Environmental Change, Impact and Adaptation

Our MSc in Environmental Change, Impact and Adaptation is an innovative, bespoke, multi-disciplinary programme that addresses the challenges that climatic and other environmental changes pose to society. It draws on world-leading expertise in the department in both the natural and social sciences to cover a range of topics including: desertification, terrestrial carbon cycles, flooding, risk management, records of palaeo-environmental change, environmental hazards, policy response, sea-level rise, and the impacts of warming and changing rainfall on ecosystem processes.

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


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.

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 (DGES) is home to a variety of research groups with interests directly related to the programme, including Environment and Society, Earth Observation and Ecosystems Dynamics, Rivers and Quaternary Research
  • The Department of Geography and Earth Science is top in Wales, with 78% of its research classified as either ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ - REF 2014
  • Aberystwyth DGES is in the top ten of UK Geography departments with regards to research power, which provides a measure of the quality of research, as well as of the number of staff undertaking research within the department
  • DGES receives funding from organisations such as United Nations, WHO and the European Research Council
  • Opportunity to study the latest understanding of environmental change and our efforts to plan for and manage future change
  • Opportunity to 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 multi-national community.

Modules September start - 2024

Please note: The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery during the next academic year and may be subject to change. They are included here to give an indication of how the course is structured.

* Also available partially or entirely through the medium of Welsh



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.

DGES graduates have taken 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 master’s dissertation at the end of the academic year leads to the award of an MSc.