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MSc in Environmental Science


Welcome to the MSc in Environmental Science webpages: the first environmental science course developed in Ireland. Here you will find details of modules offered within the course, student’s previous experiences and application details. This one year, full-time postgraduate qualification will lead to a Master of Science in Environmental Sciences. The course aims to produce environmental scientists with an interdisciplinary background able to tackle the broadest range of environmental protection issues. Download the MSc/PGradDip Environmental brochure here

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Is this course for me?

The taught MSc degree in Environmental Science has an established pedigree, attracting students with diverse academic backgrounds for Ireland and abroad. This full time intensive course is intended for administrative and scientific workers and new graduates with an appropriate biological/earth science background.

The course provides students with a wide range of knowledge and skills relating to environmental science. It aims to provide a firm scientific understanding of current environmental issues that will be of relevance to those interested in environmental management and related areas. The course provides a foundation and understanding of current environment policies and legislation, and building on this with practical and theoretical courses.

View Video: MSc. in Environmental Sciences at Trinity College Dublin

View Video: Interview with Adrienn Szucs, a former student of TCD's MSc. in Environmental Sciences

Scholarships available

How much is the scholarship worth:

1-year scholarships valued between €2,000 to €5,000 each, applied as a reduction to the tuition fees of a full-time programme. 

Who can apply:

Applicants who hold an offer letter for a Postgraduate Taught Masters programme in the School of Engineering or the School of Computer Science and Statistics, or the School of Natural Sciences or the MSc in Energy Science. 

How to apply for a scholarship:

Please submit your scholarship application by clicking here. Note that you will need to include a 200-word statement on “How I will contribute to the E3 Initiative and provide Balanced Solutions for a Better World at Trinity College Dublin.” The E3 Recruitment and Admissions Team will inform you if you’ve been selected for a scholarship and will inform you for the process to formally accept the scholarship.

Application deadlines and announcement dates:

1st Batch application deadline: 1st February 2024
1st Batch announcement date: 1st March 2024 

2nd Batch application deadline: 15th March 2024
2nd Batch announcement date: 15th April 2024 

3rd Batch application deadline: 1st May 2024
3rd Batch announcement date: 31st June 2024 

Applications received after 1st May 2024 will be assessed on a rolling bases depending on budget availability.

Please e-mail if you have any questions regarding the E3 Scholarships or the application process.

Course Overview

The overall aim of the course is to promote students understanding of environmental science, and their capability to apply that knowledge to current environmental issues. Students should develop the necessary intellectual skills and the practical expertise to enable them design and execute high quality independent research and become skilled environmental communicators.

The course is taught through a variety of methods including lectures, practicals, field-based learning, guided reading, discussion groups and web-based tools. Over the course of their studies students will undertake two individual projects; one of which is desk-based, and the second, an experimental research project. Assessment procedures are similarly varied and include essay writing, oral presentations, web-based tests, examinations and assessment of dissertations.

The learning approach adopted has been designed to encourage students’ independent critical thinking skills and academic excellence, whether coming to the course directly from a previous degree or from industry.

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

ES7057: Environmental Entrepreneurship

The Environmental Entrepreneurship module is taught over three weeks, each with a dedicated focus. Week 1 introduces systems thinking and system innovation theories, with applied examples.  Week 2 critically examines the environmental entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem in Ireland. In week 3 students work in multi-disciplinary teams to develop sustainable solutions to specific environmental challenges. An emphasis is placed on adapting solutions to address environmental challenges in a range of contexts and at a range of scales. General subject areas may include 1. Air and Climate (air pollution, climate change mitigation and adaptation); 2.  Nature (soil, biodiversity, land use, water and marine environment); 3. Sustainability and Well-Being (environment and health, policy instruments, resource efficiency and waste, sustainability transitions); and 4. Economic Sectors (agriculture, energy, industry, transport). With an emphasis on creative and innovative solutions to environmental challenges, the module's themes align with those of the European Green Deal, whereby the EU strives to reach climate neutrality while still meeting societal needs and protecting the environment. Topics covered in the module are also aligned with relevant UN Sustainable Development Goals.

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.

Academic Staff

The TCD School of Natural Sciences has an internationally recognized research profile in the areas of environmental science research.

Academic staff have significant expertise in a diverse range of areas, such as groundwater quality, groundwater vulnerability assessment and protection, environmental change and coastal systems, biogeochemistry, environmental governance, earth systems science and geological processes, statistics and data management. Staff are engaged in significant national and international research projects across these areas of academic interest, and have research interests in Ireland, the UK and further afield.

Entry requirements

Applications for admission are accepted from:

(i) holders of first or upper second class honors degrees, or their overseas equivalent, awarded by recognised universities, institutions and degree awarding bodies.
(ii) holders of other degrees or relevant qualifications including professional qualifications, who have at least three years work experience in an environmental profession.

The closing date for applications is 31st July 2024. Late applications from well-qualified applicants may be considered provided all the places on the course have not been allocated.

Applications must be made online. For further information on applying to taught courses in Trinity College is available from Trinity Graduate Studies.

How to apply information is available here

Access to the on-line application system is available here at postgraduate webpages


Further information

Further information on the course is available from the Schools Administrative Office:

Tel.: +353-1-8961438

Current Course Handbook 2023-24

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