Waste and Resource Management MSc


Waste and Resource Management MSc

This Waste and Resource Management MSc aims to meet a clear industry need for high-skilled graduates in waste and resource management. The term ‘circular economy’ is becoming commonplace for the sustainability sector. It refers to genuine ambitions and mark a step-change in the way we are thinking about business and growth, a change that is good news for the environment we work to protect.

A key driver will be the sustainable resource management sector and how it continues to evolve to support the resource needs of a recovering economy and a consumer market increasingly focused on making sustainable choices.

As a sector, waste has shown beyond doubt its ability to innovate and adapt: moving resiliently from landfill to waste prevention and resource recovery in all its forms. As an industry, waste management is just beginning to assert itself as an important part of the environmental agenda, shrugging off negative public perceptions which have seen it labelled as ‘dirty’ and ‘unskilled’. It is an industry that young people should be excited to become involved with. The variety of opportunities within the sector mean that it can appeal to a huge pool of talent, if it can successfully position itself as the place to be for those in search of skilled, long-term employment.

In addition waste industry employs environmental scientists, engineers, biologists, geologists, civil engineers and soil experts to protect today’s environment while developing more sustainable waste management practices. Some of the most ground-breaking environmental technology being used today drives positions like gas technicians, hazardous materials experts, and landfill gas operators.

Awarded for excellence
Some of our students work have been judged by the most respected experts in the sector. These long-standing and well-respected awards are given for outstanding achievement in the sustainability, resource and waste industry
  • Ed Cook was awarded the Roger Perry Award for his thesis titled ‘Optimising the non-biological outputs of mechanical-biological treatment facilities’ by CIWM’s Sustainability & Resource Awards 2015.
  • Harriet Emkes was also awarded the Roger Perry Award in 2013.
  • Russel Harwood was the winner of the Geotech Award in 2010 at the CIWM Professional Awards Ceremony.

Cranfield University’s Waste and Resource Management MSc programme is officially accredited by the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM), 

CIWM Accreditated course

Course overview

The course comprises eight assessed modules, a group project and an individual research project.

The modules include lectures and tutorials, and are assessed through practical work, written examinations, case studies, essays, presentations and tests. These provide the 'tools' required for the group and individual projects.

Group project

The group project is a multi-disciplinary, team-based activity. It provides students with the opportunity, whilst working in teams under academic supervision, to take responsibility for project tasks, with success dependent on the integration of various activities. Many projects are industrially orientated with support from industry and other external organisations.

Students on the MSc Waste and Resource Management compete for a series of trophies and prizes presented by leading organisations associated with Cranfield University.

Individual Project

A key benefit of the Cranfield MSc is that individual projects are often backed by leading organisations. This means you have the opportunity to develop solutions to real problems - either undertaking the project within the company or working here at Cranfield, using the University's equipment and facilities.


The course comprises eight assessed modules, a group project and an individual research project.


  • Environmental Risks - Hazard, Assessment and Management
    Module LeaderDr Simon Jude - Lecturer

    Current legislation for environment (water, air and land) protection and pollution control; qualitative, quantitative and probabilistic risk analysis tools; systemic risks; problem definition and conceptual models; spatial analysis and informatics; risk screening and prioritisation; assembling strength and weight of evidence; and evaluating and communicating sources of uncertainty.

    Intended learning outcomes

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

    • Understand the wide range of environmental risks within the UK (e.g. animal disease, chemical spills, high winds, flooding) and be able to identify and apply appropriate methods of assessing these risks
    • Be able to demonstrate an understanding of the decision process behind the management of such risks and provide justification for the prioritisation of different risk management actions
    • Recognise the relationship between risk, social, economic, political and technological trends and be able to provide appropriate suggestions for communication of assessment and management of environmental risks related to the influencing factors
    • Analyse and explain the possible consequences in a given situation where environmental risks will occur and their likely impacts on a population and the potential secondary impacts; and
    • Review, critique and suggest improvements for other risk assessment and management methodologies within the given scenarios.
  • Evaluating Sustainability
    Module LeaderDr Adrian Williams - Principal Research Fellow
    SyllabusFrameworks and approaches:
    • Life Cycle Assessment, Carbon and Water Footprints, Ecological Footprints, Ecosystem Service Evaluation, Environmental Impact Assessment, Carbon Brainprint, Uncertainty in LCA, Population Dynamics and Sustainability.
    Application areas:
    • Manufacturing, businesses, food production and consumption, energy systems, waste management
    Intended learning outcomesOn successful completion of this study the student should be able to:
    • Appraise and apply the principles of environmental Life Cycle Assessment and water footprinting to production system chains
    • Assess environmental sustainability
    • Evaluate the principles of the Ecological Footprint and ecosystem services
    • Demonstrate the principles of population sustainability
    • Provide insight into real life environmental decision making.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Modelling Environmental Processes
    Module LeaderDr Ronald Corstanje - Senior Lecturer in Environmental Informatics
    • Introduction to the wide range of applications of numerical models in environmental sciences. Lectures will cover examples of models applied in climate, soil, water, natural ecosystems and atmosphere and others
    • Overview of the types of models applied; mechanistic, semi-empirical and empirical models. Why these different forms exist, their strengths and weaknesses, how they are applied?
    • Introduction to systems analysis. Overview of the basic concepts and how this relates to model design
    • Introduction to numerical solutions and empirical solutions to model parameterization and calibration
    • Identifying what makes models powerful. Predictions, Scenario and Sensitivity testing
    • Recognizing limits and uncertainties; validating the model. Recognizing the importance of good data
    • Practical applications of environmental models. How this is done, in what programming language?
    • Illustrating the impact of models and model outputs on current policy and scientific discourse from global climate change to local flooding risk.
    Intended learning outcomes

