Dr Alex Lechner - Programme Leader
Dr Alex Lechner is a landscape ecologist and is Programme Leader for the MSc Water and Planetary Health. His research focuses on sustainability, conservation planning, and assessing environmental impacts, commonly using spatial modelling. He conducts research to supports sustainable planning and participatory decision-making through the development of novel spatial approaches including ecosystem services modelling, big remote sensing data, and participatory web-based GIS mapping. He has undertaken research across the world including in Oceania, Southeast Asia, and Europe.School Staff List Make an Enquiry
This programme focuses on the emerging field of planetary health, and is designed to equip students with a comprehensive understanding of climate change, global population dynamics, and human and ecosystem health. It includes advanced interdisciplinary learning in all aspects of water and planetary health and is delivered by award-winning staff from Lincoln Centre for Water and Planetary Health (LCWPH).
Students can learn from and work with world-leading researchers to assess the impacts of local to global scale challenges within fresh and coastal water systems. Particular emphasis is placed on interactions among human, ecosystem, and planetary health. Students have the opportunity to develop management, mitigation, and adaptation strategies to address issues resulting from climate, environmental, and socio-economic change.
Lincoln Centre for Water and Planetary Health focuses on solving the most pressing global environmental and societal problems emerging from the world’s largest rivers. These include climate change impacts on extreme floods and droughts, flood-related contamination from metal mining and processing, and waterborne and vector-borne diseases affecting humans and animals where riverine environments provide the principal habitat.
This Master's includes five core modules designed to provide students with trandisciplinary, methodological, and theoretical foundations in the emerging field of water and planetary health. Students can pursue specialisms through a selection of up to two optional modules in each term, followed by a research project of choice.
Optional modules are designed to address problem-centric matters and to foster cross-disciplinary learning that reflects the real-world complexity of today's environmental challenges. This aims to encourage students to apply a wide range of methods from different disciplines in tackling these issues.
The programme includes field trips to globally significant river catchments of topical interest included in the course fee. These visits allow students to practically investigate water and planetary health and collect scientific field data. As part of the core Overseas Field Trip: Water and Planetary Health module students have the opportunity to visit Zambia and experience first-hand some of the most pressing global challenges associated with water and planetary health from a Global South perspective. In the core Water and Planetary Health 2 module, students will have the opportunity to study challenges from a Global North perspective through a field trip to London or the Netherlands.
Contact Hours and Independent Study
Due to the nature of this programme weekly contact hours may vary. Postgraduate level study involves a significant proportion of independent study, exploring the material covered in lectures and seminars. As a general guide, for every hour spent in class, students are expected to spend at least two to three hours in independent study. For more detailed information specific to this course please contact the Programme Leader.
We want you to have all the information you need to make an informed decision on where and what you want to study. To help you choose the course that’s right for you, we aim to bring to your attention all the important information you may need. Our What You Need to Know page offers detailed information on key areas including contact hours, assessment, optional modules, and additional costs. For research programmes this includes research fees and research support fees.
This module introduces students to relevant research methods in the field of Water and Planetary Health. Teaching will focus on how to independently work with and apply specialist Geographic research methods, such as Geographical Information Systems (GIS), analytical statistical methods, laboratory techniques, and some programming skills (e.g. Matlab, R, Python). The teaching of geographical research methods will be based on the practical work on field, remote sensing, public authority, or unpublished research data within the thematic field of Water and Planetary Health. The research methods taught during this module will specifically focus on linking up hydrological process understanding with a biological, economic, social, and medical implications for human health and wellbeing, and will aim to strengthen students' ability to practically apply the taught methods for their studies within their programme.
This field trip to sub-Saharan Africa will focus on interdisciplinary concepts and methods in the field of Water and Planetary Health in the Global South. Developed as an inherently interdisciplinary field trip, teaching will focus on interdisciplinary concepts and methods in the field of Water and Planetary Health, as such linking up hydrological process understanding with biological, economic, social and medical implications for human health and wellbeing. On a local to regional scale the causes and impacts of water-related human health and wellbeing challenges (such as water-borne diseases) will be explored, including present and possible future environmental management practices to address them.
This module takes students through the research process at Master's level by showing them how to critically examine relevant background literature and design a viable research project through writing a proposal on a relevant geographical area of their choice. Reference will be made to the theory of how ideas develop in science and/or social science. We will also discuss academic writing and communication and dissemination.
This is an independent piece of work that is conducted throughout the Master's programme. The aim is to produce a dissertation or journal article fit for publication. The research project is an independent piece of work. Students are expected to choose their own research topic related to their degree; develop the research design; perform the data collection, analysis and interpretation; and produce an original piece of research.
This module will be at the core of the Master's level teaching, aiming to provide the academic basis for this programme for students with a large range of different backgrounds. Teaching will focus on interdisciplinary concepts in the field of Water and Planetary Health. Planetary Health, broadly defined as “the health of human civilisation and the state of the natural systems on which it depends” (The Rockefeller Foundation-Lancet Commission on Planetary Health), is an emerging discipline allowing to analyse and solve complex current-day challenges related to the interactions between human activities and the natural environment and human health. Water on earth is one of the elements where these links are particularly relevant. This module gives a comprehensive introduction into the Water and Planetary Health theme and discusses how water on earth and the processes controlling it are interacting with human activity.
