Master in Environmental Science: answers to a setting more complex every day

The University of Girona offers a Master in Environmental Science as a pluridisciplinary training tool to understand our relationship with the territory. Accordingly, these studies are characterised by their transversality, which provides students with a holistic vision of the phenomenon.

When using a web search engine looking for images related to the word “environment”, we get over four thousand million results. The amount of images regarding the environment is frightening. As frightening as the impossibility to grasp in any of them how complex the concept is. Environment is not a fix image. It goes beyond our understanding. Our environment is not only machinery we can observe, but also something we relate with and, during such relationship, we change it and it changes us.

Understanding environment in all its dimensions may be unattainable. However, we may be capable of measuring and understanding the consequences derived from our relationship with it and to establish a more virtuous bond. We should admit that, until now, this relationship has been more shoddy than virtuous. Yet, we should study it, understand it, and act accordingly if we want to change this relationship and reach sustainability. These actions can be implemented from various lines. One of them, maybe the closest and more efficient, is carried out by environment technicians, who have the necessary holistic knowledge to manage it from a wide perspective.

UdG offers a Master in Environmental Science with the suitable characteristics to train environment broadminded professionals. It is a course that tackles the issue from various perspectives: environmental physics, environmental biology, and geography. The Master’s coordinator is the geographer Margarida Castanyer, professor at UdG, director of the Chair of Geography and Environmental Thinking, and president of the Catalan Society of Planning. Castanyer supports the heterogeneity of the areas that form the master and sees them as a way “to train professionals who may raise questions and answer them in a setting more complex every day”. These professionals will have to look for the technological and economic efficiency of those solutions they will implement respecting the environment.

A master with three lines
The master’s programme –comprising 60 credits- is conditioned by its three different lines. After several core subjects, those students who specialize in biology will focus on living organisms’ relationships, ground fresh water, and marine environments. They will deal with biological invasions, conservation of ecosystems, dysfunctions in Mediterranean ecosystems, or multivariate analysis of environmental data. Students choosing environmental physics will work with different research groups: Environmental Physics; Complex Systems; Fluids, Energy and Environment, and with the Chemical and Agricultural Engineering and Agrifood Technology Laboratory. In short, they will study, diagnose and manage environment in depth using tools specific for physics. In the geography line, students will study territory and society, landscape ecology, territorial development, photo interpretation, environmental management of tourism, etc.

Castanyer explains that these master’s lines are not rigid and that students, according to their training, take subjects from the three lines so as to get a diversified training and to better understand environmental complexity, something pictures cannot get.

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