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Professional Doctorate in Environmental Toxicology & Pollution Monitoring - PGDip/MSc

About This Professional Doctorate

Course Description


This part-time PGDip/ MSc course is offered by the School of Geography and Environmental Sciences at Ulster University. The School was originally established in 1969 and it has a long and successful record of teaching and research in an interrelated group of geographical and environmental science subjects. The School is among the largest providers of part-time postgraduate courses in the Physical Sciences in the United Kingdom. We have been offering this innovative, fully online distance learning Masters’ programme for over 15 years. The geographical spread of our students is global, with students from many areas of the European Union and also further afield such as Australia, Canada, China, Japan, Malaysia, Nigeria, Sri Lanka and the United States. The various modules on this course will encourage you to develop an evidence-based approach to understanding the impact of chemicals on the environment and will give you the opportunity to enhance your knowledge and skills for testing, monitoring and controlling these toxins.

The specific objectives of the course are for you to develop:

  • a clear and detailed understanding of the mechanisms of toxicity for both organic and inorganic substances 
  • an advanced awareness of the behaviour of contaminants in a variety of environmental systems
  • a clear insight into the main toxicological problems of contaminants in the environment and the impacts on organisms
  • the ability to identify and articulate how environmental quality standards are created and monitored
  • a detailed understanding of the legislative controls on contaminants.

Why study with us?

  • We have a proven record of delivering this course by distance learning (read our student testimonials).
  • You will get support and advice from experienced lecturers, tutors, librarians and e-learning IT staff.
  • There is total flexibility of location – you can study from almost anywhere and there is no need to travel to classes.
  • You can choose the times you study to suit yourself, so that you can combine study and work.
  • You will be able to access a wide range of online resources such as e-books and journals, digital lectures and module discussion boards within the sector leading e-learning platform, Blackboard.
  • There is flexibility in the level of the course – you can study for a Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip) or a Master’s degree (MSc) or enrol for individual modules that interest you.

Our students come from a variety of backgrounds and have included employees from areas such as: The Pharmaceutical Industry; Oil, Gas and Nuclear Industries; Government Environmental Protection Agencies; Engineering and Mining Companies; Environmental Consultants; Laboratory Technicians as well as people from unrelated areas who wanted a career change.


This course is offered fully online and is completed part-time by distance learning. You do not need to visit Ulster at any stage to successfully complete this course.

The Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip) is made up of four taught modules (30 credits per module). One module is taught in each semester (late September to early January and late January to early May). It takes 2 academic years to complete the award of PgDip (120 credits). At this stage you can take the PgDip award or continue studying for the MSc. This entails completing a research project module (60 credits) over a further two semesters. This leads to the award of Master of Science (MSc) worth in total 180 credits. The full PgDip/ MSc programme normally takes three years part-time (6 semesters).

Career options

Our students enrol for this course to develop their professional knowledge and to acquire new skills. They do this to improve their career and promotion prospects, change their career, or, if they are recently graduated, to specialise in a new subject area to enhance their job prospects.

Experience has shown that the majority of students who register on this course are already working in the environmental field. We therefore aim to be as flexible as possible in terms of the topics studied and will give you the opportunity to focus on areas of particular interest to you and/or the organisation for which you work where possible.

Strong links to consultancies and environmental agencies both private and governmental ensure that the course remains current and relevant to the needs of potential employers.

Visit the Environmental Toxicology & Pollution Monitoring - PGDip/MSc page on the Ulster University website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Rebecca Richardson

Initially I was worried about motivating myself to undertake an online MSc course but I needn’t have worried. The course materials were comprehensive, delivered regularly and in a timely manner. The online support from fellow students, e-tutors and lecturers was fantastic and prompt, with no question too silly to answer. Being able to draw on your own work experiences when undertaking some of the module assessments improves your critical thinking skills in the workplace. The valuable skills and knowledge I gained during this course have provided me with more career opportunities, including a promotion at work and I am about to commence a PhD. I would definitely recommend this course.

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Entry Requirements

Entry to the PgDip:
You must hold an honours degree in a science or other suitable discipline or demonstrate your ability to undertake the course through the accreditation of prior experiential learning (APEL).

Entry to the MSc:
You initially register for the Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip) and if you complete the PgDip with an overall mark of 50% or higher you can proceed to the MSc programme.

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