MSci Geophysics with a Year Abroad

Full Time
Degree of Master of Sciences

A-Level typical
ABB (2020/1 entry) See All Requirements
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What’s really happening beneath our feet? Physicists and Environmental Scientists at UEA are using ingenious methods to work out exactly what’s flowing under the Earth’s surface, helping us to better understand earthquakes, volcanoes and the complex engine at the heart of our dynamic planet.

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New Building for Science and Engineering - Due to open in July 2019. Take an animated tour of our new £31 million state-of-the-art teaching and learning building on the UEA campus.

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We have been awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education for 50 years of ground-breaking environmental science at UEA. The royal accolade from the Queen is the UK’s most prestigious higher education award.

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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

Environmental Sciences has been ranked 4th in the UK, 11th in Europe and 40th in the World according to the QS World University Rankings 2018.


View our video about Field Courses.

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What happens inside a volcano? How can we forecast earthquakes? Why do we experience extreme weather and can we control it? How do different cultures approach these subjects?

Explore geophysics at an advanced level in the context of the entire earth system. You’ll study the Earth’s many processes, from the seas and skies to the deep interior, and learn about the way they control our environment. You’ll have the choice of a significant range of modules thanks to our diverse expertise, with a particularly strong theme in geophysical hazards. Plus you’ll spend a year living and studying at one of our partner universities in Australasia, North America or Europe.

This is a highly desirable four-year degree due to the varied skills you’ll develop as well as the many industrial, governmental and academic applications of the subject.


This four-year course will inspire a lifelong interest, knowledge and understanding of the way the Earth works. You’ll explore how the whole Earth system and its interactions control our environment and develop an understanding of the issues that threaten our future.

As part of this degree programme you will have the opportunity to spend your third year studying and living abroad with one of our university exchange partners in Australasia, North America or Europe. Going to a university in another country is an unmissable opportunity to experience other cultures and lifestyles, as well as studying within departments where different aspects of Geophysics are taught.

During your course you will study mathematical techniques and gain the skills necessary to analyse the physical environment. You’ll develop a critical awareness of issues at the frontier of research, along with a comprehensive understanding of research methods and their limitations. You will learn self-direction and originality in applying knowledge, solving problems and conducting research.

You’ll get involved in a significant amount of fieldwork in many different geological environments. During your field course you’ll learn to use a variety of technological equipment and techniques – including seismic and gravity investigations, magnetic and electrical measurements, or ground-penetrating radar surveys.

Our geophysics degrees are run jointly by the School of Environmental Sciences and the School of Mathematics, and in collaboration with the School of Computing Sciences. So you’ll benefit from a broad choice of subject material to engage with, as well as the chance to specialise in your field of interest to an advanced level. You can bias your degree towards geological geophysics, geohazards, meteorology and climatology or oceanography – or study a combination of them all.

When you graduate, you will be highly employable, with a wide range of skills that are highly prized by employers. Many of our graduates have gone on to work for local and multinational companies within sectors including geophysical exploration and services, geotechnical engineering, risk analysis and environmental consultancy.

Course Structure

This four-year course follows a similar structure to the MSci Geophysics, but with your third year of study at an overseas university.

Year 1

Our core compulsory module will introduce you to the general scientific principles governing geophysics. Multi-disciplinary modules from the wider Faculty of Science will give you the essential analytical skills you will need in the future – including areas such as probability, mechanics and modelling.

Year 2

As the course progresses you will study applied geophysics and continue to develop your mathematical knowledge. You will also enjoy more freedom to tailor your course around your own interests, choosing from a wide variety of modules.

Year 3

You’ll spend your third year studying at one of our university exchange partners in Australasia, North America or Europe. Here you’ll take modules offered by your host university – often giving you the chance to explore a new area.

Year 4

Back at UEA for your final year, you’ll deliver an independent research project in a topic that inspires you – enabling you to put everything you've learnt into practice. You'll also have the choice of a range of Master’s level modules, including field courses overseas and topics such as energy, climate science and Earth science.

Teaching and Learning


You will be taught by leading geophysicists and environmental scientists through a combination of lectures, laboratories, workshops, seminars and fieldwork. Our modules are informed by their specialisms, which means you benefit from access to the latest thinking and research.

Most modules will have a practical element where you will experiment and gain valuable hands-on experience. Practical work ranges from measuring flow rates of analogue fluids in our high-tech labs to using seismic equipment to investigate the subsurface of our beautiful campus. In addition, you will have the option of going on residential field courses where you will be carrying out investigations to solve real-world problems. Past trips have included Greece, Spain, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, and The Lake District, to name a few.

Independent study

You will spend time carrying out independent study throughout your course. This may be researching in UEA’s state-of-the-art library, carrying out practical work in our high-tech labs, conducting independent fieldwork, or performing analyses in our modern computer suites.

