Environmental Management and Earth Observation MSc

    
  

Fact file

Qualification
MSc Environmental Management and Earth Observation
Duration
1 year full-time
Entry requirements
2.1(Upper 2nd class hons degree or international equivalent)
Other requirements
Undergraduate degree with relevant mathematical elements. A -Level standard mathematics
IELTS
6.0 (no less than 5.5 in any element)

If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses are available
Start date
September
Campus
University Park Campus
Tuition fees
You can find fee information on our fees table.
 

Overview

This 12 month course is offered by the Department of Civil Engineering but benefits from the research knowledge and expertise of staff in the Nottingham Geospatial Institute (NGI). It is aimed at geography and science graduates, industrial practitioners, military and government personnel.
Read full overview

This 12 month course is offered by the Department of Civil Engineering but benefits from the research knowledge and expertise of staff in the Nottingham Geospatial Institute (NGI).

It is aimed at geography and science graduates, industrial practitioners, military and government personnel.

Key facts

  • The institute, formerly known as the Institute of Engineering Surveying and Space Geodesy (IESSG), has been active for almost 40 years, covering major advances in terrestrial, air and spaceborne image acquisition systems, inertial navigation systems and the development of satellite-based systems such as Transit, GPS and GLONASS, EGNOS and Galileo.
  • The institute has excellent facilities for teaching and research, with lecturers drawn from a group of highly respected academics and external experts. We work closely with industrial partners and government agencies, and this provides excellent opportunities for our graduates to find employment with high profile organisations.
  • The course is accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

        RICS-logo
 

Course details

Data collection and integration are fundamental to environmental management, and technological advances enable us to gather an increasing amount of information from terrestrial measurements, airborne sensors and satellite-based systems. Some techniques enable continuous monitoring and some allow rapid processing from regular data gathering campaigns. Underpinning all of this is the need for an understanding of co-ordinate systems, positioning techniques and geographical information systems.

Entry requirements: 2:1 degree (or international equivalent) in environmental science, geomatics or engineering. A level standard mathematics (or international equivalent) is also required.

Course content

Once you have completed the core modules, you will undertake a supervised dissertation over three months, which will give you a great deal of practical experience in data acquisition, processing and analysis. This independent research aims to stimulate creative thinking and improve your powers of critical analysis.  

Teaching is organised in semester-long modules, comprising lectures, seminars, practical sessions and tutorial work. 

Modules are assessed through a combination of coursework and examination. 

Course credits total 180; 120 for the taught modules and 60 for the dissertation.

Teaching and learning takes place through a combination of lectures, seminars (both teacher- and student-led), individual consultations, literature study, practical work including laboratory work, group interaction and discussion and learning through self-directed study. 

Assessment is by a combination of seen or unseen written examinations, coursework, oral presentations, poster presentations, performance, other assignments and independent study modules.

Academic English preparation and support

If you need additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you may be able to attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education, which is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.

Students who successfully complete the presessional course to the required level can progress to postgraduate study without retaking IELTS or equivalent.

A specialist engineering course is available and you could be eligible for a joint offer, which means you will only need to apply for your visa once.

 

 
 

Modules

Compulsory modules

Advances in Remote Sensing (full year): 20 credits
Summary Of Content:

Part I - Principles and Systems

  1. Introduction: the past, present and the future (Overview of the remote sensing model, its origins, present status and where the future lies for this continually evolving science).
  2. Electromagnetic radiation and the terrestrial environment (Radiation physics for remote sensing, how it is utilised for mapping and monitoring).
  3. Interaction of radiation with matter (Reflected radiation: visible, near infrared and middle infrared wavelengths).
  4. Interaction of radiation with matter (Emitted radiation: thermal and microwave wavelengths).
  5. Sensing systems.
  6. Remote sensing scale and data selection issues (Understanding and optimising data).

