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 various contexts. During your fieldwork on and off campus, 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 mechanics and modelling.

Year 2

As the course progresses you'll learn techniques to explore the Earth's subsurface 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 (subject to government health advice at the time of the activity) 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, we intend to provide the option of going on residential field courses where you will be carrying out investigations to solve real-world problems. These trips will be subject to government health advice at the time these activities take place. 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

We expect that any travel restrictions will be relaxed by the time you start to prepare to study abroad during your second or third year. You will be provided with timely updates and timetabled briefing sessions to ensure you’re fully prepared for your study abroad journey with UEA. For more information visit UEA Study Abroad.

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 2020/1

Students must study the following modules for 120 credits:

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.




Computation and modelling are essential skills for the modern mathematician. While many applied problems are amenable to analytic methods, many require some numerical computation to complete the solution. The synthesis of these two approaches can provide deep insight into highly complex mathematical ideas. This module will introduce you to the art of mathematical modelling, and train you in the computer programming skills needed to perform numerical computations. A particular focus is classical mechanics, which describes the motion of solid bodies. Central to this is Newton's second law of motion, which states that a mass will accelerate at a rate proportional to the force imposed upon it. This leads to an ordinary differential equation to be solved for the velocity and position of the mass. In the simplest cases the solution can be constructed using analytical methods, but in more complex situations, for example motion under resistance, numerical methods may be required. Iterative methods for solving nonlinear algebraic equations are fundamental and will also be studied. Further examples drawn from pure mathematics and statistics demonstrate the power of modern computational techniques.




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. Recommended if you have grade A*-C at A-level Mathematics, or equivalent.




You will gain a range of transferable skills, tools and resources that are widely used in research across the Environmental Sciences and Geography. It aims 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. Lectures and practical classes will be taught during Semester 1, whilst a week-long residential field course applies field, lab and other skills to a variety of Environmental Science and Geography topics in Semester 2. 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 must study the following modules for 80 credits:

Name Code Credits


This module is designed to develop good observational, descriptive and analytical skills and is particularly suitable for students with interest in Geology, Earth and Geophysical Sciences. It will cover generic geological skills, together with some geophysical and physical geography skills that will be of use when carrying out independent projects. The module will include: (i) observing, describing and recording of characteristics of geological materials (minerals, soils, sediments, rocks and fossils) in the field, in hand specimen and under the microscope; (ii) measuring and recording of spatial and 3D structural data on maps, stereographic and rose diagram projections, reading geological maps and basic geological mapping, and (iii) an introduction to applied geophysical techniques. The module includes a week-long residential fieldwork component in the Easter vacation which has an added cost implication in the region of GBP300. There will be an alternative arrangement for students who for whatever reason are unable to undertake the residential fieldwork. There is a co-requisite or pre-requisite of 20 or more credits from the modules: Earth Surface Processes, Global Tectonics or Exploring the Earth's Subsurface. Students who have previously taken ENV-5030B Geology Skills, or ENV-5029B Geology Lab Skills cannot take this module. They will, however, have an opportunity to take part in the residential field course.




In this module you will learn about the processes that shape the Earth's shallow subsurface, and how to detect and map subsurface structures and resources. Physical properties of solid materials and subsurface fluids will be explored, including how fluid movement affects these properties. Methods to image the subsurface will be introduced using real datasets, collected by the class where possible. We will apply the theory to real-life problems including risk mitigation, engineering and resource exploration. This module will include fieldwork on campus where possible, specialist computer software, and some light mathematical analysis (trigonometry, rearranging linear equations, logarithms).




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 serves as a further introduction to general mathematics for scientists




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 40 credits from the following modules:

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


This module draws upon on a range of scientific disciplines including geomorphology, sedimentology, soil science and eco-geomorphology. The module overviews a variety of Earth's surface environments and the processes that lead to expression in landforms, soil evolution, sediment accumulation and ultimately, the formation of sedimentary rocks. The environments covered include deep and marginal marine, intertidal, aeolian, glacial and fluvial. The approach will be both descriptive and quantitative, based on understanding of erosion, transport, deposition, accumulation and burial and the evolution of soils. East Anglian case studies will be used to illustrate and explain eco-geomorphology and coastal processes, dovetailed with soil evolution. Geomorphological expression will be linked to sedimentary processes and sedimentary rock. There will be an introduction to the methods and different types of evidence used by geologists, physical geographers and other earth scientists.




This module purposely fuses the boundaries conventionally constraining engineering designers, to enable you to fully explore the breadth of design principles and processes presented within a contemporary design challenge. Supported by a framework of integrated learning, you will continue to develop your ability to straddle the boundaries of creative design practice in the determination of holistic design solutions. Societal design challenges will add real-world context to problems posed as you explore the issues facilitating the realisation of revolutionary ideas in contemporary design practice.




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. This module is designed to 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. The geological record of this activity, its evolution and impacts on the Earth will also be discussed.




