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Environmental Science - BSc Hons (Modular) - Video

Aims to develop an understanding of environmental and marine sciences through the integration of theoretical, practical and field based approaches.

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Graduates from this course have gained employment with a wide range of organisations

  • AgriFood & Biosciences Institute (AFBI)
  • DARD - Department of Agriculture and Rural Development
  • Fugro
  • Loughs Agency
  • White
  • Young & Green
  • Terra Quest Limited
  • Phoenix Natural Gas

Graduates from this course are employed in many different roles

  • Scientific officer
  • Waste Water Inspector
  • Soil Scientist
  • Ecologist
  • Hydrographic Surveyor
  • Hydrologist
  • Environmental Consultant

Overview

In this section

Aims to develop an understanding of environmental and marine sciences through the integration of theoretical, practical and field based approaches.

Summary

BSc Environmental Science

Environmental science is a multidisciplinary academic field that integrates many of the sciences taught at secondary school (including Geography) and applies to the study of the environment, and to the solution of environmental problems. The course offers an integrated, quantitative and interdisciplinary approach to the study of environmental systems. This includes processes and management issues related to the hydrosphere, biosphere, atmosphere and geosphere. Strong transferrable skills are developed during the degree, especially in the use and application of Geographical Information Systems (GIS).

Marine science route

We also offer a marine science route through the environmental science degree.Marine science is an interdisciplinary academic field dedicated to the study of the ocean. It covers a wide range of topics, including marine organisms and ecosystems, ocean currents and waves, plate tectonics and marine geology, fluxes of chemical substances, and the physical properties of the ocean and atmosphere.

Why study with us?

  • We received 100% satisfaction in the National Student Survey four years in a row.
  • We have excellent links to industry, and all our courses are carefully designed to enhance student employability and career prospects.
  • We put a strong emphasis on skills-based practice and overseas field-work, with opportunities for industrial placements and studying abroad.
  • We are located in Coleraine on the spectacular Causeway Coast, minutes away from urban centres and natural laboratories (rivers, coast, ocean, mountains, forests).

International Students

If you don't meet our entry requirements for this course you may want to consider our International Foundation Programme (IFP)

The International Foundation Programme (IFP) will prepare you for studying an undergraduate degree at Ulster.

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About this course

In this section

About

In Year 1 students start with a residential field school and then study modules related to sustainability, measuring environmental processes, environmental systems (biosphere, lithosphere and hydrosphere) and a range of data analysis skills.

In Year 2 students study GIS and remote sensing, ecology, environmental impact assessment, the atmosphere, employability and professional skills, freshwater systems (for environmental scientists) and coastal and marine systems (for the marine science pathway), and attend a residential overseas field school.

In the final year students undertake modules on research skills and a research dissertation. GIS and remote sensing is continued as a transferrable skill and other modules focus on environmental change and environmental management. The BSc Environmental Science students undertake a module relating to applications of water science and ecotoxicology; the marine science pathway students study physical and biological oceanography.

Students also have the option to extend their academic studies by electing to study abroad for a year or by working in industry/business. This additional year spent away from Ulster University is taken in the third year. See Careers & opportunities.

Associate awards

Diploma in Professional Practice DPP

Diploma in International Academic Studies DIAS

Find out more about placement awards

Attendance

You are on campus five days per week. The contact time average is 16 hours per week, 24 hours per week average independent study including academic assessment.

Start dates

  • September 2018
How to apply

Modules

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

EGM Skills Toolbox

Year: 1

This module is designed to introduce level 4 students of environmental science and geography to a range of practical skills related to investigative work in these areas of science. This encompasses data gathering (particularly related to mapping, questionnaires, interview techniques, and focus groups), data summary and analysis, and the use of software packages for data display and analysis (Excel and SPSS). The module also provides study and writing skills, data presentation, report writing, and the use of information resources.

Society, Environment and Sustainability

Year: 1

This module introduces some of the main theories, ideas and issues associated with the study of sustainability, spatial inequality and the attendant development process and policy issues. It adopts a scalar approach and examines many of the different developmental issues operating at the global, through the international, national, regional, local, and right down to the individual levels. The module focuses upon patterns of disparity and development in the less developed world, in western Europe, and the island of Ireland.

The Lithosphere

Year: 1

This module is an introduction to general geological and geomorphological processes and concepts. Students will learn about the structure of our planet, learn to identify rocks and minerals, read maps and interpret geologic and geomorphological processes and features in the field.

The Biosphere

Year: 1

The biosphere provides an overview of the constituent parts of the living component of the planet, beginning at the level of the individual organism. Starting with an introduction to the history of life on earth and several general concepts, this material will move into the diversity of form in plant divisions and animal phyla in light of taxonomic classification, systematics and phylogeny. These concepts will be outlined with reference to specific case studies and the current state of scientific literature on the subject. These concepts will be demonstrated through a series of practical exercises which will give an appreciation of the diversity of external and internal anatomical form of a range of different organisms and their approaches to life.

