Geology - Applied Environmental Geoscience

University College Cork

Geology - Applied Environmental Geoscience

Our MSc Applied Environmental Geoscience programme will provide you with comprehensive training in the theory and practice of environmental geoscience. Established in 2017, in consultation with industry and government agencies, our Geology programme was established by the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences (BEES) in order to address a skills shortage identified in the environmental geoscience sector in Ireland.

There is global demand for graduates with applied environmental geoscience skills and this demand is projected to grow in the coming years. This multidisciplinary vocational programme equips graduates for careers in scientific, engineering, and environmental consultancies, natural resources and mining industries, regulatory agencies, and research in Ireland and further afield. Our course content is regularly reviewed by a panel of industry advisors from a range of local and international geoscience practice areas in order to meet the ongoing needs of the geoscience sector.

Our course also offers a unique opportunity for international students to gain EU-based work experience whilst studying for their Masters.

Subjects taught

The course is delivered in two parts.

Part I comprises modules to the value of 60 credits involving field study, lectures, practical classes, seminars, and workshops.

Part II consists of a research dissertation based on independent research to the value of 30 credits (GL6019) which is completed between April and September.

Principles of Environmental Assessment and Monitoring (10 credits)
To introduce the principles and step-by-step procedures for designing a water quality monitoring programme for freshwater bodies.

Hydrogeology, Contaminated Land and Assessment (10 credits)
To teach the principles and applications of hydrogeology, contaminant hydrogeology, and contaminated land risk assessment and remediation.

Engineering Geology (10 credits)
The development of an understanding of the basic principles of soil and rock mechanics with specific reference to civil engineering design.

Environmental Planning and Regulation (5 credits)
To equip the students with the core principles, concepts and rules of Irish and EU environmental and planning regulation and how this applies to their career as an environmental geoscientist.

Offshore Environmental Geology (5 credits)
To give students experience in seabed mapping techniques and practice; seabed sampling techniques and practice; sub-seabed imaging techniques and practice; seabed monitoring techniques and practice; offshore survey planning; offshore geological data collection, evaluation, and assessment.

Applied Geophysics (5 credits)
To teach the principles, applications and provide hands-on experience in a variety of commonly used geophysical techniques to study the shallow subsurface for environmental geology.

Geoinformatics for Environmental Geology (5 credits)
To give students a solid grounding on the key concepts, principles, and theory of GIS, Remote Sensing, global satellite positioning systems, and related geoinformatics technologies, their use in the Environmental Sciences, and practical techniques of spatial data analysis.

Applied Hydrogeology Skills (5 credits)
To develop key field and numeracy skills required to undertake hydrogeological investigations.

Applied Geotechnical Skills (5 credits)
Develop field, laboratory, and data analysis skills to meet entry-level industry requirements in engineering geology.

Part II
Applied Environmental Geology research project (30 credits)
Aim: To carry out an independent research project on a topic within the field of Environmental Geology. This project will be carried out either in an industry setting or as part of a research group within the School of BEES.

Entry requirements

Applicants must hold at least a Second Class Honours Grade II in a primary honours degree (NFQ Level 8) or equivalent in a Geological/Earth Sciences/Civil Engineering/Environmental Sciences area or a related relevant degree or have reached an equivalent standard through completion of a relevant postgraduate qualification.

Application dates

Closing Date
Rolling deadline. Open until all places have been filled. Early application is advised.


1 year full-time, 2 years part-time.

Enrolment dates

Start Date: 9 September 2024

Post Course Info

Career Prospects
Our MSc-qualified environmental geoscience graduates are in high demand for technical roles in both the public and private sectors at home and abroad. In the first year of the programme, over 90% of our participants were in full-time employment or research related to their MSc studies within three months of completing Part II. In many cases, students were offered employment by their industry placement company.

Environmental geoscientists presenting a range of specialist and transferable skills are readily employed by civil engineering and environmental consultancies as well as geoscience service providers, natural resource exploration and management companies, local authorities, regulatory and government bodies. Day-to-day project work might include but is not limited to some of the following:
- Aggregate mapping and wind resource development on the continental shelf
- Assessing and managing environmental risks posed by contaminated land
- Assessing the suitability of foundation design in hazardous geological environments
- Environmental impact assessment and reporting
- Supervision of geotechnical site investigations for major infrastructure projects
- Water quality monitoring and remediation at licensed industrial facilities

Some students may wish to use the MSc programme to acquire additional practical skills prior to embarking on a research career leading to a PhD. For students interested in research, the programme offers comprehensive training in a broad set of transferable skills required for independent geoscience field research.

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Degree - Masters (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Full time,Part time,Daytime

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