< Environmental Informatics : MSc (Full Time)

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Environmental Informatics

MSc (Full Time)

Year:13/14
UCAS Code:none
Minimum Length:12 Month(s)
Maximum Length:12 Month(s)
Credit Points:180
Director of Studies:Professor I Marshall

Educational Aims: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

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The MSc. in Environmental Informatics was established because, despite major technological and scientific advances, society is still widely regarded as ?data rich but information poor' in terms of environmental processes and problems.  There is a sharply increasing demand on organisations that have responsibilities for the environment to provide timely, accurate, accessible and comprehensible information.

 

This innovative M.Sc. uses expertise across the Lancaster Environment Centre (Lancaster University and the NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Lancaster) and Infolab21 to present unique, high-level interdisciplinary training on all aspects of environmental information pathways and state-of-the-art environmental information technology, for students with a range of undergraduate degrees.

 

Graduating students understand the fundamental principles of EI and are able to apply their expertise to the acquisition, analysis, management and dissemination of environmental information, and with a strong theoretical, technical and practical underpinning. The scheme is designed with explicit awareness of the needs of public and private sector organisations that deal with environmental information. 

 

The MSc and Postgraduate Diploma are unlike many other postgraduate degree courses in that they recognise the importance of vocational skills as well as academic skills and research expertise. Our teaching philosophy is to provide students with a diverse mix of academic and vocational skills as well as detailed knowledge of environmental informatics. We believe that it is this mix of abilities, rather than a skill in a single specialised area, that defines the professional in environmental information.  The research training element is designed to serve as a foundation for students who intend to register for a PhD at the end of the MSc programme.  Our teaching and assessment methods inculcate a fluency in different ways of communicating EI issues in various formats.  Both the MSc and the Postgraduate Diploma are available as full-time (1 year) and part-time (2 year) schemes of study. The Postgraduate Diploma shares the same teaching as the MSc but without the placement or dissertation.

 

The programme benefits from Lancaster University's proven record of outstanding teaching and research in the environmental field.  The development of the Lancaster Environment Centre (linked to the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology) provides a reservoir of research expertise that we can use.  Other units with proven teaching and research expertise, such as the Departments of Computing, Communications Systems, Sociology and the Management School, offer modules which can be taken as part of the MSc and PG Diploma.

Learning Outcomes: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

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Subject Specific: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

 

On successful completion of this scheme of study students will be able to:

-    demonstrate their understanding of the principles of environmental informatics;

-    understand the key theoretical, methodological and practical issues that underpin the flow of environmental information from source to consumer;

-    appreciate the contribution that a range of scientific and social-scientific disciplines have in understanding and constructing environmental information pathways;

-    have knowledge of the contribution of EI to policy and management;

-    show they can plan, execute and write up a substantial dissertation or placement report;

-    undertake effective EI research in academic and vocational settings and communicate the results;

-    assess the moral/ethical issues associated with the development and implementation of environmental policies and regulations;

-    understand and use the advanced technical skills relevant to this field.

 

General: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

 

On successful completion of this scheme of study students will:

-    understand key theoretical, methodological and practical approaches to environmental informatics;

-    have demonstrated competence in the taught and research elements of an advanced course;

-    have developed transferable skills that they can use in careers within, and beyond, the environmental informatics sphere;

?and they will be able to:

-    assess contrasting theories, concepts and arguments;

-    carry out analysis, problem-solving and decision making;

-    interpret, evaluate and critique evidence and arguments;

-    abstract and synthesize information;

-    develop reasoned argument.

Structure, Features and Regulations: Compulsory and Optional Modules

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Compulsory module titles:

 

For the M.Sc., a student must complete six taught modules and a research placement or research dissertation. The basic structure of the M.Sc. (180 credits) is as follows:

 

-    GEOG 400: Research Methods (15 credits)

-    GEOG 411: Principles of Environmental Informatics (15 credits)

-    GEOG 412: Environmental Informatics In Practice (15 credits)

-    GEOG 413: Geo-informatics (15 credits)

-    TWO Optional Modules (15 credits each)

 

PLUS

-    GEOG 451: Research Placement (90 credits) or GEOG 452: Research Dissertation (90 credits)

 

As such, the taught and research elements both account for 50% of the overall programme.