The Hydrosphere

Year: 1

The hydrosphere provides an overview of important basic physical, chemical, hydrological and ecological concepts and processes in aquatic environments. They are introduced through lectures which also provide the context for applications. Concepts and processes are demonstrated and explored through a series of practical exercises in laboratory and field.

Environmental Systems

Year: 1

This module is designed to introduce students to the theory of environmental systems and provide an understanding of systems behaviour using various environmental systems as examples. The theoretical component of the module will be provided by lectures, which will cover a contemporary thinking into concepts of environmental systems and the practical part of the module will consist of a laboratory exercises.

Year two

Ecology and Biogeography

Year: 2

Ecology is a broad discipline involving biology, chemistry and physics of the environment, geography and human impacts. Concepts of ecology, including the interactions between individuals and populations, and the structure and resilience of communities and ecosystems, will be examined with reference to specific case studies and in the context of the biosphere as a whole. A range of different ecosystems will be studied in terrestrial, freshwater, marine and microbial environments, from which case studies will be drawn. These case studies will include the key production processes in each ecosystem, in addition to model organisms at a range of trophic levels and relevant publications detailing the current state of knowledge for each system. The role of applied ecology, in relation to conservation and environmental management will also be emphasised.

Remote Sensing and Geographical Information Systems

Year: 2

This module offers students the opportunity to study the principles and applications of terrestrial and underwater remote sensing, and develop links between remote sensing and GIS. Students are expected to become familiar with theoretical foundations and to demonstrate technical principles through a series of software-based practical exercises and projects.

Enterprise, Business and Employability

Year: 2

Through a variety of teaching methods this module provides students with a range of environmental, geographical and generic employment-orientated skills and practices to help them enhance their employability potential and to integrate more effectively into the workplace. Students will gain an understanding of the various professional and career opportunities in the marketplace for Geography and Environmental Science students and have the opportunity to experience the full job application and selection process.

Environmental Planning

Year: 2

Continued development of regions and the expansion in the use of the environment and its resources requires planning and management of often complex and diverse issues and stakeholders. This module examines the relationship between society, planning and environment and explores a range of decision making approaches and the wider social implications of these. It considers the concepts and requirements of environmental impact assessment and outlines the methodology of planning an EIA.

Research Methods and Field School - Marine Cruise

Year: 2

This module is optional

This two-part module is compulsory and allows students to practise, in the field, a range of methods appropriate for work in many areas of Marine Science. This will take place within the context of a 4-day multidisciplinary scientific cruise on RV Celtic Voyager. The second part is a detailed preparation for the dissertation module, which is undertaken in the final year.

Research Methods and Field School - Environmental Science

Year: 2

This module is optional

This two-part module is compulsory and allows students to practise, in the field, a range of methods appropriate for work in many areas of Environmental Science. This will take place within the context of an integrated 8-day residential field course in Portugal. The second part is a detailed preparation for the dissertation module, which is undertaken in the final year.

Freshwater Systems

Year: 2

This module is optional

This module provides a general introduction to the physical, chemical and biological processes occurring in freshwater, including water balance processes, their management and relevance to society.

The Atmosphere

Year: 2

This module is optional

This module is designed to allow students to gain a good understanding of weather phenomena, atmospheric circulation and our climate. In addition, impact of human activity such as pollution and climate change on the atmospheric conditions and circulations will be explored.

Coastal & Marine Processes

Year: 2

This module is optional

This module is designed to introduce students to the interaction between coastal and marine processes and forms, and how these relate to the human use of the coastal zone and the deep sea. It examines various parameters within the coastal zone, shallow and deep water, and outlines the basic fundamentals of coastal and marine processes. Current state-of-the-art techniques used in modern coastal and marine research are described. Use is also made of the www to add supplementary material to that given in lectures.

Year three

Industrial placement - Diploma in Professional Practice (DPP)

Year: 3

This module is optional

An industrial placement is an optional element of the Environmental Science, Geography, and Marine Science Honours Degree Programmes, and it provides a wide range of opportunities for students to experience work in many different fields of the broad subject areas. Students benefit by completing a placement period and improving their knowledge, understanding and practical abilities as well as enhancing their employment prospects.

Diploma in Intern'l Academic Stds (learning in a foreign language)

Year: 3

This module is optional

This module is a requirement of the Diploma in International Academic Studies and is mandatory for those students of Environmental Science, Marine Science and Geography studying in a European or International University or teaching in a foreign language. It is not available to any other students. Students on this programme are required to achieve at least 50 ECTS while abroad and contribute to seminars and a blog concerning their experience while at the host University.

