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School of Environment, Education and Development

Student of environmental monitoring and modelling at The University of Manchester
MSc Environmental Monitoring, Modelling and Reconstruction
Develop your environmental fieldwork skills, data handling and analysis at master's level.

MSc Environmental Monitoring, Modelling and Reconstruction / Course details

Year of entry: 2018

Course unit details:
Environmental Monitoring and Modelling Practice

Unit code GEOG70552
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Geography
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


The students will gain experience of using industry standard software for hydrological modelling, river modelling, GIS analysis, and in water scarcity. Students will also develop hands on skills in data analysis and GIS, and use hydrological and hydraulic river modelling techniques in the context of river basins.


Themes will include; flood hydrology, hydrological modelling, river modelling (i.e.1D & 2D hydraulic modelling), and hydrological modelling in mountain catchments, and water scarcity and irrigation (i.e. water and food insecurity), water balance modelling, and climate change modelling (case study Africa).



Develop an understanding of application of modelling approaches in environmental research and/or consultancy.


Learning outcomes

By the end of the course unit, students should have:

- developed their environmental monitoring and modelling skills in a range of contexts;
- had practical experience of model development and application in a specific environmental context;
- gained understanding of the use of, and problems associated with, modelling approaches in environmental science.
- used industry standard software used in environmental consultancy and developed their understanding of the application of these modelling approaches in environmental consultancy.
- experience of using industry standard software for hydrological modelling, river modelling, GIS analysis, and flood mapping and flood damage calculation.
- understand principals and practice of UK flood hydrology
- understanding of temporal and spatial sampling strategies in environmental monitoring;
- the ability to estimate design flows and determine flood return periods

Knowledge and understanding

Gain an understanding of flood hydrology including data collection and environmental monitoring. Understand the application and use of 1D and 2D river models and hydrological models (i.e. rainfall-runoff). Acquire data analysis & GIS skills including spatial modelling techniques, Gain an understanding of the water-food-energy nexus, global water insecurity and water conflicts, and an introduction of the economics of water scarcity. Learn about the application of water balance modelling (Ethiopia), and irrigation and economic development in the Rift Valley for food security. Discuss climate change issues and modelling in context of Africa. Gain knowledge of mountain hydrology and use and modify a glacier runoff model. Learn about data collection, environmental monitoring, GIS and data analysis techniques.

Practical skills

Acquire data analysis & GIS skills; Gain the ability to use 1D river models and hydrological models; Learn to estimate design flows; undertake irrigation and dam analysis, and to develop a glacier runoff model,

Transferable skills and personal qualities

To have used industry standard software and used in environmental consultancy which are also applicable to continued research, and be able to write a practical book to a postgraduate standard.

Assessment methods

The course will be assessed by a practical book based on computer based practical classes related to each theme taught

Feedback methods

Formative written feedback.

Recommended reading

Davie,T.2003 Fundamentals of hydrology. Routledge, London.
Beven, K., 2000, Rainfall-Runoff Modelling. John Wiley and Sons, Chichester.
Goudie, A., et al. (Eds.), 1994. Geomorphological Techniques (2nd Edition). Routledge, London.
Hardisty, J., Taylor, D. M., and Metcalfe, S. E., 1993. Computerised Environmental Modelling: A Practical Introduction Using Excel. John Wiley and Sons, Chichester.
Kirkby, M. J., Naden, P. S., Burt, T. P., and Butcher, D. P., 1993. Computer Simulation in Physical Geography (2nd Edition). John Wiley and Sons, Chichester
Shaw,E. 1999 Hydrology in practice 3rd . edn. Chapman and Hall, London.
Ward,R.C. & Robinson,M. 1990 Principles of Hydrology, McGraw-Hill, London.
Wilson, E. M., 1990 Engineering hydrology. 4th ed. Macmillan,Basingstoke
W.M.O. 1974 Guide to hydrological practices. WMO, Geneva.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 22
Practical classes & workshops 22
Independent study hours
Independent study 106

Additional notes

This is semester two course which consists of two weekly two hour sessions.


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