School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

MSc Environmental and Engineering Geology

This programme combines environmental and engineering geology to provide an outstanding foundation for a career in industry and consultancy. By combining the principles of geology, geotechnical and environmental sciences with an appreciation of new technologies you will develop interdisciplinary approaches to site investigation, soil and rock characterisation and the assessment of environmental contamination.

A focus on practical and field-based teaching will give you the skills to minimise the environmental impact, and promote the sustainable development of the built environment.

This course is not available for September 2021 entry

Join the course in September 2022.

Find out more about your eligibility for a postgraduate loan

You may now be eligible for a government loan of over £11,000 to help towards the cost of your masters degree.

Find out more about your eligibility for a postgraduate loan

Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2021*

The University of Plymouth has been ranked 23rd among institutions globally for its contribution to the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals*. In the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Studies, sustainability is at the heart of our research and teaching. From sustainable cities, affordable and clean energy, to climate policy, biodiversity, and natural hazards, our academic staff work with partners locally and overseas to help understand, communicate and solve fundamental and pressing sustainability challenges.

Find out more in our press release

Key features

  • A unique programme combining environmental and engineering geology with an interdisciplinary approach to allow the communication and the collaboration between civil and geotechnical engineers, environmental experts, professional geologists, stakeholders to develop and promote sustainable projects and management of risks.
  • An employability focused programme with training in laboratory and site investigations.
  • The proximity -  with an outstanding geology and several important sites where geohazards, contaminated land and engineering geology issues can be investigated directly in the field.
  • A wide spectrum and expertise in environmental and geoscience subjects and MSc’s taught in Plymouth and in sustainable geoscience and communication at the Sustainable Earth Institute.
  • State of the art laboratories in chemistry, Earth science and physical geography as well as a geotechnical laboratory.

Course details
  • Year 1

  • The MSc Environmental Engineering Geology programme provides an employability and practically focused curriculum in environmental and engineering geology to meet the current and future needs of the engineering geology industry through post graduate training. 

    During the first two semesters of this one-year programme, you will study a range of core taught modules – from understanding the subsurface and soil / rock properties to developing a range of skills needed when undertaking site investigations and assessments. Two of these modules are designed specifically for this degree, the others draw upon our long standing expertise in environmental science. You will also undertake a placement, complemented by field based experiential learning to provide an interdisciplinary foundation to environmental and engineering geology. In the final semester you will complete an independent dissertation project. Throughout your studies, we will support you in gaining the research and professional skills to help you get the most from the programme – and launch a successful career.

    Core modules

    • GEES528 Soil and Rock Mechanics, Characterisation and Field Skills
    • GEES515 Professional Practice in the Environmental Sector
    • GEES519 Environmental Knowledge: from Field to Stakeholder
    • GEES529 Site Investigation and Geohazards
    • ENVS5002 Investigation and Assessment of Contaminated Environments
    • GEES530 Professional Experience in Environmental and Engineering Geology
    • GEES520 MSc Dissertation

    Core modules

    • Investigation and Assessment of Contaminated Environments (ENVS5002)

      Students are introduced to the scientific principles underpinning pollutant behaviour in the environment including the use of modelling and the process of site investigation and risk assessments. Students undertake a risk assessment of a contaminated site using literature and field investigation. Case study examples are used to highlight environmental consultancy approaches to site investigation and evaluation.

    • Professional Practice in the Environmental Sector (GEES515)

      This module examines the place of sustainability and environmental management in modern business practice, and prepares students for professional work experience in semester 2. It also provides students with a critical understanding of the principles, ethics and methods of environmental law and regulation, and examines the role of economics in characterising and addressing human interaction with the environment

    • Environmental Knowledge: From Field to Stakeholder (GEES519)

      This module reviews qualitative and quantitative research methods relevant to professional and academic investigations in the field of policy-making, planning, management and consultancy in the built and natural environments. It encompasses the complete lifecycle of research (design, planning, data collection, knowledge dissemination and application), including stakeholder engagement across these stages.

    • MSc Dissertation (GEES520)

      The student will complete an independent research project that they have designed in semester 1 as part of their research skills development. The record of the research will communicate the project aims, research problem, methodology, data analysis, interpretation, discussion/synthesis and conclusions in the format specified and to a professional standard.

    • Soil and Rock Mechanics, Characterisation and Field Skills (GEES528)

      This module covers the principles of soil and rock mechanics. How soil and rock behave under loading and what are the main parameters to characterize those behaviours. Laboratory testing is used to give an insight on the basic principle of soil and rock strength and how these are determined. Ground investigation techniques used to assess soil and rock characteristics are also described and demonstrated in the field.

