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Environmental Diagnosis and Management

Environmental Diagnosis and Management

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For an early decision on your application, apply by 1 June. Standard closing date is 31 July 2022. Find out more

Key information

Duration: 1 year full time or 2 years part time

Institution code: R72

Campus: Egham

UK fees*: £9,800

International/EU fees**: £20,000

The course

Environmental Diagnosis and Management (MSc)

Humankind’s ceaseless pursuit of progress has brought countless advances in our quality of life, but has often had adverse impacts on the world around us. Our environment and ecosystems are vulnerable to threats from pollution and waste, and as such it is the work of professional practitioners in the environmental sector to analyse and assess them, and then to remediate and restore them for the benefit of future generations.

Study Environmental Diagnosis and Management at Royal Holloway, University of London and you will develop the practical skills and scientific knowledge needed to address globally important environmental and ecological issues of contaminated land, water quality, air pollution, and waste and resource management. You will benefit from first-class research-led teaching, and be trained by professionals from environmental consultancies and engineers, local and regulatory authorities, industry, and leading research institutes.

You will study in the renowned Department of Earth Sciences,  and contribute towards our leading research culture with your own Independent Research Project. You will also become a part of a vibrant international postgraduate community, and make use of our extensive range of modern geochemical analysis facilities and computer laboratories as you work towards a rewarding future career in the environmental sector. 

Follow your passion for the environment at Royal Holloway on a masters degree that has been developed with expert industry advice to help graduates progress into rewarding careers in the environmental sector or go on to further postgraduate study.

  • An MSc course with outstanding and expanding links with the environmental sector, which, together with the excellent training and careers advice provided, has resulted in an outstanding record of graduate employment and PhD research training.
  • In many cases, employment follows on from successful research project placements in environmental consultancies, local authorities, regulatory agencies, research institutes, academia, and industry.
  • Work towards the Syngenta Prize for Most Improved Performance, the Atkins Prize for Best Research Project, and the Arup Prize for Best Performance Overall.
  • Student performance has been excellent with at least 48% of graduates earning a Distinction or Merit in 9 out of the first 12 years of the course, and an overall Pass rate of 96%.
From time to time, we make changes to our courses to improve the student and learning experience, and this is particularly the case as we continue to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. If we make a significant change to your chosen course, we’ll let you know as soon as we can.

Core Modules

There are three case studies:
  • In this case study, you will assess risks to human health posed by chemical contamination of the former gravel extraction and landfill site of Hounslow Heath, which is now a nature reserve. Working in teams, you will design and carry out the site investigation, analyse and interpret data, quantitatively assess health-risks, and produce a jointly written report. Your risk assessment will follow industry standard procedures to establish pollutant linkages, and will also consider remediation options.

  • In this case study, you will follow the non-tidal River Thames from near its source at Lyd Well to Richmond Lock, including several major tributaries with distinct agricultural, industrial and urban inputs. You will conduct fieldwork and laboratory analyses to diagnose water quality in chemical, physical and ecological terms, combining these with desk-top studies to determine environmental, ecological and health impacts. Findings will be considered in the context of legislation and plans to mitigate against major management issues faced within the River Thames Basin.

  • In this case study, you will become a member of a student-led environmental consultancy company that will survey ambient and indoor levels of a range of air pollutants and greenhouse gases at selected sites within the Royal Holloway Campus. Upon completion of the survey, you will produce a jointly written report that summarises your findings, and if appropriate, makes recommendations to the College and Local Authority how to manage the air quality on campus.

Environmental Diagnosis

This module comprises of four components:

  • You will acquire advanced knowledge and a critical understanding of how to convey in a professional manner, scientific, technical and managerial information. You will gain practical experience in a wide range of written and verbal communication media, project management, and team dynamics, and learn how to manage yourself, colleagues and projects efficiently and effectively. You will receive advice on how to improve your career opportunities, and will role play a recent real-life environmental impact assessment.

  • You will acquire practical experience, advanced scientific and technical knowledge, and a critical understanding of quality assured sampling strategies, sample preparation procedures and analytical systems for environmental inorganic pollutants. The focus will be on quantitative measurements of heavy metals and radionuclides with natural and man-made sources in different environmental media.

  • You will acquire practical experience, advanced knowledge and a critical understanding of applications of statistical analysis of environmental data. You will also become familiar with the principles and applications of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to interpret and illustrate environmental data.

  • Primarily through independent learning and teamwork, you will acquire practical experience, advanced knowledge and a critical understanding of the physical and chemical properties of a wide range of organic compounds that influence their distribution and degradation in the environment, ecological impacts and toxicity, and quantitative measurement.

Environmental Management

This module comprises of three components:

  • You will acquire practical experience, advanced knowledge and critical understanding of the role of aquatic chemistry, ecology, and hydrogeological processes in the diagnosis and management of surface- and ground-water. You will learn first-hand how water and wastewater are treated and how the quality of surface and groundwater is assessed in ecological and physio-chemical terms.

  • You will acquire practical experience, advanced knowledge and a critical understanding of the dispersion and conversion of gaseous and particulate air pollutants derived from man-made and natural sources, their impacts on health, climate and the environment, and global air quality monitoring methods and management issues.