Diploma in International Academic Studies (Learning in English)

Year: 3

This module is optional

This module is a requirement of the Diploma in International Academic Studies and is mandatory for those students of Environmental Science, Marine Science and Geography studying in a European or International University or teaching in English. It is not available to any other students. Students on this programme are required to achieve at least 50 ECTS while abroad and contribute to seminars and a blog concerning their experience while at the host University.

Year four

Geography and Environmental Sciences Dissertation

Year: 4

This module involves the completion of an individual research project conducted on an Environmental Science topic of students? own choice in conjunction with help from an academic member of staff (supervisor).

Research and Professional Skills

Year: 4

Through a variety of teaching methods this module provides students with a clear focus on professional career opportunities and assists them in enhancing their environmental and geographically specific employability skills. Particular emphasis is given to the translation of the specific research skills of project planning, critical literature review and methodological and analytical techniques that they employed in the dissertation project. Students will gain an understanding of the various sources of postgraduate study and professional job opportunities available to Geography and Environmental Science graduates and will provided with the opportunity to experience a full job application, interview and selection process.

Seafloor Mapping

Year: 4

This module is optional

This module outlines the theory behind the acquisition, processing, spatial-integration and interpretation of marine data, concentrating on marine acoustics. Geological, geotechnical, archaeological and biological case studies are used to explore the applications of acoustics to marine sciences. Use is made of world-wide-web for accessing extant and recently acquired digital marine data sets. This strategy reflects the increasing exploitation of the world-wide-web by marine scientists and Government Agencies to catalogue and distribute digital data.

Environmental Change

Year: 4

This module is optional

The module examines temporal and spatial signatures of environmental change with the aim of developing an understanding of landscape evolution at Quaternary to historical timescales. A range of proxy evidence (sedimentary and biological) is used to explore the links within the ice-atmosphere-ocean system in global context.

Applied Water Science and Toxicology

Year: 4

This module is optional

This module applies theory and techniques relevant to current issues in water pollution, toxicology and management.

Advanced Geographic Information Systems

Year: 4

This module is optional

The module offers students the opportunity to study a variety of spatial and statistical techniques relevant to the GI Industry. Techniques from GIS, remote sensing and landscape metrics are applied to the measurement and monitoring of spatial patterns and processes. A number of software programs are available, especially ArcGIS 10.*. Practical experience will be gained using Global Positioning Systems.

Environmental Challenges and Management

Year: 4

This module is optional

This module uses real life case studies to examine how landscapes may be managed and conserved. Examples are drawn from across a range of contexts and challenge the students to consider the complexity of decision making in environmental management. It is available to final year students in Environmental Science and Geography.

Physical and Biological Oceanography

Year: 4

This module is optional

This module is designed to examine the physical and biological aspects of the ocean environment. It provides an understanding of physical oceanic environments behaviour using various examples covering the deeper to nearshore zones. The theoretical component of the module will be provided by lectures, which will cover a contemporary thinking into physical and biological concepts of ocean science while the practical element of the module will consist of a laboratory and field exercises.

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

A level

Offer in the range BCC to CCD to include grades CC (including 2 science subjects).

Subjects may include Geography, Economics, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Maths, Environmental Technology/Science, Physical Education, Single Award Science, IT, Food and Nutrition Science, Technology & Design. Applied Science Double Award also acceptable.

Provided the above subject requirements are met you can substitute a combination of alternative qualifications recognised by the University for one of the A level grades.

BTEC

Overall profile in range MMM (to include a minimum of 13 merits) to DMM (to include a minimum of 7 distinctions).

Only science-based programmes are acceptable.

Irish Leaving Certificate

Offer in the range H4,H4,H4,H4,H4 to H3,H3,H3,H4,H4 to include two subjects from the following: Geography, Economics, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physical Education, IT, Home Economics.

English and Maths Grade H6 or above (Higher Level) or Grade O4 or above (Ordinary Level) if not sitting at Higher Level are also required.

Scottish Highers

The Scottish Highers requirement for this course will be in the grade range CCDDD to CCCCC to include CC in two subjects from the following: Geography, Economics, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physical Education, IT, Home Economics.

Scottish Advanced Highers

The Scottish Advanced Highers requirement for this course will be in the grade range BC to CDD to include two subjects from the following: Geography, Economics, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physical Education, IT, Home Economics.

International Baccalaureate

Overall International Baccalaureate profile minimum 24 points to include 12 at Higher Level to include two subjects from the following: Geography, Economics, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physical Education, IT, Home Economics.

Access to Higher Education (HE)

Pass Access course (120 credits) with an overall average in range 60 - 65% including level 3 modules in range 60 - 65%.

Only science-based programmes are acceptable.

GCSE

GCSE passes at grade C or above, or equivalent in Mathematics, English and double award science are required.

