- Start date: September
- Application deadline: August
- Study mode and duration: 12 months full-time; 24 months part-time; 36 months part-time (online distance learning)
Award: Athena Swan Silver Award for supporting women in engineering
Study with us
- Masters by Research (MRes) postgraduate research degree in Climate Change Adaptation
- further your knowledge and develop your research skills on topics relating to climate change adaptation, particularly regarding infrastructure
- tailor your studies to suit your own research interests and career objectives
Why this course?
The MRes in Climate Change Adaptation aims to provide advanced study of key issues related to climate change, and particularly around how infrastructure will need to adapt.
The course links with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) identified by the United Nations, and in particular the different indicators associated with SDG13 on Climate Action.
This course is designed to cater mainly for graduates with an engineering education, and employees of public and private sector companies who wish to upgrade their skills to be able to tackle the complex issues relating to the current climate crisis, circular economy goals, and the design of engineering options for mitigating environmental impacts and promoting sustainable development.
An MRes offers a unique and bespoke experience; you can tailor your studies to suit your own research interests and career objectives. The course is largely research and project-based but there is also a taught element to it. The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering has strong industrial links which contributes to the overall student experience, too. You'll be taught by an interdisciplinary group of professionally qualified civil engineers, environmental scientists, geoscientists, environmental impact assessors and modellers, and social scientists.
An MRes takes one year full-time or two years part-time to complete. While full-time study is available to UK and international students, part-time study on-campus is only available to students from the UK or EU. You can also study this course part-time through online Distance Learning, over 36 months, offering a flexible mode of study. Distance Learning is available to UK and international students.
What you’ll study
This degree combines a number of subjects including:
- climate change
- circular economy
- air pollution
- human health
- environmental impact assessment (EIA)
You'll complete six taught modules. Four classes are compulsory and you then choose two optional. The bulk of your study will focus on the MRes dissertation project, which will develop your independent research skills.
You can choose from a wide range of topics for your research. Your choice of topic should be shaped by your research interests, the skills you wish to develop, and the opportunities and expertise within the department.
You can explore potential supervisors and research topics by browsing the Supervisor list, taking a look at the research conducted within the Research Centres within Civil and Environmental Engineering, through discussion with potential supervisors and by liaising with the MRes Director.
Learning & teaching
Taught classes are delivered via a mixture of approaches that may include lectures, online quizzes, tutorials, workshops, and research seminars.
The dissertation represents independent study to deliver new research in a field relating to climate change adaptation that interests you and that develops the skills you wish to acquire. Your independent study will be supported by the supervisor(s), research groups, and the MRes Director.
You'll be assessed via a mixture of methods that may include assignments, online quizzes, formal exams, practicals, presentations or team projects.
The final MRes thesis is typically assessed orally in a viva voce examination.
You'll have access to laboratory facilities providing the hands-on experience essential for a multidisciplinary approach to the design and development of engineering projects adapted to the challenges of climate change. Our £6 million state-of-the-art laboratory facilities are well-equipped with high-technological instrumentation and available space to investigate:
- environmental & molecular microbiology
- environmental chemistry
- analytical chemistry
- geomechanics & soil quality
- structural design & material science
Discover more about our laboratory facilities.
There are four compulsory classes. All are run by the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering. You must choose an additional two elective classes.
Research protocols for science & engineering
In this class, students will acquire familiarity with, and practice of, research techniques, and examine different ways of, and gain experience in, presenting research results.
Through classes, case studies and practical exercises, students will be introduced to key research principles, including quantitative and qualitative research methods (including survey methods, interviewing techniques, and statistical methods), and discussions around research ethics.
Finally, the class includes content focussed on the student’s research project, to support elements such as choosing a research question, developing hypotheses, research method design, and preparing a research proposal.
Air pollution, climate change & human health
The class provides students with knowledge & skills applicable to atmospheric pollution and climate change impacts, ranging from local to global scales. This includes a focus on the assessment & management of impacts on human health through effective interface between the public health sciences of environmental epidemiology and environmental toxicology; and environmental engineering approaches to manage environmental risks. The class achieves these aims through research-led teaching at the interface between public health and environmental engineering, with a particular focus on risk-centred methods. The class is delivered using lectures based on a well-established textbook, computer laboratories and project-based teaching. Student interaction is encouraged throughout the class through directed reading, project work, and structured feedback.