The main topics within the module include the linkage of hydrological processes in river basins and coastal zones with the health and wellbeing of vulnerable populations both in the Global South and the Global North. Traditional and innovative management approaches to reducing the risk of vulnerable people to environmental hazards are explored. These management approaches are evaluated based on a holistic physical system understanding and the socio-economic contexts. Moreover, this module discusses future challenges in managing water-related risks to human health and wellbeing, including challenges through climate change and global demographical developments.
This module will focus on the geomorphology of coastal ecosystems, such as estuaries, coastal lagoons, dunes, tidal mudflats, marshes, mangrove forests, or seagrass meadows, the ecosystem services that they deliver, as well as the expected changes that coastal ecosystems are likely to be experiencing under the influence of global sea level rise. The theoretical background knowledge on the local-global scale importance of coastal ecosystems in the context climate change mitigation and adaptation provided will be complemented by hands-on practical sessions, including the use of state-of-the-art computer models and the collection and analysis of primary field data. A particular emphasis of this module will be on developing an in-depth understanding how coastal ecosystems may help coastal communities to adapt to climate change, an approach that is widely referred to as ecosystem-based management.
This module is designed to provide students with a thorough grounding in the origins, contemporary understanding, and practice of environmental history – both in relation to environmental impacts on humans and human impacts on landscapes and environments. Case studies of human-environment interaction drawn from different geographical and temporal settings will facilitate an analytical and comparative approach to the past, while grounding in historical-social process will ensure that students can gain an understanding of the importance of context, social actors, and human agency. Critical consideration of how debates and research in environmental history can be applied to social and environmental challenges today will provide an added dimension of societal relevance. In line with the School’s focus on the health and safety of the inhabited earth, the ways in which human activity has shaped landscapes and environmental changes as well as the impacts for human society will provide a cohesive theme throughout the module.
This module explores how environmental inequities produce social and cultural marginalization in different geographically developed contexts (e.g. Global North and South) using a range of disciplinary and policy perspectives and supported by a range of evidence-based case studies. The module draws from different sub-disciplines including feminist geographies, human and political geography, development studies, science and technology studies and critical environmental science to understand and critique how social marginalization occurs through various types of environmental crises. The module will take a distinctive geographical focus and scrutinise how global environmental and developmental policies and governance rearticulate social and cultural inequalities at lower scales. We will consider the root of how environmental problems are produced and how they exacerbate particular socio-cultural conditions in the context of issues like energy rights, poverty, Indigeneity, racialisation, gender inequalities, water and sanitation, human health, conservation and biodiversity loss. We will ask the fundamental questions of why environmental inequalities, in such a modern technical orientated world, produces a myriad of marginalization and social injustice issues amongst particular societal communities and groups and how can we tackle such issues – through the market, formal policymaking, or through civil and individual action? What will a socially just world, free of environmental inequality and inequity look like? These are the overarching questions that this module seeks to critically explore.
This module uses the concept of planetary health to introduce students to a wide range of critical environmental issues facing the world today from physical and human geographical perspectives. Using a range of global and regional environmental problems, incorporating case studies on climate change, water and energy resources, land-use change and agriculture, the responsible and interrelated physical and social processes will be examined. Students can critically explore the causes, consequences, and impacts of humans on ecosystem and planetary health issues, as well as, and learn how to question assumptions about the underlying processes.
This module will provide a foundation for examining and understanding the policy and politics of climate change (natural and anthropogenic climate change) by drawing from different sub-disciplines like political science, human and political geography, science and technology studies and critical environmental science. The policy and politics of climate change will be explored using a variety of geographical examples from around the developed and developing world to explore how society and its institutions have responded to climate change. During the module, we will: critically describe and understand contemporary policy and politics of climate change; examine societal and policy responses to climate change at different geographical scales and in different developmental contexts; and critically examine the institutional context of how policy and politics of climate change have evolved (and are evolving). Contemporary examples of climate policy and politics will be used from around the world to illustrate the difficulties society faces responding to climate change.
Many of the environmental problems faced by societies, such as climate change and declining water quality, are related to how people behave in their homes, at work, and in natural landscapes. How people interact with environments is also influenced by their perceptions of risk and hazard in the built and natural landscapes. This module examines theories and perspectives on environmental behaviour, behaviour change, risk perception, research methods (including spatial analysis of big data and behavioural methods), and policy responses to environmental challenges that involve incentivising pro-environmental behaviour.
The aim of this module is to help students develop a conceptual, factual, and practical knowledge of channel, floodplain, and catchment response to environmental change resulting from natural and anthropogenic perturbations. It has a global perspective and considers river systems on all of the Earth’s inhabited continents. The module aims to provide an advanced level understanding of river catchment systems and global environmental change worldwide and is suitable for students who want to pursue careers in river management and restoration, flood control, or postgraduate studies in river science.
