MSc Environmental Science and Drone Applications

Study mode

Full-time (1 year)

Start date(s)

September 2020

Tuition fees 20/21
Home (full-time, per year): £9,250
International (full-time, per year): £16,100
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About this course

Study environmental change, drones, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing (RS) technologies on LJMU's Environmental Science and Drone Applications MSc.

  • Learn how drone, GIS and RS technologies can be applied to understand the physical, biological and chemical changes underlying environmental change
  • Benefit from a strong focus on practice-based learning
  • Gain practical skills and advanced theoretical knowledge and understanding
  • Plan and execute a drone mission on an overseas field trip to collect data and learn about environmental science

This interdisciplinary programme draws on a range of technologies. It has been developed to help meet increased demand for graduates with experience in drone technology and/or the skills required to work in and conduct research into environmental science and climate change.


The programme is interdisciplinary in nature, drawing on drone, GIS and remote sensing technologies and how they can be applied to understand the physical, biological and chemical changes underlying environmental change.
                      Drone - Drone technology and Applications

Fees and funding

There are many ways to fund postgraduate study for home and international students


The fees quoted at the top of this page cover registration, tuition, supervision, assessment and examinations as well as:

  • Library membership with access to printed, multimedia and digital resources
  • Access to programme-appropriate software
  • Library and student IT support
  • Free on-campus wifi via eduroam

Additional costs

Although not all of the following are compulsory/relevant, you should keep in mind the costs of:

  • accommodation and living expenditure
  • books (should you wish to have your own copies)
  • printing, photocopying and stationery
  • PC/laptop (should you prefer to use your own)
  • mobile phone/tablet (to access online services)
  • field trips (travel and activity costs)

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  • placements (travel expenses and living costs)
  • student visas (international students only)
  • study abroad opportunities (travel costs, accommodation, visas and immunisations)
  • academic conferences (travel costs)
  • professional-body membership
  • graduation (gown hire etc)


There are many ways to fund postgraduate study for home and international students. From loans to International Scholarships and subject-specific funding, you’ll find all of the information you need on our specialist postgraduate funding pages.


Further your career prospects

LJMU has an excellent employability record with 96% (HESA 2017) of our postgraduates in work or further study six months after graduation. Our applied learning techniques and strong industry connections ensure our students are fully prepared for the workplace on graduation and understand how to apply their knowledge in a real world context.

Environmental science and climate change are currently high on the political agenda while commercial drone operation has been predicted to be one the fastest growing industries of the 21st century by consulting group Price Waterhouse Coopers. Graduates with skills in drone, GIS and remote sensing technologies are highly sought after by a range of employers.

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Course modules

Discover the building blocks of your course

You will study modules such as on:

  • Drone Technology and Operations
  • Overseas Field Experience
  • Environmental GIS and Remote Sensing
  • Programming for Environmental Scientists
  • Research methods
  • Research Thesis
Students in classroom - Course modules

Drone Technology and Operations
40 credits

This module provides a comprehensive overview of drone technology, practical operations, mission planning, regulations and data processing.

Overseas Field Experience
20 credits

The aim of this module is to enable you to acquire and analyse drone data related to an environmental science topic in an overseas field setting.

Environmental GIS and Remote Sensing
20 credits

This module provides knowledge and understanding of GIS and remote sensing with reference to a variety of environmental science applications using a range of data types and industry-leading software.

Programming for Environmental Scientists
20 credits

This module provides you with program comprehension and generation skills in both Matlab and Python coding languages and the knowledge and understanding of the usefulness of programming in environmental science.

Research Methods
20 credits

The aim of this module is to train you in the process of planning and executing an independent research project using appropriate methodological design. The module familiarises students with qualitative, quantitative and mixed-methods of data collection and analysis and develops research reporting skills through written and oral methods.

Research Thesis
60 credits

In this module you will plan, execute and write an original and independent research project in a relevant academic subject under the supervision of an academic advisor.


An insight into teaching on your course

Teaching methods

You will be taught the advanced theoretical knowledge and understanding required in this field and the practical skills required to work in industry, local government or doctoral and postdoctoral research. 

Applied learning

The programme has a strong focus on practice-based learning. You will receive extensive practical experience with drone and GIS industry standard software, as well as having the opportunity to fly drones.

Real-world examples are utilised on the programme, enabling you to undertake postgraduate research on topics which will contribute to academic research development.

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Person sat using laptop


How learning is monitored on your programme

To cater for the wide-ranging content of our courses and the varied learning preferences of our students, we offer a range of assessment methods on each programme. Assessment techniques vary from module to module to reflect relevant assessment approaches and the key learning points of each topic.

Assessment on this programme comprises a variety of theoretical and practical coursework types.

You will be involved in mission planning and drone flight assessments and portfolios requiring practical reports, program code, essays, case studies, literature reviews and problem-solving exercises.

Poster presentations, project reports and the research project thesis are also used to assess knowledge and understanding.

Course tutors

Our staff are committed to the highest standards of teaching and learning

Laura Edwards

Laura Edwards

Programme Leader

Laura gained a BSc in Oceanography with Physics and an MSc in Ocean Remote Sensing at the University of Southampton, followed by a PhD in Physical Geography (Antarctic Glaciology) from the University of Bristol. Laura joined LJMU in 2017 and is a remote sensing specialist, trained in the use of drones. She focuses on the application of remote sensing and geographical information science to the study of glaciers, ice sheets, sea ice, oceans and interactions between these systems. Laura’s career highlights include publishing her work in the journal Nature, camping on sea ice in the Canadian High Arctic to do research on ocean acidification, working as a field assistant in Greenland and, more recently, visiting the Bolivian Andes to research glacier recession and glacial lake outburst floods.

One of the best aspects of my role is meeting students and researchers from different backgrounds within the university. This environment helps drive my own research forward and also encourages students to engage with their studies.

School facilities

What you can expect from your School

This programme is based in the Byrom Street site, part of the City Campus. You will have access to a host of specialist facilities and software including: 30 rotor and fixed wing drones, six drone simulators and drone laboratory, three outside locations for drone flying in and around Liverpool and the Wirral, a GIS computer suite, Agisoft PhotoScan Professional and Pix4D photogrammetry processing software, ArcGIS – specialist GIS software, ENVI – specialist remote sensing software and Matlab – industry leading programming software and sensor development labs.

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Entry requirements

You will need:

  • a minimum 2:1 honours degree in geography, environmental science or a related field - other numerate subjects, physical science and engineering degrees will also be considered


  • equivalent professional experience and alternative qualifications

Additional information

  • IELTS 6.5 (minimum 6.0 in each component)
  • RPL is not accepted on this programme

If you have any specific queries, please email

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Please note: All international qualifications are subject to a qualification equivalency check via NARIC.

View country specific entry requirements

Contact LJMU's International Admissions Team for guidance on visa information. Further information is also available from our international web pages.

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Application and selection

Securing your place at LJMU

You will apply for the majority of postgraduate courses using our online application form. You should complete the form thoroughly and provide a detailed personal statement which reflects your suitability and aptitude for the programme.

Applications are considered by the Programme Leader and at least two course tutors. They will assess your application form and references.

The University reserves the right to withdraw or make alterations to a course and facilities if necessary; this may be because such changes are deemed to be beneficial to students, are minor in nature and unlikely to impact negatively upon students or become necessary due to circumstances beyond the control of the University. Where this does happen, the University operates a policy of consultation, advice and support to all enrolled students affected by the proposed change to their course or module.
Further information on the terms and conditions of any offer made, our admissions policy and the complaints and appeals process.