Circular economy & transformations towards sustainability
In this class, students will be introduced to the circular economy as a systems-based concept in which production is designed to be restorative and resilient, while waste is designed out of the system. Circular economy is thus featured as a reaction to the conventional dispensation of the linear ‘make-use-dispose’ economy, and as a framework for the development and management of a sustainable, ‘waste-as-a-resource’ economic system.
The class explores the implications of the concept for research, policy and industrial practice, as these relate to innovation and knowledge production; social trends and consumer behaviour; conservation and sustainable use of energy, water and material resources; climate change and environmental sustainability; and design of business models for green enterprise development and for sustainable growth and employment generation.
Environmental impact assessment
This class provides an introduction to the methods used to predict environmental impacts and evaluates how these may be used to integrate environmental factors into decisions. The use of EIA as a design tool and how EIA can be used to enhance positive impacts is discussed in detail. The class draws principally on the UK planning context of environmental impact assessment of individual projects (project EIA), but also takes account of EIA experience in other countries and international organisations. Students are also introduced to key principles of Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA).
You can choose two elective classes from a range of postgraduate classes on offer, many of which are available for Distance Learning. Suggested elective classes are shown below, but there are other options, too.
In this class, students will:
- gain an understanding of Hydrogeology as a discipline
- discuss and explore the physical mechanisms of water movement in the subsurface
- undertake experiments in the lab that demonstrate key principals of groundwater movement
- explore hydrogeological issues based on case studies
Global water policy
This class aims to provide the student with the ability to:
- recognise the issues relating to overall global water policy and its interactions with other global issues
- discuss the impact of climate change and economic development on water resources and availability
- explore the different implementation issues based on regional case studies
- explore the role of stakeholders on the acceptance and achievement of policy objectives
Groundwater flow modelling
Students must take the hydrogeology module as a pre-requisite for this module.
This class aims to guide the student to:
- gain an understanding of Groundwater Flow Modelling as a discipline
- provide an introduction to MODFLOW, an industry-standard numerical code for groundwater flow modelling
- provide an introduction to MT3D, an industry-standard groundwater solute transport simulator
- develop groundwater flow modelling skills and understand how groundwater models can be used to refine and understand conceptual models
- learn how to use a Geographic Information System (GIS) to prepare and post-process groundwater flow modelling inputs and results respectively
- develop contaminant fate and transport modelling skills in order to simulate the movements of contaminants in the subsurface
Within the background of land redevelopment (residential, industrial/commercial and gardens/parks), this class aims to provide insights into the remediation of contaminated land, including contaminant mobility and its impacts on contaminated land management and remediation; site-specific considerations; sampling and analysis; exposure and risk assessment; remediation processes; legislation and policy; and the regulatory framework. These issues will be explored in depth in case studies.
Geographical information systems
This module provides a thorough introduction to the field of Geographical Information Systems and spatial analysis. The course covers the key theoretical principles but it also provides many practical hands-on exercises using current state-of-the-art GIS software. By capturing, manipulating, integrating and displaying digital spatial data, a wide range of different analyses can be carried out, ranging from engineering (e.g. site selection, flood risk, transport planning, impact of construction), environmental science (e.g. soil erosion, health and disease, pollutant transport, hydrology, landscape visual impact assessment, wildlife preservation) to policymaking (e.g. urbanization, deforestation, spatial distribution of crime). The module demonstrates how GIS can be used for spatial query and analysis. Students will develop skills to apply GIS independently to real world datasets and problems.
Fundamentals of environmental forensics
Successful completion of this module should provide the student with an understanding of:
- environmental forensics as a discipline
- a range of contaminants found in the environment, and their fate and transport
- approach and analytical techniques to determine the responsible parties for contamination found in the environment
- real-world applications of environmental forensics
Environmental pollution management
The class develops knowledge & skills regarding the science, engineering & management of environmental pollution control to protect public health. These aims are addressed through study of the interface between environmental science and environmental engineering, including risk-based methods. The class includes industrial & government case studies in contemporary air quality management practice. Student interaction is encouraged through directed reading, project work, student-led question sessions, and structured feedback.
