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Environmental Science - Pollution and Monitoring MSc

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  • Objectives
    This course provides a rigorous academic treatment of the fundamental scientific principles and practice of assessing and controlling the extent of environmental damage by Man’s activities. The course emphasises the processes and techniques related to the reduction of emissions to air, land and water, and the effects of pollution. It is designed to allow those whose career choice lies in fields such as environmental science, health protection and regulatory processes, to acquire a broad based knowledge of the concepts involved. The course is vocational and provides effective entry into all professions related to environmental pollution assessment and control.
  • Entry requirements
    Entry Requirements Normally at least a second class honours degree or equivalent in a relevant discipline eg Environmental Science; Chemistry; Biological Science; Geography; Environmental Health. Applicants with appropriate experience and other qualifications will be considered.
  • Academic Title
    Environmental Science - Pollution and Monitoring MSc
  • Course description
    Course Summary

    This MSc provides the skills and knowledge to carry out environmental sampling methodology and scientific analysis. You will also gain an understanding of the causes and effects of pollution in all media and an appreciation of a range of environmental issues. Specialising in monitoring and control, the student will gain knowledge of the range of analytical techniques that can be used to assess pollutant levels in all media and gain first hand experience of pollution measurement and control procedures applied in industry.

    This MSc is suitable for graduates or those with experience who wish to develop a career in practical environmental monitoring and control for industry and public bodies using applied environmental science.

    Resources and Society

    Aims:

        * To develop students’ understanding of the complex interactions of societies and their environments, from the perspective of those societies; particularly in relation to resource utilisation issues.
        * To develop a critical awareness of how these interactions are unevenly experienced.

    Topics:

       1. Interpreting and theorising the environment:
          Depending on how environmental problems are theorised, different solutions tend to be proposed. This section will expose students to different approaches to environmental problems in order that they can understand the fundamental ideologies which underpin arguments which are often put forward as ideologically ‘neutral’

       2. Resource Use and Waste:
          Many of the environmental problems facing society are a direct result of natural resources exploitation. In particular, the consumption of non-renewable energy resources is thought to be contributing to global climate change and local environmental degradation. The increasing scarcity of clean drinking water and arable agricultural land are related to resource utilisation patterns.

       3. Globalisation:
          The 21st century is characterised by a global economy (including global trade, hyper mobility of capital flows and investment) high speed information flows, international migration (from the high skilled beneficiaries of the global knowledge economy to those victimised by war and, increasingly, environmental disaster) and international governance. In order to understand the nature of social/environment interactions it is critical to understand the nature of the society, which both produces and experiences environmental problems.

       4. Environmental Justice:
          It is important to understand how societies distribute environmental problems (either intentionally, or as a by-product of existing uneven structures) and this element of the module will introduce students to the concepts of vulnerability and environmental justice by working through examples of mal-distributions.


       5. Environmental legislation:
          This takes place at a number of scales and students will examine environmental legislation at the international, European, national, regional and local scale. They will consider conflicts between the scales and between different stakeholders.Resources and Society

    Ecosystem Function

    Aims:

        * To provide a solid grounding in ecological principles, their application to biodiversity and an appreciation of the influence of human activities on these processes.

    Topics:

        * Ecological Principles
        * Earth systems and their interactions
        * Ecological energetics and Nutrient cycles
        * Factors influencing Biodiversity
        * The Biogeography of Earth
        * Biological stability, homeostasis and sustainability
        * The Gaia hypothesis
        * How and What should we conserve?
        * Biological Extinctions in earth history, present and future
        * Is development sustainable

    Environmental Change

    Aims:

        *  To understand the processes which cause environmental change, how they are measured, how future change is predicted and how to interpret trajectories in elements of ecosystems and human health. Interactions between human impact and the environment will be examined.

    Topics:

       1. Introduction: brief overview of the relationship between climate and biophysical and social systems. Introduction to global networks (e.g. IGBP) and agreements (e.g. Kyoto).

       2. The instrumental record of climate and what it reveals about variability and reliability of climate. Coverage of methods and causes of recent climate variability.

       3. Past global changes: methods, reliability, global data sets and case studies. What these reveal for the full range of climate variability and on driving forces behind climate change. Selected case studies.

       4. Past climates and societal responses. Case studies.

       5. Models and future climates. Types of models, testing models, reliability and uncertainty. Global networks and IPCC selected regional scenarios.

       6. Future impacts on biophysical systems, agriculture, human health, resources, energy usage. Case studies and directed project work.

       7. Rapid change caused by natural hazard processes: earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides, hurricanes, etc.
       8. 

    Environmental Hazard and Risk

    Aims:

        * To address various aspects of the relationship between hazard and risk, how risk is perceived and how government/industry/individuals assess risk in relation to natural, anthropogenic and occupational hazards in our environment.

    Topics:

        * Conceptualising Hazard and Risk
              o Probability and the concept of risk
              o The Risk management cycle: risk assessment frameworks
              o Human versus Environmental Risk Assessment
              o Exposure characterisation: environmental transport and fate of chemicals
              o Hazard characterisation: toxicity endpoints from gene to community
              o Dose-response profiling: low dose effects and non-monotonic dose response relationships
              o Point-deterministic and probabilistic risk assessment procedures
        * Ecotoxicology
              o An introduction to environmental toxicology
              o Toxic substances in the aquatic environment
              o Aquatic toxicity testing in the laboratory
              o Field studies in aquatic toxicity
              o Bioaccumulation and Bioavailability
              o Metabolism of Pollutants
              o Structure-Activity Relationships
              o A Specific Example: oestrogenic chemicals in the aquatic environment and their effects on fish
              o Single chemical versus mixture toxicity: modelling mixture effects
              o Monitoring of the Aquatic Environment
        * Risk Perception and Management
              o The precautionary principle: late lessons from early signs
              o Risk management and risk communication
              o Perception of risk and stigma: socio-political influences on risk assessment

    Integrated Pollution

    Aims:

        * To study the fundamental scientific aspects of environmental pollution with emphasis on an integrated approach to environmental pollution and control.
        * To study the environmental and technological issues in the management and control of water, air and land pollution.

    Topics:

        * Water Pollution;
        * Groundwater Pollution;
        * Marine Pollution;
        * Atmospheric Pollution;
        * Bioindicators;
        * Organics in the Environment;
        * Heavy Metals in the Environment;
        * Pollution Abatement Technologies;
        * Waste Handling & Treatment;
        * Trade / Industrial Effluent Treatment;
        * Municipal Wastewater (Sewage) Treatment;
        * Sludge Management;
        * Contaminated Soil;
        * Sediment Management.

    Environmental Monitoring

    Aims:

        *  To learn the key aspects of sampling techniques in acquiring representative samples of air, soil and water for environmental monitoring.
        * To learn the key analytical techniques and develop the practical skills in monitoring of environmental pollution.
        * To study the practical methods for the investigation of air, soil and water quality.

    Topics:

        * Sampling Techniques;
        * Analytical Techniques for Environmental Monitoring;
        * Practical Experiments;
        * Introduction to Statistical Methods;
        * Data Handling & Retrieval;
        * Site Visits;
        * Report Writing

    Dissertation

    Recent examples of dissertations by students taking this course include:

        * History of pollution in Lake Sapanca, Turkey;
        * The use of ionic liquids for treatment of solid and liquid wastes.

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