This course will give you an excellent balance of independent thinking and study skills, helping you grow into a self-motivated learner, an expert researcher and analytical thinker. Along with the specialised knowledge you will gain, you will also develop critical thinking and problem solving skills, technical and numerical expertise, and confidence in leadership and management.

Academic support

To make sure you get the most from your studies and help you reach your full potential, our Learning Enhancement team (based in the student Support Service) are on hand to help with skills in writing, research, exams and more.


At the end of each year you will be assessed on a combination of coursework, project and examination results. The balance of assessment by coursework and exam depends on the modules you choose.

We also use formative assessment throughout each module so that you can gain feedback on your skills and understanding before completing summative work.

Study abroad or Placement Year

On this course you will spend a year of your studies in Australasia, Europe or North America, giving you the chance to experience a whole new culture. You’ll also be able to study a different range of topics, learn a new language and develop useful contacts for your future career. Currently we have students at:

University of Sydney

University of Wollongong

Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

University of British Columbia, Vancouver

University of Calgary

Western University, Canada

Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge

University of Colorado, Boulder

University of Hawaii

University of Oregon

University of Utah

University of Granada, Spain

For further details, visit our Study Abroad section of our website.

After the course

After graduating you could follow in the footsteps of past graduates and go into sectors such as water management, resource exploration, geotechnical engineering, risk analysis, environmental consultancy, hazard management or teaching. Alternatively you could continue your studies with a PhD.

To get your career off to the best start, our Careers Service run annual Environmental Science events. These include alumni-led presentations and workshops across a range of sectors, including industrial, governmental and academia.

Career destinations

Examples of careers that you could enter include;

  • Water Management
  • Resource Exploration
  • Geotechnical Engineering
  • Risk Analysis
  • Environmental Consultancy
  • Hazard Management

Course related costs

You are eligible for reduced fees during the year abroad. Further details are available on our Tuition Fee website. 

There will be extra costs related to items such as your travel and accommodation during your year abroad, which will vary depending on location.

Please see Additional Course Fees for details of other course-related costs.


This course has been accredited by The Geological Society of London. This accreditation status provides added assurance to prospective students that the course content and structure has been approved by an independent body of academics and industrialists and that the teaching is of the highest quality. An accredited degree will reduce the amount of post-graduation experience required for applications for Chartered Geologist and Chartered Scientist. A professional geoscientist holding an accredited degree is eligible to apply for Chartered status one year earlier than those with unaccredited degrees. Those holding two accredited degrees (e.g. BSc and MSc) can apply two years earlier.

In order to receive the award of an accredited degree, students are required to follow an accredited pathway – this is something that your advisor and course director will be able to advise you on. The accredited pathway requires students to take some particular modules and also requires the student to undertake a certain amount of field work (partly achieved by taking the required modules and partly by undertaking some fieldwork for the final year project).

The current period of accreditation is for a six-year period, from April 2018. We would expect to apply for renewal of accreditation at the end of this period. For more information about the Geological Society, accreditation and Chartered status see the Geological Society Web pages

Course Modules 2019/0

Students must study the following modules for 100 credits:

Name Code Credits


What are the most pressing environmental challenges facing the world today? How do we understand these problems through cutting-edge environmental science research? What are the possibilities for building sustainable solutions to address them in policy and society? In this module, you will tackle these questions by taking an interdisciplinary approach to consider challenges relating to climate change, biodiversity, water resources, natural hazards, and technological risks. In doing so you will gain an insight into environmental science research 'in action' and develop essential academic study skills needed to explore these issues.




You will cover differentiation, integration, vectors, partial differentiation, ordinary differential equations, further integrals, power series expansions, complex numbers and statistical methods as part of this module. In addition to the theoretical background there is an emphasis on applied examples. Previous knowledge of calculus is assumed. This module is the first in a series of three maths modules for those across the Faculty of Science that provide a solid undergraduate mathematical training. The follow-on modules are Mathematics for Scientists B and C.




This module comprises two parts: "Probability" and "Mechanics" Probability is the study of the chance of events occurring. It has important applications to understanding the likelihood of multiple events happening together and therefore to rational decision-making. In the first part of this module, you will start by studying probability as a measurement of uncertainty, and looking at statistical experiments and Bayes' theorem. You will then consider both discrete and continuous probability distributions and the concept of expectation. Finally you will consider applications of probability, including Markov chains and reliability theory. Newtonian mechanics provides a basic description of how particles and rigid bodies move in response to applied forces. In the second part of the module you will study Newton's laws of motion and how they can be applied to particle dynamics, vibrations, motion in polar coordinates, and conservation laws.




You will gain a range of transferable skills, tools and resources that are widely used in research across the Environmental Sciences and Geography. We aim to provide a broad understanding of the research process through activities that involve formulating research questions, collecting data using appropriate sources and techniques, collating and evaluating information and presenting results. A week-long residential field course, held at Easter and based at Slapton Ley, Devon, applies field, lab and other skills to a variety of environmental science and geography topics. Depending on the size of the cohort, students on selected degree programmes may be offered the option of an alternative field course arrangement.




