About This Course
Geology - Applied Environmental Geoscience
1 year Full-time; 2 Years Part-time
Full-time €7,130 (excluding €1,000 bench fee); Part-time €4,630 per year (excluding €500 bench fee)
See Fees and Costs for full details.
€23,100 (excluding €1,000 bench fee)
See Requirements for full details.
Open for EU applications, check rounds closing under How to Apply
Non-EU Closing Date
30 June 2023
11 September 2023
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.
|Aim of Module|
|Principles of Environmental Assessment and Monitoring (10 credits)||
To introduce the principles and step-by-step procedures for designing a water quality monitoring programme for freshwater bodies.
|Hydrogeology, Contaminated Land and Assessment (10 credits)||
To teach the principles and applications of hydrogeology, contaminant hydrogeology, and contaminated land risk assessment and remediation.
|Engineering Geology (10 credits)||The development of an understanding of the basic principles of soil and rock mechanics with specific reference to civil engineering design.|
|Environmental Planning and Regulation (5 credits)||
To equip the students with the core principles, concepts and rules of Irish and EU environmental and planning regulation and how this applies to their career as an environmental geoscientist.
|Offshore Environmental Geology (5 credits)||To give students experience in seabed mapping techniques and practice; seabed sampling techniques and practice; sub-seabed imaging techniques and practice; seabed monitoring techniques and practice; offshore survey planning; offshore geological data collection, evaluation, and assessment.|
|Applied Geophysics (5 credits)||To teach the principles, applications and provide hands-on experience in a variety of commonly used geophysical techniques to study the shallow subsurface for environmental geology.|
|Geoinformatics for Environmental Geology (5 credits)||To give students a solid grounding on the key concepts, principles, and theory of GIS, Remote Sensing, global satellite positioning systems, and related geoinformatics technologies, their use in the Environmental Sciences, and practical techniques of spatial data analysis.|
|Applied Hydrogeology Skills (5 credits)||To develop key field and numeracy skills required to undertake hydrogeological investigations.|
|Applied Geotechnical Skills (5 credits)||Develop field, laboratory, and data analysis skills to meet entry-level industry requirements in engineering geology.|
|Applied Environmental Geology research project (30 credits)||
Aim: To carry out an independent research project on a topic within the field of Environmental Geology. This project will be carried out either in an industry setting or as part of a research group within the School of BEES.
You can find more information in our University Calendar (MSc Applied Environmental Geoscience).
Further details on the modules listed above can be found in our Book of Modules. Any modules listed above are indicative of the current set of modules for this course but are subject to change from year to year.
You can find the full academic content for the current year of any given course in our University Calendar.
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
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:
- Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences (iCRAG)
- Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy (MaREI)
- Insight Centre for Data Analytics (INSIGHT)
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)
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.
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.
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.
- Candidates 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.
English Language Requirements
Applicants that are non-native speakers of the English language must meet the university-approved English language requirements. Please visit our PG English Language Requirements page for more information.
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.
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.
Fees and Costs
The EU fee for this course is Full-time €7,130 (excluding €1,000 bench fee); Part-time €4,630 per year (excluding €500 bench fee).
The Non-EU fee for this course is €23,100 (excluding €1,000 bench fee).
If your course required a deposit, that figure will be deducted from your second semester fee payment in January.
EU student fee payment
Fees for EU students are payable in two equal instalments. First payment at registration in August and the second in January.
International student fee payment
International Students can pay in two equal instalments once they have paid the appropriate deposit. The initial payment is due on registration and the balance usually by the end of January.
How can I pay?
You can pay by Credit/Debit card online or by credit transfer.
If you have any questions on fee payment please email our Fees Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please be advised that a €1,000 bench fee is also required, payable directly to the department.
How Do I 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.
- For Irish and EU applicants we operate a rounds system and you can check the rounds closing dates here.
- Note that not all our programmes are subject to the rounds system so check the opening and closing dates for your specific programme in the fact file boxes above.
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 30 June 2023Apply Now