Part II - Information Extraction

  1. Digital image processing, with particular focus on image classification for land cover mapping.
  2. Using remote sensing data (Practical based sessions).
  3. Exploiting advances in the spatial, spectral and temporal domains.
  4. Exploiting strengths of data: data fusion.
  5. Technological innovations (e.g.laser scanning).
  6. Integrating remote sensing and GIS.
  7. Practising remote sensing (External speaker, e.g. DMCii, OS, BGS, Optech).

Method and Frequency of Class: 20, 2-hour sessions. Most of the module's sessions will be standard lectures but a component (~3 weeks) will involve computer-based practical sessions and 2 will involve invited 'external' speakers.

Method of Assessment:

Assessment TypeWeightRequirements
Coursework 1 50.00 5000 words
Exam 1 50.00 1 hour unseen written examination - end of Semester 1
 
Spatial Decision Making (spring): 20 credits
Summary Of Content: The first part of the module covers the theory and practice of utilising Geographical Information Systems (GIS) for supporting spatial decision making. It reflects upon the broader discipline of Geographical Information Science (GI Science) before considering the importance of data quality, key spatial analysis tools and visualisation techniques. A group project (with individual critical reflection) focussing on a site suitability exercise forms the focus for the coursework in the autumn semester and the examination covers theoretical underpinnings.

The second part of the module extends the skills and knowledge gained in part one by applying them to a real world problem supplied by an external client (Experian). Students will work in teams by responding to an invitation to tender, then developing a GIS-based solution to a problem supplied by Experian which will typically involve evaluating alternative locations for retail developments around Nottingham. Teams will plan their own meetings, manage the division of workload and ensure they are meeting the requirements of the client (but also exploring further possibilities that the client may not have considered).

Method and Frequency of Class:
2 hour slot every week, in 20 weeks,  a mix of lectures and problem solving activities. Some computer-based practical activities may be timetabled on some weeks.

Method of Assessment: 

Assessment TypeWeightRequirements
Coursework 1 20.00 10 min Group Oral Presentation (PowerPoint file submitted digitally also)
Coursework 2 30.00 Individual report in Word: 5 pages text + refs and figures
Coursework 3 5.00 Report: Tender document submitted as group - 4 pages max
Coursework 4 5.00 Group interim presentation: 5 minutes + Q&A
Coursework 5 20.00 Group final report in Word - 30 pages max
Coursework 6 20.00 Group oral presentation: 10 mins + Q&A
 
Foundations of Environmental Management (autumn): 10 credits
Summary Of Content: This module provides a foundation for the scientific concepts and issues which underpin environmental management. Topics covered include climate-change impacts and mitigation, river channel processes and management, pure and applied research on biodiversity patterns and conservation.

Method and Frequency of Class: 

ActivityNumber of WeeksNumber of sessionsDuration of a session
Lecture 11 weeks 1 week 2 hours

Lectures, practical and/or laboratory work and private study and exam preparation (78 hours); 2 hours per week staff contact time throughout the semester (22 hours).

Method of Assessment: 2 hour exam (2 questions from 5) - 100%.

 
Mapping for Engineering Surveying and GIS (autumn): 10 credits
Summary Of Content: The module describes the theoretical and practical aspects of photogrammetry, laser scanning and gives an introduction to geometrical remote sensing. Subjects covered include:
  • Single and multi image/photograph geometry
  • Digital imagery and processing
  • Selected work flow and procedures
  • Data capture techniques and products
  • Aerial triangulation
  • Airborne and mobile laser scanning
  • Recent developments

Method and Frequency of Class:

ActivityNumber of WeeksNumber of sessionsDuration of a session
Lecture 11 weeks 3 week 1 hour

3 hour morning block

Method of Assessment:

Assessment TypeWeightRequirements
Exam 1 100.00 written examination (unseen)
 
Mapping for Engineering Surveying and GIS Practical (autumn): 10 credits

Summary Of Content: A practical module in mapping for engineering surveying and GIS which complements the mapping for engineering surveying and GIS module lecture course. Students work individually and in small groups on projects involving the planning and the carrying out of observational and computational aspects of surveying for engineering and/or deformation applications. Individuals and groups are also responsible for management and organisation of their projects. Staff members are available for consultation and guidance. Reports will be produced giving a full assessment of the proposed observational scheme.

Method and Frequency of Class:

ActivityNumber of WeeksNumber of sessionsDuration of a session
Practicum 11 weeks 3 week 1 hour

3 hour afternoon block

Method of Assessment:

Assessment TypeWeightRequirements
Coursework 1 60.00 Report 1500 words
Coursework 2 40.00 Report in the form of a group or individual presentation
 
Satellite-Based Positioning Practical (autumn): 20 credits
Summary Of Content: The module is a combination of theoretical and practical aspects of satellite-based positioning and its applications. For the practical aspects, students work in small groups on three projects involving the design, planning and carrying out of measurements, processing and analysis for different satellite-based positioning techniques (individuals and groups are responsible for management and organisation of their projects, with staff members available for consultation and guidance). Subjects covered include:
  • Satellite based positioning systems (GNSS)
  • Coordinate reference systems, frames, datums, transformations and geoid models
  • GNSS systematic biases and errors
  • GNSS observables
  • GNSS positioning techniques
  • Future developments and related issues.

Method and Frequency of Class:

ActivityNumber of WeeksNumber of sessionsDuration of a session
Lecture 11 weeks 1 week 3 hours
Practicum 11 weeks 1 week 3 hours

Two 3 hour morning block

Method of Assessment:

Assessment TypeWeightRequirements
coursework 1 10.00 Group presentation (30 minutes) and submission (presentation ‘Notes Pages’), plus individual submission (500-700 words)
coursework 2 20.00 Group presentation (30 minutes) and submission (presentation ‘Notes Pages’), plus individual submission (800-1200 words)
coursework 3 20.00 Group presentation (30 minutes) and submission presentation ‘Notes Pages’), plus individual submission (1000-1400 words)
Exam 1 50.00 Written examination (unseen)
 
Earth Observation (spring): 10 credits

Summary Of Content: This module provides a brief introduction to Earth Observation. This involves analysing remotely sensed images, typically acquired from instruments on board satellites or aircraft, to investigate spatial phenomena on the Earth's surface. Example topics include the use of global image data sets to investigate climate change, analysis of satellite sensor imagery to identify wildlife habitats and conservation concerns, and urban land use mapping from detailed aerial photography. Theoretical lectures cover briefly the concepts underpinning remote sensing, methods of image analysis and uses or applications of Earth Observation. There is also a strong practical component to the module, with regular practical exercises on various forms of digital image analysis.

Method and Frequency of Class:

ActivityNumber of WeeksNumber of sessionsDuration of a session
Lecture 10 weeks 1 week 1 hour
Practicum 10 weeks 1 week 2 hours
There are weekly teaching sessions, generally comprising a 1 hr lecture and a 1-2 hr practical. In certain weeks seminars are held in place of lectures or practicals, particularly in relation to the module assessment.

Method of Assessment: 1.5-hour exam - answer 2 from 5 questions - 100%

 
Environmental Management in Practice (spring): 10 credits
Summary Of Content: The module will introduce the student to a range of approaches to environmental management and their use in practice in the field of river and flood risk management. Coverage will include practices used within the private sector, government and non-governmental organisations. Indicative areas covered are:
  • Environmental management practices related to river and flood risk;
  • Participatory approaches to environmental policy and planning;
  • The roles of environmental consultants;
  • Stakeholder engagement and project design.

Method and Frequency of Class:

ActivityNumber of WeeksNumber of sessionsDuration of a session
Field 1 week 1 week 4 hours
Lecture 12 weeks 1 week 2 hours
The module will mainly be taught in the form of two hour lectures or seminar discussions, held once a week. In addition there will be one field visit of half a day approximately, to a local site (potentially on a Saturday due to host staff availability). Breakdown of hours: Lectures and seminars: 18 hours; Field visit: 4 hours; Background reading and seminar and coursework preparation: 78 hours.

Method of Assessment: 1 coursework - Individual essay (2500 words) - 100%.

