Skip to navigation Skip to content


In this section

Only MSc Environmental Toxicology & Pollution Monitoring distance learning course in the UK - accredited by the Institution of Environmental Sciences.


Study Environmental Toxicology and Pollution Monitoring at Ulster University in the United Kingdom.

The PgDip/MSc Environmental Toxicology and Pollution Monitoring course provides advanced training in environmental toxicology, monitoring techniques and global environmental legislation.

This course is ideal if you are already working in the environmental field or wish to pursue a career in this area as it fulfils the demand for trained personnel in the environmental regulatory agencies, in companies subject to such regulation, and in companies involved in providing support services such as monitoring and consultancy.

Sign up for course updates

Sign up to receive regular updates, news and information on courses, events and developments at Ulster University.

We’ll not share your information and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Required fields are marked with an asterisk (*).

About this course

In this section


We have been running this course in distance learning format for over ten years.

The specific objectives of the course are to develop an understanding of:
- the general mechanisms of toxicity
- the basis of setting environmental quality standards
- the behaviour of contaminants in water, air and soil
- the main toxicological problems of contaminants in the environment
- the legislative controls on contaminants

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, online chat and telephone. 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).

Students come from a variety of backgrounds and have included employees from areas such as: The Pharmaceutical Industry; Oil, Gas and Nuclear Industries; Government Environmental Protection Agencies; Engineering and Mining Companies; Environmental Consultants; Laboratory Technicians and people from unrelated areas who may be thinking of a career change. The geographical spread of our students has been global, with students from many areas of the European Union and also further afield such as Australia, Canada, China, Japan, Malaysia, Nigeria, Sri Lanka and the United States.


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 Toxicology and Pollution Monitoring and the Master of Science (MSc) Environmental Toxicology and Pollution Monitoring 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 PgDip takes two years part-time (4 semesters) as one module is taken each semester. 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).

Start dates

  • September 2016
  • January 2017
How to apply


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

Year one

Environmental data analysis

Year: 1

This module will provide new and synthesise existing knowledge and skills necessary to understand and analyse environmental data. Statistics, environmental modelling, geographical information systems and presentation skills will all be taught and demonstrated. The students will put this knowledge into action in the form of worked examples and assessments. Knowledge and evaluation techniques are provided in lectures, skills developed during worked examples and demonstrated by assessments

Environmental Toxicology

Year: 1

This module provides knowledge and skills necessary to understand the impact of chemicals in the environment. Specific areas covered include: the major toxicants, both organic and inorganic: sources, pathways and fate of major toxicants; specific effects on organisms (including humans); [physiological & biochemical principles of toxicity testing; LD50 & NOEC; risk assessment of soils and water; environmental quality standards and toxicity quotients.

Year two

Pollution Monitoring

Year: 2

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.

Water Management

Year: 2

This module introduces the theory and practice of water management. It is intended to provide an understanding of current methods of water treatment and distribution, sustainable use of resources and principles of water quality management and legislation. In addition it aims at teaching skills in analysis and interpretation of water quality data and in applying water legislation. Lecture-based teaching of key concepts is reinforced by linked case study based practical exercises. The module assumes no prior knowledge or experience of water management.

Year three

Environmental Toxicology and Pollution Monitoring Project

Year: 3

This module provides the opportunity for the student to demonstrate the skills acquired during the course, in the form of a final project. The project is presented in the form of a scientific paper on an area agreed with the student?s supervisor.

Entry conditions

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 Requirements

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 for Tier 4 visa purposes.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.

Teaching and learning assessment

Assessment is 100% by course work (no sessional examinations); 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.

Careers & opportunities

In this section

Career options

Most students on the course are already working in the environmental field. It aims to be flexible and gives the opportunity to focus in areas of particular interest to the student. Completion of the course will help career development.

Professional recognition

Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES)

Accredited by the Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES) for the purpose of eligibility to apply for associate membership.


Applications to our postgraduate courses are made through the University’s online application system.

How to apply

Start dates

  • September 2016
  • January 2017

Fees and funding

In this section

Fees (total cost)

Important notice - fees information Tuition fees shown are for last years entry. Fees are correct at the time of publishing and may be subject to an annual increase. Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study. Read our Tuition Fees Payment Policy

Northern Ireland & EU:

Additional mandatory costs

Tuition fees and costs associated with accommodation, travel and normal living are a part of university life. 

Where a course has additional mandatory expenses we make every effort to highlight them in the online prospectus. 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.


Course Director: Dr Richard Douglas
T: +44 (0) 28 7012 3116

For admissions enquiries contact the Faculty Office:

T: +44 (0) 28 7012 4159