  • You will acquire practical experience, advanced knowledge and a critical understanding of the management and utilisation of municipal, construction, demolition, and excavation waste, and of the reprocessing of nuclear waste, all in compliance with international and national legislation.

Research Project
  • In this 4-month module you will acquire practical experience, advanced scientific and technical knowledge, and a critical understanding of independent environmental science research, which will be of significant value to your career development.

    You will be expected to follow up contacts for potential project opportunities in your chosen professional work environment that will provide invaluable experience.

    Your project will be co-supervised by members of staff at Royal Holloway and at external placements within the environmental sector.

    You will submit your thesis, and give a verbal presentation at the Research Project Symposium, which provides opportunities to network with potential employers invited from environmental consultancies and engineers, local and regulatory authorities, industry, research institutions and universities.

Optional Modules

We provide hands-on practical teaching and training in the field and in geochemical analysis and computing laboratories, together with critical understanding of the underlying science in a dedicated teaching facility.

This means that environmental and ecological issues associated with contaminated land, water quality, air pollution, and waste management may be analysed and assessed, and remediated and restored.  Or so that they may be diagnosed and managed.

A dedicated academic teaching team deliver 7 teaching modules, 3 case studies, many study visits and an independent research project, all of which include teaching, training and/or supervision by professional practitioners from within the environmental sector.

Assessment of module and case study work and of practical computing, laboratory and fieldwork skills evaluates your critical understanding of the environmental science taught, and mastery of producing quality assured data, and its analysis, interpretation, presentation and reporting.

Assessment also reflects your ability to work independently and in teams, and to apply what you learn during the case studies and study visits.

Assessment of research projects is based on your ability to manage, report on and present an original piece of independent scientific work.

Whether or not it counts towards your final mark, all assessed work has significant confidential written and/or verbal feedback designed to help you improve.


Eligible degree subjects include Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, Ecology, Environmental Science, Environmental Engineering, Geography, Geology, Marine Science, and Physical Science.

Normally we require a UK 2:2 (Honours) or equivalent in relevant subjects. Vocational and professional experience within the environmental sector is desirable, but not essential.

International & EU requirements

English language requirements

All teaching at Royal Holloway is in English. You will therefore need to have good enough written and spoken English to cope with your studies right from the start.

The scores we require
  • IELTS: 6.5 overall. No subscore lower than 5.5.
  • Pearson Test of English: 61 overall. Writing 54. No subscore lower than 51.
  • Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English (ISE): ISE III.
  • Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) grade C.

Country-specific requirements

For more information about country-specific entry requirements for your country please see here.

The Environmental Diagnosis and Management MSc course at Royal Holloway, University of London enjoys outstanding links with the environmental sector through the contributions of professional parctititioners to the modules, case studies, study visits, and research projects.

Together with the excellent vocational and research training, and careers advice provided, this means that the MSc has an outstanding record of graduate employment and PhD research training, typically more than 90% within less than 6 months.

In many cases, graduate careers begin from successful research project placements in environmental consultancies, local authorities, regulatory agencies, research institutes, academia, and industry.

Successful graduates may be awarded the Syngenta Prize for Most Improved Performance, the Atkins Prize for Best Research Project, and/or the Arup Prize for Best Performance Overall. Prize winners are announced at the Graduation Ceremony, with prizes are awarded during our Research Project Symposium.

Home (UK) students tuition fee per year*: £9,800

EU and international students tuition fee per year**: £20,000

Other essential costs***: 650

How do I pay for it? Find out more about funding options, including loans, grants, scholarships and bursaries.

* and ** These tuition fees apply to students enrolled on a full-time basis. Students studying on the standard part-time course structure over two years are charged 50% of the full-time applicable fee for each study year.

All postgraduate fees are subject to inflationary increases. This means that the overall cost of studying the course via part-time mode is slightly higher than studying it full-time in one year. Royal Holloway's policy is that any increases in fees will not exceed 5% for continuing students. For further information, please see our terms and conditions. Please note that for research courses, we adopt the minimum fee level recommended by the UK Research Councils for the Home tuition fee. Each year, the fee level is adjusted in line with inflation (currently, the measure used is the Treasury GDP deflator). Fees displayed here are therefore subject to change and are usually confirmed in the spring of the year of entry. For more information on the Research Council Indicative Fee please see the RCUK website.

** The UK Government has confirmed that EU nationals are no longer eligible to pay the same fees as UK students, nor be eligible for funding from the Student Loans Company. This means you will be classified as an international student. At Royal Holloway, we wish to support those students affected by this change in status through this transition. For eligible EU students starting their course with us in September 2022, we will award a fee reduction scholarship equivalent to 60% of the difference between the UK and international fee for your course. This will apply for the duration of your course. Find out more

*** These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree at Royal Holloway during the 2022/23 academic year, and are included as a guide. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing, have not been included. 

*** This figure includes the cost of field- and laboratory-work during the modules and case studies, and costs of travel, accommodation and subsistence during the case studies and study visits.

94% Percentage of our research rated world-leading or internationally excellent

Source: REF, 2014

2nd Ranking in the UK for Earth Sciences research

Source: REF, 2014

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