Environmental Engineering MSc/PgCert/PgDip


Environment engineering

At the heart of the new infrastructure agenda is a need for environmental engineers who understand the technologies for pollution control and the commercial opportunities for business.  The ‘green economy’ is internationally recognized as a key contributor to economic growth, and delivery of a low carbon future relies on a transition to clean technology, supported a strong engineering base.  Total output in the UK green economy stands at £55.4bn, with 357,200 jobs in 2012, an increase of 5.3% since 2010. 

The Cranfield MSc in Environmental Engineering equips students with the knowledge and skills to solve a wide-range of environmental engineering challenges. The course covers municipal and hazardous waste management, process emissions, contaminated land, water, wastewater and waste disposal. The programme also addresses energy and resource recovery from waste materials.  Funding for your place is available from a range of sources, including from School funds for high calibre applicants.  Please do not hesitate to speak to our course admissions tutors in this regard.

Energy, Environment and Agrifood are key strategic themes at Cranfield and you will be taught by staff from across these themes. Industrial-scale facilities underpin our research and teaching. Our activities include internationally recognised centres of excellence in water science, renewables technology and agri-tech.  Much of the research that informs our teaching is at the leading edge of the clean tech agenda and our outreach activities are shaping the technology-management debate on science for the green economy.

Course overview

The MSc course comprises eight assessed modules, an integrated group project and an individual project. Students undertaking the Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip) complete the eight modules and the group project. Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert) students are required to complete six of the eight modules.

Group project

The group project experience is highly valued by both students and prospective employers. It provides students with the opportunity to take responsibility for a consultancy-type project, working within agreed objectives, deadlines and budgets. For part-time students a dissertation or projects portfolio can replace the group project.

Individual Project

The individual thesis project, usually in collaboration with an external organisation, offers students the opportunity to develop their research capability and understanding of the subject and their ability to provide solutions to real problems in environmental engineering.


The modules include lectures and tutorials, and are assessed through examinations and assignments. There is an emphasis on analysis of real problems.


  • Water and Wastewater Treatment Principles
    Module LeaderDr Andreas Nocker - Einsiedler - Lecturer in Drinking Water Microbiology
    • Classification, significance and concentration ranges of impurities in water and wastewater, including: suspended and dissolved solids, organic and inorganic compounds, trace contaminants and pathogens
    • Physical methods for removing particulates, including: screening and grit removal, sedimentation and filtration
    • Chemical dosing, including: precipitation; coagulation and flocculation processes (including basic concepts from colloid science); disinfection and chemical oxidation
    • Adsorption and ion exchange
    • Biological processes for wastewater treatment, both aerobic and anaerobic. Activated sludge, trickling filters and sludge digestion
    • Pumping and process control systems and strategies
    • Examples of flow sheets and unit operations used in treatment plants.
    Intended learning outcomes

    On successful completion of this study the student should be able to:

    • Understand the nature of impurities in waters and wastewaters, their concentrations and significance
    • Understand the basic principles of conventional treatment processes
    • Select appropriate processes, depending on the nature of the impurities to be removed and the intended use of the treated water or effluent
    • Complete a flow-sheet selection assignment showing how unit processes are selected based on incoming water quality.
  • Risk Management and Reliability Engineering
    Module LeaderDr Alireza Daneshkhah - Research Fellow in Applied Statistics

    This module explores risks from the strategic to operational level and both quantitative and qualitative
    tools and techniques. It does this by exploring:

    • Drivers for risk management in the utility sector - why manage risk?
    • Corporate risk management structures, tools and techniques
    • Basic probability and statistics
    • The reliability, availability and maintenance of unit processes
    • Risk analysis tools and techniques
    • Assets, risk management and public health protection
    • Regulatory risk assessments in support of environmental permits
    • Communicating risk, building stakeholder confidence
    • Risk governance in the utility sector towards high reliability organisations.
    Intended learning outcomes

    On successful completion of this study the student should be able to:

    • Summarise the context of risk governance in the utility sector and explain organisational structures for risk management; relate these to corporate objectives, eg. licence to operate
    • Exemplify strategic, tactical and operational risk in the water, wastewater or waste sector
    • Identify and select from key risk analysis tools and techniques appropriate to a range risk problem under study; be confident about the rules for selecting risk techniques
    • Undertake reliability analysis calculations, understanding and calculating mean times to failure
    • Identify critical control points and devise risk management strategies for managing risks to and from engineered systems; relate these to the development of water safety plans 
    • Devise risk governance structures and debate key risk management competencies for individuals, organisations and specialists; recognise core features of a risk mature organisation
    • Scope out and critically evaluate environmental risk assessments in the context of regulatory permitting sitting, operations and discharge.
  • Land Engineering and Water Management
    Module LeaderDr Lynda Deeks - Research Fellow in Soil Science
    • Managing plant and soil water status through estimates of crop water requirements; development of field water budget.  Evapotranspiration, drainage, run off, seepage, soil water storage, and capillary rise
    • Crop responses to salinity and sodicity; management of saline and sodic soils; the leaching process
    • Hydrology; peak and catchment yield, design of run off
    • Hydraulics calculation of channel discharge capacity using Manning’s Equation (and others). The design of channels, waterways weirs, spillways, culverts and control structures
    • Slope stability; mechanisms of slope failure. The stability of shallow slope failures, Taylor’s stability numbers
    • Landscape design, land forming, earth moving and landscape modification. Top and sub soil management and vegetation establishment. Design of earth embankment storage dams
    • Concept of land capability and land quality, criteria used for assessing land capability and its classification. USDA scheme, Canadian Land
    • Inventory
    • Drainage; drainage machinery selection and performance, types of drainage problems and their recognition. Design for water table control: use of
    • Hooghoudt and Glover Dumm equations and the Ernst equation for sub irrigation design; the Miers approach; practical issues of drainage design: selection of materials, drainage maintenance, pipe surround, backfill and pipe sizing.
    Intended learning outcomes

    On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:

    • Estimate crop water requirements and soil water deficits in different environments
    • Calculate leaching requirements for saline and sodic soil conditions
    • Calculate run off and yield for catchment
    • Design channels/ waterways and simple hydraulic structures
    • Explain the concept of land capability and carry out land capability classification
    • Calculate the stability of slopes and design of simple support
    • Design, specify, handling soil and set out earthworks for landforming, landscaping and water storage
    • Design appropriate water table control systems for drainage and sub irrigation
    • Specify appropriate machinery and mechanisation for drainage installation and maintenance.
  • Process Emissions and Control
    Module LeaderDr Philip Longhurst - Reader
    • Air Quality Parameters indoor and outdoor, pollution sources, their impact and regulation (UK and EU)
    • Air sampling and sampling strategies
    • Advanced data analysis and dispersion modelling
    • Specific pollutants: dust and particulates, odour, bioaerosols and biogas.
    Intended learning outcomes

    After this module the student should be able to:

    • Explain the extent, impact and implications of air pollution from industrial processes
    • Describe the practical requirements for air quality monitoring: including designing appropriate sampling strategies, selecting sample locations, applying sampling methods correctly, conducting standard tests and evaluating the results
    • Understand the most common traditional analytical techniques used in air monitoring
    • Demonstrate an understanding of the critical issues affecting these analytical techniques and be able to recognise the relative strengths and weaknesses of the techniques covered and how these relate to the quality of the data acquired.
  • Soil Erosion Control for Catchment Management
    Module LeaderDr Robert Simmons - Senior Lecturer in Soil Erosion & Conservation
    • Runoff and sediment production in drainage basins; erosion processes - mechanics of raindrop splash, overland flow, rill flow, gully erosion; sediment delivery to water bodies; strategies for erosion control
    • Rainfall erosivity
    • Soil erodibility
    • Soil loss prediction: USLE; Modified MMF; SERAM-DST
    • Land use planning
    • Soil conservation planning integrating technical and consultation-based multi-stakeholder approaches
    • Soil erosion control by engineering structures (terraces and waterways), agronomic methods on arable and grassland, soil management, including conservation tillage techniques; agroforestry; gully erosion control.
    Intended learning outcomes

    On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:

    • Understand the processes of soil erosion, and of sediment transport and deposition
    • Appreciate the environmental impacts of soil erosion, and the need for erosion control and soil conservation
    • Evaluate erosion risk in a catchment and identify potential sources and sinks of sediment
    • Make appropriate decisions on erosion control, based on a fundamental understanding of the processes
    • Select appropriate input parameter values to apply erosion models to predict current erosion status and evaluate different conservation measures
    • Design an erosion control strategy for an individual farm, taking account of its location within a catchment and socio-economic conditions
    • Gain experience of managing a soil conservation project, set by an external client, which requires, using problem solving techniques, writing a consultancy-style report and meeting deadlines set.
  • Pollution Prevention and Remediation Technologies
    Module LeaderDr Frederic Coulon - Senior Lecturer in Environmental Technology
    • Environmental pollution and prevention technology
    • Contaminated land issues and market size
    • Soil and groundwater remediation technologies
    • Sustainable remediation practices
    • Monitoring and modelling contaminants
    • Hazard appraisal and risk assessment
    • Decision support tools.
    Intended learning outcomes

    On successful completion of this study the student should be able to:

    • Understand and evaluate the key issues related to environmental pollution prevention and remediation
    • Critically appraise the range of remediation technologies for soil and groundwater
    • Understand and appraise the key indicators for sustainable remediation approach
    • Select and evaluate accepted decision tools to assess remediation performance and end-points.
  • Circular Waste Management: Recycle, Recover and Dispose
    Module LeaderDr Raffaella Villa - Senior Lecturer in Biopress Technology
    • Integrated waste management: appraisal of national and international legislation and policy
    • Waste properties and characterisation. Mechanical biological treatment, pre-treatment, biodegradable wastes, coupled technologies, technology performance and managing environmental impacts
    • Landfill: biochemistry, leachate and gas production
    • Biowaste technologies: composting and AD
    • Thermal treatment: incineration, gasification, pyrolysis, combined heat and power, waste to energy, solid recovered fuel.
    Intended learning outcomes

    On successful completion of this study the student should be able to:

    • Appraise the role of waste treatment technologies under the circular management agenda - drivers, selection, pre-requisites requirements, waste types treated
    • Understand the properties (physical, chemical, and biological) commonly associated with Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) and integrate them into waste management calculations
    • Critically understand how to assess the performance of treatment processes including how wastes are analysed and data interpreted
    • Demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the biological processes treating organic waste. Apply the concepts and principles to the waste degradation context and evaluate and calculate energy potential
    • Demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of why and how to control, collect and treat landfill gas (LFG). Appraise the parameters contributing to LFG production and composition, the risks and production controls and calculate their potential impact
    • Evaluate specific process parameters critical to the design of non-landfill treatment processes (e.g. thermal destruction efficiencies; flue gas desulphurisation requirements)
    • Apply process science and engineering (PSE) knowledge in describing key issues regarding emissions, treatment and performance of non-landfill technologies.


Taught modules 40%, group project 20% (dissertation for part-time students), individual project 40%.

Start date, duration and location

Start date: October

Duration: Full-time MSc - one year, Part-time MSc - up to three years, Full-time PgCert - one year, Part-time PgCert - two years, Full-time PgDip - one year, Part-time PgDip - two years

Teaching location: Cranfield


The course will equip students with a set of knowledge and skills which will enable them to solve a wide range of environmental engineering problems including municipal and toxic waste management, process emissions, contaminated land and water and waste disposal. The programme will also address energy and resource recovery from waste materials. The course will provide you with:

  • An advanced theoretical and specialist understanding of processes and practices central to environmental engineering
  • An ability to select and apply appropriate existing and emerging technologies that can achieve lower environmental impact via an integrated and cross-disciplinary approach
  • Scientific, technical and engineering principles, economic consequences and risks of environmental management options as best practice
  • Capacity to undertake successful technical research projects using appropriate methods of critical analysis.

Accreditation and partnerships

This course is accredited by the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM).

Informed by industry

This course was developed by the Cranfield team through engagement with a number of industrial contacts. Industry involvement is central to the delivery of this course, with facility operators granting access to sites for lectures, Groupd design project and thesis project.
Industry practitioners contribute directly to the course by teaching alongside academics from Cranfield. This does not only provide evidence of the relevance of the programme but allows students to understand the practical implications of their learning. 60% of the course is focussed on applied research projects including group projects (20%) and individual thesis projects (40%) which are both also supported by industry and environmental sector organisations.

Your teaching team

Facilities and resources

Students will benefit from dedicated state-of-the-art facilities including soil and water laboratories and the University’s own sewage treatment works and energy pilot plant hall. In addition, students benefit from access to major waste and resource management operations in the region.

