M.Sc. Water and Coastal Management (WACOMA)

University of Bologna

Tuition fee:
  • Free (EEA)
  • Free (Non-EEA)
Start date: September  2015
Credits (ECTS): 120 ECTS
Duration full-time: 24 months
Partnership: Erasmus Mundus Scholarship
Languages:
  • English
Location:
Delivery mode: On Campus
Educational variant: Full-time
More information: Go to university website

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Description

The diversity and complexity of these freshwater and coastal systems requires a broad academic platform for an effective integration between the institutions representing different ecosystems scenarios and management cultures.

The initiative of Joint European Erasmus Mundus Master in WAter and COastal MAnagement (WACOMA) has a central focus that integrating the multidisciplinary aquatic, environmental and marine sciences into an advanced teaching program, while promoting an exchange of informations with a direct involvement of the coastal end users and stakeholders.

Like all interface systems, fresh water and marine environments are highly complex and dynamic. Therefore their management must be implemented through a strategic integration of the series of different technical items. A successful future manager/investor/advisor like our prospective Erasmus Mundus Master students, need to gain the knowledge of these technical items and to dominate an efficient method leading to their integration within one formal system.

The course objective is to train managers and scientists for Water and Coastal Zone Management, with a solid knowledge of environmental and legal instruments.

The course draws on EU research projects and case studies, as well as laboratory experiments and field trips. The program includes experience in modern practical, analytical and numerical methods applicable to water and coastal management. Students are trained in both the collection and analysis of data and the transformation of data into information.

The training includes solving practical management problems of catchments, wetlands, coasts, Ports and in general freshwater and marine areas as well as the comparison of alternate solutions. The students use methods and decision support systems, such as DPSIR, that are relevant to the planning and management of freshwater and marine zone problems. Graduates are encouraged to form a network of peers through an alumni society that will move to become a European professional and accreditation association.

Directed to this international program, a consortium have been formed. The proposing consortium is an association of several European and non-European Country academic institutions, representing a wide spectrum of complementary scientific knowledge and of well studied, diverse fresh water and marine sites.

‘WACOMA’ is a 2 years programme running over three periods: first semester at University of Bologna by means of core modules, second semester at University of Cádiz conducting optional modules and third period during the second year at any of the HEIs of the consortium or Associated Members. Students will have to complete 120 ECTS (30 + 30 + 60) to be awarded the Master WACOMA.

Contents

CORE MODULES AT THE UNIVERSITY OF BOLOGNA (Campus of Ravenna) 1st year, 1st semester

The Hydrological Cycle and Climate Change (ECTS 6)

Prof. Marco Antonellini – Prof. Pauline Mollema (The Netherlands)

This course aims to develop a quantitative understanding of components of the hydrological cycle and how these components are measured or calculated and influence each other. In order to understand how climate changes may affect processes of water pollution, the course will provide the students with an understanding of the driving forces of surface and ground water flow and of the quantities of water involved. The students will also gain knowledge about the interaction between surface- and groundwater flow, which is the basis to understand the transport of pollutants and other chemical components with groundwater and surface waters by means of advection, diffusion and dispersion. The students will also approach the physics of the equilibrium between salt and fresh water along the coast and the factors that influence salt water intrusion such as river encroachment or sea level rise.

Freshwater ecology and biomonitoring (formerly: Bioasessment of freshwater ecosystems) (ECTS 6)

Prof. Andrea Pasteris

The student will understand the relationship between biota and the abiotic factors in freshwater lotic and lentic ecosystems and gain knowledge of the main taxonomic and functional groups of freshwater organisms, skills in the sampling of freshwater organisms and in the identification of freshwater organisms at a basic level. The student will also understand the principles of the environmental quality assessment, using biological methods, including methods and indexes used within and outside EU. The course also aims at developing skills in the application of statistical multivariate methods to ecological datasets and in the application of bioassessment methods and result interpretation.

Planning and decision making in water basins and coastal systems (ECTS 6)

Prof. Giovanni Gabbianelli

The students will understand planning and decision making with reference to water and coastal management. The students will also learn how to use scenarios techniques becoming acquainted with decision support systems (DSS).

