MSc Climate Change

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The School of Environmental Sciences is one of the longest established, largest and most fully developed Schools of Environmental Sciences in Europe. Our holistic approach to teaching and research, integrating physical, chemical, biological, social and geotechnical sciences into the study of natural and human environments, is truly a modern philosophy for the new millennium.

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Key facts

(2014 Research Excellence Framework)

Key facts

You will automatically be considered for one of our scholarships, such as the Amar-Frances and Foster-Jenkins Trust Scholarship worth £7000.

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Poor countries to bear brunt of climate change despite emitting least CO2.

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Carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere have reached a milestone at the British Antarctic Survey’s (BAS) Halley Research Station in Antarctica – according to UEA and BAS scientists.

Image: Tom Welsh, British Antarctic Survey

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This highly reputable course gives you a comprehensive understanding of the science, politics and economics surrounding climate change. It’s a perfect grounding for graduates wishing to undertake research in climate science, or for those looking for a career in government or business consultancy.

This MSc is designed to train the next generation of climate experts with a full appreciation of the core science as well as the wider developmental and policy issues that are just as crucial. You’ll study compulsory modules covering the physical science behind climate change and the role of energy, as well as several optional modules that you can tailor to your particular interests.

You’ll also complete a Masters-level dissertation, taking advantage of our world-class facilities, leading experts and extraordinary institutional links. The course is based in the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) which is responsible for some of the most important climate research in the world.

Overview

The Amar-Franses and Foster-Jenkins Trust Scholarship, worth £7000, is now available for this course. Visit the scholarship page for full details.

The MSc in Climate Change is based in the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the School of Environmental Sciences (ENV). The course is designed to provide you with in-depth interdisciplinary knowledge of climate change science, society and policy. The course content equips our graduates for careers in areas as diverse as government agencies, business consultancies and academia.

Climate change and variability has played a major role in shaping human history and the prospect of global warming as a result of human activities presents society with increasing challenges over the coming decades.

This course provides an authoritative assessment of the subject, including recent climate history, present-day variations and climate prediction, the ways in which ideas of climate change impact on the environment, society and human welfare, and the role of climate science in policy development. Its temporal focus spans the Holocene period through to the year 2100, with particular emphasis on contemporary issues. You are encouraged to interact with the course content through a series of student-led debates.

The course covers the fundamentals of the changing climate, including the Earth’s energy balance, the general circulation of the atmosphere, causes of climate change and variability and the greenhouse effect. You will also learn about research methods, consisting of empirical approaches to climate reconstruction (e.g. tree ring analysis), data preparation and analysis, detection of anthropogenic changes and theoretical or model-based approaches to climate prediction. You will study the evidence and causes of recent climate change with a focus on the period from 1 AD to the present, including the atmospheric build-up of greenhouse gases and its consequences for the behaviour of the Earth system.

The ways in which climate change is understood by societies and how it influences the development of policy and stimulates social action is a key component of the course. This covers the social history of climate change, climate risk perception, climate economics, mitigation and adaptation. This includes an assessment of the Framework Convention of Climate Change, prospects for emissions control at the national and international level, climate geo-politics and equity and reconciling development issues with climate change.

Recent Dissertation Projects

  • Biotic enhancement of weathering and its effect on the carbonate-silicate weathering feedback and atmospheric CO2 and climate 
  • Fuel switching in the UK electricity sector during Phase II of the EU ETS 
  • Karaca Cave speleothem high resolution record through the last glacial maximum 24.5 to 18.4KA in Northeast Turkey 
  • An analysis of changes in atmospheric circulation over the UK during the extended winter months using reconstructed Lamb Weather Types from 1697-2014.

 

“Studying the MSc in Climate Change at UEA was a great opportunity, both professionally and personally. Thanks to the experience, I found a job that really fulfils my expectations - and I also met some great people that have become some of my best friends.”

Javier Sabogal Mogollón Former Student.

"Spending a year studying with the experts in climate change at UEA and doing research for my dissertation has helped me perform better in my job. In addition, the relationships that I built during the course will be useful throughout my career working on climate change related issues in Egypt."

Saber Osman Former Student.

Course Modules 2017/8

Students must study the following modules for 120 credits:

Name Code Credits

CLIMATE CHANGE: PHYSICAL SCIENCE BASIS

Climate change and variability have played a major role in shaping human history, and the prospect of a warming world as a result of human activities (principally via changing atmospheric composition) is a pressing challenge for society. This module covers the science of climate change and our current understanding of anthropogenic effects on climate. It provides details about the approaches, methods and techniques for understanding the history of climate change and for developing climate projections for the next 100 years, supporting further study of the scientific or policy aspects of the subject in either an academic or applied context.