Please note that for purposes of entry to this course the Level 2 Essential / Key Skill in Application of Number is NOT regarded as an acceptable alternative to GCSE Maths.

English Language Requirements

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.

Additional Entry Requirements

Applicants may also meet the course entry requirements with combinations of different qualifications acceptable to the University (provided subject requirements as noted above are met). Examples of acceptable combinations include:

2 A Levels and BTEC Subsidiary Diploma

OCR National Diploma and BTEC Subsidiary Diploma

2 A Levels and Cambridge Technical Introductory Diploma

A Level and BTEC National Diploma

For further information regarding combination offer requirements, please contact Faculty Office staff on telephone +44 (0)28 7012 4159 or email: science@ulster.ac.uk

Teaching and learning assessment

Teaching is through a range of methods such as lectures, seminars and tutorials but with an emphasis on practical and field work. Students are assessed through a combination of coursework and examinations. Each module adopts its own assessment strategy and may include one or more of the following: essays; literature reviews/critical reviews; laboratory reports; fieldwork reports; field notebooks; individual and group project reports; problem analysis; research projects/dissertations; individual and group oral and poster presentations; class tests; web-site design and examinations.

Exemptions and transferability

Exemption from the first year is possible if you have obtained a satisfactory grade in a Higher National Diploma in an appropriate subject or in an equivalent qualification.

Careers & opportunities

In this section

Graduate employers

Graduates from this course have gained employment with a wide range of organisations. Here are some examples:

  • AgriFood & Biosciences Institute (AFBI)
  • DARD - Department of Agriculture and Rural Development
  • Fugro
  • Loughs Agency
  • White
  • Young & Green
  • Terra Quest Limited
  • Phoenix Natural Gas

Job roles

Graduates from this course are employed in many different roles. Here are some examples:

  • Scientific officer
  • Waste Water Inspector
  • Soil Scientist
  • Ecologist
  • Hydrographic Surveyor
  • Hydrologist
  • Environmental Consultant

Career options

An Environmental Science degree offers a broad scientific training and, with transferable and subject specific skills, offers a wide range of career choices. Our graduates have found employment as environmental consultants, environmental engineers, landscape planners, tourist officers, landscape architects, countryside wardens, environmental officers, research scientists, teachers (both primary and secondary), and many others in both the private and public sectors. Additional professional and/or postgraduate training might also be necessary. Many excellent one-year postgraduate courses are available in this School and in the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

Find out what some of our environmental science and marine science alumni have to say about their time at Ulster and what they are doing now.

Work placement / study abroad

Industrial experience

You have the option to undertake a one-year work placement (in Year 3) with an industry partner leading to the award of Diploma in Professional Practice (DPP). These work placements can be at home or abroad in an organization (company, local or central government or voluntary organization), and you will work under the supervision of an Industrial Supervisor, supported by the DPP Co-ordinator and an Academic Supervisor from within the University.

Study abroad

Alternatively, students can study in one of our partner universities in Europe, in the USA (through the Study USA programme or the International Student Exchange Programme), Australia or Tahiti. All of these international opportunities are available in Year 3 of the programme and lead to the award of a Diploma in International Academic Studies (DIAS).

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.

Apply

How to apply Request a prospectus

Applications to full-time undergraduate degrees at Ulster are made through UCAS.

Start dates

  • September 2018

Fees and funding

In this section

Fees (per year)

Important notice - fees information Please note fees displayed are for 2017/18 Academic Entry. Fees are correct at the time of publishing. Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.
View Ulster University’s 2017 fees policy

Northern Ireland & EU:
£4,030.00
England, Scotland & Wales:
£9,000.00  Discounts available
International:
£13,240.00  Scholarships available

Scholarships, awards and prizes

DuPont prize for the best final year undergraduate dissertation.

Additional mandatory costs

Students will be expected to make contributions to the cost of residential fieldwork. Residential fieldwork takes place in all years of the programme. The costs associated with these trips may vary from year to year depending on destinations but across the three years may total approximately £400.

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.

Contact

Admissions Office
T: +44 (0)28 7012 4159
E: science@ulster.ac.uk

Course Director: Dr Ruth Plets
T: +44 (0)28 7012 4961
E: ​r.plets@ulster.ac.uk

Testimonials

Alumni case studies:​ Environmental scientists (top) and Marine scientists (below)

Environmental scientists

Environmental scientists work to identify, control, or eliminate sources of pollutants or hazards affecting the environment or public health. At Ulster you will develop a range of quantitative and qualitative research skills to address these issues. Our graduates are employed across a wide range of fields. Their work generally involves determining data collection methods; collecting and analyzing air, water, and soil samples; analyzing environmental data gathered by others; and analyzing for correlations to human activity. They often advise government officials that make policy, and businesses that need to follow regulations or improve their practices.

Where are they now?

