This degree will give you the skills to diagnose and mitigate environmental pollution issues. You will gain skills in developing risk assessments, undertaking chemical analysis and applied remediation technology.

Study Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
12 months or 24 months
Study Mode
Full Time or Part Time
Start Month
Location of Study
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This MSc is ideally suited for students looking to gain a greater understanding of environmental science, specifically issues related to pollution and remediation. These issues will be explored at both a UK level and an international level.

Within the programme students will cover courses in environmental pollution, remediation technology, hydrocarbon risk assessment and remediation, environmental analysis, and environmental impact assessments. During these courses they will develop key skills in environmental policy, legislation, risk assessment models and chemical analysis.

Students will gain a wide appreciation for the impact that different pollutants have in the environment, how these pollutants would be quantified, and strategies for there remediation.

This programme will suit students looking for careers in environmental consultancy, environmental engineering, the energy sector and regulators. The programme is also suited for students looking to undertake a higher degree in environmental science.

What You'll Study

Semester 1

Semester 1

Compulsory Courses
Global Soil Geography (SS5008)

15 Credit Points

Field based course that takes you across northeast Scotland exploring an ancient tropical rainforest, hill farming in action, survey techniques and soil formation.

A long tradition of soil science teaching at the University of Aberdeen assembled into lectures and field trips delivered by senior academics.

Your assessments are geared towards developing practical skills. This includes a presentation on a particular soil that requires research akin to detective work, and a quiz on soil classification. We expect students to keep a detailed log of field trips to learn survey techniques and to consult for the quiz. An essay will also assessed.

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Core Skills for Environmental Sciences (EV5006)

15 Credit Points

The course will provide the students with valuable skills required in developing their research and general study skills, essential for their progression during the MSc programme, as well as to the rest of their academic and professional careers. The course introduces basic statistical analysis, teaches data handling skills and exposes students to literature searching and reference styles. During the course, students will get experience in handling real-life, large data sets and will work together with the lecturer and demonstrators in analysing the data and presenting the results.

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Environmental Pollution (BI5301)

15 Credit Points

Enables studentsto increase and enhance their understanding of atmospheric, aquatic andterrestrial environmental pollution issues;

Addresses themanagement, monitoring and control of environmental pollutants;

Allows studentsto engagement with stake holder from a number of different sectors;

Uses bothqualitative and quantitative data to understand the impact of environmentalpollutants.

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Optional Courses

Plus 0–15 credit points from the following list of elective courses:

Soils for Food Security (SS5305)

15 Credit Points

This advanced soil science course provides additional teaching of physical, chemical and biological properties of soils in the context of food security. You will learn a variety of processes that affect soil productivity, accompanied by practical sessions that will teach relevant analytical methods. The wide range of soil processes taught will be brought together at the end of the course to provide a working knowledge of agronomy, including the interactions between crops and specific chemical or physical properties of soils. Students are introduced to modelling of agricultural impacts on soils and the environment so that mitigation strategies can be assessed.

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Semester 2

Semester 2

Compulsory Courses
Remediation Technology (SS5500)

15 Credit Points

A highly interactive course, that uses extensively e-learning platforms to enable students to better understand the assessment of contaminated land. Students will learn how to interpret and apply current risk assessment regulations and predict as well as model contaminant pathways. Students will gain valuable experience in using the latest computer software and incorporate real data in order to quantify risk. Very importantly, students will be able to forecast remediation options for a variety of situations and consider the implications and processes involved.

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Environmental Analysis (EV5800)

15 Credit Points

The mixture of applied science and theoretical work on this course places you in a valuable position for understanding the procedures and applications in modern environmental science. A number of laboratory classes allows you to familiarise yourself with the current analytical instrumentation in environmental science. The course uses examples of environmental issues allowing you to understand the problem, how the analysis was conducted and the implications of the results. The main assessment in this course is a practical write up that is written in the style of a scientific report giving you an opportunity to perfect this style of writing.

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Environmental Impact Assessment (EK5804)

15 Credit Points

Lectures and seminars provide background information about the origins and development of EIA, and how EIAs are implemented in the UK and elsewhere. Visiting speakers and a field visit provide practitioner perspectives on the role of EIA in development decisions.

Workshop sessions focus on case studies to provide insight into issues that arise and provide an opportunity to develop transferable skills valued by employers, such as team-working, time-management, presentation and critical appraisal.

Through an EIA report you investigate a proposed development in depth to identify likely environmental effects, judge their significance, and propose how they should be assessed and mitigated.

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Hydrocarbon Risk Assessment and Remediation (EV5515)

15 Credit Points

Hydrocarbon contamination of land and water has developed into a major issues in the recent decades. This course will allow students to utilise risk assessment models to predict the risk that contaminated site have on both humans and the environment. You will explore how remediation techniques can be used to remediate sites that have recently been contaminated and those that have a long history of contamination.