The collective impact of humanity on Earth has affected the quality and function of water natural systems, and in turn the environmental conditions and ecosystem services that support societies. The combined reduction of water availability and water quality, the overexploitation of aquifers, and the rapid growth in per capita consumption are driving to a deterioration of natural systems on which human civilisations depend. The changing climate affects the functioning of the oceans, land cover, and freshwater systems. These are the biophysical systems that underpin global food production, exposure to disease and natural hazards, and the availability of safe spaces to live. These challenges are likely to worsen in the near future, and there will be a growing need of professionals with advanced modelling skills. This module treats modelling of water and closely related resources with a special focus on environmental challenges that current and future populations face.
This module introduces students to the multi-disciplinary field of political ecology, which considers the relevance of power and politics for shaping the relationship between humans and their environments. This module will be of interest to students curious about the relationships between nature and the environment and control over crucial resources. After taking this module, students should be able to identify and explain ways in which power and politics influence the human-environment relationship, analyse socio-environmental issues under the lenses of political ecology, and be knowledgeable about how to use such an analysis for empirical research. Students should be able to understand the core concepts and theories of differing political ecology approaches; as well as the major urban environmental challenges in the Global North and South and their policy possibilities. Given that this module is run along side a level 3 undergraduate module, MA/MSc students will be expected to do a deeper level of reading in the module, take more initiative and leadership in seminar discussions, and demonstrate a greater level of understanding on assessments.
A work placement can be a life-changing opportunity for enhancing the student’s learning experience and for getting ready for the global employment market. The School of Geography maintains strong relationships with partner institutions, and works with employers (along with the Careers and Employability Team of the University of Lincoln) to create placements in the local and national context. Employers will be expecting the students to have advanced knowledge to share, articulate in advanced discussion, engage and further develop skills that will be needed in their organisation. As a result, students will substantially improve their employment prospects by gaining valuable career skills, insight and work experience at top institutions dealing with research, management or policies related to sustainable development and environmental management. Students intending to enrol in this course should communicate with the module leader and School placement officer well in advance in order to identify a suitable placement opportunity. The course is offered in both semesters (though MSc and MA students can only choose it in semester B).
† Some courses may offer optional modules. The availability of optional modules may vary from year to year and will be subject to minimum student numbers being achieved. This means that the availability of specific optional modules cannot be guaranteed. Optional module selection may also be affected by staff availability.
The way students are assessed will vary from module to module but may include multiple, diverse methods including coursework such as written assignments, blogs, reports or dissertations; practical tasks, fieldwork and presentations; and written exams, such as formal examinations or in-class tests.
The University of Lincoln's policy on assessment feedback aims to ensure that academics will return in-course assessments to students promptly – usually within 15 working days of the submission date.
Postgraduate study is an investment in yourself and your future, and it's important to understand the costs involved and the funding options available before you start. A full breakdown of the fees associated with this programme can be found on our course fees pages.
There are more ways than ever before to fund your postgraduate study, whether you want to do a taught or research course. For those wishing to undertake a Master's course, you can apply for a loan as a contribution towards the course and living costs. Loans are also available to those who wish to undertake doctoral study. The University offers a number of scholarships and funded studentships for those interested in postgraduate study. Learn how Master's and PhD loans, scholarships, and studentships can help you fund your studies on our Postgraduate Fees and Funding pages.
First or second class honours degree or equivalent overseas qualification. We will consider applicants from non-related degrees, with relevant experience.
International Students will require English Language at IELTS 6.0 with no less than 5.5 in each element, or equivalent.
If you have studied outside of the UK, and are unsure whether your qualification meets the above requirements, please visit our country pages for information on equivalent qualifications.
For information regarding other English language qualifications we accept, please visit the English Requirements page.
If you do not meet the above IELTS requirements, you may be able to take part in one of our Pre-session English and Academic Study Skills courses.
These specialist courses are designed to help students meet the English language requirements for their intended programme of study.
At Lincoln, Covid-19 has encouraged us to review our practices and, as a result, to take the opportunity to find new ways to enhance the student experience. We have made changes to our teaching and learning approach and to our campus, to ensure that students and staff can enjoy a safe and positive learning experience. We will continue to follow Government guidance and work closely with the local Public Health experts as the situation progresses, and adapt our teaching and learning accordingly to keep our campus as safe as possible.
"The Lincoln Centre for Water and Planetary Health (LCWPH), is the world's first interdisciplinary research centre to focus on pressing environmental and societal issues emerging from aquatic systems."Professor Mark Macklin, Founding Director of the Lincoln Centre for Water and Planetary Health
This programme aims equip students with a comprehensive understanding of climate change, global population dynamics, and human and ecosystem health. With global challenges becoming increasingly interconnected, graduates with knowledge of these key issues are becoming increasingly valued in the national and international job market and across a diverse range of industries. Job opportunities could include environmental and public health planning, consultancy, and research and policy within the private, public, or third sectors.
Find out more about how postgraduate study can help further your career, develop your knowledge, or even prepare you to start your own business at one of our postgraduate events.Find out More