 
Contaminated Land (spring): 10 credits

Summary Of Content: This module develops a risk based framework for the assessment of contaminated land based on the characterization and modeling of contaminant sources, pathways and receptors. Case studies are used to illustrate the application of this approach, the typical uncertainties and the management of risk. A range of physical, biological, chemical and thermal in-situ and ex-situ remediation technologies are covered. The application of these technologies is demonstrated by case studies including design studies.

 Method and Frequency of Class:

ActivityNumber of WeeksNumber of sessionsDuration of a session
Lecture 12 weeks 1 week 1 hour
Lecture 12 weeks 1 week 2 hours

Method of Assessment: 1 Coursework - Design Report (4,000 words) - 100%.

 
Research Project: NGI (summer): 60 credits 
Summary Of Content: This module provides the student with an opportunity to undertake a substantial personal project appropriate to their interests. It will normally take the form of scientific investigation whether it involves experimentation or an extensive review of work already completed by others. Typically (but not exclusively) it will include the following:
  • Project definition and aim (choice of subject is at the discretion of the convenor).
  • Literature review
  • Practical experimentation/investigation
  • Critical analysis of findings
  • Presentation of results.

Method and Frequency of Class: Tutorial sessions as appropriate throughout the summer period. A typical average period of 2 weeks between tutorials is expected. Tutorials may be for individuals or small groups locally arranged with supervisor.

Method of Assessment: Dissertation - Typically 10,000-20,000 words. - 100%. 

 

A student may not retake a module they have studied at Nottingham on a previous course. Substitute modules must be agreed with the Course Director.

The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. This list is an example of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.

 
 

Funding

See information on how to fund your masters, including our step-by-step guide.

Please visit the faculty website for information on any scholarships currently available through the faculty.

Faculty of Engineering Postgraduate Scholarships

UK/EU Students

Funding information can be found on the Graduate School website.

Please visit the faculty website for information on any scholarships currently available through the faculty.

Government loans for masters courses

The Government offers postgraduate student loans for students studying a taught or research masters course. Applicants must ordinarily live in England or the EU. Student loans are also available for students from Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

International and EU students

Masters scholarships are available for international students from a wide variety of countries and areas of study. You must already have an offer to study at Nottingham to apply. Please note closing dates to ensure your course application is submitted in good time.

Information and advice on funding your degree, living costs and working while you study is available on our website, as well as country-specific resources.

 
 

Careers

The institute has developed mature links with major commercial companies and government agencies, and many of our alumni have established successful careers within these organisations. 

Our graduates are highly valued and we are regularly approached to  candidates for specific employment opportunities. These are just some of the companies and organisations who have employed our graduates:

  • Blom Aerofilms
  • California Department of Transportation
  • Concept Systems
  • New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
  • Plowman Craven

The University of Nottingham has been recognised as delivering a Gold standard in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), which aims to recognise and reward excellent learning and teaching.

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2016, 100% of postgraduates in the department who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £26,000.

*Known destinations of full-time home higher degree postgraduates, 2015/16. Salaries are calculated based on those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Career Prospects and Employability

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers* and can offer you a head-start when it comes to your career.

* The Graduate Market 2013-2017, High Fliers Research.

The acquisition of a masters degree demonstrates a high level of knowledge in a specific field. Whether you are using it to enhance your employability, as preparation for further academic research or as a means of vocational training, you may benefit from  careers advice as to how you can use your new found skills to their full potential.

Our Careers and Employability Service will help you do this, working with you to explore your options and inviting you to attend recruitment events where you can meet potential employers, as well as suggesting further development opportunities, such as relevant work experience placements and skills workshops.  

Boost your earning potential

Which university courses boost graduate wages the most? Studying with us could help you to earn more.

  • We are second highest in the UK for female engineering graduate earnings, five years after graduation
  • We are second highest in the Midlands for male engineering graduate earnings, five years after graduation

(Source: Institute for Fiscal Studies data: www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-44413086)

 

 
 
 
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Disclaimer
This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

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