Policy for GeographersEA121510 credits
Fundamentals of Environmental GeographyEA121610 credits

Year two

In year two the modules you will take are chosen to provide a wide knowledge base and transferable skills base to make you as employable as possible in a competitive job market. In total you will earn 120 credits for the year, through a mixture of 10-credit and 20-credit modules.

You will study a wide variety of modules that include basic terrestrial and marine ecology, soils, biogeochemistry and landscape evolution. There is an emphasis on skills in sampling, data collection and analysis, and much of this is field-based.

Other important training includes the use of Geographical Information Systems and the planning, execution and reporting of project work. Local fieldwork in the spring will bring many of these skills together in preparation for your main degree project.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Pedology and GeoecologyEA221210 credits
Process GeomorphologyEA221310 credits
BiogeochemistryEA221410 credits
Environmental PollutionEA221510 credits
Ocean Atmosphere SystemEA221620 credits
Marine EcosystemsEA221710 credits
Coastal Processes and GeomorphologyEA221810 credits
Water in the EnvironmentEA221920 credits
Environmental Field Skills and Research TutorialEA222420 credits

Year three

You may undertake a research project during your year overseas, usually on a one-to-one basis with an international research expert in the host institution. You will also be able to enrol in modules overseas that may not be offered at Cardiff. You will acquire a wide range of transferable skills and the additional experience will improve your employability and prospects of postgraduate studies.

You will study the Cardiff on-line MESci research tutorial module that demonstrates how research is initiated, funded and executed.

Our partner institutions are increasing all the time but in the past students have gone to the University of Miami, Rutgers University (New Jersey), University of British Colombia, Wyoming University, University of Vermont, the University of Western Australia (Perth), Macquarie University (Sydney) and University of Stockholm.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Earth Sciences' International YearEA3198110 credits
Research SkillsEA323710 credits

Year four

You will complete a master's research dissertation in any geographically related topic that can be supervised in the School. You will work one-to-one with a research supervisor and may interact with a research group.

Since the School is large and of international research standard, this means you have a wide choice of dissertation topics to choose from. Many students develop their own topics and contact a researcher to see if they can supervise it. Alternatively a list of projects is published each year for you to choose from.

In consultation with staff, you may seek to publish the principal results of your research project in the scientific literature.

In addition the Research Project module, you will take the year four field course, where you design and carry out a field study, learn how computer modelling can be used in Earth sciences, and participate in a student-led module on the science and impacts of climate change.

Module titleModule codeCredits
MESci Research ProjectEA420170 credits
MESci FieldcourseEA420220 credits
Numerical Modelling in Earth and Ocean SciencesEA420310 credits
Climate Change: from science to policyEA420520 credits
The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

How will I be taught?

The School of Earth and Ocean Sciences has an excellent tradition of teaching, delivered by lecturers who are experts in their field. In addition the School is able to maintain a friendly and informal approach brought about by staff-student interactions during fieldwork.

The modular course structure enables the School to offer an exciting and relevant spectrum of vocational degree courses. These cover a wide range of modern geosciences from traditional geology to the more industry-focused exploration and resource geology, through to the equally applied environmental geoscience and water-borne marine geography.

The first semester is common to all degree programmes and you then confirm your chosen course in January of your first year. This offers you a chance to sample university teaching styles before committing to a particular degree or pathway.

Teaching in the School is conducted by a variety of methods:

  • formal lectures
  • laboratory practicals
  • IT practicals
  • fieldwork.

Formal lectures and practical classes have an emphasis on students taking ownership of their own learning programme and ‘learning how to learn’.

Fieldwork is a vital format for understanding the Earth sciences and all students go on at least one residential field trip each academic year as well as numerous specialist day trips. Currently MESci (International) Environmental Geography students take part in residential trips to:

  • Snowdonia National Park in year one to study the impacts of glaciations on the modern environment
  • the Netherlands in year two to study water management and coastal defences

Students undertake a major summer project between years two and three, which involves independent research to develop knowledge and understanding of the physical, biological, and chemical controls on the environment.

The School offers a number of different potential projects from which you can choose, but students are actively encouraged to devise and design their own projects. Students often choose or devise projects that relate to the environment close to their homes, but some choose projects that take them abroad to the Mediterranean, Africa or the USA.

