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MSc-PgDip-PgCert Environmental Forensics

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  • Entry requirements
    ntry Requirements MSc: At least a second-class Honours degree from a UK University (or equivalent) in any discipline; two supportive academic references; and/or appropriate professional experience or achievements. PgDip: A wider range of qualifications will be considered by the course leader. In all cases, for candidates whose first language is not English, minimum standards of written and spoken English are a TOEFL score of 600, TOEFL internet based test of 100, TOEFL computer based test of 250 or an IELTS score of 6.5.
  • Academic Title
    MSc/PgDip/PgCert Environmental Forensics
  • Course description
    Collaboration between the Department of Civil Engineering and the Centre for Forensic Science, Dept of Pure and Applied Chemistry

    This unique MSc in Environmental Forensics, the first of its kind in the UK, harnesses Strathclyde's world-leading expertise in environmental forensics. The course is the result of a close collaboration between the Department of Civil Engineering and the Centre for Forensic Science (from the Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry) - the UK's most respected Forensic Science research and education centre - with input from the Strathclyde law school.

    According to the International Society of Environmental Forensics: 'Environmental Forensics has grown out of the need for a platform to present scientific investigations that address environmental contamination subjected to law, public debate, or formal argumentation, as well as the evaluation of the basic science that serves as underpinnings to those activities'. This MSc addresses these needs.

    The MSc in Environmental Forensics is available full-time (1 year) and part-time (2 or 3 years), and is offered to students from all disciplinary backgrounds and/or employment situations.

    The Programme and its International Context

    Companies are increasingly liable for environmental damage that they have caused and this has had a powerful effect in curtailing new brownfield redevelopment and major civil engineering infrastructure projects. This has been largely driven by the new European Directives that are of concern to many engineering firms where accrued environmental liabilities could reach 60% of annual profits (among publicly traded firms publishing these figures).

    In the UK, environmental liabilities have generally been the remit of regulators through enforcement of environmental legislation (e.g. SEPA, the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, or the Environment Agency for England and Wales) and through negotiation between parties and insurers (e.g. brownfield redevelopment). The current 'risk-based' approach by the regulator allows for a pragmatic approach to environmental remediation, however this approach falls short in providing for a convincing 'weight of evidence' needed for legal decisions when risk and responsibility must be partitioned. Thus, over the past few years, the new area of Environmental Forensics has emerged.

    Professor Robert Kalin, the course manager for this MSc, is a leading international figure in Environmental Forensics. This course will develop students' ability to make sound judgement within a legal context, in relation to the impact of human activity on the environment.

    Programme Structure

    The Diploma and MSc courses run concurrently, involving a curriculum of six core modules (totalling 90 credits) and a range of optional modules (minimum of 30 credits). Each module is taught two to three hours per week over eight to 12 weeks. In addition, MSc students undertake a dissertation (60 credits). Progress to the MSc is dependent on performance in the instructional modules.

    For part-time study the modules can be taken over two years (attending classes typically one day per week) with the dissertation completed in years two or three. In addition to the dissertation topics proposed by course leaders and industrial partners, students may propose topics themselves that can be of relevance to their employer.

    Core Modules

    Dept of Civil Engineering:

        * Site Investigation and Risk Assessment
        * Fundamentals of Environmental Forensics
        * Recycling Urban Land

    Centre for Forensic Science, Dept of Pure and Applied Chemistry:

        * Environmental Chemical Analysis and Intro to Research Methods
        * Essentials of Forensic Science

    Strathclyde Law School:

        * UK and EU Environmental Law

    Optional Modules
    (All taught by Civil Engineering - not all classes may be offered each year)

        * Atmospheric Pollution Impact Assessment
        * Waste Management and Landfill Design
        * Hydrogeology
        * Pollution and Rehabilitation of Degraded Ecosystems
        * Spatial Query and Analysis using GIS

    Normal course length

    MSc: 12 months full-time; 24 months part-time
    PgDip: 9 months full-time; 18 months part-time
    PgCert: 6 months full-time; 12 months part-time

    Career Prospects

    As this is the first MSc in Environmental Forensics in the UK, the career prospects of graduates are excellent. The course has been designed so that people from industry can complete the MSc in part-time mode over 2-3 years.

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