ENV-7014A

20

DISSERTATION

The dissertation is an individual research project under the guidance of an academic supervisor within one of the research groups in the School. In addition, for project placement opportunities with outside organisations there may also be guidance from an outside collaborator. Research undertaken normally involves the analysis and interpretation of data collected in the field, from measurements of a sample in the laboratory or from data gathered from other sources including the media, questionnaire surveys, interviews, etc. This module is reserved for MSc students and all students must have taken the Research Skills Module.

ENV-7120X

60

ENERGY AND CLIMATE CHANGE

This module examines energy transitions for climate change mitigation from a range of perspectives. It considers how current energy resources, technologies and services produce greenhouse gas emissions. It then draws on both historical evidence and theories of change to explore prospects and potentials for transforming the energy system.

ENV-7029B

20

RESEARCH SKILLS

This module provides support and training for the dissertation to ensure that the necessary research is well planned in advance. Advices are given on how to make the best use of UEA library resources, how to undertake a literature review and the ethics procedures, and how to write a dissertation proposal. A substantial part of semester 1 is devoted to how to use statistics for the analysis of different types of projects. Supporting lectures and practicals in social science research skills are provided in semester 2. These include: social science research design; questionnaire survey design; interviewing techniques; focus groups methods; and techniques analysing qualitative data. This module must be taken before the Dissertation Module.

ENV-7119Y

20

Students will select 60 credits from the following modules:

Name Code Credits

CLIMATE CHANGE AND DEVELOPMENT I: SCIENCE, IMPACTS AND ADAPTATION

This module introduces students to the phenomenon of climate change, interconnections between climate change and development and theory and practice for adapting to climate change, in the context of developing countries. The first part of the module covers key aspects of climate change science necessary for a basic understanding of the causes of climate change, future projections of climate change and key impacts as well as methods for assessing these. The second part of the module focuses on adaptation to climate change by introducing the concepts of adaptation, vulnerability and resilience. National and sectoral policy making for adapting to climate change is then explored with reference to case studies. Finally the interconnections between disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation are explored. Seminars explore climate science and adaptation topics.

DEV-7042A

20

CLIMATE CHANGE AND DEVELOPMENT II: GOVERNANCE, POLICY AND SOCIETY

This module critically examines international/national climate change governance and policy and societal impacts from and responses to climate change and climate change policy. The first half of the semester (Section A) will discuss the history and politics of the international climate change negotiations and then critically examine the way the climate regime (UNFCCC) operates. The following three lectures will look in detail at two items under negotiation with significant implications for developing countries. Finally we will discuss global carbon markets. The second half of the semester (Section B) will turn to the interface of climate change and society. It will start by discussing urban responses to climate change before critically examining geoengineering and other ethical/justice related debates before examining the role of energy demand and lifestyle in tackling climate change and ending with a session on conflict and human security implications from climate change. The seminars will be interactive and enable students to better understand the international negotiating process and ways to engage positively with climate change.

DEV-7051B

20

ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT EFFECTIVENESS

BEFORE TAKING THIS MODULE YOU MUST HAVE TAKEN ENV-7020A Environmental Assessment is considered to be more effective when conducted at strategic levels of decision making, and is usually perceived to have a goal of achieving sustainable development. This module provides experience of conducting a particular form of strategic assessment, Sustainability Appraisal (SA), which incorporates environmental, social and economic considerations into plan making. Through practice of SA, a field course involving hands-on application of environmental assessment techniques, and consideration of effectiveness theory, this module will examine what makes assessment effective. Please note that there will be a charge for attending this field course (around GBP310) to cover attendance.

ENV-7021K

20

ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION - SCIENCE, POLICY AND MANAGEMENT

This module aims to engage students in understanding complex interdisciplinary challenges associated with environmental pollution management via detailed studies of selected pollution issues. Students will develop skills in quantifying and analysing problems and developing and presenting effective policy responses.

ENV-7030B

20

GEOENGINEERING THE CLIMATE: SCIENCE AND POLICY

This module studies a set of different proposed techniques, called geoengineering, that seek to modify the Earth's climate by reducing the degree of anthropogenic radiative forcing, either by reflecting more sunlight back to space or by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This is a complex, controversial and highly uncertain area of science that requires a strongly interdisciplinary approach. The potential role of geoengineering techniques as a complement to mitigation and adaptation in tackling future climate change raises a number of important questions, not least for international policy making.