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

    • Examine the major environmental models currently being applied in soil, water, ecosystems and atmosphere
    • Recognize the standard types of numerical models in use in environmental sciences
    • Formulate the generic process of model design, building, calibration and validation and recognize some of the uncertainties introduced in this process
    • Explain how the process of model development might be undertaken in different programming environments
    • Undertake a systems analysis. Relate the model building process to the system under consideration
    • Apply a model of environmental processes into a user friendly environment
    • Demonstrate the impact and relevancy of environmental models to policy and scientific discourse.
  • Risk, toxicology, exposure and health
    Module LeaderDr Sophie Rocks - Lecturer in Nanotoxicology
    • The purpose and process of risk assessment
    • Concept of human exposure monitoring - overview of sources and pathways of exposure, exposure assessment approaches and applications
    • Acute and chronic toxicological end-points in mammals (target organ toxicology)
    • Hazardous and pathogenic wastes
    • Components included in undertaking a health impact assessment (HIA).
    Intended learning outcomes

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

    • Understand and explain the overall process of risk assessment and delineate this from risk management and communication
    • Describe how chemical and biological substances cause harm to humans and other organisms and how this harm and related exposure can be monitored and used to inform risk assessment
    • Demonstrate knowledge of the principles and techniques for amenity impact measurement and control
    • Demonstrate a conceptual understanding of the range of acute and chronic harmful effects that can be caused by short and long-term exposure in environmental and occupational settings
    • Explain the objective and elements that may be required in an environmental or a health impact assessment, including scientific, health and social aspects.
  • 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%, Individual project - 40%

Start date, duration and location

Start date: Full-time: October. Part-time: throughout the year

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

Teaching location: Cranfield


The aim of the course is to develop high calibre postgraduates with the breadth and depth of advanced technical and professional knowledge in waste and resource technology and management. The course will

  • Provide an holistic approach to waste and resource management in response to the proposed waste circular economy.
  • Select and apply appropriate existing and emerging technologies that can achieve lower waste production and landfill diversion via an integrated and cross-disciplinary approach to sustainable waste management
  • Equip students to select and apply scientific, technical and engineering principles
  • Enable the application of scientific, technical and engineering principles, economic consequences and risks of waste management options as best practice.
  • Apply acquired knowledge to team working and independent problem solving.
The Cranfield MSc in Waste and Resource Management offers a tremendous range of career opportunities in the waste and resource sector. As part of the taught course, there are many opportunities to learn transferable skills that potential employers require.

Cranfield University aims to provide the optimum learning environment, experience and facilities for students. Cranfield provides high quality facilities directly relevant or comparable to the facilities found in industry, business and public sector organisations, in the context of a high quality learning environment.
  • Cranfield’s staff:student ratio is positioned second among UK universities.
  • Our library facilities are ranked 4th best out of all UK University libraries.
  • Access to state-of-the-art analytical facilities and equipment enabling students to obtain practical experience
  • Access to unique pilot hall treatment facility for waste and wastewater treatment and analysis
  • Access to our pilot facility for pyrolysis, gasification and plasma technologies
  • Access to our unique AD pilot plant (8 m3) kindly provided by Shanks which is coupled to two syngas Caterpillar engines of 745 kW
  • Access to Cranfield biomass plant.

Accreditation and partnerships

Cranfield University’s Waste and Resource Management MSc programme is officially accredited by the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM), the leading international body for waste and resource management and 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 and providing samples of waste. In particular Viridor, Shanks, SITA UK, Ricardo Energy & Environment, Golder Associates, RSK, Public Health England, VWP Ltd, ARUP, Mott MacDonald, Defra, CIWM have agreed to play an active role in the delivery of the course, through the sponsorship and support of the group and individual research projects.

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 waste sector organisations.

Waste and Resource Management students also compete for industry sponsored prizes:

Your teaching team

You will be taught by internationally leading academics and practitioners. This will ensure you are aware of cutting-edge tools, techniques and innovations. The course is directed by an industrial advisory committee comprising senior representatives from leading organisations. This means skills and knowledge you acquire from the programme are relevant to employer requirements.

Facilities and resources

The School of Energy, Environment and Agrifood operates facilities and associated equipment which are often unique to Cranfield. Waste and Resource Management students benefit from access to our state-of-the-art analytical facilities and major waste management operations in the region. Students go on site visits to industrial facilities.

Entry Requirements

A first or second class UK Honours degree in a relevant science, engineering or related discipline, or the international equivalent of these UK qualifications.  Other relevant qualifications, together with significant 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). 


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.

Commonwealth Shared Scholarship Scheme

Students from developing countries who would not otherwise be able to study in the UK can apply for Commonwealth Shared Scholarships for Master’s study, jointly supported by UK universities.

Career opportunities

Career prospects for students on the Waste and Resource Management course are excellent. The waste management industry is undergoing a change in strategy as a result of the introduction of increasingly arduous legislation, tougher enforcement, and better educated consumers making demands about the environment (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – DEFRA, 2006 and 2011; Energy and utility skills, 2010). This is stimulating considerable investment by the waste industry in alternative technologies to reduce and reuse waste, rather than rely on simple landfill. This sector therefore has an urgent requirement for well qualified staff with management expertise who can meet the challenges of this future sustainable agenda.

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