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Asunto:[CeHuNews] 94/03 - Posgrades at Brunel University
Fecha:Domingo, 25 de Mayo, 2003  17:37:27 (-0300)
Autor:Humboldt <humboldt>

CeHuNews 94/03

  Venue: Newton Room, Refectory, Uxbridge Campus



Our forthcoming Open Day is an excellent opportunity for you to visit us, meet our staff and students, and see the University for yourself! We want to make sure you make the most of your visit, so the event has been carefully planned to help you find out all you need to know about the University and the courses that interest you.

The event will be held at our Uxbridge campus and has been designed so that you can drop in any time between 3.30pm and 8pm.

What's there?
  • Course Forum with stands from a wide range of departments
  • Tours of the campus by current students
  • Seminars on Postgraduate issues including finance and accommodation
  • Student Union Representatives
    - for advice and information on what the SU can offer.
  • Course Tutors will be on site to help answer your questions

Who's There?
  • Business & Management
  • Careers Service
  • Centre for Environmental Research
  • Design
  • Economics & Finance
  • Education
  • Electronic & Computer Engineering
  • English
  • Geography & Earth Sciences
  • Health & Social Care
  • Human Sciences
  • Information Systems and Computing
  • Law
  • Mathematical Sciences
  • School of International Studies
  • Sport Sciences
  • Student Union
  • Systems Engineering
  • The Graduate School



MSc in Environmental Hazards and Risk

Starting Autumn 2003-4

A taught Masters course that examines the physical actions of environmental hazards and the social, economic and cultural dimensions of their risk.

  • Available as full-time (1 year) or part-time (2.5 years)
  • Research-led training
  • A gateway to research and employment in the field of hazards and risk

Modules include:

  • Hazards in the physical environment
  • Geography of hazards and risk
  • Researching environmental hazards
  • Hazards field course
  • Environmental catastrophes and responses
  • Advanced research methods
MSc in Environmental Change


Why Environmental Change?

The changes that have occurred in the Earth's natural and social systems in the last two hundred years have been dramatic. Although it is generally accepted that many environments change as a result of natural processes, there is now a growing realisation that the actions of society are having a profound effect on the Earth's systems. More importantly, many scientists and politicians now believe that many of the more recent changes may be detrimental to society and the Earth's natural environments.

Why Social & Physical aspects?

Environmental issues such as global warming, acid rain, water pollution and famine have been the focus of international debate, for example at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development. These issues highlight two important factors: that environmental problems can only be tackled by understanding both their human and natural aspects and that there is a growing need for increased training and awareness in environmental issues across a wide spectrum of society.

The course

This course aims to provide students with a greater understanding of these environmental issues by considering them from both a social and physical perspective. The course will focus on environmental change. It will provide an integrated approach to this change by concentrating on contemporary environmental issues where interactions between society and the environment have produced complex environmental responses.

By the end of the course students should:

  • be fully aware of the complexity of environmental issues;
  • be in a position to evaluate and critically assess developments within this field;
  • have a thorough grounding in research methods which may then be utilised by those wishing to advance their studies (e.g. to MPhil/PhD);
  • have had advanced training in a variety of techniques used to monitor and manage change in natural and social environments;

The MSc in Environmental Change offers students who are currently working in the environmental field an opportunity to update and refine their vocational skills and knowledge. Other students may wish to use the course to switch careers and the MSc is an effective conversion course for those without a formal background in Environmental Science/Studies, Geography or Earth Sciences.

Past students have come from a wide variety of backgrounds, for example:

  • planning
  • law
  • exploration geology
  • teaching
  • environmental consultancy
  • museum work
  • health promotion
  • teaching
  • banking
  • hydrology
  • management
  • consultancy

Other students have entered with degrees in subjects such as English, History and American Studies, and a concern for and interest in the environment. A few students have no degree but significant relevant experience in the environment field and we are eager to encourage similar students to apply.

The Nature of the Course

The MSc is currently a part-time, two year, evening course taught by academic staff of the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences. Teaching takes place on Tuesday evenings between 6pm and 9.30pm. In addition to the independent fieldwork each student undertakes for their dissertation, there will be one weekend field trip each autumn. We anticipate that between 15 and 20 students will register for the MSc and they will join a thriving post-graduate research community in the department which currently has six full time PhD students and a further four part time. Each MSc student will be allocated a personal tutor who will provide general advice and support throughout the course. For students' independent research, academic advisers with expertise in the relevant research area will be allocated.

