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UCC Postgraduate courses

Geology - Applied Environmental Geoscience

Course Fact File
Duration1 Year Full-time; 2 Years Part-time
Teaching ModeFull-time, Part-Time
NFQ LevelLevel 9
FeesSee Fees and Costs for full details.
Closing DateRolling deadline. Open until all places have been filled. Early application is advised.
Non-EU Closing DateOpen until all places have been filled or no later than 30 June. Early application is advised.
Start Date9 September 2024

Course Outline

Our MSc Applied Environmental Geoscience programme will provide you with comprehensive training in the theory and practice of environmental geoscience. Established in 2017, in consultation with industry and government agencies, our Geology programme was established by the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences (BEES) in order to address a skills shortage identified in the environmental geoscience sector in Ireland.

There is global demand for graduates with applied environmental geoscience skills and this demand is projected to grow in the coming years. This multidisciplinary vocational programme equips graduates for careers in scientific, engineering, and environmental consultancies, natural resources and mining industries, regulatory agencies, and research in Ireland and further afield. Our course content is regularly reviewed by a panel of industry advisors from a range of local and international geoscience practice areas in order to meet the ongoing needs of the geoscience sector.   

Our course also offers a unique opportunity for international students to gain EU-based work experience whilst studying for their Masters.

The course is delivered in two parts.

Part I comprises modules to the value of 60 credits involving field study, lectures, practical classes, seminars, and workshops.

Part II consists of a research dissertation based on independent research to the value of 30 credits (GL6019) which is completed between April and September. 

  • EV6011 Principles of Environmental Assessment and Monitoring (10 credits)
  • GL6020 Hydrogeology, Contaminated Land and Assessment (10 credits)
  • GL6021 Engineering Geology (10 credits)
  • GL6022 Environmental Planning and Regulation (5 credits) 
  • GL6023 Offshore Environmental Geology (5 credits)
  • GL6024 Applied Geophysics (5 credits)
  • GL6025 Geoinformatics for Environmental Geology (5 credits)
  • GL6028 Applied Hydrogeology Skills (5 credits)
  • GL6029 Applied Geotechnical Skills (5 credits)

Part II

  • GL6019 Applied Environmental Geology research project (30 credits)

Academic Programme Catalogue

See the Academic Programme Catalogue where you can search for the complete and up-to-date content for this course. Note that the modules for all courses are subject to change from year to year. For complete descriptions of individual modules, see the Book of Modules.

Course Practicalities

The course is made up of lectures, practical work, seminars, and 20 days in the field. In addition, the students spend five months investigating their industry-based research topic. The course employs continuous assessment, practical reports, essays, seminars, field reports and in-class tests as the main assessment methods along with the production of the final dissertation. The programme is delivered by a multidisciplinary team of academic staff at UCC with extensive expertise which covers all aspects of applied environmental geoscience including:

Professor Andrew Wheeler Marine Geology/Sedimentology
Dr Patrick Meere Field/Structural Geology
Dr John Weatherill Hydrogeology/Contaminated Land
Dr Ed Jarvis Sedimentology/Environmental Geology
Dr Timothy Sullivan Environmental Science
Dr Zili Li Geotechnical Engineering
Ms Eileen McCarthy Hydrogeology/Geotechnical Studies

Why Choose This Course

As the course was multidisciplinary I had many career options going forward; I was able to find work as a marine geologist and take a contract as a hydrogeologist as well...

Jennifer Moran

MSc Graduate

Find Out More
The MSc Applied Environmental Geology programme at UCC bridges the sometimes difficult gap between finishing your education and entering the industry...

Sonya O'Loughlin

MSc Graduate

Find Out More


During Semester 1, Students of this MSc programme will have the opportunity to use a range of geotechnical techniques in the Soil Mechanics Laboratory based in the School of Civil Engineering. They also have access to industry-standard hydrogeological field equipment in the School of BEES research facilities. This equipment will be used extensively in Semester 2 to undertake various on-site samplings and to develop conceptual site models using borehole networks installed on UCC campus.

As part of the offshore geology module in Semester 2, students will have the opportunity to participate in seabed mapping and surveying on board the RV Celtic Explorer, one of two dedicated research vessels operated by the Irish Marine Institute.

Course participants also have access to the School of Chemistry analytical facilities as well as to dedicated office space and computing facilities including geoscience software packages.

The School of BEES and programme delivery team enjoys excellent links with world-class Irish research centres and participating institutions including:

Industry collaborators

A distinctive feature of our Applied Environmental Geoscience programme is the delivery of content by industry practitioners with expertise in specialist areas of the course and with a focus on real-world challenges and solutions.

Industry collaborators who have contributed to the programme to date have included the following individuals and organisations:

  • David Norbury
  • Gerry Baker (Arup, Dublin)
  • James Dunne and Stephen McCarthy (Fehily Timoney & Company)
  • Jim Hodgson (Geological Survey Ireland, Dublin)
  • Jim Wragg (Geosyntec, Delph)
  • Kevin Cleary (Verde Environmental)
  • Kevin Forde (Aecom, Cork)
  • Kevin Ryan (Cork City Council)
  • Marie Fleming (Arup, Dublin)
  • Michael Lehane, Jonathan Derham, and selected staff (EPA, Wexford)
  • Mike Long (University College Dublin)
  • Paul Quigley and selected staff (Irish Geotechnical Services Ltd)
  • Sean Moran (O'Callaghan Moran & Associates)
  • Tim McGillycuddy (Priority Geotechnical)
  • Yvonne O’Connell (Apex Geoservices)

Industry placement and research project

Students spend from April to September working with an industry partner in Part II of the MSc programme where a dissertation and seminar are completed by the end of September.