How will I be supported?

All students are assigned a personal tutor who will hold timetabled tutorials: fortnightly in year one and monthly during other years. Your tutor will be a specialist in your degree course and will advise you on both academic and pastoral matters.

You will have a nominated supervisor for your major final year project.

You will have access through the Learning Central website to relevant multimedia material, presentations, lecture handouts, bibliographies, further links, electronic exercises and discussion circles. Opportunities for you to reflect on your abilities and performance are available through the Learning Central ‘Personal Development Planning’ module.

Where facilities exist your lectures will be videoed for you to further study in your own time.

The University offers a range of services including the Careers Service, the Counselling Service, the Disability and Dyslexia Service, the Student Support Service, and excellent libraries and resource centres.

FEEDBACK

You will receive written feedback for written coursework assignments and oral feedback for assessed presentations.

How will I be assessed?

Modules will be assessed to test knowledge and understanding through:

  • practical assignments
  • essay assignments
  • fieldwork
  • oral presentations
  • dissertation
  • formal examinations.

What skills will I practise and develop?

The Learning Outcomes for this Programme describe what you will be able to do as a result of your study at Cardiff University. They will help you to understand what is expected of you. 

The Learning Outcomes for this Programme can be found below:

Knowledge & Understanding:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

  • A rigorous understanding of the scientific process, including the design and testing of hypotheses, and the formulation of new concepts
  • A comprehensive understanding of the laboratory, field, and/or computational methodologies relevant to geography
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the field of geography and an appreciation of its wider context within Earth system science
  • Systematic understanding of the multi-disciplinary nature of geography and the need for integration of knowledge from cognate sciences

Intellectual Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

  • The ability to critically analyse the scientific literature, and synthesise current knowledge and understanding of geographical topics
  • The ability to design appropriate methodology to tackle a research question
  • The ability to critically analyse and interpret data, and to use the data to support the development of new concepts
  • The ability to solve complex scientific problems both creatively and independently
  • The ability to use knowledge and scientific, evidence-based methods in data assessment and problem solving

Professional Practical Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

  • The ability to independently plan complex projects
  • The ability to rigorously and effectively communicate scientific results in both oral and written formats
  • Practical field skills covering a range of environments and circumstances and be able to place these in a spatial and temporal context
  • Practical skills in information technology, geographical information systems, fieldwork, data and project management

Transferable/Key Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

  • Collection, evaluation, synthesis and interpretation of qualitative and quantitative data
  • The ability to work effectively in a team and as an individual
  • Effective time management and organisational skills
  • Independent learning and research skills through your major research project and other modules
  • A commitment to lifelong learning through engaging in the process of personal development planning and ownership of your own learning
  • Personal and professional attributes consistent with a research career in academia, industry and government

Based on responses from the 2016-17 Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey 90% of Earth and ocean science graduates were in employment or engaged in further study within six months of graduation, with others taking time out to travel.

Typical jobs for graduates include engineering geologist, environmental consultant, hydrogeologist, geotechnical engineer, exploration geologist, hydrographic surveyor and scientific diver.

Employers included local government plus companies and organisations such as the Environment Agency, BAM Construct UK, Airbus and Wales and West Utilities.

Jobs

  • Software Analyst
  • Environmental Consultant
  • Pollution Monitor
  • Environmental Advisor

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2018/19)

Tuition feeDepositNotes
£9,000None

The University reserves the right to increase tuition fees in the second and subsequent years of a course as permitted by law or Welsh Government policy. Where applicable we will notify you of any change in tuition fee by the end of June in the academic year before the one in which the fee will increase.

Visit our tuition fee pages for the latest information.

Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.

Students from outside the EU (2018/19)

Tuition feeDepositNotes
£19,950None

Tuition fees for international students are fixed for the majority of three year undergraduate courses. This means the price you pay in year one will be the same in years two and three. Some courses are exempt, including four and five year programmes and Medical and Dental courses. Visit our tuition fee pages for the latest information.

Additional costs

Fieldwork is free but you may be asked to make a small contribution if food is provided.

Will I need any specific equipment to study this course/programme?

Specialist equipment for working in the field and any other equipment appropriate for your degree will be provided by the School.

Accomodation

We have a range of residences to suit your needs and budget. Find out more on our accommodation pages.

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