The Structure of the Course

The course consists of a number of modules which fall into three categories:

  • Core modules (GY5001, GY5002, GY5005 and GY5008);
  • The dissertation (GY5009);
  • Option modules (the rest).

Each module except the dissertation lasts for one Semester and is assessed at the end of the semester in which it is taught. Students take one CORE module and one OPTION module each semester. At the end of Year 1, students who have passed two core and two option modules can qualify for a Postgraduate Certificate. This is a nationally recognised level of achievement and is generally taken by students who are unable to study for a second year (for example, moving away from the area). A further intermediate award of Postgraduate Diploma is available to students who pass 4 core modules and 3 option modules, but who decide not to pursue the dissertation. Students who average 50% overall, having taken 4 core and 3 optional modules, will be invited to undertake a dissertation which, on successful completion, will entitle them to the degree of MSc. All coursework is assessed by coursework with the exception of GY5001 and the modules offered by the Centre for Environmental Research, which combine coursework and exam. Semesters last for 15 weeks and run from October to January and from February to May.

Semester One

All students must complete GY5001 and one optional module. The core module provides an introduction to environmental issues, whilst the option modules provide an integrated approach to the study of environmental change. There is also a fieldtrip over a weekend in October each year, where new students get to know each other and those in preceding years of the course.

GY5001: Environmental Perspectives (15 credits)
This aims to introduce students to the complexity of environmental issues via a case study and a variety of perspectives that may be adopted in studies of environmental change, including the scientific method, and a number of ecologically centred perspectives - radical, feminist, deep green, etc. The development of environmentalism is analysed, which provides the context for these perspectives.
GY5014: Environmental Dynamics (15 credits).
The module examines the ways in which environmental systems can change in response to external stimuli and internal processes, often in a dynamic and abrupt way. The course builds on the considerable research strengths of the Department in the field of environmental change and catastrophes.
GY5007: Environmental Degradation (15 credits)
Over the last few years there has been a growing body of scientific evidence which suggests that society has initiated changes in the natural environment at local to global scales over a variety of timescales, ranging from the last few years and decades to many thousands of years. Here, such changes will be considered through a number of case studies. The impact of society on natural environments will be assessed and the consequences this may have on society itself will be evaluated. Of particular interest is the rate at which changes take place and how the resulting problems may be overcome.

OR One from the following, which are available from the Centre for Environmental Research and are only available in the daytime.

CH5012: Monitoring and Control (15 credits).
This module develops the theory of environmental monitoring and practical skills in environmental monitoring and control.
CH5062: Environmental Legislation (15 credits).
This introduces legislation at the UK and EU scales.
CH5041: Waste and Land Management (15 credits).
This considers environmental, technical and legislative issues in the management and disposal of solid, liquid and gaseous waste and the management of contaminated land.

Semester Two All students must complete GY5002 and one optional module.

GY5002:Monitoring Environmental Change (15 credits)
This module provides students with an understanding of theoretical and practical experience of investigating environmental change. It focuses on current techniques of measuring and interpreting change from local to global scales. Equipment commonplace in academic and industrial environments is used in the evaluation and management of resources, landscape and natural hazards.
GY5003:Changing Attitudes to the Environment: behaviour and policy dimensions (15 credits).
This module considers the changes in attitudes and behaviour of individuals, institutions and society in general. Since behaviour is constrained by legal frameworks, the response of various levels of government to environmental issues will be examined and assessed coursework will enable students to explore the relationship between government, NGOs, business, the media and other pressure groups and the implications for this with regard to changing attitudes and behaviour.
GY5013:Applied Environmental Research (15 credits)
This enables students working in a related area (or willing to establish a placement) to apply their learning in the field/placement. The practical work will be supported by seminar discussions and tutorials.

OR One from the following, which are available from the Centre for Environmental Research and are only available in the daytime

CH5022:Environmental Management (15 credits).
This aims to introduce students to project management and environmental management techniques.
CH5031:Environmental Toxicology (15 credits).
This investigates the effects of environmental pollution on humans, animals and plants.
CH5032:Energy Use and Resource Management (15 credits).
This identifies environmental, legislative and economic issues in the use and management of energy and other resources.

Summer Vacation

 During the vacation students will be expected to undertake a double weighted module which will draw together the theoretical debates and perspectives which they have been introduced to during the first two semesters. The core module, GY5005, will permit students to extend their studies into an area of their particular interest, using documentary research, and will provide an intermediate step towards the preparation of the Masters dissertation. The module will be supported by a number of tutorials. GY5005:Researching Environmental Change (30 credits)

Semester Three

 One core module on Research techniques (GY5008) must be taken along with one optional module.

