This masters-level degree will enable you to study the physics, chemistry and biology of the Earth’s systems, and has a strong practical element.
It has a particular emphasis on soil and water quality, pollution and management, although a vast range of optional modules will allow you to also pursue your own interests. You will learn the essential skills needed by today’s professional environmental scientists and have the chance to experience life in another country by spending a term abroad during your final year.
Our staff are actively engaged in research and will tailor their teaching to reflect changing trends and emerging technologies within the sector. You will also benefit from small class sizes, enabling staff to support you better through your studies.
Fieldwork is a major part of this degree, and you will benefit from regular local trips and longer residential visits. The University of Reading’s award-winning campus is home to over a thousand different animal species and is extremely useful for learning fieldwork skills. It offers multiple habitats for study, including lakes, hay meadows and woodlands, and allows you to step straight from the classroom to the field. Meanwhile, the University's large farms provide access to hedgerow, marshland and the Thames.
During the first year you will visit Somerset to study topics such as flooding, geology and soil formation. In your second year you will be able to visit Almeria in Spain, which is the driest area in mainland Europe. Here you will visit a solar research station and examples of greenhouse horticulture, and investigate issues such as pollution and water supply. In the third year there is an optional Mediterranean bio-geography field trip.
Furthermore, you will have the option to work as an environmental consultant for a real client. You will be assigned a stretch of the River Loddon, and will carry out assessments, liaise with key stakeholders, and report your findings to the Environment Agency.
The course is structured to enable you to pursue your own interests and even allows you to study modules from other subjects, such as biological sciences or meteorology. During the third and final years you will study masters-level modules on topics such as contaminated land management, quantitative data analysis and soil microbiology.
During your final year you will complete an independent project on a topic of your choice. You may have the chance to run it in conjunction with an outside society and gain experience of completing research for a major organisation. In the past, students have worked alongside Natural England and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. There may also be the chance to spend a term studying abroad in areas such as Svalbard and Rhode Island.
Placement - You can choose to carry out a short placement, which will involve working on a small project for a local company or organisations. This will provide you with valuable experience of professional work, as well as enabling you to develop your research, survey, data analysis and presentation skills. Our department has a dedicated member of staff in charge of placements, who can advise and support you.