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University of Portsmouth: What an impactful education in Environment, Geography and Geosciences looks like

While textbooks and lectures have advanced to become more visual and include more case studies, experiential learning has no replacement. This is especially the case for those studying our environment as it is rapidly changing, and we are racing to combat the effects of climate change and its ensuing natural disasters. At the University of Portsmouth’s School of the Environment, Geography and Geosciences (SEGG), practical lessons and fieldwork guided by experts are the main modes of learning for students here. With a reputation for providing internationally recognised, high-quality postgraduate MSc provisions for over 40 years, the school attracts students who see the value of learning first-hand from experts.

Coastal and Marine Resource Management (CMRM) MSc graduate Segun Tinubu from Nigeria describes all his modules as “memorable” and “impactful.” Notably, the CMRM MSc is Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) accredited, ensuring a global standard of excellence in the quality of education. Much of the programme’s effectiveness is due to how they took the form of field studies, research projects, simulations and roleplaying, workshops, and seminars. “The highlight of the programme was a six-day residential study abroad trip to the Island of Jersey,” he says. “Getting frequent visits and lectures from industry experts helped to broaden my knowledge as a student, giving insights on how to apply what is being taught in the classroom in the corporate world.”

His favourite educator was programme leader Dr. Jonathan Potts, who is a Chartered Geographer, Chartered Marine Scientist and an officer on both the Coastal and Marine Working Group of the Royal Geographical Society. “He has been pivotal in making the academic year a success,” says Tinubu. “His teaching methods which include group activities, oral presentations, and demonstrations made learning very easy. The GIS lecturing assistant, Nuria, was very helpful in ensuring students got the best from the module.”

Within and beyond campus, CMRM students tackle a variety of challenges, including maintaining the health of ocean ecosystems, marine conservation, preservation and sustainable development of coastlines. All of this builds a foundation that sets students like Tinubu up for professional success. “The university’s strong connections with industry and engagement with real-world environmental challenges assured me that studying at Portsmouth would not only be academically enriching but also practically relevant to my career aspirations,” adds Tinubu.

University of Portsmouth

At SEGG, hands-on experiences include field studies, research projects, simulations and roleplaying, workshops, and seminars. Source: University of Portsmouth

For Manjula Ramakrishnan from Kerala, another CMRM graduate, a great bonus of the programme is its commitment to the Blue Economy and the need for “Blue Governance”. “What sets this programme apart is its commitment to addressing global challenges through the incorporation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals into coastal and marine conservation efforts,” she says. “This approach resonates profoundly with my aspirations to contribute meaningfully to environmental sustainability and preservation.”

For the Geological and Environmental Hazards MSc, hands-on learning experiences come in the form of research-based field trips. While you will work locally, students have the opportunity to travel to Sicily as part of the Volcanology and Seismology module, where they will record and report field data related to volcanic activity, seismology and earthquake geology in the Mediterranean region. Trained by experts in hazard identification, terrain evaluation, hazard modelling and risk assessment techniques, as a graduate, you will be part of a global network of professionals who understand and can prepare for geological and environmental hazards such as earthquakes or volcanic activity. This is a stepping-stone to becoming a Chartered Scientist, as the course is accredited by the Geological Society of London.

Also accredited by the same society, Engineering Geology MSc equips students with the know-how to understand the impact of surface and subsurface ground conditions on the construction and management of civil structures. These include tunnels, dams, mines, roads, pipelines and wind turbines, both onshore and offshore. This programme features an overseas residential field trip to Southern France covered by the programme fees.

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Engineering Geology MSc students often get to put their theory to the test at local field trips and an overseas residential field trip to Southern France. Source: University of Portsmouth

Engineering Geology MSc graduate Abishek Samuel recalls joining site visits and terrain assessments which were “truly eye-opening” and filled with “real-world insights that cannot be replicated solely through lectures or textbooks.” “Being physically present at the site, understanding the soil conditions, and witnessing the geological features deepened our comprehension of the subject matter,” he says.

During a ground modelling field trip to Broadway, he examined the actual terrain, performed on-site ground investigations, and verified the information he had gathered earlier. “This aspect of the trip was immensely valuable as it allowed us to see the practical implications of the concepts we had learned in the classroom,” he says. He adds that trips like this were the ideal platform for practising teamwork and collaborating to come up with solutions to different challenges.

At Portsmouth, students from all over the world feel welcome and at home, thanks to thoughtful events such as a two-day study skills workshop designed just for international students. “The university’s reputation for being welcoming to international students also influenced my decision,” says Samuel from India. “I went through the alumni profiles of my course and was impressed to find that all of them are successfully working in the industry, which is promising, particularly for an international student like myself.”

For Oluwagbemileke Samuel Akinola, another Engineering Geology MSc student from Nigeria, his first impression of Portsmouth was incredible. “I was immediately captivated by its vibrant and welcoming atmosphere,” he says. “The campus library was another favourite spot for me. With a vast collection of academic books, journals, and digital resources, it was an invaluable asset for conducting research. The serene and scholarly ambience of the library made it an ideal place to delve into my studies.”

There are numerous reasons why SEGG is the perfect place to embark on your journey to contribute towards the building of a better planet. “Overall, the combination of a strong curriculum, reputable faculty, and successful alumni made the University of Portsmouth the ideal choice for my academic and career goals,” says Samuel. From the hands-on experiences to the friendly and supportive approach towards international students, it is the place to study how our planet works, how it’s changing and what we can do about it.

To learn more about the University of Portsmouth’s School of the Environment, Geography and Geosciences, click here.

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