ENV-7031A

20

GIS AND ITS APPLICATIONS FOR MODELLING ECOLOGICAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE

This module will provide essential GIS tools and principles that will be applied to modelling ecological responses to environmental change. Core GIS skills will be delivered. These include field data collection and extraction of data from national and global databases. It will include the manipulation of such files and particular attention will be paid to understanding the uncertainties associated with such analyses. These skills are important in many areas of ecological research, but are particularly useful for the creation of variables needed for modelling environmental change. There will be extensive emphasis on practical GIS skills delivered using the ArcGIS software.

ENV-7034A

20

MODELLING ENVIRONMENTAL PROCESSES

The aim of the module is to show how environmental problems may be solved from the initial problem, to mathematical formulation and numerical solution. Problems will be described conceptually, then defined mathematically, then solved numerically via computer programming. The module consists of lectures on numerical methods and computing practicals (using Matlab); the practicals being designed to illustrate the solution of problems using the methods covered in lectures. The module will guide students through the solution of a model of an environmental process of their own choosing. The skills developed in this module are highly valued by prospective employers.

ENV-7003A

20

MODERN METHODS IN AIR POLLUTION SCIENCE

Air pollution is one of the most significant environmental problems of the 21st century, with serious implications for human health and mortality, ecosystem and infrastructure damage, and climate change. This module will look at what state-of-the-art methods used to measure and monitor air pollutants at urban, regional and global scales, and how these measurements are interpreted using a variety of numerical models and graphical tools.

ENV-7040B

20

NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENTAL ECONOMICS

This module introduces some key principles of economics for students who have not studied the subject previously. It then explores how these principles can be applied to address a number of economy-environment problems including air pollution and over-fishing. The framework of cost-benefit analysis as a framework for decision-making is also introduced.

ENV-7116B

20

RESEARCH TOPICS IN EARTH SCIENCE

The module allows engagement in Earth science topics at an advanced level and involves advanced study skills. The module will be strongly research lead and based around student-centred learning. It will involve a) engagement with appropriate research seminars in the School of Environmental Sciences and b) directed research on key topics with discussions and student seminars. The topics included vary from year to year but they are likely to include topics in sedimentology, palaeoclimate, geological hazards, Earth history, the Earth system. The module will develop students' research and communication skills in addition to imparting specialist knowledge.

ENV-7018A

20

SCIENCE, SOCIETY AND SUSTAINABILITY

This module explores relationships between science, policy and society and how they can be improved in responding to sustainability challenges like climate change, energy transitions and natural hazards. The module provides students with an advanced introduction to the field of science and technology studies and its links with geography and environmental science. It is taught through lectures, seminars, practical exercises and in class discussions and debates in three sections: Part 1: Science and its relations with society; Part 2. Public engagement with science and technology; and Part 3: Governing science and sustainability.

ENV-7038B

20

STABLE ISOTOPE GEOCHEMISTRY

From supernovae and the early condensation of the solar system, through the climate history of the planet and on to modern stratospheric chemistry, studies using stable isotopes have made a significant contribution to our understanding of the processes that shape the Earth. In this module we look at the theory and practice of isotope geochemistry, covering analytical methods and mass spectrometry, fractionation processes, and isotope behaviour in chemical cycles in the geosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and atmosphere. The course consists of lectures, practicals, including hands-on experience in the stable isotope laboratory, and student led seminars.

ENV-7024A

20

STATISTICS AND MODELLING FOR SCIENTISTS USING R

R is a free software environment for statistical computing and graphics that has rapidly gained popularity among scientists and is now the most commonly used software tool in several environmental sciences. R provides a variety of statistical techniques (including general and generalised linear models, classical hypothesis testing, time-series analysis, community analysis, etc.). One of R's strengths is the capacity to produce publication-quality figures, including mathematical symbols and formulae. Using the R software as a platform will equip students with a flexible statistical and modelling tool, and the "R way of statistics" greatly facilitates the understanding of modelling and statistics.

ENV-7033B

20

SUSTAINABLE CONSUMPTION

This module investigates the impacts of societies' consumption on social, economic and environmental systems, and how these impacts might be reduced. It presents key theories and debates around sustainable consumption, and critically examines a range of strategies for achieving it, covering governmental, business, community and individual actors. A 'green growth' policy approach to sustainable consumption is contrasted with a radical 'de-growth' model, and we examine a range of perspectives on what drives consumption patterns. Using award-winning innovative teaching methods and participative workshops we apply these theories to real world examples, providing engaging, experiential, active learning opportunities.

