There is a pressing international need for people with the ability to apply economic principles and techniques to support decision making for the effective and efficient management of natural resources and the environment. This course provides graduates with an understanding of the complex relationship between environmental issues and the impact of economic decision making.

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At a glance

  • Start dateFull-time: October. Part-time: throughout the year
  • DurationOne year full-time, two-three years part-time
  • DeliveryTaught modules 40%, group project 20% (dissertation for part-time students), individual thesis project 40%
  • QualificationMSc, PgDip, PgCert
  • Study typeFull-time / Part-time

Who is it for?

The course comprises eight one-week assessed modules, an introductory module, a group project and an individual research project. Students undertaking the Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip) complete eight modules, the introductory module and the group project. Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert) students complete six modules.

This course provides graduates with an understanding of the complex relationship between environmental issues and the impact of economic decision making. Students critically appraise alternative environmental measures and develop the ability to identify and recommend suitable solutions for effective environmental management.

Why this course?

The current emphasis on sustainable management across the globe is a consequence of a growing awareness of the impact of modern society on the environment. Such concerns are clearly evident in recent high profile studies such as the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment.

As a result, there is a pressing international need for people with the ability to apply economic principles and techniques to support decision making for the effective and efficient management of natural resources and the environment.

Informed by Industry

Our courses are designed to meet the training needs of industry and have a strong input from experts in their sector. These include:

  • P A Consulting
  • Health Protection Agency
  • Joint Research Centre, Ispra
  • Cresswell Associates
  • Chartered Institute of Waste Management
  • Chartered Institute of Water and Environment Management
  • Geospatial Insight
  • Oakdene Hollins
  • Golder
  • Astrium Geo-information Services
  • Unilever
  • Landscape Science Consultancy
  • Highview Power Storage
  • Nomura Code Securities
  • RSPB
  • ERM
  • GIGL
  • WRG
  • Environment Agency
  • Enviros
  • Adas
  • Neales Waste
  • Natural England
  • National Trust
  • Trucost
  • SLR Consulting
  • WRc PLC
  • FWAG

Your teaching team

You will be taught by a wide-range of experts from the academic staff at Cranfield as well as professional economists from the public and private sectors. To ensure the programme is aligned to industry needs, the course is directed by its own Industrial Advisory Committee.

Accreditation

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

Course details

The modules include lectures and tutorials, and are assessed through written examinations and assignments. These provide the knowledge of theory and techniques required for the group and individual projects. The course comprises eight one-week assessed modules, an introductory module, a group project and an individual research project. 

Students undertaking the Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip) complete eight modules, the introductory module and the group project. Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert) students complete six modules.

Group project

The group project is an applied, team-based activity in which students apply their knowledge of natural resource and environmental economics to address real-world problems. Success depends on the integration of various activities in relation to agreed objectives, deadlines and budgets. Students submit a project report and present their findings to representatives from the public sector and/or industry.

Individual project

Students select an individual project in consultation with the Course Director. It provides students with the opportunity to develop and demonstrate independent research ability, working within agreed objectives, deadlines and budgets. Part-time students usually undertake their individual project at their place of work.

Assessment

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

Core modules

Principles of Sustainability

Module Leader
  • Burgess, Dr Paul P.J.
Aim

    Human population growth and increased resource use per capita is placing unsustainable demands on the global ecosystem. This module explores sustainability using three approaches.  The “Ecosystem Service” approach provides a framework for society to address key environmental issues such as food production, greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity loss, and water use.  The “Circular Economy” approach refers to the development of “restorative” industrial systems that are grounded on the lessons of non-linear, feedback-rich ecosystems.  The third approach is to explore the nexus between renewable energy, food, and other ecosystem services using per capita energy and food consumption. This module introduces and critiques the three approaches and examines their application to resolve real-world problems and create commercial opportunities.  

Syllabus
    • Moving from an “Empty World” to a “Full World”
    • The Ecosystem Service Approach (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and UK National Ecosystem Assessment)
    • Ecosystem processes and succession; the role of energy; feedback systems; biodiversity and system restoration
    • Using an ecosystem approach: quantifying trade-offs and synergies; improving water and nutrient management, reducing greenhouse gases emissions, enhancing stability, resistance and resilience
    • Introduction to the circular economy: opportunities for businesses; opportunities for consumers
    • How design, manufacturing practice and management can contribute to a circular economy
    • Case study: trade-offs, synergies, and opportunities to enhance well-being and ecosystem service provision in terms of energy, food, feed and wood for a case study area.
Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
  • Critique the “ecosystem services”, “circular economy”, and “per capita energy use” approaches
  • Critique associated terms such as “human well-being”, “sustainability”, and “biodiversity”.
  • Explain the role of energy and feed-back systems in natural systems
  • Explain how an ecosystem service approach can help society to identify and make decisions regarding the use of ecological resources, with a focus on biodiversity, greenhouse gases, nutrient loss, and water use.
  • Explain how we can enhance the stability, resistance and resilience of natural systems.
  • Explain how the “circular economy” provides commercial opportunities
  • Explain how industrial activities such as design and manufacturing can promote a circular economy
  • Use a per capita approach to explore the synergies between food, feed, wood, and renewable energy production to guide decision making and identify opportunities in the context of a case-study.

Environmental Valuation

Module Leader
  • Ozkan, Dr Nazmiye N.
Aim

    In the search for methods that combine economic analysis and environmental assessments to achieve the goal of sustainable development, the measurement of environmental costs and benefits is an increasingly important element of the appraisal of policies and projects.  This module explores economic concepts and techniques that can be used for the valuation of the environment, how these support decisions regarding the optimal allocation of resources and the design of policy interventions.

Syllabus
    • Techniques for non-market valuation: cost and income based approaches, demand estimation methods - expressed and revealed preference, choice modelling, examples of applications
    • Multi-criteria analysis
    • Environmental accounting for business
    • Environmental accounting at sector and national levels
    • Case study examples of application.
Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
  • Explain how economics can help determining environmental value
  • Assess strengths and weaknesses of different environmental valuation methods and techniques
  • Explain how environmental valuation methods can be incorporated into decision making techniques, especially extended cost benefit analysis, risk assessment and multi criteria analysis
  • Critically appraise the contribution of economic valuation and economic mechanisms to environmental policy
  • Explain the purpose and methods of environmental accounting at sector and national level.

Environmental Econometrics

Module Leader
  • Rivas Casado, Dr Monica M.
Aim

    To acquire knowledge and skills in quantitative methods of economic analysis to support decision making in natural resources and environmental management.

Syllabus
    • Introduction to quantitative methods for economic analysis applied to natural resource and environmental management: describing, explaining and predicting
    • Data management procedures
    • Modelling and testing relationships: parametric and non parametric methods, regression analysis and multivariate techniques
    • Spatial interpretation of results using Geographical Information Systems
    • Implementation of the learned theory to real cases studies on travel cost and hedonic pricing.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a systematic understanding of and apply the methods of data management for econometric analysis
  • Critically evaluate the contribution and suitability of econometric methods for natural resource and environmental management, including the advantages and limitations of alternative methods
  • Use major types of econometric techniques to support decision making in natural resource and environmental management, using appropriate software.

Financial and Economic Appraisal

Module Leader
  • Burgess, Dr Paul P.J.
Aim

    Financial (or investment) appraisal is a decision making process used by institutions and individuals to compare the efficiency of competing projects. Economic appraisal (or social costbenefit analysis) is the process of identifying, measuring, and comparing the societal costs of an investment project or programme. Projects can be judged in terms of their relative monetised net benefits, (total benefits minus total costs), including environmental impacts or enhancement; the project with the largest benefit: cost ratio is considered to deliver the most social benefits from the options under consideration. This module explains the principles of financial and economic appraisal and students will acquire the knowledge and skills in the application of such appraisals.