Environmental economics and resource management in water policy making (ECTS 6)

Prof. Andrea Contin – Prof. Paolo F. Ricci (USA)

module I With reference to water and coastal management the students will understand the concept of sustainability and of strategic environmental assessment (SEA). They will also gain knowledge on the sustainability measure and learn how to embody strategic and risk assessment into sustainability assessment.
module II The students will gain knowledge on the pricing and evaluation of the common goods in water policy making and the role of water in economics. At the end of the course they will be able to evaluate costs of alternative actions and inactions.

Environmental impact and risk assessment for the society in water and coastal management (ECTS 6)

Prof. Andrea Contin – Prof. Paolo F. Ricci (USA)

module I The students will gain knowledge about the theory and the practice of risk assessment and management regarding technological and environmental health hazards. They will also explore how public policy affects the eventual use of risk-based optimal choices and the implications of national and international policies.

module II The students will understand the concept of public participation and communication in decisional processes and addressing the institutional acknowledgement of public participation in the EU policies and strategies providing an understanding of a communication and participation process. They will learn how to communicate the uncertainty about environmental impacts into decision making processes and understand the environmental information architecture (environmental informatics).

PROSPECTS CAREER OPPORTUNITIES

The aquatic ecosystems includes freshwater, transitional/estuarine, marine and coastal zone. These are the most important global area of human habitat exposed to the growing threat of becoming unstable as a complex natural-human system. The degradation of natural systems, caused by human interventions (overextraction, destruction, and disposal) in excess of these systems’ aggregate carrying capacities generate political pressures and is forcing a transition to environmental and social sustainability, a cornerstone in EU policies.

The European Union has thus recognized in recent years the need for an integrated management of water resources, from water spring to the coast, including surface and ground water and embracing the physical, the biologic and the social dimensions.

Like all interface systems, fresh water and marine environments are highly complex and dynamic. Any uncoordinated actions undertaken at all levels of governance or promoted by private entities may have dramatic consequences in the perspective of the fast changing environmental scenarios. Therefore their management must be implemented through a strategic integration of the series of different technical items.

A successful future manager/investor/advisor like our prospective Erasmus Mundus Master students, need to gain the knowledge of these technical items and to dominate an efficient method leading to their integration within one formal system.

Nowadays researchers need to have multidisciplinary skills and capability to study the relationships between the environment and the natural and anthropogenic pressures. For this kind of study a wide scientific knowledge is needed.

In the perspective of globalized world, fresh water (rivers, lakes etc.) and coastlines are shared by all of us, so the activities in land-locked countries may have far reaching consequences along these ecosystems, in another country. From that situation arises a growing need for professionals with a technical ability to understand, analyze, and forecast the processes acting on fresh water, land and ocean interfaces.

The course objective is to train managers and scientists for Water and Coastal Zone Management, with a solid knowledge of environmental and legal instruments like the European directives in new emerging fields.

The multidisciplinary nature of the course is met by the participation of experts from leading European and International Universities, research Institutions and private sector associated in the consortium.

Teaching and research activities will be mainly focused on the following set of aspects :

  • - Basic environmental conditions of the freshwater and coastal environment (i.e. geology, hydrology, morphology, topography, climate, biology and ecology);
  • - Water quality (chemical, physical, nutrients, biological and ecological data).
  • - Natural resources (i.e. beaches, fishery and aquatic resources);
  • - Environmental resilience and the self-remediation capacity of the coastal environment;
  • - Coastal erosion prevention and beaches rehabilitation
  • - Support tools for integrated water and coastal zone management
  • - State of the environment and diversity of ecosystems;
  • - Meteo-marine studies;
  • - Morpho-dynamic studies of the coastal zone
  • - Study of the development of socio-economic activities and urban areas on the coast.
  • - EU policies and existing policies, legislative and institutional framework in different Countries including e.g. environmental protection, coastal zone management, land use planning, strategic environmental assessment and environmental impact assessment etc.
  • - Gaps and obstacles in adaptation and effective implementation of Water and Coastal Zone Management

In summary, the main objective of this program is the formation of Master academic training and capacity building program in the multidisciplinary domain of fresh water, marine and in general environmental sciences.

Funding

The University of Bologna offers Unibo Action 2 study grants to deserving international students, who wish to register for Second Cycle Degree Programmes in A.Y. 2014/2015.

The grants, worth € 11,000 gross, are assigned on the basis of the GRE (Revised General Test) test scores. Read the full information on the requirements and the application procedure in the call for applications, available on the website of the University of Bologna. The deadline to apply for these grants is March 31st, 2014.

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