ENV-7025A

20

THEORY OF ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT

Environmental assessment is a term used to describe procedures for evaluating the potential environmental consequences of policies, programmes, plans and projects. It is a well established tool for environmental policy integration, being routinely employed in more than 100 nations and by many international aid and funding agencies. This multidisciplinary module focuses on the theory and methods of environmental assessment and the decision-making contexts in which they are employed. It explains the procedural stages of, and selected methodologies for, environmental assessment and provides practical experience in applying them.

ENV-7020A

20

Disclaimer

Whilst the University will make every effort to offer the modules listed, changes may sometimes be made arising from the annual monitoring, review and update of modules and regular (five-yearly) review of course programmes. Where this activity leads to significant (but not minor) changes to programmes and their constituent modules, there will normally be prior consultation of students and others. It is also possible that the University may not be able to offer a module for reasons outside of its control, such as the illness of a member of staff or sabbatical leave. Where this is the case, the University will endeavour to inform students.

Entry Requirements

  • Degree Subject This programme is open to students with a good first degree in environmental science or a related discipline.
  • Degree Classification Good first degree (minimum 2.1 or equivalent)

Students for whom English is a Foreign language

We welcome applications from students whose first language is not English. To ensure such students benefit from postgraduate study, we require evidence of proficiency in English. Our usual entry requirements are as follows:

  • IELTS: 6.5 (minimum 6.0 in all components)
  • PTE (Pearson): 62 (minimum 55 in all components)

Test dates should be within two years of the course start date.

Other tests, including Cambridge English exams and the Trinity Integrated Skills in English are also accepted by the university. The full list of accepted tests can be found here: Accepted English Language Tests

INTO UEA also run pre-sessional courses which can be taken prior to the start of your course. For further information and to see if you qualify please contact intopre-sessional@uea.ac.uk

Fees and Funding

Tuition Fees for 2017/18:

  • Home/EU: £7,300
  • Overseas: £14,800

Scholarships

50% Final Year Undergraduate Continuation Scholarship

Current final year UEA undergraduate students who gain a First class degree and progress onto a postgraduate course in September 2017 will receive a 50% fee reduction scholarship. Who do not gain a First class degree will be eligible for the 10% UEA Alumni Scholarship outlined below. Terms and conditions apply.

 

UEA Alumni 10% Scholarship

A scholarship of 10% fee reduction is available to UEA Alumni looking to return for postgraduate study at UEA in September 2017. Terms and conditions apply.

 

Simon Wharmby Scholarship

  • Value: £3,000
  • Eligibility: Home, EU and Overseas applicants who have applied for an MSc course in the School of Environmental Sciences and been offered a place to begin in September 2017
  • How to apply: Any student who has received an offer for the course will automatically be considered for the scholarship. Please refer to our postgraduate scholarship pages for further information. 
  • Application deadline: 15th May 2017.  Applicants wishing to be considered must have submitted a complete application by this date. 

The Amar-Franses and Foster-Jenkins Trust Scholarship
The Amar-Franses and Foster-Jenkins Trust Scholarship is available to students studying the MSc Climate Change. 

 

  • Value: £7000
  • Eligibility: Home, EU and Overseas applicants who have applied for the MSc in Climate Change and been offered a place to begin in September 2017
  • How to apply: Any student who has received an offer for the course will automatically be considered for the scholarship. Please refer to our postgraduate scholarship pages for further information. 
  • Application deadline: 15th May 2017.  Applicants wishing to be considered must have submitted a complete application by this date.

How to Apply

Applications for Postgraduate Taught programmes at the University of East Anglia should be made directly to the University.

You can apply online, or by downloading the application form.

Further Information

To request further information & to be kept up to date with news & events please use our online enquiry form.

If you would like to discuss your individual circumstances prior to applying please do contact us:

Postgraduate Admissions Office
Tel: +44 (0)1603 591515
Email: admissions@uea.ac.uk

International candidates are also encouraged to access the International Students section of our website.

    Next Steps

    We can’t wait to hear from you. Just pop any questions about this course into the form below and our enquiries team will answer as soon as they can.

    Admissions enquiries:
    admissions@uea.ac.uk or
    telephone +44 (0)1603 591515