GY5008:Evaluating Advanced Research Methods (15 credits)
The module introduces and consolidates a range of research techniques and approaches considered to be central to environmental enquiry in general, but also acts as a preparation for the MSc dissertation.
GY5006:Water in the UK (15 credits)
This module provides an integrated view of water within the UK, highlighting environmental concerns, the effects of climatic change, groundwater resources, water quality and pollution and the economic and political factors influencing its supply.
GY5010:Environmental Disasters (15 credits)
An overview of environmental disasters is presented, considering the terrestrial realm, the atmospheric realm and the realm of water. In some cases, such as vulcanism, the disasters span a number of realms and produce a range of impacts. A systematic approach using case studies will be utilised to examine the physical origin and evaluation of disasters, their socio-economic impact and possible mitigation.
GY5011:Geographical Information Systems (15 credits)
This module is taken by distance learning and attendance is not required apart from an introductory session, a mid course progress monitoring session and an assignment monitoring session towards the end of the module. For this module a distance learning package introduces the skills and conceptual basis of Geographical Information Systems (GIS). The main parts of the package are: 1. Academic - the main concepts of GIS and an introduction to the literature; 2. Practical - an introduction to the use of Idrisi, a GIS package; 3. A feedback manual with answers to questions and extended discussion. OR: One from the following, which are available from the Centre for Environmental Research and are only available in the daytime.
CH5012:Monitoring and Control (15 credits).
This develops the theory of environmental monitoring and practical skills in environmental monitoring and control.
CH5062:Environmental Legislation (15 credits).
This introduces legislation at the UK and EU scales.
CH5041:Waste and Land Management (15 credits)
This considers environmental, technical and legislative issues in the management and disposal of solid, liquid and gaseous waste and the management of contaminated land.

Semester Four

The final part of the MSc requires students to undertake a dissertation (GY5009) which is an extended, in-depth, independent piece of research on an aspect of environmental change. Students will identify their area of interest in the previous module, GY5008, and will, on the basis of this, be allocated an academic supervisor. Tutorial support is arranged individually between the student and his/her supervisor. The final dissertation should be between 15000 and 20,000 words long and should be submitted not before August 2000 but not later than January 2001. (60 credits.)

Previous subjects researched have included:

  • Access to Environmental Information in Romania.
  • Biological Monitoring of Air Quality in South Hampshire.
  • Exploration of the potential to reduce commuting by private car (using GIS).
  • Constraints and factors influencing the development of sustainable environmental strategies by the waste management industry.
  • Institutional impediments to the development of a corporate approach to Local Agenda 21 in local government.
  • A study of childrens' school travel
  • Traffic congestion and respiratory disease along main roads (using GIS).
  • An Environmental Impact Assessment of onshore hydrocarbon exploration in Dorset.
  • An evaluation of the effects of changes in sea level and climate change in Pevensey Bay.
  • Evaluating the use of environmental teaching aids in primary schools (with WWF-UK).
  • Impacts of oil production in the Niger Delta, Nigeria

Entrance Requirements

Candidates for registration directly to the MSc should obtain, by the commencement of the course, one of the following:

  • An Honours degree from a recognised institution in an appropriate subject(s), (e.g. Archaeology, Earth Science, Ecology, Environmental Science/Studies, Geography, Geology, Meteorology, Soil Science).
  • An Honours degree from a recognised institution in another subject and evidence of a commitment to studying environmental issues.
  • Relevant scholarship, research or professional experience (such as in a consultancy, government office or NGO).
  • A postgraduate diploma within the subject areas listed above. Relevant scholarship, research or professional experience (such as in a consultancy, government office or NGO).


Students with appropriate experience may request exemption from some of the modules. Such requests will be considered by the Course Exemptions Board on an individual basis and in the light of experience and previous training of the applicant.

Any applicant seeking exemption will be asked to present written evidence in support of their claim. In addition, the modules are offered as individual courses for those interested in studying parts of the course. Those interested in taking such courses as an associate student should contact the Course Director for further details.

Tuition Fees

In formation on tuition fees can be found here.  Non UK/EU students should read the University's Guide for International Students and may wish to consult the British Council's web site. Additional information for non UK/EU students can be obtained from Brunel's International Student Office.

Individual modules may be taken by associate students at a cost of £400 per module.

Application Procedures

Interested applicants should complete and return the application form to the Course Director. All applicants will normally be interviewed within one month of receipt of the application form and will be notified of any decision regarding admission within two months of their application, although this may be longer if referees delay sending their references.

