Study the earth: Being green's not just for hippies

Studying the environment has never been more popular. Sign up now for January

Climate change is big news. Along-side terrorism, there's no issue more talked about, or threat more feared. Now, a number of postgraduate courses are catering for those wanting to get ahead on environmental issues. Several begin at the start of next year.

The Graduate School for the Environment – accredited by, though no longer part of, the University of East London (UEL) – is taking the lead in the UK's transition to a low-carbon economy, and runs a fascinating MSc in how to create buildings in a sustainable way. Called architecture: advanced environmental and energy studies, the course is flexible in the extreme. First, it has a March 2008 intake for those keen to begin right away. Second, it can be completed on a full-time (one year) or part-time (two year) basis. Third, it can be completed via distance learning, or at the graduate school base, the Centre for Alternative Technology in Mid Wales – or a combination of the two.

The Centre started life in the 1970s as a bunch of hippies experimenting with organic food in a disused quarry. In 2000 it became part of higher education by opening its doors to UEL students on the MSc.

Simon Tucker, leader of the environmental and energy studies course, says that it offers a mixture of the practical – looking at sustainable materials – and the theoretical – academic study of global issues and what "sustainable" actually means.

The course has around 400 students, making it one of the largest Masters courses in the UK. Students are able to spend intensive, five-day modules at the graduate school's home, the Centre for Alternative Technology. They can then develop this work at home. "It's a serious, academic course but it has that practical element at the centre. Suddenly the stuff that is in books about organics is right there in front of you – it's made very real for students," says Tucker.

Glasgow Caledonian has a similar climate change hub: the Caledonian Environment Centre. The university offers two environmental courses – MSc energy and environmental management and MSc environmental civil engineering – that start in January.

"We take students from a wide range of backgrounds, from economics and geography to engineering and politics," says Dr Stas Burek, who lectures on the energy and environmental management course. "What we aim to do is teach students about the environment so that they can put this into the context of what they already know: we call it 'value-added'.

"We do this by teaching the basics of a range of topics from biology to renewable energy to waste management. We also cover the 'softer' side of things such as legislation and the social aspects."

Students at Glasgow Caledonian will benefit from a number of field trips. Like students at the Centre for Alternative Technology, who have the Snowdonia National Park on their doorsteps, Caledonian students have the Highlands at a stone's throw.

The environmental obsession is being witnessed across the board. "Just recently there's been an increase in interest," says Jane Sherwin of De Montfort University. "It's the 'in-subject' at the moment."

Sherwin is programme administrator on De Montfort's postgraduate courses in environmental quality management and environmental protection.

The programmes are taught by distance learning: CD Rom plus contact with a personal tutor by telephone and email. All tutors are professionals with industry experience.

These courses offer three intakes a year and, says Sherwin, the university accepts people right up until the last minute – just pick up the phone and check, she urges. "We've always had three intakes because it's not ideal to start in September for everybody. It's flexible: to start in January could be perfect. After all, Christmas is out of the way and its weeks before you have to start thinking about holidays for the family. It's an ideal opportunity to get stuck into the course," she says.

http://gradschool.cat.org.uk/graduateschool/

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Ashdown Group: Learning and Development Programme Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Assistant - IT Channel - Graduate

£16000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a Value-Added I...

Ashdown Group: Learning and Development Programme Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Guru Careers: Junior Web Developer

£18 - 22k (DOE) + Benefits & Stock Options: Guru Careers: A Junior Developer /...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss