Geology - Applied Environmental Geoscience

University College Cork

Geology - Applied Environmental Geoscience

Course Outline
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.

Course Practicalities
The course is made up of lectures, practical work, seminars, and 20 days in the field. In addition, the students spend five months investigating their industry-based research topic. The course employs continuous assessment, practical reports, essays, seminars, field reports and in-class tests as the main assessment methods along with the production of the final dissertation.

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.

You can find more information in our University Calendar (MSc Applied Environmental Geoscience).


Further details on the modules listed above can be found in our Book of Modules. Any modules listed above are indicative of the current set of modules for this course but are subject to change from year to year.

University Calendar

You can find the full academic content for the current year of any given course in our University Calendar.

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.
International Master's Pathway – Higher Diploma in Academic Discourse and Skills

There is an alternative entry route for international applicants via the International Master's Pathway (IMP) – Higher Diploma in Academic Discourse and Skills (NFQ, Level 8). See the IMP page for more information.

English Language Requirements
Applicants that are non-native speakers of the English language must meet the university-approved English language requirements. Please visit our PG English Language Requirements page for more information.

For applicants with qualifications completed outside of Ireland
Applicants must meet the required entry academic grade, equivalent to Irish requirements. For more information see our Qualification Comparison page.

International/Non-EU Applicants
For full details of the non-EU application procedure visit our how to apply pages for international students.

In UCC, we use the term programme and course interchangeably to describe what a person has registered to study in UCC and its constituent colleges, schools, and departments.

Note that not all courses are open to international/non-EU applicants, please check the fact file above. For more information contact the International Office.

Application dates

The closing date for non-EU applications is 30 June 2023

How Do I Apply
1. Check Dates: Check the opening and closing dates for the application process in the fact file boxes at the top of the page.

For Irish and EU applicants we operate a rounds system and you can check the rounds closing dates here.
Note that not all our programmes are subject to the rounds system so check the opening and closing dates for your specific programme in the fact file boxes above.

2. Gather Documents: Scanned copies of supporting documents have to be uploaded to the UCC online application portal and include:

Original qualification documents listed on your application including transcripts of results from institutions other than UCC.
Any supplementary items requested for your course if required.

3. Apply Online: Apply online via the UCC online application portal. Note the majority of our courses have a non-refundable €50 application fee.

Any questions? Use our web enquiry form to contact us.


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

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
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  • Qualifications

    Degree - Masters (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Full time,Part time,Daytime

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