Alumni case studies: find out what some of our environmental science alumni have to say about their time at Ulster and what they are doing now.

Niamh McDermott: Environmental Consultant

I graduated in 2015 and then started work as an Environmental Scientist in the private sector with SpillAssist Ltd., based in Armagh. The company specialises in the remediation of contaminated land, particularly contamination by fuel oils. The work is varied and involves lots of environmental sampling, mostly soil but also water sampling and some atmospheric sampling for volatile compounds. I really like this variation and being outside on investigation as much time as being in the office. I’m also really pleased to be working for a consultancy in the private sector so soon after graduating and this is the direction I’d like to pursue for my future career.

Edward Lockhart: PhD research student

I graduated in 2014, having completed an industrial placement with the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute. During my degree,I undertook several marine geophysics and marine science modules which formed the foundation for my passion for marine geophysics. These skills led me to conduct a dissertation project which involved reconstructing the palaeo-glacial environment of the North Channel using glacial features identified from multi-beam echo-sounder data. My interest in the use of marine geophysics in palaeo-environmental reconstructions led me to then pursue an MSc in Applied Marine Geoscience (Bangor University). This course enhanced my experience in the collection, processing and interpretation of various geophysical datasets, along with giving me knowledge of the geotechnical investigation of glacigenic sediments. I am now doing a PhD at Bangor using geophysical data and sediment cores to reconstruct palaeo-glacial environments, specifically the extension of the last British-Irish Ice Sheet into the Celtic Sea. This will improve our understanding of how past ice sheets behaved due to changing climate and sea level, allowing us to apply this knowledge to current ice sheets to predict changes in their ice mass due to similar environmental stresses. This research forms part of the BRITICE Project, which aims to reconstruct and constrain the deglaciation of the British-Irish Ice Sheet through targeted terrestrial and marine sampling strategies.

Lynda Byrne: Mapping and Charting Officer

I graduated in 2013. During my time at the University I successfully applied for a place on the Marine Institute’s summer bursary program and completed the work experience year. During my placement I gained valuable professional experience using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) within conservation. This was augmented during my final semester when I took part in the iMap project where I developed my presentation and project management skills. I am currently employed as a Mapping and Charting officer with LPS and will be starting as a GI Consultant with the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development at the end of January 2014. The support I gained throughout my studies from the University of Ulster has given me a good base on which to develop a career which both interests and challenges me.

Gail McAleese: Offshore Marine Geophysicist

I graduated in 2011 after developing a keen interest in seafloor mapping and marine geology after taking modules in these areas as part of my degree. Subsequently I completed an MSc in Applied Marine Geosciences at Bangor University. I was lucky to be a recipient of the Society for Underwater Technology Educational Support Fund (ESF) at Ulster and Bangor, which was a big financial help. My undergraduate and postgraduate degree paths led me to make the natural progression into the offshore industry, and I’m currently employed by Gardline Geosurvey Ltd as an Offshore Marine Geophysicist, working on site investigation projects for the the oil and gas and offshore renewable energy industries.

Colin Armstrong: Government Freshwater Scientist

I graduated in 2003 and I’m currently employed as a Principal Scientific Officer in the Department of Environment’s Marine Division. In this role I’m managing the Conservation and Reporting team which has responsibility for marine nature conservation and archaeology. I had previously worked for the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) where I spent 8 years as an ecologist working on the lake monitoring programme and a year in the Strategy Group where I had the opportunity to be involved with policy development. During my degree I completed a 51 week placement with NIEA and this experience, together with the skills that were taught as part of the Environmental Science programme, have proved to be very valuable in preparing me for the various roles I have had within the Department of Environment and NIEA.

Deborah Ballantine: University Lecturer

I graduated from Ulster in 2002 and continued my studies at the University of Exeter, with a PhD in Physical Geography, researching soil erosion and pollutant transport in river catchments. Following this, and after working with the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, I moved to New Zealand as a water quality researcher with Ag-Research and NIWA. In 2013, I relocated again to an academic post at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province in China where I am Acting Head of the Department of Environmental Science. I’m still thankful to the University of Ulster lecturers who brought my subject to life, and who inspired me to continue with my studies and to make my career in environmental science.

Richard McFaul: Water Quality Inspector

I graduated in 2001, after completing a 12-month industrial placement with the Fisheries Conservancy Board for Northern Ireland. I pursued my interest in water science and management by remaining at Ulster to complete a PhD on the ecology of Lough Beg and then a year as a post-doctoral researcher. In 2006 I worked as an environmental consultant in the field of renewal energy and since 2007 I have worked as a Water Quality Inspector for the Northern Ireland Environment Agency. I am primarily involved with legislation enforcement, specifically in relation to water pollution from sources such as oil spills, farms and industrial premises. This involves investigating reported pollution incidents, determining and stopping the source and, where necessary, proceeding to court action. My lifelong interest in the natural environment has moved my career towards environmental protection and the education I received at Ulster served as a good basis for this work.