Understanding of natural systems is underpinned by physical laws and processes. You will explore the energy, mechanics, and physical properties of Earth materials and their relevance to environmental science using examples from across the Earth's differing systems. The formation, subsequent evolution and current state of our planet are considered through its structure and behaviour - from the planetary interior to the dynamic surface and into the atmosphere. You will study Plate Tectonics to explain Earth's physiographic features - such as mountain belts and volcanoes - and how the processes of erosion and deposition modify them. The distribution of land masses is tied to global patterns of rock, ice and soil distribution and to atmospheric and ocean circulation. You will also explore geological time - the 4.6 billion year record of changing conditions on the planet - and how geological maps can be used to understand Earth history. This course provides you with an introduction to geological materials - rocks, minerals and sediments - and to geological resources and natural hazards.



Students will select 20 credits from the following modules:

Students will be assigned to 20 credits from the following modules. Assignments will be made according to previous Chemistry qualifications.

Name Code Credits


The habitability of planet Earth depends on physical and chemical systems that control everything from the weather and climate to the growth of all living organisms. This module introduces you to some of these key cycles and the ways in which physical and chemical scientists investigate and interpret them. It leads naturally to second and third year study of these systems in more detail, but even if you choose to study other aspects of environmental sciences, a basic knowledge of these systems is central to understanding our planet and how it responds to human pressures. The module is made up of two distinct components. One focuses on the physical study of the environment (Physical Processes: e.g. weather, climate, ocean circulation, etc.) The other focuses on the chemical study (Chemical Processes: weathering, atmospheric pollution, ocean productivity, etc.). Interrelationships between these components are explored throughout. Teaching of this module is through a mix of lectures, laboratory practical classes, workshops and a half-day field trip. This module provides a Basic Chemistry introduction for those students who have little or no background in chemistry prior to joining UEA.




The habitability of planet Earth depends on physical and chemical systems that control everything from the weather and climate to the growth of all living organisms. This module introduces you to some of these key cycles and the ways in which physical and chemical scientists investigate and interpret them. It leads naturally to second and third year study of these systems in more detail, but even if you choose to study other aspects of environmental sciences, a basic knowledge of these systems is central to understanding our planet and how it responds to human pressures. The module is made up of two distinct components. One focuses on the physical study of the environment (Physical Processes: e.g. weather, climate, ocean circulation, etc.) The other focuses on the chemical study (Chemical Processes: weathering, atmospheric pollution, ocean productivity, etc.). Interrelationships between these components are explored throughout. Teaching of this module is through a mix of lectures, laboratory practical classes, workshops and a half-day field trip. This module is for students with previous experience of chemistry.



Students must study the following modules for 80 credits:

Name Code Credits


What lies beneath our feet? This module addresses this question by exploring how wavefields and potential fields are used in geophysics to image the subsurface on scales of metres to kilometres. You'll study the basic theory, data acquisition and interpretation methods of seismic, electrical, gravity and magnetic surveys. A wide range of applications are covered, including archaeological geophysics, energy resources and geohazards. Highly valued by employers, this module features guest lecturers from industry who explain the latest 'state-of-the-art' applications and give you unique insight into real world situations. In taking this module, you'll normally expected to have a good mathematical ability, notably in calculus and algebra.




What lies beneath our feet? This module addresses this question by exploring how wavefields and potential fields are used in geophysics to image the subsurface on scales of metres to kilometres. You'll study the basic theory, data acquisition and interpretation methods of seismic, electrical, gravity and magnetic surveys. A wide range of applications are covered, including archaeological geophysics, energy resources and geohazards. Highly valued by employers, this module features guest lecturers from industry who explain the latest 'state-of-the-art' applications and give you unique insight into real world situations. In taking this module, you'll normally be expected to have a good mathematical ability, notably in calculus and algebra. This module also includes a one-week field course, currently held in the Lake District during Easter break. The cost of attending the field course is heavily subsidised by the School but students enrolling must commit to paying a sum to cover their attendance.




With guidance from a supervisor, you will choose a topic, design the research and collect, analyse and interpret data. You will report on progress at various stages: in the selection of a topic, the detailed plan, an interim report and an oral presentation. A final report in the form of a dissertation not exceeding 10,000 words is required. When planning the project and again after completing the report, you will reflect on the range of subject-specific and generic skills acquired through your degree and how you are reinforced and complemented by the skills acquired through your project. A final item of summative work assesses the clarity by which you communicate and evidence your range of skills in the form of a covering letter and cv for a potential job application. To further support the transition to employment, you can present a formative research poster that summarises the main aspects of the work to prospective employers. This module is compulsory for all degree courses in the School of Environmental Sciences and is an independent piece of research.