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Optional Courses

Plus 0–15 credit points from the following list of elective courses:

Land use and the Changing Environment (EV5803)

15 Credit Points

This course is a residential field course that takes place in the Cairngorm National Park. During this course will gain experience relating to the broad theme of environmental science. It is hoped that you will develop a greater understanding of the dynamics of the landscape and the interactions and conflicts between stakeholders. You will be focusing on issues associated with different land uses within the Cairngorms National Park and associated decisions which impact directly the environment. This will be done by a number of site visits to sporting estates, forests, farms, and national nature reserves.

Please note that the information provided is subject to change due to the ongoing Covid-19 government guidelines

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Semester 3

Semester 3

Compulsory Courses
Project in Environmental Pollution and Remediation (EV5907)

60 Credit Points

The three-month individual Research Project can cover any area of environmental pollution/remediation and is undertaken under the supervision of a member of staff who is an expert in your chosen field. Many projects are also done in collaboration with an external organisation. The project provides opportunities for you to develop your abilities and skills, generate hypotheses and design ways of testing them and to analyse, report and discuss your findings. You will learn to take responsibility for implementing your own plans and modifying them as necessary. The project is written up in the style of a scientific paper manuscript or a consultancy report.

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We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

How You'll Study

A wide range of teaching methods are used at Aberdeen to ensure that you are able to learn in a way that suits your learning style and enables you to achieve the best possible outcome. Our class sizes are small and we have a low student to tutor ratio, meaning you will have the full support of your group tutors.

Our great diversity in teaching methods is coupled by the use of latest digital technology to ensure course content is accessible to all students through a wide range of electronic formats.

The MSc also provides students with ample opportunity to learn outside the classroom so you can apply both theory and practice to real life situations. The majority of courses regularly extend activities and learning to outdoor field work, visits by industry experts and insights into real-life situations and problem-solving. The MSc programme includes, without additional cost, several day-long field trips from Aberdeen and an optional one week residential field course (at Ballater, Aberdeenshire).

The dedicated research project you will undertake as part of your MSc provides training in study design, technical skills, recording results and observations and analysing results. Great flexibility is available in project selection; projects can be chosen from a list of developed by the students themselves in collaboration with supervisors. Projects can be field, lab and/or computer based and flexible to fit the student’s interests, aspirations and skill set.

Learning Methods

  • Field Trips
  • Field Work
  • Group Projects
  • Individual Projects
  • Lectures
  • Research
  • Tutorials

Why Study Environmental Pollution and Remediation?

  • Aberdeen provides you with a unique learning environment with unrivalled access to coastal, mountain and freshwater habitats for both fieldwork and recreation. You will carry out field work in various different locations, including the North Sea, the agricultural and forested areas of NE Scotland, National Nature reserves and Sites of Special Scientific Interest.
  • The University has an international reputation for excellence in inter-disciplinary research in terrestrial, aquatic and marine environments.
  • The programme is skills-based, meaning that as well as learning theory, you will also have the opportunity to gain experience of applying your knowledge to real life and environmental situations.
  • The University has a long tradition and excellent reputation for teaching and research in pollution, remediation and environmental science subjects.
  • Over the years a number of spin out companies created from the research conducted in the School of Biological Sciences related to pollution and remediation.

What Our Students Say

Stephen Chukwunonso Elvis

Stephen Chukwunonso Elvis

Stephen Chukwunonso Elvis

The field courses have been the most thrilling aspect of my study here, providing opportunities to get a closer view of Scotland's unique landscape.

Entry Requirements


The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.

A UK 2:1 honours degree (or international equivalent), in a biological, environmental or physical science, geography, or other relevant subject; applicants with a 2ii (or equivalent), particularly with some relevant experience, may also be considered. We also consider individuals with degrees in a wider range of disciplines who are clearly motivated by the programme and have some relevant experience.

Please enter your country to view country-specific entry requirements.