Alastair Fenn: Environmental Officer

I graduated in 2009 and went straight into employment to gain experience. I realised that given the competitive nature of employment in Northern Ireland I would have to broaden my horizons. In October 2009 I took up a position with the Deveron, Bogie & Isla River Charitable Trust in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, as their Biosecurity and Fisheries Development Officer. During the next 3 years I gained valuable skills and was directly responsible for deploying the UK’s first catchment-wide biosecurity project. In October 2012 I took up a position with the Lough Neagh Partnership as Environmental Officer for Lough Neagh and continue to develop and build on skills and knowledge that began at the University of Ulster.

Pete Rodgers: Hydrogeologist

I graduated in 2004 and then completed a Masters in Research in 2005 focusing on palaeolimnology. After leaving University I began a career as a hydrogeologist at White, Young and Green, an engineering consultancy in Belfast. I moved to Melbourne in 2011 and now project manage the assessment and remediation of large-scale contaminated sites with Golder Associates, a large international engineering consultancy. In 2013 I became the Vice-President of the Victorian chapter of the Australian Contaminated Land Consultants Association. I really enjoy the diversity of work and mix of people I get to interact with on a daily basis. No two projects are ever quite the same and I get to visit and work in some amazing locations. The degrees I completed at the University of Ulster provided me with a flexible skill set which I have been able to apply to a number of different technical roles.

Dellwyn Kane: Ecologist

I graduated in 2003 and then continued on in the School of Geography and Environmental Sciences working as a Research Assistant on a lake ecology project and a palaeolimnology project. In 2004 I began my doctoral research into freshwater pollution pathways, working as a teaching assistant in the School at the same time. In 2007 and 2008 I briefly worked with the NIEA as a Water Quality Officer, with White Young Green as an Ecological Consultant and also as a private consultant. Following this I took up a position as a Countryside Management Advisor for DARD. In June 2013 I launched my own Ecological Consultancy, Kane Ecology, to provide ecological surveying and assessment services for the planning and conservation sectors.

Mike McLaughlin: Soil Scientist

I graduated in 1977 and then went on to do a M.Agr.Sc. in Soil Science at the University of Reading. I then worked in South Africa at the Soil and Irrigation Research Institute in Pretoria for 3 years as a soil chemist before starting a PhD at The University of Adelaide in Australia in 1983, graduating in 1986. After a postdoctoral fellowship with CSIRO Plant Industry Division in Canberra for 3 years, I moved to Melbourne to work in the fertilizer industry for the Australian Phosphate Corporation until 1991. I then moved back to Adelaide and commenced with CSIRO Division of Soils as a Research Scientist working on soil and environmental chemistry. I have been with CSIRO since and am now a CSIRO Fellow. I joined the University of Adelaide in 2004 as a Professor in the School of Agriculture Food and Wine and now lead the Mosaic-sponsored University of Adelaide Fertiliser Technology Research Centre. My undergraduate training at the University of Ulster stimulated my interest in soils, agriculture and environmental issues, and encouraged me to gain further qualifications in these areas where I have now specialised.

Thomas Smyth: Numerical Modeller

I graduated from Ulster in 2009. After completing my undergraduate dissertation on simulating nearshore waves to predict beach slope, I became interested in continuing my studies and was awarded a PhD scholarship to study airflow and sediment transport dynamics in coastal dune blowouts. Following the completion of my PhD in 2012, I moved to Australia to work as a postdoctoral research fellow at Flinders University. The combination of field, lab and computation skills I developed at Ulster has enabled me to collaborate with a range of scientists investigating fluid dynamics in terrestrial, marine and Martian environments. The research involved in both my PhD and current role have also provided me the opportunities to travel throughout Europe, North America, Asia and Australasia to perform fieldwork and attend conferences.

Marine scientists

A marine science degree not only provides scientific knowledge of the marine environment, but places strong emphasis on key and transferable skills which are highly regarded by employers. Our marine science graduates typically work in coastal and water resource management, environmental impact assessment, coastal and offshore engineering, hydrography, remote sensing, sea bed exploration and survey, government laboratories, oil and gas industries, aquaculture industries, marine conservation, fisheries, ecotourism, oceangraphic institutes, marine environmental consultancy, policy making, and regulatory authorities.

Where are they now?

Alumni case studies: find out what some of our marine science alumni have to say about their time at Ulster and what they are doing now.