Syllabus
    • Welfare economics and pareto-efficiency; compensation principle and the role of equity
    • Market failures and the role of cost benefit analysis
    • Principles and practice of financial and economic appraisal
    • Case study application for an afforestation project in a spreadsheet environment
    • Efficient provision of environmental goods and services.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of economic efficiency and equity, and its role in decision making
  • Understand the difference between financial and economic appraisal
  • Critically evaluate different financial and economic appraisal metrics such as benefit: cost ratio, net present value, equivalent annual value, and internal rate of return
  • Critically evaluate the choice of an appropriate discount rate
  • Undertake a financial and an economic appraisal in a spreadsheet environment
  • Use techniques such as sensitivity analysis and Monte Carlo simulation.

Natural Resource Economics

Module Leader
  • Graves, Dr Anil A.R.
Aim

    Natural resources underpin economic activity. This module explores the functional role of the environment in the economy and examines how natural resources can be classified. It uses economic theory to explore the relationship between the stocks of natural capital and the flows of services that emanate from them. Economic models are used to analyse current resource management challenges, distinguishing between renewable and non-renewable resources. The importance of non-market benefits of natural capital is examined and approaches to management of these benefits are critically examined. The module is delivered mainly through case studies focussing on major types of natural resources.


Syllabus
    In exploring public governance and policy in relation to environmental agendas, this module will combine formal lectures and case studies with interactive practical exercises, and will cover:
    • The role of the environment in the economy
    • Natural capital and ecosystems services
    • Definition and classification of natural resources
    • Drivers of resource demand, environmental impacts and resource use
    • Economic models of resource use growth and sustainable development
    • Theoretical frameworks for economically optimal use of nonrenewable and renewable resources
    • Payments for ecosystem services
    • Economic dimensions of the management of natural resources: land and soils, energy, minerals, water, biodiversity, marine fisheries, forestry
    • Implications for natural resource and environmental policy.
Intended learning outcomes To acquire knowledge and skills in economic analysis applied to the management of natural resources, consistent with the principles of sustainable development. On successful completion of this study the student should be able to:
  • Explain the importance and functional role that natural capital plays in the economy
  • models and the implications for sustainable development
  • Expain the difference between stocks and flows as applied to natural resources and related ecosystems and explain the role of economic theory in resource allocation decisions
  • Explain and apply methods of economic analysis to support practical decision making for the management of natural resources and ecosystem services, consistent with the concept of sustainable development.

Environmental Policy and Risk Governance

Module Leader
  • Jude, Dr Simon S.R.
Aim

    A critical application of environmental risk management is in the development and appraisal of Policy in Central Government. Policies are developed to manage environmental risks and selection of policy options must be informed by risk based tools and techniques. Doing so demands a comprehension of the technical, organisational and human elements of governing environmental risks – that is, of the communication, analysis, management and delivery of sound risk governance. This module draws these themes together by introducing core concepts and then illustrating these concepts with case studies and finally application via a group exercise. Core lectures and supporting material are supported by a Master class in environmental risk management and policy development with time allowed for group discussion.

Syllabus
    • Risk governance
    • Problem definition
    • Environmental risk analysis and management
    • Implementation within organisations
    • Environmental policy development and appraisal
    • Policy instruments.
Intended learning outcomes

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

  • Define the technical, organisational and human features of good environmental risk governance
  • Understand the environmental policy cycle of implementation and the basics of policy development and appraisal
  • Demonstrate a systematic understanding of the range of policy instruments, namely regulation, economic, voluntary and other measures
  • Understand the role of environmental risk management in policy development and appraisal
  • Compare and contrast environmental risk management techniques, selecting tools appropriate the character of the risk in question
  • Identify the requirements of risk management maturity and the pre-requisites of good corporate risk governance
  • Contextualise their knowledge in case studies of environmental policy and risk governance
  • Apply their knowledge through a group exercise, developing and appraising policy options to manage environmental risk. 

