Both natural environments and those heavily influenced and altered by human activities are ever-changing. This programme will allow you to explore the unique specialisms within our physical geography and environmental science research team, and to work closely on a specialist topic with an expert in your chosen field of interest. The support available is on a one-to-one basis and culminates in a substantial MSc dissertation. This can take the form of a traditional monograph, a research report or two draft manuscripts intended for publication in an international, peer-reviewed journal. This programme is ideal for those looking to continue on to PhD research or to work independently, for example, as a consultant.

Which topics can I study?

Projects available from our Earth Surface Science specialists change every year. Recent topics have included:

  • environmental impact of historical landfill
  • lateral moraine formation
  • analysis of glaciotectonic structures
  • assessment of rare species
  • analysis of braided river channel networks

This programme:

  • places you with one or more internationally acknowledged experts in physical geography or environmental science, with superb research and analytical facilities that ensure a top-quality research environment 
  • offers you the opportunity to work with partner organisations, providing insight into their structure and operation
  • combines a smaller taught element that will provide you with key research methodology, skills, approaches and debates relevant to your field of study, along with a substantial element of independent work to focus on a specific area of research
  • provides you with a range of transferable skills suitable for further research and employment, including analytical field and laboratory skills, data modelling, statistical analysis, project management and critical evaluation of information.

Study Details:

MSc 1 year Full-time / 2 years Part-time

Module Details:


Core module:

  • Independent Research Project (120 credits)

Compulsory modules:

  • Environmental Data Acquisition and Analysis (15 credits)
  • Environmental Science Research and Practice (15 credits)
  • Project-specific Research Training (15 credits)

Option modules:

  • Biogeosciences and Ecosystem Services (15 credits)
  • Desk Study (15 credits)
  • Flood Risk Management and Modelling (15 credits)
  • River Assessment and Restoration (15 credits)

Programme Funding

Walter Oldershaw Award: eight awards (£3,000 each) are available across all masters degrees offered by the School of Geography

Queen Mary Alumni Loyalty Award: all graduates of QMUL are awarded a £1,000 bursary

Postgraduate Loans Scheme: eligible students are able to borrow loans up to £10,000

Student Destinations

Employability: 94% of respondents from our postgraduates were in work or further study six month after graduation; 91% at graduate level (DLHE 2015).


Entry Requirements

An upper second class honours degree or higher in a relevant subject from a UK university (or an equivalent international qualification) together with two supportive references is usually required. It is not a requirement to have previously studied geography and we encourage applications from students from a natural and environmental sciences background. Applicants must specify a topic from our list of research topics that they wish to investigate and include a research proposal with their application.

Please see our website for how to apply

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