This module serves as an introduction to fluid dynamics, vector calculus and Fourier analysis.




This module is the third in a series of three mathematical units for students across the Faculty of Science. It covers matrix algebra and numerical methods, partial differential equations and solid mechanics. There is a continuing emphasis on applied examples, and the use of numerical computing software (Matlab) is extended with a dedicated programming component. The module is taught by mathematicians with considerable expertise in the use of mathematics in the natural/environmental sciences and is largely designed to equip students with the tools necessary for advanced second and third level modules, particularly those in the physical sciences.



Students will select 60 credits from the following modules:

Students will select 60 credits from the following modules. (40 credits in SEM1 and 20 credits in SEM2). Note that no more than one module with the same timetable slot e.g.EE can be taken in one semester and that timetabling slots may change from year to year. Please contact the module organiser to find out which slots are being used.

Name Code Credits


What lies beneath our feet? This module addresses this question by exploring how wavefields and potential fields are used in geophysics to image the subsurface on scales of metres to kilometres. You'll study the basic theory, data acquisition and interpretation methods of seismic, electrical, gravity and magnetic surveys. A wide range of applications are covered, including archaeological geophysics, energy resources and geohazards. Highly valued by employers, this module features guest lecturers from industry who explain the latest 'state-of-the-art' applications and give you unique insight into real world situations. In taking this module, you'll normally expected to have a good mathematical ability, notably in calculus and algebra.




Good observational and descriptive skills lie at the heart of many areas of Environmental Science and you will develop those skills during this module. It is particularly suitable if you are interested in Earth and Geophysical Sciences as you will cover generic Earth science skills. The module will include: observing, describing and recording the characteristics of geological materials (hand specimen and under microscope); measuring and representing 3d data, and reading geological maps.




This module is designed to develop good observational and descriptive skills and is particularly suitable for students with interests in Geology, Earth and Geophysical Sciences. It will cover generic Geological skills of use for projects. The module will include: observing, describing and recording the characteristics of geological materials (in the field, in hand specimen and under microscope); measuring and representing 3d data, reading geological maps and basic geological mapping. The module includes a week-long residential field work in the Easter vacation which has an added cost implication in the region of GBP300. Co-requisite or pre-requisite of 40 or more credits from the list: ENV-5004B Applied Geophysics, ENV-5034A Geomorphology, ENV-5035B Sedimentology, ENV-5012A Soil Processes and Environmental issues, ENV-5018A Global Tectonics, ENV-5021A Hydrology and Hydrogeology, ENV-5005K Applied Geophysics with field course.




Geomorphology is the scientific study of landforms and the processes that shape them, it underpins numerous subjects including: sedimentology, palaeoclimatology, biodiversity, ecosystem services, natural hazards and natural resources. In this module you will be introduced to different landforms and gain an understanding of the earth surface processes that create these landforms. Our approach will be both descriptive and quantitative, based on understanding erosional and depositional concepts, weathering and sediment transport and the evolution of landscapes. Drawing from our own research, the emphasis will be on local East Anglian field sites as case studies (with half and full day field trips) with key international examples, to illustrate and improve your understanding of glacial geomorphology, coastal geomorphology, ecogeomorphology and mountain/river/slope geomorphology with some arid geomorphology. You will learn about and apply the methods and different types of data and evidence used by geomorphologists (e.g., maps, imagery and field observations/measurements) to understand landform creation and evolution, gaining numerous transferrable skills.




This module builds upon the introduction to GIS provided in the first year Research and Field Skills module, focusing on how you obtain your data, integrate it and then undertake analysis and presentation tasks. ESRI ArcGIS will be the main software used, but there will also be an introduction to scripting tools (Python), open source software (QGIS) and online GIS (ArcGIS Online). Teaching will consist of a one-hour lecture and a three-hour practical class each week.




Processes in the Earth's interior exert a profound influence on all aspects of the Earth's system, and have done so throughout geological time. On this module, you'll explore all aspects of those processes from the creation and destruction of tectonic plates to the structure of the Earth's interior and the distribution and dissipation of energy within it. This will include: the theory and mechanisms of plate tectonics, the generation of magma and volcanism; the mechanisms behind earthquakes. We will also discuss the geological record of this activity, its evolution and impacts on the Earth.




Hydrology and hydrogeology are Earth Science subjects concerned with the assessment of the natural distribution of water in time and space and the evaluation of human impacts on the water. You will be introduced to geological controls on groundwater occurrence, aquifer characteristics, basic principles of groundwater flow, basic hydrochemistry, to catchment hydrology, hydrological data collection and analysis, runoff generation processes and the principles of rainfall-runoff modelling. Practical classes will develop your analytical skills in solving problems as well as field skills in pumping test analysis and stream gauging. A field excursion in Norfolk is also offered in this module.




We examine the principles of energy science and technologies including energy generation and conversion, such as renewables, bioenergy and batteries. You will be provided with a systematic and integrated account of the issues in energy resources and conversion. You'll use this knowledge to make a rational analysis of energy availability, applications and selections from physical, technical and environmental considerations. We also provide students with the opportunity to explore the future of energy provision in greater depth.




The weather affects everyone and influences decisions that are made on a daily basis around the world. From whether to hang your washing out on a sunny afternoon, to which route a commercial aircraft takes as it travels across the ocean, weather plays a vital role. With that in mind, what actually causes the weather we experience? In this module you'll learn the fundamentals of the science of meteorology. You'll concentrate on the physical process that allow moisture and radiation to transfer through the atmosphere and how they ultimately influence our weather. The module contains both descriptive and mathematical treatments of radiation balance, thermodynamics, dynamics, boundary layers, weather systems and the water cycle. The module is assessed through a combination of one piece of coursework and an exam, and is designed in a way that allows those with either mathematical or descriptive abilities to do well, although a reasonable mathematical competence is essential, including basic understanding of differentiation and integration.




This module gives you an understanding of the physical processes occurring in the basin-scale ocean environment. We will introduce and discuss large scale global ocean circulation, including gyres, boundary currents and the overturning circulation. Major themes include the interaction between ocean and atmosphere, and the forces which drive ocean circulation. You should be familiar with partial differentiation, integration, handling equations and using calculators. Shelf Sea Dynamics is a natural follow-on module and builds on some of the concepts introduced here. We strongly recommend that you also gain oceanographic fieldwork experience by taking the 20-credit biennial Marine Sciences field course.




The purpose of this module is to give you a solid grounding in the essential features programming using the Java programming language. The module is designed to meet the needs of the student who has not previously studied programming.




This module builds on understanding in wind, tidal and hydroelectric power and introduces theories and principles relating to a variety of renewable energy technologies including solar energy, heat pumps and geothermal sources, fuel cells and the hydrogen economy, biomass energy and anaerobic digestion. You will consider how these various technologies can realistically contribute to the energy mix. You will study the various targets and legislative instruments that are used to control and encourage developments. Another key aspect of the module is the study and application of project management and financial project appraisal techniques in a renewable energy context.




Sediments and sedimentary rocks cover much of the Earth's surface, but how do they get there and what can they tell us? If you are a geologist or environmental scientist with particular interest in physical geography then this is a key issue that you need to think about. Sediments record the Earth's history of environmental change, a record that started 3.8 billion years ago. Sediments contain the fossil record and host many of the world's natural resources including water, hydrocarbons, and minerals. In this module you will discover how sedimentologists decode the wealth of information sediments contain, taught by two practicing sedimentologists who have international research reputations in their respective fields. This module includes the study of modern sediments in a range of environments including rivers, the continental shelf and deep ocean basins. We put particular emphasis on the physical and chemical processes that result in the deposition of different sediment types. We then use this basis to interpret the origin and processes that formed ancient sedimentary rocks. The module emphasises development of practical skills in the laboratory, and also in the field.




The shallow shelf seas that surround the continents are the oceans that we most interact with. They contribute a disproportionate amount to global marine primary production and CO2 drawdown into the ocean, and are important economically through commercial fisheries, offshore oil and gas exploration, and renewable energy developments (e.g. offshore wind farms). You will explore the physical processes that occur in shelf seas and coastal waters, their effect on biological, chemical and sedimentary processes, and how they can be harnessed to generate renewable energy. You will develop new skills during this module that will support careers in the offshore oil and gas industry, renewable energy industry, environmental consultancy, government laboratories (e.g. Cefas) and academia. The level of mathematical ability required to take this module is similar to Ocean Circulation and Meteorology I. You should be familiar with radians, rearranging equations and plotting functions.




This module will combine lectures, practicals, seminars and fieldwork to provide students with an appreciation of the soil environment and the processes that occurs within it. The module will progress through: basic soil components/properties; soil identification and classification; soil as a habitat; soil organisms; soil functions; the agricultural environment; soil-organism-agrochemical interaction; soil contamination; soil and climate change; soil ecosystem services and soil quality.



Students must study the following modules for 120 credits:

Name Code Credits


This module corresponds to the equivalent UEA credits obtained by those on a full academic year of approved study at a specified university in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand or in Europe. You are required to enrol on a full load of credits. What is considered a full load depends on the exchange partner university. The following list gives an overview: - USA: 8-10 modules at 3-4 credits each; 30 credits per year - Canada: 10 modules at 0.5/1.5/3 credits each; 5/15/30 credits per year - Australia: usually 8 modules per year; varying number of credits - New Zealand: usually 6 modules per year; varying number of credits - Europe: 2-8 modules at 7.5 to 30 ECTS credits; 60 ECTS credits per year The choice of modules abroad must be agreed by you and your module organiser prior to departure and must be of the appropriate nature and level (e.g. upper division at US universities) to the degree programme that you are enrolled in at UEA. Marks awarded at the host institution will be converted to UEA marks following an algorithm into a single overall average mark for the year abroad. Reassessment of this module is not possible.



