How long it takes:
1 year full-time, 2 years part-time
Distance learning/ Campus
Find out more about
Newcastle Law School
The course runs over 12 months from September to September. In the Autumn and Spring terms the subject is developed in lectures and practical sessions interspersed with fieldwork, a seminar series and at least one visit to a national hydrogeological meeting.
There is also a ‘split registration’ option in which it is possible to study the taught elements of the course over two consecutive years, the independent project being completed before the end of September in the second year.
Groundwater Flow and Contaminant Transport Modelling
Aim: to provide an introduction to regional groundwater flow modelling; to refine skills in conceptualising groundwater systems from limited data; and to introduce professional groundwater modelling software.
Content: Conceptual modelling. Mathematical models. Numerical modelling methods and approximations. Modelling practice. Case studies. Flow modelling project using a proprietary modelling system – G/W Vistas (+MODFLOW).
Surface Water and Groundwater Interactions: Theory, GIS and Programming
Aim: To introduce surface and unsaturated zone hydrology and interactive processes between groundwater and surface water
Content: The module explores the interactions between subsurface and surface water systems including soils, streams, rivers and lakes and how to measure and quantify the fluxes at the land surface/groundwater interface.
Borehole Design, Construction, and Maintenance
Aim: to develop a working understanding of the theory and practice of the design, construction and maintenance of boreholes for water supply.
Content: Methods of groundwater abstraction; drilling, logging, and sampling; borehole geophysics; pump technology and design; tube well design and construction; and well maintenance and rehabilitation.
Inorganic Chemistry and Groundwater
Aim: to understand aqueous inorganic chemistry and to interpret groundwater chemistry data sets in the context of water-rock interactions to solve problems of regional flow, pollution and well design.
Content: Theory of dissolution/precipitation, acid-base, redox, and sorption reactions. Isotopes. Application to water resources and contaminant hydrogeology.
Water Resources Studies
Aim: to understand how hydrogeological assessments are structured and to develop ability in hydrogeological interpretation and water resources assessment for different geological settings, physical domains and exploitation proposals. To understand how the various aspects of hydrogeological investigation are integrated. To gain an introduction to the UK hydrogeological research and industry community.
Content: guided research on various hydrogeological environments in the context of different applied problems: includes sandstones and chalk in temperate climates; hard rock aquifers in developing semi-arid environments; wetlands; karst; and nuclear waste disposal. Seminars from external speakers. Attendance at a national meeting.
For those requiring it, there are additional supporting sessions at the start of the year on those mathematical concepts relevant to the course.
Aim: to develop a sound understanding of the physical processes controlling groundwater hydraulics and solute transport, the mathematical models used to describe them, and the full range of laboratory and field hydraulic tests to characterise the subsurface hydrogeologically.
Content: Principles of flow and storage in porous media; groundwater flow and storage in aquifers; solute transport; finite difference models; laboratory hydraulic property measurements; small scale field tests; large scale field tests; computer, field, and laboratory work.
Groundwater Organic Contaminant Pollution and Remediation
Aim: to provide the organic contaminant hydrogeological knowledge base that will underpin a student’s potential future professional activity in the field of groundwater contamination by synthetic organic chemicals.
Content: Contaminant source terms; toxicology, environmental standards, and legislation; organic contaminant phase partitioning to air, water, solids; conceptual models of contaminant migration; processes of sorption, chemical reaction, biodegradation; non-aqueous phase flow; contaminated land / groundwater legislative frameworks; groundwater risk assessment; site investigation and groundwater monitoring practice; and groundwater remediation.
Considering postgraduate study, but unsure whether you meet the entry requirements for a Masters-level degree? Postgraduate admissions guidelines vary by course and university, but can be quite flexible.
Your existing qualifications will be important, but you don’t necessarily need a great Bachelors degree to apply for a Masters. Your personal circumstances and experience may also be considered during the admissions process.
This guide explains the typical entry requirements for a Masters, which include:
- An undergraduate degree in a relevant subject – Depending on the programme and institution, you may need a 2.1 in your Bachelors, but this isn’t always the case
- Language proficiency – If English isn’t your first language, you’ll need to display a certain ability level, usually through a language test
- Professional experience – Some postgraduate programmes may require you to have some professional experience (this is usually the case for PGCEs and Masters in Social Work)
- Entrance exams – These are only required in certain subject areas and qualifications, including some MBAs
Tuition fees for UK/EU students 2020/21
MSc: Full-time £9,900. Part-time £4,950
Postgraduate Diploma: Full-time £6,660. Part-time £3,300
Tuition fees for International students 2020/21
MSc: Full time £23,310
Postgraduate Diploma: Full-time £15,540
You’ll show your progress through a combination of written essays, problem-solving assignments and presentations.
All students take our core modules, but please note that the availability of optional modules is subject to demand.
Graduates take up careers in consultancy, in the UK or abroad, or join regulators such as the Environment Agency or government scientific services like the British Geological Survey, and others move into research or work in water supply companies.
Although some consultancies specialise, many undertake a very wide range of groundwater-related work providing consultants with interestingly varied careers. Work may involve:
- siting wells for water supply in the UK
- siting village wells in hard rock terrains in a developing country
- contaminated land assessment
- designing landfills
- developing Environment Agency procedures and techniques
- researching radioactive waste disposal facilities
- assessing wetland water balances
- determining water level changes for subsidence estimation
The vast majority of jobs are far from routine, each presenting its own challenges. In the Environment Agency you may find yourself becoming an expert on the hydrogeology of your region, making sure that the groundwater systems are protected for future generations or, often partly through commissioning work from consultants, developing new procedures and policies, and techniques for implementing them. This will often require detailed knowledge of legislation fundamental to the future of the UK water industry, including that from the European Union such as the Water Framework and Groundwater Directives. The British Geological Survey is a major employer of hydrogeologists, and undertakes a wide variety of work in the UK and overseas. Many water companies also employ hydrogeologists, who undertake work ranging from source maintenance and protection to researching new ways of developing existing resources.
Over our 40 year history, there has never been a problem in gaining employment in groundwater, though times have been a little more challenging since the start of the recession. In fact, up until the start of the recession, in the UK especially, there was a well-recognized, major shortage of hydrogeologists – the UK was simply not producing enough. Each year, around 20 companies come to our careers fair, including in recent years from overseas, and many send in job advertisements for us to circulate to students. Even with the downturn in the economy, jobs are still available in the UK and overseas (Australia currently has a major shortage of hydrogeologists) with effectively 100% employment of our graduates. We believe that over the next few years the employment market will continue expanding and that the long term prospects are excellent.