This industry placement and research project allows students to develop their own interests and carry out an independent investigation on an environmental geoscience topic of their choice. Students also complete certified training courses in construction site health and safety and basic sea survival techniques aboard ships to enable them to carry out any fieldwork as part of their placement.

Projects are chosen from a list of topics circulated earlier in the year and may be any combination of field, laboratory, or data analysis. Students interested in research may opt for projects linked to national research centres such as iCRAG and MaREI. All projects are supervised by one or more academic staff members from the School of BEES.

Examples of recent industry projects include:

  • Aggregate available for land drainage systems: determination of physical and hydraulic properties and influencing factors (Teagasc, Moore Park)
  • An Investigation into the degradation of concrete blocks by Mica (IGSL Ltd)
  • An Investigation of leachate migration in off-site groundwater at a historic municipal landfill (Cork City Council)
  • Fossil water in a transboundary aquifer system: the sustainability, quality and future of a non-renewable freshwater resource (GEMS Water, UN Development Centre, UCC)
  • Hydrographic surveying, processing, and the marine geology of Irish coastal regions (Geological Survey Ireland, Dublin)
  • The occurrence of heavy metals in soils in Co. Dublin and the implications on human health and contaminated land management (O’Callaghan Moran & Associates)
  • The role of ground conditions in wind turbine foundation design: a case study from Co. Limerick (Arup, Cork)

Connected Curriculum

Our connected learning approach reflects our commitment to the Connected Curriculum where we emphasise the connection between students, learning, research and leadership through our vision for a Connected University. Our staff are at the forefront of this integrative approach to learning and will support you in making meaningful connections within and between disciplines such as geology, marine science, engineering, and the environment.

Available Scholarships

We support our postgraduate community by offering scholarships and bursaries to prospective and current students. Please see the SEFS Scholarships and Funding PG page for more information.

Career Prospects

Our MSc-qualified environmental geoscience graduates are in high demand for technical roles in both the public and private sectors at home and abroad.

In the first year of the programme, over 90% of our participants were in full-time employment or research related to their MSc studies within three months of completing Part II. In many cases, students were offered employment by their industry placement company.

Environmental geoscientists presenting a range of specialist and transferable skills are readily employed by civil engineering and environmental consultancies as well as geoscience service providers, natural resource exploration and management companies, local authorities, regulatory and government bodies. Day-to-day project work might include but is not limited to some of the following:

  • Aggregate mapping and wind resource development on the continental shelf
  • Assessing and managing environmental risks posed by contaminated land
  • Assessing the suitability of foundation design in hazardous geological environments
  • Environmental impact assessment and reporting
  • Supervision of geotechnical site investigations for major infrastructure projects
  • Water quality monitoring and remediation at licensed industrial facilities

Some students may wish to use the MSc programme to acquire additional practical skills prior to embarking on a research career leading to a PhD. For students interested in research, the programme offers comprehensive training in a broad set of transferable skills required for independent geoscience field research.


  • Applicants must hold at least a Second Class Honours Grade II in a primary honours degree (NFQ Level 8) or equivalent in a Geological/Earth Sciences/Civil Engineering/Environmental Sciences area or a related relevant degree or have reached an equivalent standard through completion of a relevant postgraduate qualification.

For Applicants with Qualifications Completed Outside of Ireland

Applicants must meet the required entry academic grade, equivalent to Irish requirements. For more information see our Qualification Comparison page.

International/Non-EU Applicants

For full details of the non-EU application procedure visit our how to apply pages for international students.

  • In UCC, we use the term programme and course interchangeably to describe what a person has registered to study in UCC and its constituent colleges, schools, and departments.
  • Note that not all courses are open to international/non-EU applicants, please check the fact file above. For more information contact the International Office.
English Language Requirements

Applicants who are non-native speakers of the English language must meet the university-approved English language requirements. Visit our PG English Language Requirements page for more information.

Fees and Costs

Postgraduate EU and International Fees 2024/2025

See our Postgraduate EU and Non-EU (International) Fee Schedule for the latest information.


If your course requires a deposit, that figure will be deducted from your second-semester fee payment in January.

Fee payment 

Fees are payable in two equal instalments. First payment is at registration and the balance usually by the end of January.

How can I pay? 

See different options on our How Do I Pay My Fees? page.

Any questions? See the 'Contact Us' section on the Fees Office page.

Bench Fee

Please be advised that a €1,000 bench fee is also required, payable directly to the department.

How To Apply

1. Check dates

Check the opening and closing dates for the application process in the fact file boxes at the top of the page.

2. Gather documents

Scanned copies of supporting documents have to be uploaded to the UCC online application portal and include:

  • Original qualification documents listed on your application including transcripts of results from institutions other than UCC.
  • Any supplementary items requested for your course if required.

3. Apply online

Apply online via the UCC online application portal. Note the majority of our courses have a non-refundable €50 application fee.

Any questions? Use our web enquiry form to contact us.

The closing date for non-EU applications is Open until all places have been filled or no later than 30 June. Early application is advised.

Apply Now

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact