Trinity College Dublin

Skip to main content.

Top Level TCD Links

Course Modules


Module Title

Module descriptor


Theoretical/taught modules

Induction week and Introduction to environmental science

This module will act as an introduction to the MSc programme and provide grounding in some of the key concepts. Teaching comprises seminars, activities and fieldtrips designed to introduce the course, the staff, the University and current environmental issues.GIS will form a core component of this module.

5 credits

Environmental and chemical analysis

This module covers the operating principles of a range of techniques that are used in the chemical analysis of environmental samples. Students will have the opportunity to apply the techniques to a range of environmental sample types such as sediments and waters. Techniques include: classical methods of analysis (e.g. titration), electrometric methods (conductimetry, potentiometry), optical methods
(colorimetry, atomic spectroscopy), and chromatography (ion chromatography, gas liquid chromatography, high performance liquid chromatography), assessment of
method performance, quality control and quality assurance. Visits to laboratories in other institutions are included.

5 credits

Hydrology and Groundwater quality

This module comprises lectures, seminars, fieldwork and practical work (mapping and data handling) relating to water in the environment. After an introduction to the hydrological cycle and water balances, it outlines the fundamentals of hill slope hydrology, river flow and its relationship to catchment characteristics, before going on to consider aspects of hydrogeology, such as aquifer characteristics and groundwater flow and surface water – groundwater interactions. The module then considers groundwater chemistry and water quality, which are then related to specific pollution problems and management options. This module links closely with ES 7041: Environmental Chemical Analysis.

5 credits

Earth system science I: Deep time

This module covers the scientific basis necessary to understand environmental and climate change through Earth history. Topics include an introduction to the Earth’s timescale, evolution of the early Earth, the role of plate tectonics and volcanism in Earth system science, weathering and environmental chemistry in the Archean, evolution of the atmosphere, extreme environmental change, mass extinction events in Earth history and causes and consequences of major
glaciation events. The module provides the tools to read and comprehend the scientific literature relating to environmental change throughout geological time. A series of computer based problem solving practical classes will introduce the topic of radiogenic isotopes and geochronology. Lectures on specific topics, their wider consequences and practical significance will be developed through whole class discussions.

5 credits

Earth system science II: Environmental and climate change

This module covers the scientific basis necessary to understand Environmental (including Climate) change from first principles. Topics include the biogeochemistry of carbon and nitrogen, ocean circulation, heat and mass transfer fundamentals, as well as the tools to read and comprehend the scientific literature providing evidence of changes occurring through time. Lectures on specific topics and their wider consequences will be developed through whole class discussions on their practical significance.

5 credits

Environmental policies

The application of successful management strategies requires a wide knowledge of the environment and the pressures on it. This module introduces students to environmental policy making and implementation through lectures, expert and practitioner-led workshops, set readings and research activities. Examples of environmental policy will be covered at a range of scales from global to local, involving public, private and civil society actors. The module will encourage critical analysis of environmental policy tools, techniques and outcomes, and develop group work and policy briefing writing skills.

5 credits


Practical skills modules

Data handling and analysis

This module outlines the principles of data collection, coding and analysis within the context of research design, and provides a firm quantitative base with particular relevance to the research project. It includes an introduction to types of data, how data can be described statistically, and a series of methods used for extracting information from complex datasets, including multivariate methods. It also includes practical examples and illustrations of statistical applications to real-world research projects.

5 credits

Practical environmental skills

This module introduces students to the practical use of field and laboratory skills. It will comprise a series of project-based activities that includes a 6-day residential field course based in the Ria Formosa, Southern Portugal. The class will be based in the Faro beach barrier island complex, and will be provided with hands-on experience of environmental surveying. The module will also include targeted training in job-seeking skills, including CV preparation, networking and interviewing techniques.

5 credits

Project modules

Individual desk study

An independent, desk-based review of literature relating to a current topic of relevance to the environmental sciences. A list of proposed topics will be circulated in the first term. There is also an opportunity for students to select a study of their choice in negotiation with the Course Director and other member of staff. Desk study topics should not significantly overlap with proposed research project topics.

10 credits

Project planning

During this module you will select a research project title. Workshops will be held to guide the development of key project management skills, and to initiate the process of literature review and development of methods in relation to the project. This will all be placed in the context of a grant application submission, related to the project title. The module will involve discussions with members of staff supervising project work.

5 credits

Individual research project

The research project provides students with an opportunity to pursue a topic in their chosen area of environmental science in depth, to employ relevant skills (including research planning, literature review, experimental design, and statistical analysis) and to apply and develop their knowledge of research methods.  The nature of the project work may vary, with varying amounts of experimental work included.  There will be opportunities to carry out project work with collaborative institutions??

30 credits

* Students may omit the individual research project to be awarded a Post-graduate Diploma, those wishing to obtain the degree of Master in Science must complete a four month individual research project.


Last updated 8 August 2016 Natural Sciences (Email).