Environmental Change, Impact and Adaptation

MSc Environmental Change, Impact and Adaptation at Aberystwyth University is an innovative, interdisciplinary programme that draws on world-leading expertise in both the natural and social sciences.

You will develop a broad suite of skills necessary to investigate topics related to climate and environmental change and to evaluate risks to society.You will study a diverse range of themes including desertification, agricultural sustainability, policy-making for environmental change, terrestrial carbon cycling, data analysis, science communication, flood risks and Quaternary environmental change.

This course is available for entry in September 2025.

Typical Entry Requirements

Entry Requirements 2:2 Bachelors (Honours) degree in a relevant subject area, or equivalent.  Non-graduates will be considered individually based on relevant work experience.

English Language Requirements IELTS 7.0 with minimum 6.0 in each component, or equivalent

Other Requirements Applicants are encouraged to submit an up-to-date CV as part of their application.

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Fees and Finance

Course Fees:

Please see the tuition fee pages for current tuition fees. Please note that all fees are subject to an annual increase.


Funding opportunities may be available; please check the funding calculator for details.

Course Overview

Why study MSc Environmental Change, Impact and Adaptation at Aberystwyth University?

  • Aberystwyth's Department of Geography and Earth Sciences is home to a variety of research groups with interests directly related to the programme, including the Centre for Glaciology; Earth Observation and Ecosystem Dynamics; Earth Surface Processes; Quaternary Environmental Change; and Interdisciplinary Centre for Environmental Microbiology and Geochemistry.
  • You will explore the latest understanding of environmental change and our efforts to plan for and manage future change, in a department that receives funding from organisations such as United Nations, WHO and the European Research Council.
  • You will undertake advanced training in environment based topics from one of the UK's leading research departments
  • Aberystwyth is located in a high quality outdoor physical environment and comprises a multinational community.

About this course


Twelve months full-time or 24 months part time. The academic year (September to September) is divided into three semesters: September to January; January to June; June to September.

Contact Time:

Approximately 10-14 hours a week in the first two semesters. During semester three you will arrange your level of contact time with your assigned supervisor.


The programme comprises 180 credits. There are 120 credits of taught modules completed during Semester 1 and Semester 2. This is followed by a research dissertation (60 credits) in semester 3.



Upon completion of the course, you will be a highly competent contributor to any work relating to:

  • human impacts on and management of terrestrial ecosystems
  • environmental risk assessment
  • environmental policy analysis
  • disaster relief.

This course is also highly suitable to prepare you for future research at PhD level.

Our graduates have gone on to follow a wide variety of career pathways in/as:

  • The Met. Office
  • The European Space Agency
  • National Parks
  • Field technicians
  • Geologists
  • Environmental consultancy
  • Research work alongside prominent institutions/initiatives - REDD+ initiative, Norwegian Space Centre
  • Policy advocacy work in the energy sector
  • Planning roles across various market sectors
  • Local and national government
  • Civil Service
  • Education.


The programme will provide the opportunity to develop and enhance a wide range of skills, including:

  • Critical analysis and evaluation
  • Data handling and statistical analyses
  • Professional report writing
  • Field skills, including primary data collection and research design
  • Presentation and communication skills
  • Research and study skills
  • Project management and time management skills
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team.

Teaching & Learning

How will I learn?

This course can be studied either one year full-time or two years part-time. The academic year is divided into three semesters. When studied full time, in the first two semesters, you will complete the taught part of the course, which is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, practicals, workshops and fieldwork. During the final semester, you will undertake an independent research project working closely with an academic supervisor.

What will I learn?

The course begins with an overseas fieldtrip where you will learn to devise your own field-based experiments to investigate environmental change. Training will be given in a range of advanced techniques such as the quantification of CO2 emissions from soils and the interpretation of evidence for past climate and environments in the landscape.

You will undertake six core modules (120 credits) followed by a Masters dissertation (60 credits). Core modules are designed to ensure that you receive an appreciation of many aspects of environmental change. You will critically assess the evidence for environmental change across ecosystems and different temporal scales, gain experience in field-based data collection, examine the historic, present and future risks posed to human societies, and critically evaluate solutions proposed to address challenges arising from climatic and environmental change.

How will I be assessed?

There are no written exams; instead we use a variety of alternative assessment methods including short-film making, white papers, field-based projects, reports, presentations and essays.

Successful submission of the Masters dissertation at the end of the academic year leads to the award of an MSc.