Entry Requirements

Suitable for graduate scientists and engineers concerned with the protection and enhancement of human life through the improvement and protection of environmental quality at both local and global scales. Candidates must possess, or be expected to achieve, a first or second class UK Honours degree in a relevant engineering or science-based discipline, or the international equivalent of these UK qualifications. Other relevant qualifications together with industrial experience may be considered.

English Language

If you are an international student you will need to provide evidence that you have achieved a satisfactory test result in an English qualification. The minimum standard expected from a number of accepted courses are as follows:

IELTS - 6.5

TOEFL - 92 

Pearson PTE Academic - 65

Cambridge English Scale - 180

Cambridge English: Advanced - C

Cambridge English: Proficiency - C

In addition to these minimum scores you are also expected to achieve a balanced score across all elements of the test. We reserve the right to reject any test score if any one element of the test score is too low.

We can only accept tests taken within two years of your registration date (with the exception of Cambridge English tests which have no expiry date).

Students requiring a Tier 4 (General) visa must ensure they can meet the English language requirements set out by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and we recommend booking a IELTS for UKVI test.


Home EU Student Fees

MSc Full-time - £9,000

MSc Part-time - £1,500 *

PgDip Full-time - £7,200

PgDip Part-time - £1,500 *

PgCert Full-time - £3,600

PgCert Part-time - £1,500 *

Overseas Fees

MSc Full-time - £17,500

MSc Part-time - £17,500 **

PgDip Full-time - £14,000

PgDip Part-time - £14,000 **

PgCert Full-time - £7,000

PgCert Part-time - £10,800 **


The annual registration fee is quoted above. An additional fee of £1,300 per module is also payable.


Students will be offered the option of paying the full fee up front, or to pay in four equal instalments at six month intervals (i.e. the full fee to be paid over the first two years of their registration). 

Fee notes:

  • The fees outlined apply to all students whose initial date of registration falls on or between 1 August 2016 and 31 July 2017.
  • All students pay the tuition fee set by the University for the full duration of their registration period agreed at their initial registration.
  • A deposit may be payable, depending on your course.
  • Additional fees for extensions to the agreed registration period may be charged and can be found below.
  • Fee eligibility at the Home/EU rate is determined with reference to UK Government regulations. As a guiding principle, EU nationals (including UK) who are ordinarily resident in the EU pay Home/EU tuition fees, all other students (including those from the Channel Islands and Isle of Man) pay Overseas fees.


To help students in finding and securing appropriate funding we have created a funding finder where you can search for suitable sources of funding by filtering the results to suit your needs. Visit the funding finder.

Prestige Scholarship

The Prestige Scholarship provides funding of up to £11,000 to cover up to £9k fees and a potential contribution to living expenses. This scholarship has been designed to attract exceptional candidates to Cranfield University so we welcome applications from UK or EU graduates with a first-class honours undergraduate degree. Prestige Scholarships are available for all MSc courses in the Energy, Environment and Agrifood themes.

Merit MSc Bursary

The Merit MSc Bursary provides funding of up to £5,000 towards tuition fees. Applicants should be UK or EU graduates with a first class honours, 2:1 honours or in exceptional circumstances 2:2 honours undergraduate degree in a relevant subject. Merit MSc Bursaries are available for all MSc courses in the Energy, Environment and Agrifood themes.

International MSc Bursary

The International MSc Bursary provides funding of up to £5,000 towards tuition fees. Applicants should be from outside the EU with a first class honours or upper second class honours undergraduate degree or equivalent in a relevant subject. International MSc Bursaries are available for all MSc courses in the Energy, Environment and Agrifood themes.

Cranfield Postgraduate Loan Scheme (CPLS)

The Cranfield Postgraduate Loan Scheme (CPLS) is a funding programme providing affordable tuition fee and maintenance loans for full-time UK/EU students studying technology-based MSc courses.

Conacyt (Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnologia)

Cranfield offers competitive scholarships for Mexican students in conjunction with Conacyt (Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnologia) in science, technology and engineering.

Application Process

Online application form. UK students are normally expected to attend an interview and financial support is best discussed at that time. Overseas and EU students may be interviewed by telephone.

Career opportunities

On completion of this MSc, graduates have a broader network of global contacts, increased opportunities for individual specialism and a wide-range of careers as professional scientists and engineers in the environment sector.

The Cranfield Experience - A Student Perspective

What is the postgraduate student experience like at Cranfield University? What is it like to do an Environment programme MSc at Cranfield? Some of our students made this video to help answer such questions. Enjoy!

Environment Resources