Environmental Management with Geographic Information Systems - PgDip/MSc
This innovative course combines teaching of Environmental Management techniques with skills in Geographic Information Systems (GIS).Take a look
This innovative course combines teaching of Environmental Management techniques with skills in Geographic Information Systems (GIS).
The PgDip/MSc programme in Environmental Management with GIS aims to provide an advanced education in Environmental Management. It provides specialist training in Environmental Impact Assessment, Biodiversity Management, Pollution Monitoring and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). The course aims to teach students the principles and practice of environmental management, the contribution of empirical and case study scientific research, and the manipulation and analysis of spatial environmental data.
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About this course
In this section
This course aims to teach how environmental management and data handling tools, such as impact assessment, site conservation planning, environmental management systems, ecological monitoring and GIS are applied in making knowledge based decisions on managing the environment. This is considered in the context of environmental legislative/policy frameworks within which industry, government and voluntary bodies work.
Specific objectives are to:
- Understand the importance of evidence-based approach to environmental policy and strategic decision-making
- Apply quantitative techniques to assess the effects of environmental management
- Use GIS as a framework for collating, manipulating and managing spatial data relating to the environment
- Produce environmental impact statements and advise on implementing environmental management systems
- Apply structured planning principles to site biodiversity management and ecosystem restoration
- Monitor pollution and assess its environmental effects.
Students will be provided with a student copy of Esri ArcGIS software free of charge.
To take this course, you will need access to a computer with a fast internet connection. The course uses the Blackboard learning environment and the modules are delivered using online lectures, including practical and tutorial material. Students and staff interact via email, discussion boards and online chat. You will find that this course is much more flexible than traditional on-campus university courses as you can study using your own computer and the internet, at your own pace, any place and any time (within given timeframes).
Fully online - part-time by distance learning. You do not need to visit Ulster at any stage to successfully complete this course.
The Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip) Environmental Management with GIS and the Master of Science (MSc) Environmental Management with GIS are linked courses. You must successfully complete the PgDip (120 credit points) before transferring to the MSc (a further 60 credit points), i.e.to get the full MSc you complete 180 credit points in total.
The five taught modules which constitute the Postgraduate Diploma are taken over two years (4 semesters). Modules are available on a two year rotational basis so the order in which they are studied is dependent upon when you start the course.
For the MSc an additional two semesters are required to complete the project module i.e. three years in total part-time (6 semesters).
- September 2019
- January 2020
Teaching, Learning and Assessment
The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.
Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:
- the relevant generic national Qualification Descriptor
- the applicable Subject Benchmark Statement
- the requirements of any professional, regulatory, statutory and accrediting bodies.
Attendance and Independent Study
As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until close to the start date and may be subject to some change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days and periods of attendance will be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.
Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10- or 20-credit modules (more usually 20) and postgraduate course typically 15- or 30-credit modules.
The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.
Postgraduate Master’s courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.
Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.
Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be a combination of examination and coursework but may also be only one of these methods. Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes. You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessment. The precise assessment will depend on the module and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification and the assessment timetable. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Normally, a module will have 4 learning outcomes, and no more than 2 items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised.
Calculation of the Final Award
The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6, (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).
Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Master’s degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.
All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study. In Master’s degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.
Assessment is 100% by course work with no sessional examinations. There is a mixture of methods including practical reports, problem analysis, projects, literature reviews and essays, class tests, group work and a research project.
Students are able to use the University's extensive online resources of electronic journals, books and databases.
The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 59% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.
Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (25%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (18%) or Lecturers (57%).
We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic staff (81%) are accredited fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.
The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise. The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff. This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.
Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.
Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.
Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.
Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.
In this section
Principles of GIS
This module introduces the theory and practice of Geographic Information Systems, and is intended to provide an understanding of the breadth of potential GIS applications and to equip students with key concepts and skills relating to the input, management, manipulation, analysis and output of spatial data. Lecture-based teaching of key concepts is reinforced by linked practical exercises which allow students to develop competence in ESRI's ArcGIS package. The module assumes no prior knowledge or experience of GIS.
Spatial Data Management
This module builds on the knowledge and practical skills gained in EGM711 to provide students with further experience in the acquisition, manipulation and analysis of spatial data. Methods for generating and collecting digital spatial data from primary and secondary sources are considered, and data processing, selection, integration and analysis extensively practiced. Lecture and practical sessions include digitising, geo-registration, GPS, accessing and using secondary sources, spatial join and overlay, network analysis and 3D modelling, and incorporate experience of a variety of large and small scale vector and raster datasets. The module also incorporates practice in statistical analysis and interpretation. Development of GIS software skills focuses on ArcGIS and extensions.
Biodiversity managers make decisions based on understanding ecosystems and by applying ecological principles to achieve their objectives. This module covers key scientific topics, which are crucial for developing effective biodiversity management plans in different ecosystems. It exemplifies how ecological-social-economic factors interact to influence our ability to conserve and manage biodiversity.
Environmental Impact Assessment
This module introduces the concepts and requirements of environmental impact assessment, the methodology of planning and carrying out an environmental audit and the use of environmental management systems.
This module provides the knowledge and skills necessary to monitor pollution of the environment. The topics included are: the key elements of the monitoring programmes for air, water and land; sample collection; chemical methods of analysis, including quality assurance; biological methods of analysis, including toxicity tests and bioassessment; use of environmental models; statistics, data analysis and assessing compliance and; critical loads. The student gains experience through lectures, supporting documents, directed reading and practicals.
