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MChem Hons Environmental Chemistry (Study Abroad)

Mode of Study: Full Time Department: Chemistry
UCAS Code: F143 Duration/Length: 4 Year(s)
QAA Subject Benchmark: Earth Science, Environmental Sciences an Director of Studies: Dr MP Coogan
Total Credit Points: 480 Credit Points Year 2: 120
Credit Points Year 3: 120 Credit Points Year 4: 120

Syllabus Rules and Pre-requisites

  • PartI
  • The student must take the following modules:
  • PartII (Year 2)
  • The student must take the following modules:
  • The student must take 2 modules from the following group:
  • The student must take 1 modules from the following group:
  • The student must take 2 modules from the following group:
  • PartII (Year 3)
  • The student must take the following modules:

Educational Aims: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills


    Educational Aims: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

    • To provide a flexible but structured, progressive and thematic training in Environmental Chemistry which will provide students with a knowledge and understanding appropriate for subject-specific graduate employment
    • To develop key transferable skills to prepare students for general graduate employment
    • To develop the intellectual and practical skills necessary for progression to postgraduate research and training
    • To encourage academic curiosity which will prepare students for lifelong learning
    • To offer a broad range of modules within which students can select a specialised route
    • To offer all students the opportunity to conduct two substantial research projects
    • To offer selected students the opportunity to spend one year at an approved university overseas, so that they may acquire the ability to study in, and learn about, a different society, culture and higher education system

Learning Outcomes: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills


    Learning Outcomes: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

    Knowledge and Understanding

    Depending on the choice of modules, students will acquire detailed knowledge and understanding of:

    • Chemistry
    • Environmental chemistry
    • Earth sciences and geology
    • Hydrology
    • Atmospheric science
    • Environmental management
    • Ecology
    • Environmental modelling 

    Students will be given guidance on an appropriate choice of modules.  The degree programme provides opportunities and support for all students to develop many intellectual, practical and transferable skills at various levels. 

    Intellectual Skills

    Students will learn to:

    • synthesise information from a variety of sources
    • critically evaluate and assess the merits of contrasting theories, explanations and strategies
    • interpret qualitative and quantitative data
    • develop a multidisciplinary approach to problem-solving, and a reasoned argument
    • plan, conduct and report two substantial investigations 

    Practical Skills

    Students will learn to:

    • use appropriate field and laboratory equipment effectively
    • carry out experimental work in the field
    • undertake risk assessments and list appropriate safety precautions associated with practical or project work
    • collect and present field, laboratory and literature data 

    Transferable Skills

    Students will learn to:

    • work independently and as a team (recognising the views of others), on time limited tasks
    • manipulate numbers and use relevant information technology
    • demonstrate effective written and oral communication skills
    • design and prepare project proposals

Learning and Teaching Strategies and Methods: Knowledge, Understanding, Skills


    Students undertaking the Environmental Chemistry/International degrees have a wide variety of qualifications and abilities. Year 1 of the degree scheme is aimed at providing the foundations in both Chemistry and Environmental Science with a suite of 10 core modules. The declining number of students with A-levels in mathematics has required the provision of support modules to strengthen this area. Successful completion of Year 1 ensures all students are qualified to progress into Part 2.


    Spending Year 2 in a foreign university enables students to engage with different styles of learning and teaching than encountered at Lancaster. Students also learn to adapt to a different culture and gain a broader perspective of the world.


    The outcomes for each year and module are given in the Environmental Chemistry Part 1 Handbook, the Environmental Chemistry Part 2 Handbook, and module handouts for students.  The intellectual content of modules becomes increasingly demanding from Years 1 to 3/4.  As they progress through the degree, students are required to become more self-reliant and to take responsibility for locating and learning new material independently.


    Teaching within the Environmental Science Department is research informed, with the majority of teaching staff being research-active. This ensures that new developments in environmental sciences are incorporated into the taught programme. This is especially true at Year-3 and Year-4 levels. All students also experience an aspect of scientific research during their dissertation, while MChem students complete an extra extended dissertation in Year 4.


    Students will encounter a diverse range of teaching methods. Environmental Science modules have a strong compulsory field based component, while chemistry modules are more focused on laboratory work. Lectures are varied in style and presentation method. Practical activity covers laboratory, library and IT work, computer modelling and analysis, and field observations, in the form of individual or team work. The tutorial system assists in areas as diverse as exam technique, careers and dissertation (ENV300) supervision.


    Our students learn subject specific skills throughout the degree scheme. In Year 1, fieldwork and practicals are central to developing these skills, and in years 3 and 4 (for MChem students) are supplemented by specialist modules and the dissertation. Year 2 depends on the individually tailored programme of teaching in the overseas university of choice (usually in North America or Australasia). Problem-based learning is utilised at all stages of the degree both as a way of stimulating students' interest and promoting a desire for self-learning, and as a focus for integrated skills development. Depending on their choice of Year 3 and 4 (for MChem students) options every student will develop some of these skills to the highest undergraduate level.


    Intellectual skills are fostered through:

    -         the ways research-active staff structure their teaching;

    -         our assessment criteria and processes (especially analytical, critical and evaluative skills);

    -         the dissertation (which promotes independence, self-management and research skills);

    -         coursework feedback;

    -         discussions in tutorials, and in laboratory and field courses.


    Key transferable skills are developed throughout and integrated into all aspects of the degree programme. This is helped by the wide range of teaching methods (in the lecture theatre, laboratory and in the field; individual and teamwork; theoretical and practical; library and IT based).  This parallels the wide range of assessment methods, and the feedback from them. The development of key skills is embedded into core Environmental Science modules. All transferable skills are further developed during the dissertation(s).


    Career development skills are promoted through discussion and reflection in tutorials and a core workshop series taken alongside the Year 3 dissertation.

Assessment Strategy and Methods: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills


    The assessment of our students' intellectual skills is inherent in all our summative and formative assessment and feedback.  The range of intellectual and other skills is assessed through examinations, essays, field reports, practicals, presentations and the dissertations.  Students are expected to learn from previous assessment, and receive substantial feedback on the intellectual content and communication skills aspects of their coursework.  General assessment criteria and the dissertation marking schemes are published in the Environmental Chemistry Part 2 Handbook and list the intellectual skills by which work is judged. The grade descriptors reflect these priorities at the various levels of attainment.


    The ability to undertake research is assessed through project work in all 3 (4) years and especially by the dissertation(s); fieldwork skills are assessed through the fieldwork reports; and laboratory and computing skills are assessed through practical-class assignments.


    The teaching staff of the Environmental Science Department at Lancaster audit work assessed during Year 2 spent overseas (usually in North America or Australasia). This ensures that parity of standard is maintained between home and year-abroad students.


External Benchmarks


    -         Annual teaching review and student evaluation.

    -         External Examiners' reports and our experience as External Examiners elsewhere.

    -         Staff research and expertise.

    -         Appropriate parts of Environmental Science and Chemistry Benchmark Statements and the National Qualifications Framework.

    -         Lancaster University's Learning, Teaching and Assessment Strategy.

    -         Participation in the Certificate in Academic Practice (Lancaster University) and in the workshop for new staff in Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences (the National Subject Centre for GEES).

    -         Recruitment to the degree of appropriately qualified applicants.

    -         Employers. We have an excellent rate of employment in subject related employment compared to the national average.


Contact Information

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