This module introduces some of the fundamental physical concepts and mathematical theory needed to analyse the motion of a fluid, with the focus predominantly on inviscid, incompressible motions. You will examine methods for visualising flow fields, including the use of particle paths and streamlines. You will study the dynamical theory of fluid flow taking Newton's laws of motion as its point of departure, and the fundamental set of equations comprising conservation of mass and Euler's equations will be discussed. The reduction to Laplace's equation for irrotational flow will be demonstrated, and Bernoulli's equation is derived as a first integral of the equation of motion. Having established the basic theory, the way is set for a broader discussion of flow dynamics including everyday practical examples. Vector calculus will cover divergence, gradient, curl of vector field, the Laplacian, scalar potential and path-independence of line integral, surface integrals, divergence theorem and Stokes' theorem. Computational fluid dynamics will also be studied.




Mathematical modelling is concerned with how to convert real problems, such as those arising in industry or other sciences, into mathematical equations, and then solving them and using the results to better understand, or make predictions about, the original problem. This topic will look at techniques of mathematical modelling, examining how mathematics can be applied to a variety of real problems and give insight in various areas. The topics will include approximation and non-dimensionalising, and discussion of how a mathematical model is created. We will then apply this theory to a variety of models such as traffic flow as well as examples of problems arising in industry. We will consider population modelling, chaos, and aerodynamics.




The weather affects everyone and influences decisions that are made continuously around the world. From designing and siting a wind farm to assessing flood risk and public safety, weather plays a vital role. Have you ever wondered what actually causes the weather we experience, for example why large storms are so frequent across north western Europe, especially in Winter? In this module you will learn the fundamentals of the science of meteorology. We will concentrate on the physical processes that underpin the radiation balance, thermodynamics, wind-flow, atmospheric stability, weather systems and the water cycle. We will link these to renewable energy and the weather we experience throughout the Semester. Assessment will be based entirely on a set of practical reports that you will submit, helping you to spread your work evenly through the semester. You will learn how Weather is a rich fusion of descriptive and numerical elements and you will be able to draw effectively on your own skill strengths while practising and developing others, guided by Weatherquest's Meteorologists.



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 Year 3 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


This is a module designed to give students the opportunity to apply statistical methods in realistic situations. While no advanced knowledge of probability and statistics is required, we expect students to have some background in probability and statistics before taking this module. The aim is to teach the R statistical language and to cover a range of topics in applied statistics, such as: Linear Regression.




The module addresses the fundamental requirement for an interdisciplinary catchment-based approach to managing and protecting water resources that includes an understanding of land use and its management. The module content includes the design of catchment monitoring programmes, nutrient mass balance calculations, river restoration techniques, an overview of UK and European agri-environmental policy and approaches to assessing and mitigating catchment flooding. The module is structured to enhance professional skills development through the provision of sessions designated at assisting students who wish to pursue a career in the water industry.




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. (2) Research methods. (3) Climate change and causal mechanisms. 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 looks into how best to perform database manipulation, exploring techniques that allow us to use and manage data of various types efficiently. We will examine methods to ensure that correctness of data, in terms of availability, reliability, consistency and scalability can be achieved and maintained. In turn, this will provide opportunities to turning data into knowledge intelligently and informing stakeholders alike and helping them to make better decisions.




The ocean is an important component of the Earth's climate system. This module covers mathematically modelling of the large-scale ocean circulation and oceanic wave motion. This module builds upon the techniques in fluid dynamics and differential equations that you developed in previous years of study. It then uses these techniques to explain some interesting phenomena in the ocean that are relevant to the real world. We begin by examining the effects of rotation on fluid flows. This naturally leads to the important concept of geostrophy, which enables ocean currents to be inferred from measurements of the sea surface height or from vertical profiles of seawater density. Geostrophy also plays a key role in the development of a model for the global scale circulation of abyssal ocean. The role of the wind in driving the ocean will be examined. This enables us to model the large-scale circulation of the ocean including the development of oceanic gyres and strong western boundary currents, such as the Gulf Stream. The module concludes by examining the role of waves, both at the sea surface and internal to the ocean. The differences between wave motion at mid-latitudes and the Equator are examined, as is the roll of the Equator as a wave-guide. The equatorial waves that you will study are intimately linked with the El Nino phenomenon that affects the climate throughout the globe. The advanced topic is a study of barotropic and baroclinic instability.




In this module you will also consider climate change from the viewpoint of energy generation and usage. You will learn about the key relationships between energy, fossil fuels and the economy. The module draws on historical analyses to understand how energy systems have evolved in the past, as well as examining the role that scenarios play in exploring energy futures. You will gain an in-depth understanding of the complexities of changing energy systems, enabling you critically engage with debates around future "energy transitions", the role that innovation and emergent technologies might play, and the various challenges of shifting towards renewable based energy systems.




