Learning Approach

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The programme aims to: 

• Provide the highest standard of training for environmental scientists and managers, who will become leaders in their fields, whether in academia, consultancy, research, government bodies, non-governmental organisations or industry and commerce, both nationally and internationally

• Deliver an holistic understanding of the interdisciplinary complexities underlying environmental issues integrating science, technology, law, economics, policy and management, with in-depth education in the more specific areas addressed by the eight specialist options

• Attract highly motivated students, both from within the UK and from overseas

• Develop new areas of teaching in response to the advance of scholarship and the needs of vocational training


 The  objectives are:

  • A command of the range of subjects necessary to understand and resolve environmental problems and the ability to apply the knowledge to practical issues
  • Specialisation on certain areas in greater depth
  • Understanding of the fundamental mechanisms operating in the environment and the principles underlying the tools for sustainable environmental management
  • Development of interpersonal and transferable skills, quantitative and qualitative skills
  • Development of the ability to conduct independent rigorous research into environmental problems with confidence

Programme Learning Outcomes

 Programme Outcomes - the programme provides opportunities for postgraduate students to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, qualities, skills and other attributes in becoming professionals in this field


Knowledge and Understanding of:                                                                             

A1. The current status and essential breadth of understanding of environmental science, technology, and policy, the issues, and their interdisciplinary nature

A2. The underlying scientific principles for computational analysis and evaluation of statistical data

A3. The understanding and use of natural and social science research methodologies including quantitative and qualitative data analysis, sampling, experimental design, questionnaire design, interviews, including evaluation of their applicability, limitations and advantages

A4. The wide range and interdisciplinary nature of subjects for the understanding and resolution of environmental issues

A5. The fundamental mechanisms operating in the environment and the principles underlying the tools for sustainable environmental management

A6. Practical knowledge of research techniques

A7. Management and communication skills, including problem definition, project design, decision processes, teamwork, negotiation, written and oral reports, and scientific publications

  Teaching/learning methods and strategies

  •  Acquisition of A1 to A5 is through a combination of lectures, seminars, computer-based work and coursework, both in the core course and specialist option modules (October to March).
  •  Acquisition of A6 is through a combination of lectures, fieldwork, and laboratory based computer research through the Core Course, Option Course and utilised through a full-time, individual, supervised research project (April to September).
  •  Acquisition of A7 is through a combination of lectures, laboratory and fieldwork exercises, coursework, projects and the full time research project.  Throughout the students are encouraged to undertake independent reading both to supplement and consolidate what is being taught/learnt and to broaden their individual knowledge and understanding of the subject.
  •  Assessment of the knowledge base is through a combination of unseen written examinations (A1-7), assessed coursework (A1-7), group presentations (A1-7) and the individual research project report and interim viva (A1-7).

 Skills and other Attributes

 Intellectual (thinking) skills - able to:

B1. Analyse and solve environmentally based problems using an integrated multidisciplinary approach, applying professional judgements to balance costs, accuracy, reliability, and both realistic practical and strategic options

B2. Integrate and evaluate information

B3. Formulate and test hypotheses using appropriate methodological/ experimental design and collection and correct techniques for the analysis of appropriate quantitative/ qualitative data

B4. Plan, conduct and write-up a programme of original research

 Teaching/learning methods and strategies

  • Intellectual skills for B1 are developed through the teaching and learning methods mainly from lectures and through real case studies mainly as part of coursework/group-work.
  • Through information filtering and processing, and data source validation required for problem solving coursework B2 skills are developed.
  • Similarly, through data analysis, the use of computer-based exercises and small group seminars embedded in different parts of the programme B3 skills are also developed.
  • All these contribute to the development of students ability to plan, conduct and write-up a programme of original research (B4), with experimental design and statistical skills developed in lectures, computer-based practical work, fieldwork, and team projects in the Core Course, Option Course and subsequently in the individual research project.
  • Individual, formative and summative feedback is given to students on all work produced including oral presentations. The Core Course Exams, held in December, and the Option Course Exam, held in March, provide important summative feedback on student progress.  


Practical skills – able to:

C1. Analyse and evaluate the critical aspects of an environmental problem

C2. Have a theoretical awareness to be able to select and/or practically utilise a wide range of research methodologies and analytical techniques

C3. Analyse statistical results and determine their strength and validity

C4. Prepare technical reports

C5. Give technical presentations

C6. Use the natural/ social scientific literature effectively

C7. Use computational tools and packages

 Teaching/learning methods and strategies

  • Practical skills are developed through the teaching and learning programme outlined above .
  • Practical experimental skills (C1 to C3) are developed through laboratory, computer-based exercises, field work and project work.
  • Skills C4 and C5 are taught and developed through feedback on reports written and presentations made as part of coursework assignments.
  • Skill C6 is developed through lectures, coursework reports and essays, group project exercises and the individual supervised research project.
  • Skill C7 is taught and developed through coursework exercises and project work.
  • Practical skills are assessed through laboratory experiment write-ups, field work and coursework reports and the research project dissertation.                                                                     

Transferable skills – able to:

D1. Communicate effectively through oral presentations, computer processing and presentations, written reports and natural/social scientific publications

D2. Apply statistical and modelling skills

D3. Management skills: decision-making processes, objective criteria, problem definition, project design and evaluation, risk management, teamwork and coordination, and management of negotiations

D4. Integrate and evaluate information from a variety of sources

D5. Transfer techniques and solutions from one discipline to another

D6. Use Information and Communications Technology

D7. Manage resources and time

D8. Learn independently with open-mindedness and critical enquiry

D9. Learn from the shared experiences of others

D10. Learn effectively for the purpose of continuing professional development

 Teaching/learning methods and strategies

  • Transferable skills are developed through the teaching and learning programme outlined above.
  • Skill D1 is taught through coursework and developed through feedback on reports and oral presentations.
  • Skill D2 is taught through lectures and practical work and developed, as appropriate, during the individual research project.
  • Skills D3 to D5 are developed through project work and lecture/workshop based exercises.
  • Skill D6 is developed through computer-based exercises, projects, fieldwork and other coursework activities and individual learning.
  • Skill D7 is developed throughout the course within a framework of skill lectures/ workshops, staged coursework deadlines and the split examination system.
  • Although not explicitly taught, skills D8 to D10 are encouraged and developed throughout the course, which is structured and delivered in such a way as to promote this.
  • Skill D1 is assessed through coursework, written examinations.
  • Skill D2 is assessed through coursework, written examinations and project work.
  • Skills D3 to D5 are assessed in field and team exercises.
  •  The other skills are not assessed formally.