Students must study the following modules for 80 credits:

Name Code Credits


Our aim 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; the practicals being designed to illustrate the solution of problems using the methods covered in lectures. We 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.




This year long module involves you carrying out individual research in the environmental sciences, with the topic suggested by and closely directed by a supervisor. The work will develop your research skills through learning by doing. You will present your results as a seminar and in the form of a research paper. The project differs from the independent research project, in requiring greater time and higher expected standards of research design and application of data. This module is restricted to UG students on the MSci programme only.



Students will select 20 - 40 credits from the following modules:

Students will select a minimum of 20 and a maximum of 40 credits from the following modules. Please note that some modules run in alternate years. Note that no more than one module with the same timetable slot e.g.EE can be taken in one semester and that timetabling slots may change from year to year. Please contact the module organiser to find out which slots are being used.

Name Code Credits


Climate change and variability have played major roles in shaping human history, and the prospect of human-caused global warming is a pressing challenge for society. But how and why has climate changed, how do we predict future climate and how do our choices affect future climate? Throughout this module, you will learn how climate science can answer these questions. Discover the approaches, methods and techniques for understanding the history of climate change and for developing climate projections for the next 100 years. You'll also explore the scientific evidence about climate change and where the uncertainties lie. Starting with an introduction to the changing climate and the main themes in current climate research, your study will be structured around three topics. (1) Fundamentals of the changing climate including the Earth's energy balance, causes of climate change and the greenhouse effect. (2) Research methods, consisting of empirical approaches to climate reconstruction (such as tree-ring research), analysis of observational data (focusing on the global temperature record and causes of recent climate change), and an introduction to energy balance models and general circulation models. (3) Climate change and causal mechanisms, concentrating on the period from 1000 CE to the present and climate projections out to 2100 CE. Studying the physical science basis of climate change will enable you to understand what controls our climate, to explain the causes of the changes we have observed, and to interpret projections of future climate change.




This module is designed for postgraduate students studying on MSc courses. You will explore the methodologies of Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining (KDD). You will cover each stage of the KDD process, including preliminary data exploration, data cleansing, pre-processing and the various data analysis tasks that fall under the heading of data mining, focusing on clustering, classification and association rule induction. Through this module, you will gain knowledge of algorithms and methods for data analysis, as well as practical experience using leading KDD software packages.




This module introduces you to important aspects of databases, database manipulation and database management systems. The module is based on the relational model. You will explore the tools and methods for database design and manipulation as well as the programming of database applications. Part of the practical experience you will gain will be acquired using a modern relational database management system. You will also gain programming experience using SQL, and using a high level programming language to write applications that access the database.




Dynamical meteorology is a core subject on which weather forecasting and the study of climate and climate change are based. This module applies fluid dynamics to the study of the circulation of the Earth's atmosphere. The fluid dynamical equations and some basic thermodynamics for the atmosphere are introduced. These are then applied to topics such as geostrophic flow, thermal wind and the jet streams, boundary layers, gravity waves, the Hadley circulation, vorticity and potential vorticity, Rossby waves, and equatorial waves. Emphasis will be placed on fluid dynamical concepts as well as on finding analytical solutions to the equations of motion. Advanced Topic: Advanced Rossby wave propagation.




In this module, you will examine energy transitions for climate change mitigation from a range of perspectives. You will consider how current energy resources, technologies and services produce greenhouse gas emissions. You will draw on both historical evidence and theories of change to explore prospects and potentials for transforming the energy system.




Fluid dynamics has wide ranging applications across nature, engineering, and biology. From understanding the behaviour of ocean waves and weather, designing efficient aircraft and ships, to capturing blood flow, the ability to understand and predict how fluids (liquids and gasses) behave is of fundamental importance. You will consider mathematical models of fluids, particularly including viscosity (or stickiness) of a fluid. Illustrated by practical examples throughout, you will develop the governing differential Navier-Stokes equations, and then consider their solution either finding exact solutions, or using analytical techniques to obtain solutions in certain limits (for example low viscosity or high viscosity).




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 and environmental research, but are particularly useful for the creation of variables needed for modelling environmental change. There will be extensive emphasis on practical GIS skills.