    • Site Investigation and Geohazards (GEES529)

      This module will introduce all the phases of a site investigations, including the assessment of geohazards and how to mitigate them and monitor them through the life of a project. Students undertake a desk-based study and write a related report of known sites where geohazards are present and need consideration. Geophysical techniques and the use of new technologies are also covered in the module.

    • Professional Experience in Environmental and Engineering Geology (GEES530)

      The work-based learning module provides you with the opportunity, via a placement with a relevant environmental and engineering geology organisation, to develop your skills, learn more about professional careers in the environmental and engineering geology sector, develop contacts with potential employers, and refine your career aspirations.

Every postgraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the programme aims, the programme structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest programme structure and may be subject to change:

MSc Environmental and Engineering Geology ProgrammeSpecification 7035

The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.
Entry requirements

An honours degree (normally at upper second class or better) in a relevant discipline (e.g. BSc Geography, Environmental Science, Geological Sciences, Geotechnical or Civil Engineering) OR overseas equivalent. If you apply with a recent lower second-class degree along with relevant industry experience, this will also be considered. If you apply without recent formal qualifications, but with relevant industry experience you will also be considered.

A minimum grade C in English Language at GCSE level OR a minimum overall score of 6.5 in IELTS with no less than 5.5 in any component.

We welcome applicants with international qualifications. To view other accepted qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.

For an informal enquiry, please contact Dr Irene Manzella by email:

Fees, costs and funding

The UK is no longer part of the European Union. EU applicants should refer to our Brexit information to understand the implications.

New Student 2021-2022 2022-2023
Home £9,100 £9,400
International £16,200 £16,700
Part time (Home) To be confirmed To be confirmed
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per a number of credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances. For more information about fees and funding please visit

Alumnus loyalty reward for postgraduate study

The University applies a discretionary alumnus reward where alumni meet certain criteria on particular postgraduate taught courses.

  • A 20 per cent discount on home tuition fees.
  • Or a £2,000 discount on international tuition fees.
  • A 10 per cent alumni discount is available on the following programmes: MSc Advanced Psychology, MSc Clinical Psychology, MSc/PgDip Psychology and MSc Occupational Therapy.

For further details, programme exclusions and contact information, please see our alumnus discount policy.

Postgraduate scholarships for international students

We offer several scholarships for international students who wish to study postgraduate taught (PGT) degree programmes.

Find out about the postgraduate scholarships available to you as an international student

How to apply

When to apply

Most of our taught programmes begin in September. Applications can usually be made throughout the year, and are considered until programmes are full. 

Before you apply

Familiarise yourself with the information required to complete your application form. You will usually be required to supply:
  • evidence of qualifications (degree certificates or transcripts), with translations if not in English, to show that you meet, or expect to meet the entry requirements
  • evidence of English language proficiency, if English is not your first language
  • a personal statement of approximately 250-400 words about the reasons for your interest in the course and outlining the nature of previous and current related experience. You can write this into the online application form, or include it as a separate document
  • your curriculum vitae or résumé, including details of relevant professional/voluntary experience, professional registration/s and visa status for overseas workers
  • proof of sponsorship, if applicable.
If you require further information take a look at our application guidance.

Disability services

If you have a disability and would like further information about the support provided by University of Plymouth, please visit our Disability Services website. 

International students

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email

Submitting an application

Once you are happy that you have all of the information required you can apply using our online postgraduate application form (the blue 'Apply now' icon on this page).

What happens after I apply?

You will normally receive a decision on your application within four weeks of us receiving your application. You may be asked to provide additional information; two academic/professional references, confirming your suitability for the course; or to take part in an interview (which in the case of overseas students may be by telephone or video conference) and you will be sent a decision by letter or email.

We aim to make the application procedure as simple and efficient as possible. Our Admissions and Course Enquiries team is on hand to offer help and can put you in touch with the appropriate faculty if you wish to discuss any programme in detail.

If you would like any further information please contact the Admissions and Course Enquiries team:

Telephone: +44 (0)1752 585858

Admissions policy

More information and advice for applicants can be referenced by downloading our Student Admissions Policy Prospective students are advised to read the policy before making an application to the University.

"My personal drive in my work is rooted in a deep and enduring concern with how geo-environmental science and engineering can tackle pressing issues of sustainable development and societal well-being and I defined myself as a broad-based, multi-disciplinary researcher. I have a background in environmental/geotechnical engineering with several years of experience working in geoscience and engineering geology. My approach in both teaching and research integrates experimental and numerical modelling with field studies, remote sensing, and, more recently, Internet of Things, sensor networks, machine learning and data analysis to address complex and cascading geo-hazards with creativity and innovation. This multidisciplinary and collaborative approach is what drove me in conceiving a programme which combines a training in fundamental and more traditional techniques with new and digital technologies in environmental and engineering practices."

Dr Irene Manzella
Programme Leader