Postgraduate taught 

Environmental Risk Management (Dumfries campus) MSc

Responding to Risks in Aquatic Environments DUMF5136

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: No

Short Description

This course advances learner understanding of the biological and physical processes which define aquatic environments and the way in which these are affected by natural hazards and anthropogenic impacts. This knowledge is applied in a number of case studies and field trips which explore the effects of these changes on local populations, as well as the way in which said effects are managed and mitigated. The course is delivered through online materials, seminars, practical sessions and field trips, and is assessed through a combination of a field work report (encompassing monitoring and mapping), a case study (to include a summary of hazards and risks together with suggested monitoring and mitigation measures), and a mock presentation to stakeholders. This assessment will be submitted in stages during the term to enable ongoing feedback throughout the semester.


2-hour lecture and either 1 or 2-hour seminar/practical/workshop session weekly, except in the event of fieldwork.

Excluded Courses





The assessment will be delivered in stages over the semester to enable successive feedback:

■ Field trip report (40%)

■ A case study of a water body, chosen by the student, summarising local hazards, risk to the population and potential management and mitigation approaches (40%)

■ A 10-minute presentation, aimed at a broad range of stakeholders, on their chosen case study (20% - including peer marking element)

Course Aims

The aims of the course are to enable students to:

■ Develop an understanding of the functioning of aquatic environments; 

■ Develop an understanding of natural hazards and anthropogenic impacts in aquatic environments, as well as associated risk to human populations and specific stakeholder groups;  

■ Critically analyse the theoretical and practical limitations of different risk mitigation and management strategies, including adaptation, in aquatic environments; 

■ Develop students' analytical ability and written and oral communication skills.

■ Demonstrate self-direction and originality in problem-solving. 

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

■ Identify and critically assess how aquatic environments are affected by natural hazards and human activities; 

■ Identify and critically assess how the impacts of natural hazards and human activities in aquatic environments affect key stakeholder groups (such as local communities, NGO's and related industries) and the wider population;

■ Identify and evaluate suitable approaches to management and mitigation, including adaptation, in aquatic environments;

■ Act independently to identify suitable problem solving approaches and communicate the results.  

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.