3 UK universities with experiential Environment, Geography and Geosciences programmes

UK Universities
Source: University of Portsmouth

Studying Environment, Geography and Geosciences is of the utmost importance today. Climate change, depletion of resources, and environmental degradation are not only taking centre stage in today’s news, they are also impacting countless businesses and lives across the world, especially vulnerable populations. 

Over the last 10 years, there has been an increase in the number of earthquakes. More recently, earthquakes struck south-eastern Turkey and northern Syria this year in February. This was followed by the 6.5 magnitude earthquake that rattled Pakistan in March 2023.

Experts say climate change is to blame. In this, it falls on the next generation to turn their passion for sustainability into skills, knowledge and experience to build a more sustainable tomorrow. And it all starts with a good education in some of the most topical disciplines today. 

Here are three universities delivering inspiring and transformative programmes in Environment, Geography and Geosciences:

UK Universities

Source: University of Portsmouth

University of Portsmouth

For over 40 years, the School of the Environment, Geography and Geosciences (SEGG) at the University of Portsmouth has been providing the best postgraduate programmes to students of all backgrounds, and they’re passionate about what they do.

Portsmouth staff come from all over the world, so students are exploring programmes that have had input and new skills included from businesses globally. They gain from their professors’ vast knowledge in industry, government, teaching, and research — further enhanced through guest lectures by industrial partners, employers, and SEGG graduates and alumni, many of whom seek out Portsmouth graduates.

Many programmes are recognised and accredited, seeing students work towards a professional qualification from the first day of the course. Everyone gets the support they need — international students can join special induction workshops and careers events as well as receiving mentoring with international alumni.

Such care is exemplified through its programmes like the Engineering Geology MSc. Here, students apply geological knowledge and skills to construction or engineering projects offshore and onshore. For further experiential learning, a field trip to the South of France is included within the course fees. What’s more, the programme is accredited by the Geological Society of London so students will have completed their first step towards becoming a Chartered Geologist.

Geological and Environmental Hazards MSc students sharpen technical skills while amassing training and fieldwork experience. This holistic journey prepares them to become a part of the global network of professionals who understand and prepare for hazards, including earthquakes and volcanic activity. While most students remain in classrooms, SEGG students can take part in research field trips, such as analysing tectonic activity in Sicily. When you explore this programme, you are well on your way to becoming a Chartered Scientist because of its accreditation by the Geological Society of London.

Graduates from the Coastal and Marine Resource Management MSc programme, accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, will be fit to take on the challenges of ocean governance, marine conservation, and how to transition to a blue economy. Students on this programme take part in regular field trips and side visits, including a six-day residential trip exploring first-hand management approaches to coastal and marine environments in Jersey, Channel Islands. They also have access to the Centre for Blue Governance, a hub for collaboration, while they make the most of being around Portsmouth’s coastal environment.

Want more information about SEGG programmes at University of Portsmouth? Learn more here.

UK Universities

Field trips are a part of the programmes, where students can get first-hand experience and knowledge. Source: The University of Edinburgh (Facebook)

University of Edinburgh

An esteemed member of the prestigious Russell Group, the University of Edinburgh is known to be one of the UK’s most distinguished institutions, ranking 15th in the most recent QS World University Rankings. It’s home to a School of GeoSciences that exemplifies the best this top-ranked university has to offer — allowing it to provide undergraduate, postgraduate, as well as research master’s and PhD programmes that examine the interactions between the Earth’s geology, atmosphere, oceans and life, as well as considering our own role and impact on our planet.

Each programme prepares students to tackle many of the world’s significant and complex challenges, from growing inequality and urbanisation to the mass displacement of people and unprecedented rates of climate and environmental change. As graduates, they’re set to contribute to and lead the creation of solutions to extreme events that pose formidable challenges for our future.

Students can choose from a wide range of topics including Earth Sciences, Environmental Geoscience, Geophysics, Carbon Management, Applied Environmental Hydrogeology and more. Whichever you choose, Edinburgh ensures your programmes are strengthened through a wide range of internal and external collaborations. This includes the university’s other schools, Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), British Geological Survey, Scottish Universities Environment Research Centre (SUERC), as well as partnerships with international institutions.

It also has state-of-the-art facilities that pair well with its unique teaching process. Among the expert faculty members here is Senior Emeritus Professor Brian Upton, who dedicated 60 years to the university. He has travelled around the world, including 10 years spent researching on the Indian Ocean island of Reunion, and published three geology books, making the subject accessible to academics and amateurs alike. 

“When I first joined the University – back when Harold Macmillan was Prime Minster – the place looked very different,” he says. “But it’s not just the architecture that has changed. The Geology Department has expanded into exciting new subjects such as meteorology, global warming and oceanography. My advice to academics who are just beginning is to find the area that absolutely fascinates you. It’s no different to being a musician or an artist – you must throw yourself into it 100% in order to make a difference and pass on that passion to students.”

UK Universities

Students spend as much time outside as they do in the classroom. This gives them the skill set which readies them for real-life challenges. Source: Cardiff University (Facebook)

Cardiff University

With an emphasis on providing an inspiring learning environment, the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Cardiff University empowers students to deepen their knowledge and be equipped to solve the environmental challenges of today.

The school offers flexible programmes that range from environmental geoscience to marine geography at the undergraduate level, while postgraduate programmes cover environmental hazards, water in a changing world and more. 

At Cardiff, the faculty believes that experience out of the classroom is vital, and they strive to provide this through strong ties to a wealth of industry sponsors. From geotechnical and marine surveying firms to oil and gas companies, these sponsors — which include the likes of Petrobras, Total, Repsol and Statoil — not only support the school’s research but its undergraduate placement offerings, and taught postgraduate degree programmes as well. 

Students also complete local fieldwork in South Wales and around the UK, as well as across Europe (Switzerland and Cyprus). What’s even better is these field trips are already included in the programme fees so students don’t need to fork out more money. “The School of Earth and Environmental Sciences excels in teaching and research, providing a supportive and inspiring place to learn about the evolution of the Earth, its life and how it works,” says Dr Jenny Pike/

*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International