English Language Requirements

To study for a Postgraduate Taught degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. The minimum requirements for this degree are as follows:

IELTS Academic:

OVERALL - 6.5 with: Listening - 5.5; Reading - 5.5; Speaking - 5.5; Writing - 6.0


OVERALL - 90 with: Listening - 17; Reading - 18; Speaking - 20; Writing - 21

PTE Academic:

OVERALL - 62 with: Listening - 59; Reading - 59; Speaking - 59; Writing - 59

Cambridge English B2 First, C1 Advanced, C2 Proficiency:

OVERALL - 176 with: Listening - 162; Reading - 162; Speaking - 162; Writing - 169

Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

Document Requirements

You will be required to supply the following documentation with your application as proof you meet the entry requirements of this degree programme. If you have not yet completed your current programme of study, then you can still apply and you can provide your Degree Certificate at a later date.

an up-to-date CV/Resumé
Degree Certificate
a degree certificate showing your qualifications
Degree Transcript
a full transcript showing all the subjects you studied and the marks you have achieved in your degree(s) (original & official English translation)
Personal Statement
a detailed personal statement explaining your motivation for this particular programme

Fee Information

Fee information
Fee category Cost
EU / International students £21,500
Tuition Fees for 2021/22 Academic Year
Home / RUK £10,200
Tuition Fees for 2021/22 Academic Year

Additional Fee Information

  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.

Funding Opportunities

The following options are available to support your studies.

  • MSc Environmental Pollution and Remediation - applications are invited for the James Henry Scott Scholarship, starting in either September 2020 or January 2021 (the academic year 2020/21). Students must be commencing a one-year full-time Master of Science degree (MSc) and students from the People's Republic of China or Hong Kong only are eligible to apply. Please note that applicants currently domiciled in the UK will not be considered. Closing date for applications is 1st of June 2020.


Eligible self-funded international Masters students will receive the Aberdeen Global Scholarship. Visit our Funding Database to find out more and see our full range of scholarships.

Postgraduate Virtual Open Day

On Tuesday 18th May, The University of Aberdeen will hold a Postgraduate Virtual Open Day.

It is open to everyone who is interested in Postgraduate Taught and Research study.

Find out more


The programme focuses on providing training in state-of-the-art methods that will be invaluable both for careers in academic research and outside of academia.

In addition to acquiring discipline-specific skills, the coursework activities within our programme are designed to provide you with ample opportunity to develop generic skills required by employers including critical thinking, problem-solving, team work, written and oral presentation, time management and interdisciplinarity.

On graduating you will have several career options available to you, some of which include:

  • Further study (PhD)
  • Academic jobs in university settings, e.g. researcher
  • Careers in the environmental science industry in roles such as Environmental Consultant, Nature Conservation Officer, Water Quality Tester, and Eco-toxicologist

Industry Links

University of Aberdeen environmental scientists work closely with colleagues in research institutions all over the world and have active involvement with local, national and international governmental & non-governmental organisations including:

  • Scottish Natural Heritage
  • Scottish Environment Protection Agency
  • Marine Scotland Science
  • Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
  • British Trust for Ornithology
  • Forestry Commission and Forest Research
  • International Council for the Exploration of the Sea

We are ranked No. 1 for research

Our soil and plant science research was ranked No. 1 overall in the UK for Agriculture, Veterinary and Food Science (REF 2014)

1st in Scotland for Environment and Ecology

We are ranked 1st in Scotland for Environment/Ecology (US News & World Report of Best Global Universities Rankings 2020)

What our Alumni Say

Mónica Rincón Ojeda

Mónica Rincón Ojeda

Mónica Rincón Ojeda

Job Details
Environmental Engineer
Graduated 2019

The different approaches to addressing national and global environmental problems and methods of remediation, as well as field trips and laboratory classes, provided me with new and valuable knowledge and tools. This allowed me to understand such problems in a wider and more complete perspective. Every day was different because the University of Aberdeen has so many things to offer.

Rachel Fitzgerald

Rachel Fitzgerald

Rachel Fitzgerald

Job Details
Analytical Chemist
Graduated 2019

My experience at the University of Aberdeen was enhanced by the incredible staff. Lecturers are passionate and extremely helpful, creating an environment in which I gained confidence and knowledge in a variety of subjects. The lab technicians go above and beyond to support students in every aspect of their research project. I learned how to utilise the latest risk assessment modelling software to predict and model contaminant pathways and forecast remediation options for real life scenarios.

Our Experts

Other Experts
Dr Gareth Norton
Professor Graeme Paton
Programme Coordinator
Dr Vasilis Louca

Information About Staff Changes

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.


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Our plant growth facilities include controlled environmental growth chambers and glasshouses for teaching and experimental work.

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Cruickshank Botanic Garden

Cruickshank Botanic Garden

The Cruickshank Botanic Garden is situated on our King's College campus. It is used to support both our teaching and research; existing to promote the diversity and importance of plants and their role in the natural world.

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Laboratory Facilities

Laboratory Facilities

Our laboratory facilities include advanced analytical equipment to study soil chemical, physical and biological properties. Students have the opportunity to access state-of-the-art facilities such as mass spectroscopy, GC-MS and XRay CT imaging.

Get in Touch

Contact Details

Student Recruitment & Admissions Service
University of Aberdeen
University Office
Regent Walk
AB24 3FX