Detailed course guide
Programme lead: Dr Alex Poulton
September – December, 4 mandatory courses
Earth System Science
Innovative Technology and Global Water Challenges
Reconstructing Environmental Change and Tracing Ecosystem Function
Applied Skills in Laboratory, Fieldwork and Data Analysis
January - April, 3 mandatory courses and 1 optional course
Science Communication and Engagement
Ecosystems Under Pressure
Business of the Environment
GIS for Marine and Environmental Scientists
Practical Skills in Marine Surveying
Marine Environmental Monitoring
Practical Skills in Marine Biotechnology
Tropical and Coral Reefs: Monitoring and Management
May - August, dissertation (MSc students only)
This course is designed to lead to career opportunities for academic earth system and environmental scientists (e.g. future PhD students, University staff), non-academic environmental researchers (e.g. BGS, CEH, National Oceanography Centre (NOC), British Antarctic Survey (BAS)), industrial and political stakeholders (e.g. Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA)), Environmental Agency (EA), Centre for Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), environmental consultants, Scottish and UK government departments, (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affair (DEFRA), Department for International Development (DFID)) and their consultants (e.g. Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe)), all dealing with fundamental scientific knowledge, its practical application and development of environmental policy and regulation.
International equivalents of such organisations include examples such as NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, US), WHOI (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, US), NIO (National Institute of Oceanography, India), CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australia) and GEOMAR (Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Germany). These include both national and international employment opportunities and hence the graduates from this programme will have global employment and career opportunities.
British Geological Survey (BGS)
Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH)
Scottish Parliament Information Centre
National Museum of Scotland
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
Masters (MSc) level entry applicants must have one of the following:
Minimum of 2:2 honours degree or equivalent academic qualification in a related subject area.
For postgraduate conversion courses, non-related degrees will be considered.
Corporate (or chartered) membership of relevant professional institutions will also be considered.
PG Diploma level entry applicants must have an ordinary degree in a related subject area and relevant post qualification industry experience.
Candidates who do not meet the above entry requirements or have no formal academic qualifications will be considered individually based on their CV and possibly interview. Admission via this route will be at the discretion of the Director of Recruitment. Recognition of Prior Learning
Heriot-Watt University is committed to providing opportunities to applicants who have a wide range of prior experiences through
Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). Prior learning at postgraduate level is normally recognised to gain exemption from individual modules within a course based on an existing academic qualification. Note that the prior learning must have been rated at the level of the modules for which RPL is sought, yet credits from an award already held by an applicant can only contribute to a higher award in the same discipline, e.g. from PG Diploma to MSc. If you believe that you qualify for RPL, please contact the Learning and Teaching Support Team via firstname.lastname@example.org, who will guide you through the RPL application procedure.
The school will only consider students' requests for RPL at the time of application for their course of study.
English language requirements
If English is not the applicant’s first language a minimum of IELTS 6.5 or equivalent is required with all elements passed at 6.0 or above. Please refer to
English language requirements for further details.
Some applicants may be asked for alternative evidence in line with UKVI recognised English speaking countries. Applicants who have previously successfully completed courses delivered in the medium of English language may be considered and will be required to provide documentary evidence of this. Examples would be secondary school education or undergraduate degree. A minimum of at least one year of full time study (or equivalent) in the medium of English language will be required.
All evidence of English language needs to be dated within two years of the commencement of study.
We also offer a range of
English language courses to help you meet the English language requirement prior to starting your master’s programme:
14 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.5 with no more than one skill at 4.5)
10 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.5 with minimum of 5.0 in all skills)
6 weeks English (for IELTS 5.5 with minimum of 5.5 in reading and writing and minimum of 5.0 in speaking and listening)