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The University of Edinburgh: Applied Environmental Hydrogeology

Institution The University of Edinburgh View institution profile
Department School of GeoSciences
Study type Taught


Become part of the next generation of sustainable hydrogeologists who will oversee and manage the global water crisis in the coming decades. Groundwater resources are under threat around the globe from: - over-exploitation

  • anthropogenic contamination

  • climate change

  • land-use change

These threats put human and ecosystem health at risk by increasing the likelihood of water scarcity, water conflict, and water-related diseases. Our MSc Applied Environmental Hydrogeology will develop your skills to tackle these challenges and sustainably manage groundwater resources to protect human and ecosystem health. You will learn to become a critical, innovative thinker in the field of hydrogeology with a focus on sustainable environmental practices. What is hydrogeology? Hydrogeology focuses on subsurface flow processes with an emphasis on protecting water resources. Groundwater resources supply a majority of the world's population with a portion of their daily water needs and approximately 40% of the world's crop irrigation. However, it is widely acknowledged that these resources are over-exploited and threatened with anthropogenic contamination. Our inability to sustainably manage essential groundwater resources is already contributing to global crises such as: - water conflicts in the Middle-East

  • water-related disease outbreaks

  • ongoing flood events across the UK

Also, legacy contamination issues threaten the safety of dwindling groundwater supplies, such as: - nuclear waste

  • coal mine drainage and changes to regional hydrogeology

  • nutrient runoff due to anthropogenic farm practices

  • heavy industry along with emerging contaminants

Highly skilled and numerate hydrogeologists are needed to manage these issues to ensure continued access to safe groundwater for domestic, industrial and agricultural use. Gain unique expertise This programme combines traditional field skills with modern quantitative skills such as computational analysis using state-of-the-art computational tools. Quantitative methods are now regarded as required skills for modern hydrogeologists to tackle complex water issues. You will learn to become adept in applying quantitative skills to inform scientifically driven decision-making and explore the nuanced, interconnected processes driving groundwater management. We will teach you these new methods alongside foundational themes of aquifer characterisation, groundwater processes, biogeochemistry, engineering geology and field skills in the context of: - groundwater contamination and remediation

  • legislation

  • economics

  • climate and sustainability

Our social responsibility and sustainability values are embedded within each course, as we seek to ensure vital groundwater resources are sustainably managed and not over-exploited. Is the MSc for me? This MSc is ideal for those: - ready to take the next step in their education

  • upskill their knowledge, or

  • switch careers to a more environmentally responsible role focused on sustainable management of environmental resources

We welcome students from a wide range of backgrounds, creating a unique opportunity for interdisciplinary shared learning. This MSc offers an exciting alternative career path for a diverse range of graduates from geosciences and engineering backgrounds and other related degrees such as physics, maths, chemistry, and biosciences. Reputation, relevance and employability The School of GeoSciences is a world-leading research centre in environmental geosciences and has specifically designed this exceptional MSc programme in Applied Environmental Hydrogeology. You will be taught by academics with international reputations for high-quality, world-leading research. The programme has also been designed in collaboration with industry and professional bodies. Their input will ensure you can develop sought-after skills in this industry.


Edinburgh. Extraordinary futures await.

The University of Edinburgh is one of the world's top universities, consistently ranked in the world top 50, and placed 22nd in the 2024 QS World University Rankings.

Our position as one of Britain’s leading research universities was reaffirmed by the results of the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF). The University of Edinburgh is one of the world’s top research-intensive universities, ranked 4th in the UK for research power (Times Higher Education, Overall Ranking of Institutions), with 90% of our research activity classified as world leading or internationally excellent in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework.

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