This module covers the extraction of renewable energy from wind and water currents and wave motions. This includes the mechanisms by which solar and tidal energy are converted into these resources, the fluid mechanics relevant to energy transfer by machines, examples of working devices and the principles by which they are designed. The variability of these resources and the effect on the design and operation of fluidic devices is also addressed, as are the infrastructure, environmental, policy and financial issues influencing planning, development and operation of renewable energy installations.




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.




Geophysical hazards such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis and landslides have significant environmental and societal impacts. This module focuses on the physical basis and analysis of each hazard, their global range of occurrence, probability of occurrence and their local and global impact. You will address matters such as hazard monitoring, modelling and assessment, and consider approaches towards risk mitigation and the reduction of vulnerability (individual and societal), with an emphasis on their practical implementation. Scenarios and probabilities of mega-disasters are also investigated. All the teaching faculty involved have practical experience of supplying professional advice on these hazards (and related risks) in addition to their own research involvement. A basic knowledge of physical science and of mathematics is assumed e.g. use of logs, exponentials, powers, cosines, rearrangement of equations.




This module will provide essential GIS tools and principles that will be applied to modelling ecological and environmental change. This module includes two parts, the first part delivers core GIS skills. The second part examines recent ecological and environmental changes with particular emphasis to climate change. Students will learn to identify, extract and analyse data from national and global databases. GIS analyses will include the manipulation of such files. Particular attention will be paid to using the data to understand and model the consequences of environmental change. These skills are important in many areas of ecological and environmental research.




Environmental economics provides a set of tools and principles which can be useful in understanding natural resource management issues. This module introduces you to key principles and tools of environmental economics for students who have not studied the subject previously. It then explores how these principles can be applied to address a number of complex economy-environment problems including climate change, over-fishing and water resources management. In this module you will have the opportunity to practically apply cost-benefit analysis as a framework for decision-making and will gain knowledge on the key non-market valuation techniques that are used to monetarily value environmental goods and services. At the end of the module you will have gained insights into how environmental economics is used in developing natural resource management policy as well as some of the challenges in using environmental economics in policy-making.




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. .




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.




How do you test a hypothesis? How do you compare biological traits between wild populations? 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.




You will gain an introduction to the theory of waves. You will study aspects of linear and nonlinear waves using analytical techniques, and Hyperbolic Waves and Water Waves will also be covered. It requires some knowledge of hydrodynamics and multi-variable calculus. The module is suitable for those with an interest in Applied Mathematics.



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. This module next runs in the summer of 2019 for 2019-20 academic year.



Important Information

The University makes every effort to ensure that the information within its course finder is accurate and up-to-date. Occasionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, informing students and will also keep prospective students informed appropriately by updating our course information within our course finder.

In light of the current situation relating to Covid-19, we are in the process of reviewing all courses for 2020 entry with adjustments to course information being made where required to ensure the safety of students and staff, and to meet government guidance.

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

    This is your chance to ask UEA's students about UEA, university life, Norwich and anything else you would like an answer to.

    Read it Ask a Student

    Find out about the impact UEA has made over the past 50 years

    Read it CELEBRATE 50 YEARS
  • University Taster Events

    Come to one of our taster events and experience university life for yourself. Book now.

    Read it University Taster Events
  • UEA Award

    Develop your skills, build a strong CV and focus your extra-curricular activities while studying with our employer-valued UEA award.

    Read it UEA Award

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


Entry Requirements

  • A Level AAB including Mathematics or ABB including Mathematics with an A in the Extended Project. Science A-Levels must include a Pass in the practical element
  • International Baccalaureate 33 points including HL 5 in Mathematics
  • Scottish Highers AAAAA including Mathematics
  • Scottish Advanced Highers BBC including Mathematics
  • Irish Leaving Certificate 4 subjects at H2, 2 subjects at H3 including Mathematics
  • Access Course Pass Access to HE Diploma with Distinction in 36 credits at Level 3 and Merit in 9 credits at Level 3, including 12 Level 3 credits in Mathematics
  • BTEC DDD in Applied Science, Applied Science (Medical Science), Environmental Sustainability or Countryside Management is acceptable alongside grade B A-Level Mathematics
  • European Baccalaureate 80% overall including 70% in Mathematics

Entry Requirement

A-Level 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

Students for whom English is a Foreign language

We welcome applications from students from all academic backgrounds. We require evidence of proficiency in English (including speaking, listening, reading and writing) at the following level:

IELTS: 6.5 overall (minimum 5.5 in any component)

We will also accept a number of other English language qualifications. Review our English Language Equivalences here.

INTO University of East Anglia 

If you do not meet the academic and/or English language requirements for this course, our partner INTO UEA offers guaranteed progression on to this undergraduate degree upon successful completion of a foundation programme:

International Foundation in Physical Sciences and Engineering

International Foundation in Mathematics and Actuarial Sciences 

INTO UEA also offer a variety of English language programmes which are designed to help you develop the English skills necessary for successful undergraduate study:

Pre-sessional English at INTO UEA
English for University Study at INTO UEA


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. 
  • 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. 

    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