MSc Environmental Impact Assessment & Management

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Environmental Monitoring and Modelling Concepts

Course unit fact file
Unit code GEOG70581
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? No


The unit introduces students to a range of techniques for monitoring and modelling the environment, with case studies from hydrology and geomorphology. Topics include environmental monitoring approaches and techniques, types of environmental model, and model calibration and evaluation. Students will gain understanding of these key concepts, as well as a range of practical skills and expertise.


  • Introduce students to the key approaches to measuring and monitoring environmental systems
  • Teach students how to display, describe and analyse numerical environmental data
  • Introduce students to the key concepts associated with environmental modelling, including model types, model structure, model calibration and model evaluation
  • Develop students’ practical data analysis and modelling skills

Knowledge and understanding

  • Explain the approaches to measuring and monitoring environmental phenomena through space and time
  • Select appropriate methods for displaying, describing and analysing data
  • Describe the key characteristics of environmental models, including model classification and the identification of model components
  • Evaluate model performance, including quantifying error, and identifying and explaining possible sources of error

Intellectual skills

  • Interpret and analyse numerical data
  • Integrate and synthesise evidence and information.
  • Apply critical thinking and problem solving skills to practical and written work

Practical skills

  • Effectively display, interrogate and analyse numerical data
  • Apply statistical techniques to environmental problems
  • Calibrate and validate environmental models
  • Use a range of software for environmental data analysis and modelling

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Use IT to an advanced level
  • Communicate written ideas and information clearly and concisely
  • Manage time and study independently

Assessment methods

Students will be assessed on two course work assignments.

Feedback methods

  • Summative coursework feedback available to students via turnitin on both assessments
  • Formative feedback through in-class discussions

Recommended reading

Gray, W.G. and Gray, G.A. (2016). Introduction to Environmental Modeling. Cambridge University Press.

Smith, J., Smith, P.E. (2007). Environmental Modelling: An Introduction. Oxford University.

 Wainwright, J., Mulligan, M. (2013). Environmental Modelling: Finding Simplicity in Complexity. John Wiley, Chichester.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Practical classes & workshops 33
Independent study hours
Independent study 117

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Claire Goulsbra Unit coordinator

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