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Environmental Diagnosis and Management

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Environmental Diagnosis and Management


The closing date for applications to start this course in September 2024 is 31 July 2024. Further detail here.

Key information

Duration: 1 year full time or 2 years part time

Institution code: R72

Campus: Egham

UK fees*: £10,600

International/EU fees**: £21,700

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 environmental fields.
  • 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 77% of graduates earning a Distinction or Merit in the last three 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. If we make a significant change to your chosen course, we’ll let you know as soon as possible.

Core Modules

There are three case studies:

  • This case study assesses risks to human health posed by potential chemical contamination of soil at the former landfill site of Hounslow Heath, which is now a nature reserve. It emphasises working together and self-learning to design and execute the site investigation. You will develop a field sampling strategy, prepare and analyse of samples and interpret the data, quantitatively assess health-risks, and produce collaborative reports. Risk assessment will follow Defra, EA and WHO policies and procedures in order to establish pollutant linkages, conduct quantitative risk assessments, gain insights into site-specific risk assessments, and consider remediation options.  

    At the conclusion of the case study you will have acquired practical experience, advanced knowledge and critical understanding of sources and behaviour of contaminants in soil (and groundwater), and their impacts on health, and applied the source-receptor linkage approach to diagnose, characterise, assess, and manage contaminated land for future use.

  • The MSc class will form environmental consultancy companies. Following approval of a proposal to carry out the work, the companies will survey on-site ambient and indoor levels of NO, NO2, CO2, and CH4 within the Royal Holloway Campus. Upon completion of the surveys, each company will produce a report that summarises their findings, and if necessary, makes recommendations to manage the air quality within the Campus.

    At the conclusion of the case study you will have acquired practical experience, advanced knowledge and critical understanding of monitoring strategies, sampling and analysis methods, analysis and interpretation of data, and the management of ambient and indoor air pollutants and greenhouse gases, all these in the context of working in teams to set and achieve objectives.

  • 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.

You will also take the following modules:

  • The module comprises sessions covering statistical concepts, data analysis, regression analyses, principal components, and the estimation and propagation of errors. GIS topics include concepts, types of data, maps, projections, data management and analysis with the use of GPS and other raw data inputs. Students will learn workflows for contouring, thematic mapping, and project design. Learning activities include theoretical lecture classes and practical computational sessions.

  • This module provides a practical introduction to the quantitative analysis of inorganic pollutants derived from natural and man-made sources. It emphasises the use of quality assured sampling strategies, sample preparation processes and analytical methods for elements, minerals and radionuclides in different environmental media.

    At the conclusion of the module you will have acquired practical experience, advanced scientific and technical knowledge and critical understanding of quality assured sampling strategies, sample preparation procedures and principles, applications and relative merits of analytical methods for environmental inorganic pollutants.

  • This module addresses Water Quality, Diagnosis & Management, hydrogeology, sub-surface fluid flow, water quality, and wastewater remediation.

    Water Quality, Diagnosis & Management: Considers fundamental aquatic science and hydrological and hydrogeological processes that impact surface- and groundwater; addresses the treatment and management of water and wastewater; Introduces practical monitoring of water quality in accordance with current legislation.

    Sub-surface hydrology: Focuses on physical principles that govern groundwater flow, as well as its physiochemical interactions with soil and rock.


  • 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.

  • This module addresses the management and utilisation of municipal solid waste, and considers how the nuclear and mining industries reprocess waste within the constraints of national and international legislation and environmental monitoring. It includes field investigation of water contamination from mining waste and atmospheric emission from landfill sites in South-West of England.

    At the conclusion of the module, you will have acquired practical experience, advanced knowledge and critical understanding of management, utilisation and storage options for municipal, mining and nuclear waste within the constraints of national and international legislation.

Research Project

  • In this 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 able to choose from a wide range of potential project opportunities providing relevant experience of environmental diagnosis and management in the professional work environment. You will be allocated an academic member of staff to supervise your project alongside any supervisors at relevant external organisations that you may approach. You will submit your thesis and give a verbal presentation of the project at the Research Project Symposium, providing the opportunity to network with potential employers invited from industry, environmental consultancies, regulatory authorities, research institutions and academia.

You will complete the following Academic Integrity module:

  • This module will describe the key principles of academic integrity, focusing on university assignments. Plagiarism, collusion and commissioning will be described as activities that undermine academic integrity, and the possible consequences of engaging in such activities will be described. Activities, with feedback, will provide you with opportunities to reflect and develop your understanding of academic integrity principles.


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 5 teaching modules, 3 case studies, and an independent research project, all of which include teaching, training and/or supervision by professional practitioners from within the environmental sector. 

You will be expected to attend two residential field trips (one 4 nights and one 2 nights) and at least six 1-day study visits to gain first-hand experience and interaction with industrial and government partners.

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.


UK Bachelor honours degree or equivalent in any of the following subjects: Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, Ecology, Environmental Science, Environmental Engineering, Geography, Geology, Marine Science, and Physical Science.

Vocational and professional experience within the environmental sector is desirable, but not essential.

International & EU requirements

English language requirements

  • 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.
  • TOEFL iBT: 88 overall, with Reading 18 Listening 17 Speaking 20 Writing 17.
  • Duolingo: 120 overall and no sub-score below 100.

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*: £10,600

EU and international students tuition fee per year**: £21,700

Other essential costs***: There are no single associated costs greater than £50 per item on this course

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 in the academic year 2024/25. 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.

Royal Holloway reserves the right to increase all postgraduate tuition fees annually, based on the UK’s Retail Price Index (RPI). Please therefore be aware that tuition fees can rise during your degree (if longer than one year’s duration), and that this also means that the overall cost of studying the course part-time will be slightly higher than studying it full-time in one year. For further information, please see our terms and conditions.

** This figure is the fee for EU and international students starting a degree in the academic year 2024/25. Find out more 

*** These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree at Royal Holloway during the 2024/25 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.

Nathalie Grassineau

Course Director, MSc Environmental Diagnosis and Management

Profile | 01784 443810


Research environment rated world leading or internationally excellent

Source: REF, 2021


Research output rated 4* or 3* world leading or internationally excellent

Source: REF, 2021

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