University of Barcelona

Information for the student – Ecology, Environmental Management and Restoration

Organization and teaching methodology

Master Programming Description and Teaching Methodology

The theaching plannnig and methodology of the Master's subjects are described in their respective Course Plans.

The Master starts during the first week of October or at the end of September. All subjects of the Common Basic Module and all those of Compulsory Specialty are taught during the first trimester (until December), except the subject "Description, evaluation and diagnosis of ecosystems" of the specialty Management and Restoration that is taught during May, that is when the academic period ends. This topic is merely synthetic and transversal, since everything is done doing field work for a full week housed in one of the 2 natural parks that the students previously chose.

Most of the elective module subjects are taught from January to April. The theoretical classes are always in the afternoon; but an important part of laboratory practices and those that are done with computers are usually done in the morning. Since there are many field practices in most subjects, they are usually scheduled for a minimum of one or two full days in the field.


Description of the Teaching Methodology

The teaching methodology of this master's degree includes different training activities that may be specific for each type of subject. All of them are specified in their respective Course Plans.

The subjects of the Common Basic Module have teaching methodologies that are very different from each other. For example, the subject "Statistical data analysis techniques" is a fully applied subject in which all classes are taught in classrooms with computers. There are 2 teachers per classroom, and the total number of students is subdivided into 2 classrooms, so the attendance is completely personalized. Most of the statistical topics that are explained are always based on examples, so that students can easily exercise and understand the different statistical techniques that are applied in each case. Theoretical concepts are always accompanied by practical examples.

The teaching methodologies of the compulsory subjects of specialty are also different for each type of specialty. The subjects of the specialty of Ecology are structured based on theoretical classes, alternating thematic seminars where specialized professors are invited, and with numerical and/or simulation exercises in computer classrooms. Students in these subjects also have field practices to familiarize themselves with sampling techniques and with subsequent laboratory work to analyze and process the data obtained.

On the other hand, the subjects of the specialty Management and Restoration have many hours of fieldwork to be able to apply different diagnostic tools and evaluate different study cases through inventories carried out in situ during the fieldtrip. For example, one of the mandatory topics of this specialty "Description, evaluation and diagnosis of ecosystems", consists of 100% field work; given that all students are housed for a full week in a Natural Park carrying out evaluation and diagnosis tasks in different ecosystems under study. Of the 30 students maximum who can take this specialty, students can choose between 2 Natural parks, one located in the Natural Park of the Medes Islands and Baix Ter (marine area); and the other in the Natural Park of Sant Llorenç i la Serra del Obac (terrestrial area). In each of them, no more than 16 students are admitted for logistical and safety reasons. This subject is held at the end of the academic period, as it is designed to apply all types of diagnostic tools that students have learned with their respective subjects. It is a cross-cutting subject, where different professors from different disciplines taking part (geologists, botanists, edaphologists, ecologists and also professors who explain social aspects). Within this specialty, students also have a subject of "environmental legislation and land-use management" where study cases on environmental policies are discussed during the course.

The teaching methodologies of the Elective Module are very diverse and depend on their degree of applicability. Thus, for example, those subjects applying nature-based solutions do a lot of field work visiting applied study cases and to understand what solutions have been taken in each case. In some fieldtrips, students participate in the execution of restoration tasks, so they have the opportunity to learn certain techniques in situ.

To carry out all these activities, the Faculty of Biology has classrooms, practical laboratories, an Experimental Field Service with greenhouses and experimental cameras with on-site measuring devices. In addition, they may have access to the equipment and techniques of the Scientific and Technological Centers of the University of Barcelona. There is also an excellent Library with online access to scientific journals, a loan system for books and computers, as well as rooms for working in group.

Finally, it is mandatory that all students individually perform their own TFM. This Master contemplates 2 modalities of TFM, one modality structured modality as a scientific article; and another modality structured as a restoration or management project competitive enough for it to be submitted to any public administration (see Final Project (TFM) section). The Master's Thesis (TFM) is carried out in research laboratories in Universities or Research Centers; or also in private companies that offer TFM proposals. For more information, go to the TFM offers section (published at the beginning of the course) where it contains total information related to the type of study or work, and the specific place where the practical work will be carried out. The respective TFMs are presented and defended at the end of September, during 20 +15 minutes of questions in front of a committee formed by 3 professors of the Master, and sometimes a professional is invited when the subject requires it. Since the TFMs are defended at the end of the course, all those students already enrolled for next course are invited to attend the defenses, since we consider that is a good initiating practice for the future students.