This module addresses the technical aspects of nuclear power and solar energy, whilst letting you make ethical decisions incorporating health and safety risk assessments. Successful design of nuclear installations requires a detailed quantitative risk analysis within a regulatory framework that imposes high tolerances. Furthermore, you will obtain advanced knowledge and skills for the optimal design and performance analysis for cost-effective configurations of PV systems, solar thermal systems and hybrids to achieve sustainable development. Although these energies are considered cleaner, it is essential to consider the environmental impact and planning law, as well as changing the societal perception of both. You will gain comprehensive knowledge of nuclear technology, policy and the issues involved in the deployment of nuclear power, as well as awareness of health and safety risk assessments, mitigation measurements and their impact at an industrial scale. Additionally, you will acquire in-depth knowledge on the dynamic performance of PV systems, the suitability of the various possible PV system configurations and solar thermal collector systems. In parallel, you will develop skills for the effective use of solar radiation databases and various software for the cost-effective sizing of PV systems and solar collector systems through coursework and experimental work and analysis in the laboratory. Please note that if you have previously taken the Undergraduate module NUCLEAR AND SOLAR ENERGY then you will not be permitted to undertake this module.




The aim of this module is to expose you to the technical and commercial realities of the oil and gas industry. An overview of the subject leads to a number of specific case studies provided by practising engineers. A number of assessment techniques are used, from individual presentations to analysis of reserves or research for a briefing document addressing issues of health and safety risk management. Each year the case studies will reflect the expertise of the visiting practising engineers. Although there are no pre-requisites this module is a good follow on to the Fossil Fuels module.




You will engage in Earth science topics at an advanced level and develop advanced study skills. The module will be strongly research lead and based around your learning. It will involve engagement with appropriate research seminars in the School of Environmental Sciences and directed research on key topics with discussions and 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 your research and communication skills in addition to imparting specialist knowledge. To take this module, you should either be taking MSci in one of the following or already have a BSc degree in Earth Science, Geology, Geophysics, Physical Geography or similar.




From supernovae and the early condensation of the solar system, through the climate history of the planet and on to studies of stratospheric chemistry, research using stable isotopes has made a significant contribution to our understanding of the processes that shape the Earth. You'll explore 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. Teaching is by a mix lectures, student led seminars and practicals, including hands-on experience in the stable isotope laboratory.




How do you test a hypothesis? How do you compare biological traits between wild populations? And how do you best test and visualise differences between samples? Scientists use a wide array of methods for statistical analysis and plotting data, and increasingly, these tasks are carried out using R. R is a free programming language for statistical computing and graphics, including general and generalised linear models, time-series analysis, and community analysis, and also specialised analyses in many scientific subfields. Learning R will equip you with a flexible statistical, modelling, and graphics tool. Learning the basics of running R in the RStudio programming environment, you'll spend most of your time on general and generalised linear models, which unify the range of statistical tests that are classically taught separately: t-test, ANOVA, regression, logistic regression, and chi-square, plus residuals analysis. Additionally, you'll learn how to use R to write simple programs and carry out community analyses such as principal components analysis. Finally, throughout the class, you'll learn R methods for data formatting, graphics, and documentation. On successful completion of this module you'll be able to use R to carry out and present results from the most widely used statistical tests in current scientific practice, giving you sufficient knowledge to continue learning statistical analysis on your own. A pre-requisite of first and/or second year statistical modules is required.




This module recreates the industrial process of working in a multi-disciplinary consultancy, competing for the work from a client. Industrial partners offer a new real life project each year, with previous examples including designing a CHP facility to integrate anaerobic digestion, improving the industrial efficiency of a linen hiring company, and working with a client to produce a smart energy efficient building. Over the first semester each team responds to the brief from the conceptual stage through to a working scheme. In the second semester your team delivers a final report and presentation and each team member focuses on a few specific elements of the process to complete an individual design element. This flagship module provides confidence and commercial awareness of real-world industry.




This module studies renewable energy sources that use the energy stored in water to produce electrical energy. An examination is made into the potential energy and kinetic energy stored in water, either implicitly through waves/tide or explicitly in hydro. Devices for energy extraction from waves are examined but an essential focus is on wave forces on structures. Tidal energy extraction devices including barrages, lagoons and tidal stream turbines are also studied. The design and operation of hydroelectric turbines is studied with a particular focus on pipe flow and pipe networks using commercial software.




Wind energy is the main provider of renewable energy and the source that is receiving the majority of investment, making its study vital to energy engineering. This module begins by examining the kinetic energy of moving air and the design of wind turbines to extract this energy. Different turbine designs are briefly examined and comparisons made of their effectiveness. Issues regarding placement of wind turbines and practical considerations are discussed and include data collection of wind speeds for possible wind farm sites using optimal spacing of turbines. The focus is on developing Excel skills and Technical Report-writing skills using wind energy as the context.



Students will select 0 - 40 credits from the following modules:

Students will select a minimum of 0 and a maximum of 40 credits from the following modules. Students must submit a request to the School for a place on a field course. Please note: ENV-7028K and ENV-7039K will run in alternate years. Also note that ENV-7030K runs every other year, requires an application form rather than standard enrolment, and will only run if enough students enrol.