For admissions details or any other queries please contact the Course Director or Departmental Secretary:

Course Director:

Dr Philip Collins
Department of Geography and Earth Sciences
Brunel University
Middlesex UB8 3PH, UK

Tel: 01895 274000

Fax: 01895 203217


Departmental Secretary:

Genevieve Dewez
Address, Telephone and Fax as above.


MSc Environment & Culture 


Start Date (subject to final approval): SEPTEMBER 2003

The World Summit on Sustainable Development in August 2002 demonstrated, through its media coverage in the UK and elsewhere, that there is considerable interest in environmental issues and a demand for more and better understanding. Increasingly, through international agreements and legislation at the European and national level, there is a need for all organisations to understand their impact on the environment and this requires personnel with such an understanding. Areas not commonly associated with the study of environmental issues (such as history, cultural studies, literature) can offer new and alternative ways of understanding environmental change, while subjects more traditionally associated with the study of the environment (geography, biology, law, sociology) are recognising the need to cross disciplinary boundaries in order to fully understand the relationship between nature and society. Consequently, this course offers professionals in all areas the opportunity to gain a holistic, well-rounded understanding of environmental issues.

Environmental Issues are the result of interactions between social and natural systems and have far reaching effects on our societies, cultures and landscapes. The 21st Century has been hailed by a number of critical thinkers as the century that will be dominated by environmental issues and if these are to be understood, they cannot remain just the preserve of the Environmental Sciences.

This interdisciplinary degree takes as its organising principle the necessity for a both an inter -disciplinary and holistic appreciation of environmental issues across a range of social, cultural and physical systems. It aims to equip students to do this through studying the environment and its use/abuse from a range of different disciplinary perspectives (e.g. Politics, History, American Studies, Sociology, Geography, Biology, Environmental Science, English) and through applied research.

There are a number of researchers and research teams at Brunel University working on environmental related projects of international standing. This interdisciplinary course will give Masters students an opportunity to be exposed to this cutting edge research.

This course is appropriate for both Humanities and Social Sciences graduates who wish to specialise in the environment, and Science graduates who wish to broaden their approach to studying the environment by adding humanistic, cultural and social science insights to their studies. We believe that this will enable both groups to be able to relate more to environmental social and policy structures. This holistic approach to studying the environment, from a range of disciplinary perspectives enables those who have become interested in the environment from a work or personal perspective, to understand this more thoroughly.

Programme aims:

  • To provoke students to think about the environment and environmental issues in an holistic and interdisciplinary way.
  • To enable students to be able to critically articulate environmental issues within a cultural framework.
  • To facilitate an understanding of the relationship between nature/environment and culture.
  • To prepare students to address environmental issues, policy and practice in their professional and civic life in a well informed and coherent way.

Programme learning outcomes:

  • A critical understanding of the relationship between nature/environment and culture.
  • An appreciation of the holistic nature of environmental issues.
  • Facility in interdisciplinary research.
  • Critical awareness of several areas of environmental knowledge and an ability to place this in a wider context.
  • Critical reflection of experience of working on an environmentally linked project with an organisation external to the University.
  • Identification of a research area, and ability to collect and critically analyse data in relation to this.

Brief Programme Outline

Full Time

Semester 1 Semester 2 Summer
Environment & Culture


Applied Environmental Research




Research Methods





Option 1* 

(from list below) 20cr

Option* 3



Part Time

Year One    
Semester 1 Semester 2 Summer
Environment & Culture Option* 2 Applied Environmental Research
Option* 1 Option* 3  
Year 2    
Applied Environmental Research* (cont’d) Dissertation Dissertation

(minimum submission date)

Research Methods    
Year 3    

(normal submission date)


Indicative Options:

Group 1: Social Sciences & Humanities
Minimum of one, maximum of two

  • Sociology of Risk and the Environment
  • Environmental Politics
  • Globalisation
  • Reproductive Issues
  • Environmentalism and American Culture

Group 2: Environmental Sciences I
Maximum of one

Group 3: Environment Sciences II
Modules from the
Centre for Environmental Research:

  • Monitoring & Control
  • Integrated Pollution
  • Environmental Management
  • Environmental toxicology
  • Waste and Land Management
  • Environmental Legislation

Admissions policy:

Normally, the minimum expected will be either:

First good degree (2ii, 2i, 1st)
Masters degree
Appropriate experience in paid/voluntary work

For further information, contact the Department of Geography & Earth Sciences







Brunel University, Uxbridge, Middlesex UB8 3PH, United Kingdom
Telephone: (01895) 274000 (UK); +44 1895 274000 (International)


© Brunel University 2002