Sarah Bond: Marine Mammal Scientist

I graduated in 2016 after studying in Sydney at UNSW for my exchange year. After completing my degree in marine science at Ulster, I worked for the summer at Blue Ocean Monitoring Ltd., which gave me valuable insight to the commercial sector of marine science. In September 2016, I will start on the MSc Marine Mammal Science at the University of St Andrews. This will develop on the material I studied on my undergraduate degree at Ulster, as well as being exposed to new modules focused specifically on the biology and management of marine mammals. One optional module of particular interest is predator ecology in polar ecosystems, which entails a fieldtrip aboard a research vessel to Antarctica. I am extremely excited and fortunate to be given the chance to study this competitive masters programme, which has only been possible due to the opportunities available at Ulster University. After my masters degree, I plan to continue my research of marine mammals in a PhD.

Niall McGinty: Fisheries Scientist

I graduated in 2006 and then completed an MSc in Marine Science at the School of Ocean Sciences, Bangor University. There I worked on the role of mussel beds as a refuge for algae from limpet grazing. In 2008 I began my doctorate research at NUI Galway, exploring the variability of zooplankton populations in Irish waters across a broad range of spatial and temporal scales. I completed my PhD research in 2011 and since then I have had the opportunity to work in some of the most amazing locations. I have since branched out from zooplankton research and now work on all aspects of marine spatial ecology. This included a 12 month post-doc position in the Azores investigating tuna and whale shark interactions and I am currently employed as a MARICE Postdoc at the University of Iceland working on species distribution modelling of commercially important fish species (e.g cod, herring, mackerel).

Charles Ford: Sustainable Aquaculture Industry

Upon graduation in 2015, I returned to South Australia to work at Kangabbie Aquaculture Farm, where I had spent my placement year in 2013. My work there consisted primarily of trying to develop a more sustainable, and productive feeding programme in crayfish aquaculture. We worked closely alongside professors from Flinders University, Australia. The research I conducted followed on from the feed trial which formed the basis of my Bachelor Degree Dissertation. Fundamentally, we were trying to reduce the reliance upon fishmeal in the production of aquaculture feed. In September 2016, I travelled back to Scotland to begin a MSc in Sustainable Aquaculture at Stirling University. I intend to pursue a career in this subject area, and hopefully contribute to improving the sustainability of the ever growing UK aquaculture industry.

Alistair Archibald: PhD Researcher

After graduating in 2014, I gained an internship at Carntogher Community Association, where I was responsible for GIS, mapping and fieldwork. The work involved a combination of desktop study and fieldwork, using state of the art hardware and software. After the internship ended, I was kept on as a consultant for GIS and mapping related work. This internship was excellent for both work experience, including making professional judgments within my area of expertise and engaging with colleagues from diverse disciplines.In 2015 Istarted an EPA-funded PhD in Trinity College Dublin, investigating the causes of diatom algal blooms in the Vartry Reservoir system. Although freshwater based, many of the tools and skills that I learned through my degree course are proving invaluable at this early stage. The project really appeals to me, as if successful, it will bring direct benefit to the wider public and may act as a template for further studies of algal bloom problems in similar mesotrophic lakes in Ireland and further afield. Working as part of a multidisciplinary team, with chemists, environmental engineers and hydrologists, is an excellent opportunity for learning new skills.

Ryan McKenna: Marine Assessment Support Officer

I graduated in 2012 having completing a year long international exchange program at Flinders University (South Australia). In 2013, I completed an internship with Ireland’s National Advanced Marine Technology Programme of the Marine Institute in Galway where I gained significant insight into the marine Information Communication Technology sector. In the following summer of 2014, I was fortunate to find myself coordinating a GIS team for the Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation in Greece as a volunteer funded by a Leonardo Di Vinci scholarship. My team and I later went on to win the €5,000;2014 Copernicus Masters Energy & Environment Challenge prize sponsored by DLR (German Aerospace Center). After a short spell as an aerial surveyor for the UK Environment Agency I have found myself working in the research and development of environmental indicators for national and regional policy concerning offshore marine protected areas at the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) in England. My journey is far from over. However, connections made through studies, volunteer work, competitions and international exchange have been invaluable.