Name Code Credits


During this field course you will develop a deeper understanding and integration of geoscience subjects: the fieldwork will develop your applied skills such as aspects of structural geology, regional tectonics, sedimentology, palaeoclimate and palaeoenvironments, and volcanology. There are two field bases in the Aegean (Greece), a) the Gulf of Corinth active rift (6 days plus a day off), and b) Santorini volcano (4 days) plus 3 travel days.




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. In some cases optional modules can have limited places available and so you may be asked to make additional module choices in the event you do not gain a place on your first choice. Where this is the case, the University will endeavour to inform students.

Further Reading


    Twelve things you need to know about the School of Environmental Sciences.


    Discover our new building for the next generation of Scientists and Engineers.

    Read it OPENING IN SUMMER 2019
  • Ask a Student

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  • University Taster Events

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  • UEA Award

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    Find out what it’s like to be a part of the School of Environmental Sciences at UEA.


Entry Requirements

  • A Level ABB or BBB with an A in the Extended Project, including Mathematics. All Science A-Levels must include a pass in practical element.
  • International Baccalaureate 32 points including Higher Level 5 in Mathematics.
  • Scottish Highers AAABB including grade A in Mathematics
  • Scottish Advanced Highers BCC including Mathematics.
  • Irish Leaving Certificate 3 subjects at H2, 3 subjects at H3 including Mathematics.
  • Access Course Pass Access to HE Diploma with Distinction in 30 credits at Level 3 and Merit in 15 credits at Level 3, including 12 Level 3 credits in Mathematics.
  • BTEC DDM in Applied Science, Applied Science (Medical Science), Environmental Sustainability or Countryside Management, alongisde grade B in A-Level Mathematics. Excludes BTEC Public Services, BTEC Uniformed Services, BTEC Business Administration and BTEC Forensic Science.
  • European Baccalaureate 75% with at least 70% in Mathematics.

Entry Requirement

General Studies and Critical Thinking are not accepted.

If you do not meet the academic requirements for direct entry, you may be interested in one of our Foundation Year programmes:

Environmental Sciences with a Foundation Year

Students for whom English is a Foreign language

Applications from students whose first language is not English are welcome. We require evidence of proficiency in English (including writing, speaking, listening and reading):

  • IELTS: 6.5 overall (minimum 5.5 in all components)

We also accept a number of other English language tests. Please click here to see our full list.

INTO University of East Anglia 

If you do not yet meet the English language requirements for this course, INTO UEA offer a variety of English language programmes which are designed to help you develop the English skills necessary for successful undergraduate study:

If you do not meet the academic and or English requirements for direct entry our partner, INTO University of East Anglia offers guaranteed progression on to this undergraduate degree upon successful completion of a preparation programme. Depending on your interests, and your qualifications you can take a variety of routes to this degree:

International Foundation in Physical Sciences and Engineering


Most applicants will not be called for an interview and a decision will be made via UCAS Track. However, for some applicants an interview will be requested. Where an interview is required the Admissions Service will contact you directly to arrange a time.

Gap Year

We welcome applications from students who have already taken or intend to take a gap year.  We believe that a year between school and university can be of substantial benefit. You are advised to indicate your reason for wishing to defer entry on your UCAS application.


The annual intake is in September each year.

Alternative Qualifications

UEA recognises that some students take a mixture of International Baccalaureate IB or International Baccalaureate Career-related Programme IBCP study rather than the full diploma, taking Higher levels in addition to A levels and/or BTEC qualifications. At UEA we do consider a combination of qualifications for entry, provided a minimum of three qualifications are taken at a higher Level. In addition some degree programmes require specific subjects at a higher level.

GCSE Offer

You are required to have Mathematics and English Language at a minimum of Grade C or Grade 4 or above at GCSE.

Course Open To

UK and overseas applicants.

Fees and Funding

Undergraduate University Fees and Financial Support

Tuition Fees

Information on tuition fees can be found here:

UK students

EU Students 

Overseas Students

Scholarships and Bursaries

We are committed to ensuring that costs do not act as a barrier to those aspiring to come to a world leading university and have developed a funding package to reward those with excellent qualifications and assist those from lower income backgrounds.

The University of East Anglia offers a range of Scholarships; please click the link for eligibility, details of how to apply and closing dates.

How to Apply

Applications need to be made via the Universities Colleges and Admissions Services (UCAS), using the UCAS Apply option.

UCAS Apply is a secure online application system that allows you to apply for full-time Undergraduate courses at universities and colleges in the United Kingdom. It is made up of different sections that you need to complete. Your application does not have to be completed all at once. The application allows you to leave a section partially completed so you can return to it later and add to or edit any information you have entered. Once your application is complete, it is sent to UCAS so that they can process it and send it to your chosen universities and colleges.

The Institution code for the University of East Anglia is E14.

Further Information

Please complete our Online Enquiry Form to request a prospectus and to be kept up to date with news and events at the University. 

Tel: +44 (0)1603 591515


    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: or
    telephone +44 (0)1603 591515