MRes Climate Change Adaptation

Key facts

  • 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)
  • Athena Swan Gold Award for supporting gender equality in engineering. The only engineering department in the UK to hold a Gold Athena Swan Award and the first engineering department in Scotland to be awarded an Athena Swan Silver Award. 

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 research interests and career objectives
  • contribute new knowledge at the frontiers of your discipline
Back to course

Why this course?

The MRes in Climate Change Adaptation is the first of its kind, and tackles a critical and growing topic for research and innovation. The course provides advanced study of key issues related to action to mitigate and adapt to climate change, and particularly around the circular economy, the design of engineering options for sustainable development, and infrastructure adaptation.

The course links with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) identified by the United Nations, and in particular the different indicators associated with SDG13 Climate Action.

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.

This course is designed to cater mainly for graduates or employees of public and private sector companies looking for advanced study of key issues relating to climate change and infrastructure. The course is particularly suited to those wishing to develop research skills and experience. Content will align with Chartership attributes for many awarding institutions, including ICE, CIWEM and IES.

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.

solar panels

THE Awards 2019: UK University of the Year Winner

What you’ll study

This degree combines a number of subjects including:

  • climate change, climate action and climate resilience
  • sustainability
  • circular economy
  • carbon assessment
  • environmental impact assessment (EIA)

The subjects in your degree depend on the classes that you take, and the topic of your research thesis.

You'll complete six taught modules. Three classes are compulsory and you then choose three optional. The bulk of your study will focus on the MRes dissertation project, which will develop your research skills and hone in-depth knowledge.

MRes thesis

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 thesis 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 by viva voce.


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.

Athena Swan Gold award - Gender charter

We've been awarded the Athena Swan Gold Award for our commitment to improve equality, and being an inclusive and supportive place to work and study.

Chat to a student ambassador

Want to know more about what it’s like to be a student at the University of Strathclyde? A selection of our current students are here to help!

Our Unibuddy ambassadors can answer all the questions you might have about courses and studying at Strathclyde, along with offering insight into their experiences of life in Glasgow and Scotland.

Chat now!
Go back

Course content

There are three compulsory classes. All are run by the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering. You must choose an additional 30 credits of elective classes.

Research methods for quantitative & qualitative approaches (10 credits)

In this class, dedicated to the MSc and MRes students in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, students will acquire familiarity with, and practice of, research techniques, and examine different ways of, and gain experience in, presenting research results. The course discusses the key principles, and practical exercises, on both quantitative and qualitative research methods, such as observation methods, survey methods, interviewing techniques and statistical methods. The course also includes discussion of ethical issues. Finally, the course covers writing skills and use of literature, which is relevant to all classes.

Circular economy & transformations towards sustainability (10 credits)

This class initially introduces the circular economy as a framework for the development and management of a sustainable 'waste-as-resource' economic system in which production is designed to be restorative and resilient. The class then proceeds to cover a range of contemporary challenges in the practical application of circular economic principles within different sectors, incorporating presentations from leading practitioners in the field.

The implications of the concept of circular economy for research, policy, business practices and societal transformations towards sustainability are explored in detail through a mix of theory, case studies, individual and group project work. This includes consideration of the role of innovation and knowledge production; social trends and consumer behaviour; conservation and sustainable use of energy and material resources; climate change and environmental sustainability; and the design of business models that maximise product life and value retention.

The class discusses the role of individuals and communities in the making and operation of the circular economy. Students are challenged to identify and critically evaluate opportunities to use waste as an economic good and as the basis for commercially, socially and environmentally profitable business initiatives through the application of creative design; as well as the range of business opportunities arising from repair, reconditioning and remanufacturing activities. The class also introduces the key principles of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), carbon measurement and management.

Environmental impact assessment (10 credits)

Environmental impact assessment (EIA) relates to the process of identifying, evaluating, and mitigating the biophysical, social, economic, cultural and other relevant effects of development proposals prior to major decisions being taken and commitments made. This class, run by the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering but open to all MSc and MEng students across the University, introduces the methods used to predict environmental impacts, and evaluates how these may be used to integrate environmental factors into decisions.

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. Participants evaluate the quality of Environmental Statements (or EIA Reports) and of the EIA process using the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) methodology.

The class discusses how EIA can be used a pro-active design tool for projects and how it can contribute to the enhancement of environmental, social and health issues. Students are also introduced to key principles of Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and biodiversity net gain (BNG). Class has the contribution of key practitioners in the field and includes different case studies, such as proposed onshore and offshore windfarms.

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.

Hydrogeology (10 credits)

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 (10 credits)

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 (10 credits)

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

Contaminated land (10 credits)

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 (10 credits)

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 (10 credits)

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 (10 credits)

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.

Water & wastewater treatment design (10 credits)

This class, run by the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, aims to develop a detailed understanding of treatment processes, as well as the ability to undertake design calculations sufficient to produce a concept and detailed design of a water and wastewater treatment plant. On completion of the course the student is expected to be able to:

  • recognise needs of the client and conceptualise appropriate treatment system
  • understand water treatment processes, including underlying chemical, physical and biological processes
  • understand legislation relevant to water and wastewater treatment and processes required to achieve objectives
  • ability to manage imperfect information and uncertainty in design and calculations

Vertically Integrated Project water and sanitation hygiene (10 credits)

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.

Financial engineering (10 credits)

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:

  1. explain the need for and role of finance in business
  2. describes the financial tools that are used for making decisions
  3. 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.

Water & environmental management (10 credits)

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 (10 credits)

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 (10 credits)

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.

Back to course

Entry requirements

Academic requirements

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). Experience of independent research is preferable.

We welcome students from a wide variety of disciplines including (but not limited to):

  • civil and environmental engineering
  • earth sciences
  • geography
  • biology
  • environmental management
  • bioscience
  • chemistry and chemical engineering
  • mechanical engineering
  • business
  • computer sciences
  • law
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.

International students

We've a thriving international community with students coming here to study from over 140 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

Back to course

Fees & funding

All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.

Fees may be subject to updates to maintain accuracy. Tuition fees will be notified in your offer letter.

All fees are in £ sterling, unless otherwise stated, and may be subject to revision.

Annual revision of fees

Students on programmes of study of more than one year (or studying standalone modules) should be aware that tuition fees are revised annually and may increase in subsequent years of study. Annual increases will generally reflect UK inflation rates and increases to programme delivery costs.

Go back


England, Wales & Northern Ireland




Distance learning


Additional costs

International students may have associated visa and immigration costs. Please see student visa guidance for more information.

Available scholarships

Take a look at our scholarships search for funding opportunities.

Please note: the fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.

Glasgow is Scotland's biggest & most cosmopolitan city

Our campus is based right in the very heart of Glasgow. We're in the city centre, next to the Merchant City, both of which are great locations for sightseeing, shopping and socialising alongside your studies.

Life in Glasgow

Back to course


To apply to the MRes programme, you need to complete an application through the postgraduate research application portal, via the 'submit your own research proposal' avenue. 

Your application must be accompanied by a CV and research statement. The research statement 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, any research experience to date, your research interests and career aspirations, the skills you're keen to develop, 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; your thesis topic will typically be developed in partnership with the supervisor and their interests. At the application stage, it can help to list the topics that are of interest to you, or the skills you're keen to develop. You can explore potential 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 Director for MRes Studies. It is possible to be supervised by staff from other departments across Strathclyde, too.

When you apply for the MRes, please select the Director for MRes Studies as one of the supervisors.

Our MRes courses start in September. Although you can apply to the programme at any time, in order to process your application in time for the forthcoming academic year, you'll need to complete your application before the end of July or earlier if you are a non-UK applicant.

For more information about the application, including the documentation you need to provide, see ‘your application and offer’.

Start date: Sep 2024

Climate Change Adaptation

Start date: Sep 2024

Start date: Sep 2024

Climate Change Adaptation

Start date: Sep 2024

Start date: Sep 2024

Climate Change Adaptation (online)

Start date: Sep 2024

Start date: Sep 2025

Climate Change Adaptation

Start date: Sep 2025

Start date: Sep 2025

Climate Change Adaptation

Start date: Sep 2025

Start date: Sep 2025

Climate Change Adaptation (online)

Start date: Sep 2025

Back to course

Contact us

Civil & Environmental Engineering

Telephone: +44 (0)141 574 5484