Becky Creed: Coastal Resource Manager

I graduated in 2012 after spending my placement year as a project coordinator at the Atlantic Whale Foundation, based in Tenerife. During this placement, I was given some amazing opportunities including regular boat trips to carry out surveys on the resident and migratory cetacean populations as well as underwater video recording of Pilot Whales, a truly unforgettable experience! I was also fortunate to be sent independently to Argentina for two months to set up a new environmental awareness project. The responsibility and opportunities that I was given during my placement boosted my confidence and ultimately helped me in achieving the final grade in my BSc. The BSc at Ulster and the opportunity of a placement year provide excellent possibilities to gain and develop many employable skills that I have now recognised as essential within the marine science industry. Furthermore, if you like to travel like me, it opens many doors to working and travelling further afield! Upon leaving Ulster, I decided to travel and spent two years living and working in Australia as well as exploring Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Fiji, New Caledonia and Vanuatu. During my first year in Australia, I worked as a Marine Biologist on the Great Barrier Reef. This was an incredible experience and enabled me to gain valuable practical skills and knowledge. Through travelling experiences, I developed a keen interest in coastal and marine management and subsequently returned to the UK in 2015 and completed a MSc in Coastal and Marine Resource Management at the University of Portsmouth. This MSc enabled me to gain invaluable knowledge in highly topical areas such as policy, marine planning and stakeholder engagement. It also provided excellent networking opportunities, allowing me to present as a guest speaker at two conferences. I am also in the process of publishing my first paper through the research that I carried out as part of my MSc dissertation, which was credited with the Solent Forum Professor Mike Clark Award. Having received a Distinction in my MSc, I am now very focused on pursing a career in flood risk management, which will begin in April 2017 when I start a new position at Canterbury City Council as a Coastal Process Technician.

Connor McCarron: PhD Researcher in Sediment Dynamics

In 2012 I graduated with after completing a placement year at the Loughs Agency. During my final year I continued to work for the Loughs Agency as an assistant scientific officer and was offered a role as a research support technician providing technical support for MPhil and PhD students studying under the IBIS project. I recently completed a masters in Applied Marine Geoscience at Bangor University after being awarded a Petroleum Exploration Society scholarship and started a PhD in October 2014, funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). In my PhD I will attempt to improve understanding of shelf seabed dynamics in mixed sediments, through the analysis of offshore geophysical data, flume experiments and numerical modelling.

Kieranna McCormick: Marine Biologist

In 2012 I graduated after undertaking an incredible placement during my third year with a volunteer NGO based in Tenerife which focused on cetacean research; this led to further opportunities in West Africa and Budapest. Thanks to this opportunity I was able to finally decide which of the many marine science paths to go down and subsequently enrolled on an MSc in Marine Biology with University College Cork. I am currently spending three months in north east Iceland conducting pioneering research on humpback whales for my thesis, with the potential to publish when I’m finished. I look forward to starting a PhD within the field of marine mammal sciences. The academic foundations, opportunities and connections I’ve gained from Ulster continue to help me as I progress through my career in science.

Ross McComish: Oceanographer

I graduated from Ulster in 2012 after becoming very interested in both the bathymetric mapping and hydro-dynamic forcing when undertaking modules in seafloor mapping and coastal processes. I then embarked on an MSc in Oceanography in the National Oceanography Centre (Southampton), where I am currently doing my thesis. During my time as a BSc marine science undergrad, I learned a number of transferable skills and software packages that have contributed massively while undertaking my MSc. I also undertook a placement in Tenerife with a diving company and gained certification to dive-master level. I believe that my time as undergraduate both in university and on placement has benefited and matured me as person and given me focus for where I want to take my career.

Aaron Kirkpatrick: Marine Mammal Scientist

I graduated in 2011, after spending 12 months at Flinders University in Australia on the study-abroad scheme (DIAS). I subsequently completed an internship with; Cetacea Lab Canada in 2012, researching whales off the coast of British Columbia in Canada. In 2013, I was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to complete a Masters in Marine Mammal Science at the University of Miami in Florida. In 2015, I started a PhD in the Laboratory of Ecological and Adaptational Physiology (LEAP) at Balyor University Texas, investigating the physiological adaptations and mechanism of animals in extreme and changing environmental conditions.

Craig Dyer: Hydrographic Surveyor

I graduated in 2011 and started working straight away with Fugro EMU in Southampton. I am now a Senior Hydrographic Surveyor, responsible for the collection and consolidation of high-resolution bathymetric data. One of the many surveys we are completing is the UK Civil Hydrography Programme, helping the UKHO and MCA update nautical charts for safe navigation. The material covered in lectures and the practical experience gained from Ulster helped me gain employment in this sector.

Andrew Boyd: Offshore Data Processor

I graduated from Ulster in 2010 and subsequently went on to complete an MSc in GIS at Ulster, with some travelling in between. During my undergraduate degree I found a passion for sea floor mapping and surveying. I am currently employed as a trainee data processor with Fugro Survey in Aberdeen. Working in the marine surveying industry was a natural progression for me with great opportunities to travel, meet new people and spend a lot of time at sea!

Ben Collier: Marine Biologist

I graduated in 2008. Undertaking my bachelor’s degree at the School of Environmental Sciences provided me with a firm platform, from which I continued my studies to post graduate level, completing an MSc in Marine Biology at the University of Essex. Since leaving academia, I have worked in various positions within the environmental sector and am currently employed as the Senior Biologist with the Outer Hebrides Fisheries Trust, having spent my initial two years as biologist. The skills, knowledge and experience that I gained throughout my time at the University of Ulster equipped me for my post graduate studies and have been invaluable in aiding my transition from a student to a professional scientist.