Independent study in collaboration with industry
Graduates increasingly need highly developed transferable professional skills to prepare for and to gain future employment. This course will allow students carrying out projects with industry to develop and refine these while gaining credits in the process. This could be for example the SME Carbon Audit that students carry out with training from Carbon Trust which involves 2 full-day training workshop, one 2-hour guided carbon audit of one SME, produce a Carbon Audit report for the SME that will be checked for quality by Carbon Trust before being released to the SME.
Approval of students being able to take this course would be done on a case-by-case basis by MSc course leader as an individualised learning contract. Students will be selected by competitive application and CV. Other placements with industry are possible as long as a report needs to be produced for the industrial contact which can then be evaluated for assignment purposes.
Water & wastewater treatment design
This course aims to develop an understanding of water and wastewater treatment processes, as well as the ability to undertake design calculations sufficient to produce a concept and detailed design of a treatment system.
Vertically Integrated Project water and sanitation hygiene
This module aims to develop skills of working within a large cross-disciplinary group, on a substantial project over a sustained period of time. The group should consist of individuals at different stages of their studies and from different backgrounds working collaboratively on a common task.
In addition to the group working skills, the participants should apply and further develop specialist skills in their own discipline as well as gaining knowledge of another field. The research outputs should also emphasis and develop the student’s ability to conduct independent research to a high standard.
This class explores the role finance plays in business solvency and sustainability. It will give participants an appreciation of the core issues surrounding finance in business and how to analyse financial data to support decision making. The module aims to:
- explain the need for and role of finance in business
- describes the financial tools that are used for making decisions
- explore different strategies for raising finance and investing
The material will be delivered through a series of online lectures and tutorials (classroom-based), supported by background reading available on myPlace.
Pollution & rehabilitation of degraded ecosystems
This class aims to:
- introduce student to ecological principles (organism, population, community, and ecosystem levels)
- introduce students to the impacts of various forms of pollution on ecosystems
- identify options available for monitoring pollution impacts
- evaluate remediate alternatives, recovery management, or ways to enhance environmental systems
Water & environmental management
This course aims to provide an insight into water quality, water quality objectives and pollution control strategy, and introduce the design and control of water and wastewater treatment processes.
Advanced materials science
The aim of this class is for students to gain a deeper understanding of the chemistry of building materials. The assumed pre-requisite is some basic knowledge of chemistry and materials science.
Industrial design and construction
Graduates increasingly need highly developed transferable professional skills to prepare for and to gain future employment. This module allows students to design and construct field scale civil engineering structures. Approval of students being able to take this module would be done on case-by-case basis by MSc course leaders as an individualised learning contract.
A minimum of first or upper second-class Honours degree from a UK institution (or overseas equivalent), and preferably a Masters-level qualification (or equivalent).
We welcome students from a wide variety of disciplines including (but not limited to):
|English language requirements|
For candidates whose first language is not English, minimum standards of written and spoken English are an IELTS minimum overall band score of 6.5 (no individual test score below 5.5). Applicants with slightly lower scores have the opportunity to attend the University's Pre-Sessional English classes to bring them up to the required level.
We've a thriving international community with students coming here to study from over 100 countries across the world. Find out all you need to know about studying in Glasgow at Strathclyde and hear from students about their experiences.Visit our international students' section
Fees & funding
All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.
Full-time, one year: £4,500
Part-time, two years: £2,250
Part-time (online), three years: £4,200
|England, Wales & Northern Ireland|
Full-time, one year: £4,500
Part-time, two years: £2,250
Part-time (online), three years: £4,200
Full-time, one year: £21,850
Part-time, two years: £10,925
Part-time (online), three years: £4,200
Please note: the fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.
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To apply to the MRes programme, you need to complete an application through the postgraduate research application portal.
Your application must be accompanied by a Research Statement, which is equivalent to a letter of motivation. The content and structure of this mandatory document is largely up to you, but it should be no more than two A4 pages long and must outline what motivates you about this MRes at the University of Strathclyde, your research interests and career aspirations, plus any clarification about how you meet the eligibility criteria.
You're welcome to submit a research proposal for your MRes dissertation project, but this is optional.
For more information about the application, including the documentation you need to provide, see our ‘your application and offer’ webpage, and also our guide to Strathclyde’s postgraduate research application system.
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