 

For the Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits), a student must also complete the four compulsory modules (above) plus two optional modules. Then the Diploma student undertakes GEOG 454: State-of-the-Art Literature Review (30 credits). 

 

Current optional module titles (all 15 credits):

 

GEOG 401: Research Planning Workshop

GEOG 414: Resource & Environmental Management

GEOG 415: Environmental Justice

GEOG 416 Environmental Auditing

GEOG 417: Rural Land Policy

GEOG 419: Health and Environment

ENV 415: Hydroinformatics (Department of Environmental Science)

ENV 408: Modelling Environmental Processes (Department of Environmental Science)

ENV 444: Environmental Quality and Standards (Department of Environmental Science)

D. CS 408: Information Management (Department of Communications Systems)

D. CS 461: IT Applications (Department of Communications Systems)

CSM 002: Advanced Distributed Systems (Department of Computing)

CSM 003: Advanced Interactive Systems Design (Department of Computing)

CSM 004: Mobile Computing (Department of Computing)

CSM 007: Ubiquitous Computing (Department of Computing)

ITO 003: Strategy and IT Management (Management School)

ITO 012: Information and Communication Technologies (Management School)

SOCL 523: Environmental Risk (Department of Sociology)

 

Work/Study Placement (if any):

 

GEOG 451 is a placement opportunity for the MSc students which is an optional alternative to a dissertation (GEOG 452).  It is designed to give students experience of working with an outside organisation or an in-house research group.  The student carries out research on an EI problem defined by the organisation to meet its needs.  The students have a departmental supervisor and a facilitator in the host organisation.  The final report is of the same size as a dissertation and there is also learning journal to allow the student to reflect on, and the staff to assess the learning experiences.

 

Progression Requirements:

 

To progress from the Postgraduate Diploma to the Masters, the student needs to have passed all six taught modules.

 

To pass and obtain the degree of MSc (180 credits) a student must achieve a mean mark of at least 50% in the six taught modules and at least 50% in the dissertation or placement.  Satisfactory completion of coursework for the taught modules is a prerequisite for submitting a dissertation or undertaking a placement.  A mean mark of 70% or over in all the units (including the dissertation or placement) will lead to the award of M.Sc. with Distinction.  The award of Pass with Merit requires an overall average mark of 60% or greater, with marks of 65% or greater in modules whose credit values total at least 50% of the programme's total credit rating.  One fail mark (under 50% but not less than 40%) in a taught module may be condoned provided that the mean of the marks for the six taught modules is at least 50%.  Where the overall mean mark falls below 50%, or the student achieves a mark below 50% for more than one module, assessed work equivalent to half of the course (90 credits) may be resubmitted once. All coursework receiving a mark below 40% must automatically be resubmitted. Resubmitted coursework can receive a maximum mark of 50%. If the dissertation or placement mark is less than 50% then, at the discretion of the Board of Examiners, either may be resubmitted (once only) in order to achieve a maximum mark of 50%. An uncondoned mark of less than 50% after resubmission will prevent the award of MSc.

 

To pass and obtain the Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits), a student must achieve a mean mark of at least 50% in the six taught modules and the state-of-the-art literature review. A mean mark of 70% or over for all six modules plus the state-of-the-art literature review will lead to the award of a Distinction.  The award of Pass with Merit requires an overall average mark of 60% or greater, with marks of 65% or greater in modules whose credit values total at least 50% of the programme's total credit rating.  One fail mark (under 50% but not less than 40%) in a taught module may be condoned provided that the mean of the marks for the six taught modules is at least 50%.  Where the overall mean mark falls below 50%, or the student achieves a mark below 50% for more than one module, assessed work equivalent to half of the course (60 credits) may be resubmitted once. All coursework receiving a mark below 40% must automatically be resubmitted. Resubmitted coursework can receive a maximum mark of 50%. If the mark for the state-of-the-art literature review is less than 50% then, at the discretion of the Board of Examiners, this piece of work may be resubmitted (once only) in order to achieve a maximum mark of 50%.  An uncondoned mark of less than 50% after resubmission will prevent the award of a Postgraduate Diploma.

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