Environmental Management Project
This module provides students with the opportunity to undertake a substantial piece of research in an area of particular interest to the student. The student will be assessed on their project plan, a literature review, a poster/presentation and a research paper on an area agreed with the student's supervisor.
We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.
In this section
Entry to the PgDip:
You must hold a degree in a science or other suitable discipline or demonstrate your ability to undertake the course through the accreditation of prior experiential learning.
Entry to the MSc:
You initially register for the Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip) and if you complete the PgDip with an overall mark of 50% or higher can proceed to the MSc programme.
English Language Requirements
English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement
Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.
Careers & opportunities
In this section
The majority of students on the course are already working in industry or public services and taking the course has helped them to gain promotion and/or change careers as a result of their new skills.
Key skills which will be developed are:
- Biodiversity management plans and site restoration design
- Ecological monitoring
- Environmental management systems
- Research analysis and data interpretation techniques
- Management, processing, analysis, interpretation and presentation of geo-spatial data
- Operation and use of Geographic Information Systems.
Fees and funding
In this section
Fees (total cost)
Important notice - fees information
Fees illustrated are based on 19/20 entry and are subject to an annual increase. Correct at the time of publishing. Terms and conditions apply. Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.
Visit our Fees pages for full details of fees
- Northern Ireland & EU:
- £14,060.00 Scholarships available
Where the postgraduate course selected offers multiple awards (e.g. PG Cert, PG Dip, Master’s), please note that the price displayed is for the complete master’s programme. Postgraduate certificates and diplomas are charged at a pro-rata basis. Find out more
Additional mandatory costs
Tuition fees and costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges), and normal living are a part of university life.
Where a course has additional mandatory expenses we make every effort to highlight them. These may include residential visits, field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering) inoculations, security checks, computer equipment, uniforms, professional memberships etc.
We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free wifi is also available on each of the campuses.
There will be some additional costs to being a student which cannot be itemised and these will be different for each student. You may choose to purchase your own textbooks and course materials or prefer your own computer and software. Printing and binding may also be required. There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines. Additional costs vary from course to course.
Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs as well as tuition fees.
Please contact the course team for more information.
- The University endeavours to deliver courses and programmes of study in accordance with the description set out in this prospectus. The University’s prospectus is produced at the earliest possible date in order to provide maximum assistance to individuals considering applying for a course of study offered by the University. The University makes every effort to ensure that the information contained in the prospectus is accurate but it is possible that some changes will occur between the date of printing and the start of the academic year to which it relates. Please note that the University’s website is the most up-to-date source of information regarding courses and facilities and we strongly recommend that you always visit the website before making any commitments.
- Although reasonable steps are taken to provide the programmes and services described, the University cannot guarantee the provision of any course or facility and the University may make variations to the contents or methods of delivery of courses, discontinue, merge or combine courses and introduce new courses if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Such circumstances include (but are not limited to) industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key staff, changes in legislation or government policy including changes, if any, resulting from the UK departing the European Union, withdrawal or reduction of funding or other circumstances beyond the University’s reasonable control.
- If the University discontinues any courses, it will use its best endeavours to provide a suitable alternative course. In addition, courses may change during the course of study and in such circumstances the University will normally undertake a consultation process prior to any such changes being introduced and seek to ensure that no student is unreasonably prejudiced as a consequence of any such change.
- The University does not accept responsibility (other than through the negligence of the University, its staff or agents), for the consequences of any modification or cancellation of any course, or part of a course, offered by the University but will take into consideration the effects on individual students and seek to minimise the impact of such effects where reasonably practicable.
- The University cannot accept any liability for disruption to its provision of educational or other services caused by circumstances beyond its control, but the University will take all reasonable steps to minimise the resultant disruption to such services.
The Environmental Management with GIS course is very good programme and I have never regretted doing it.
First and foremost, the programme enables you to work on your own pace though with deadlines of submission of assignments and projects, but it is very good for people who may not be able to do full time learning. Second, I did really enjoy all the modules and they are tailored to meet the right skills and knowledge needed to do my work. I was actually not working on Environmental industry at the time I was enrolled, but it has equipped me with the knowledge and skills which I am applying at the school I am teaching especially the GIS modules. Third, the environmental management project (research project) equipped and prepared me with the knowledge,skills and experience required for further research projects and I am currently looking forward to pursue my Ph.D. Finally, I like the method of delivering lessons, they were effective and manageable as a distance student. I learnt a lot from the group assignments and the virtual system that enables students to communicate or contact one another for discussion. You will not feel like you are left alone. The materials provided by all the lecturers were very current and helpful with lots of references or other reading lists. The administration team were very supportive and respond promptly with any query when you call them.
The course was important for my career and I hope that it will help me to progress in my company in the future. Distance learning was very important for me as I would have had no chance of getting a masters without it! But it can be a long slog! However, the support of
staff was very important and the most helpful for me personally is simply being able to email any questions directly to the relevant member of staff. The modules were very relevant although additional modules on ecology or ecological systems might be interesting. The project module is very useful in that you can specialise in something which is relevant to your work thus meeting any shortfall in the rest of the course. I had a positive experience of the course and would recommend it to others- particularly those who can work well on their own.