Technology, Environment and Society

Module Leader
  • Dr Philip Longhurst
Aim

    While technological change is seen as the root cause of many environmental problems, it is simultaneously viewed as the means of solving such problems. This module explores technological change as part of positive sum strategies put forward by ecological modernisers. Theories of technological change are reviewed such as evolutionary, path dependent and long wave and used to formulate technology policy to achieve transition to a low carbon economy.

Syllabus
    • Ecological Modernisation, definition, key aspects, objectives and methodology
    • Development of associated policy frameworks, market failure, the role of governments, policies and mechanisms to address this
    • Innovation: Technology Development, transfer, adoption and diffusion
    • Innovation and sustainability, utility which process offers in this context, drivers and barriers
    • Integrated Sustainable Technology Assessment in context
    • Clusters, technology road-maps and the development of sustainable technologies: Renewable energy.
Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
  • Identify and understand theories of technological change, e.g. linear, induced, path-dependent, evolutionary.
  • Appreciate the role of technological change in economic development, environmental protection and transitions to ecological modernisation
  • Understand the role of technological change in achieving transition to a low carbon economy
  • Give examples and explain technology options and policy initiatives to stimulate transitions, e.g. to a low carbon economy
  • Propose and concisely justify a proposal for a low-carbon initiative.

Energy Economics

Module Leader
  • Ozkan, Dr Nazmiye N.
Aim
    Energy generation, transmission, distribution and use interact with many aspects of the environment. This module covers a variety of theoretical and empirical topics related to energy demand, energy supply, energy prices, renewable vs depletable resources and environmental consequences of energy consumption and production, all from an economic perspective. It will demonstrate how key economic principles are used in various energy-environment models to inform energy and climate policy.
Syllabus
    • Key concepts and main approaches in economic analysis of energy systems
    • Different approaches to economic modelling of energy and environment interactions
    • Energy efficiency and renewable energy policies, depletable resources
    • Regulation and governance.
Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this study the student should be able to:
  • Discuss how economic principles govern the energy markets
  • Evaluate the approaches for energy market regulation
  • Explain the economics of energy supply and forecasting of prices
  • Critically evaluate different approaches for the modelling of energy and environment interactions
  • Identify and evaluate the key issues facing the energy sector (i.e. smart technologies, energy security).

Fees and funding

European Union students applying for university places in the 2017 to 2018 academic year will still have access to student funding support.

Please see the UK Government’s Department of Education press release for more information

Cranfield University welcomes applications from students from all over the world for our postgraduate programmes. The Home/EU student fees listed continue to apply to EU students.

MSc Full-time £7,800
MSc Part-time £1,500 *
PgDip Full-time £6,000
PgDip Part-time £1,500 *
PgCert Full-time £3,000
PgCert Part-time £1,500 *
  • * The annual registration fee is quoted above and will be invoiced annually. An additional fee of £1,230 per module is also payable on receipt of invoice. 
  • ** Students will be offered the option of paying the full fee up front, or in a maximum of two payments per year; first instalment on receipt of invoice and the second instalment six months later.  

Fee notes:

  • The fees outlined apply to all students whose initial date of registration falls on or between 1 August 2017 and 31 July 2018.
  • 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.

For further information regarding tuition fees, please refer to our fee notes.

MSc Full-time £17,500
MSc Part-time £17,500 **
PgDip Full-time £14,500
PgDip Part-time £14,500 **
PgCert Full-time £10,380
PgCert Part-time £7,000 **
  • * The annual registration fee is quoted above and will be invoiced annually. An additional fee of £1,230 per module is also payable on receipt of invoice. 
  • ** Students will be offered the option of paying the full fee up front, or in a maximum of two payments per year; first instalment on receipt of invoice and the second instalment six months later.  

Fee notes:

  • The fees outlined apply to all students whose initial date of registration falls on or between 1 August 2017 and 31 July 2018.
  • 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.

For further information regarding tuition fees, please refer to our fee notes.

Funding Opportunities

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 Water, Energy and Environment 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 Water, Energy and Environment 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 Water, Energy and Environment 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.

Delta Foundation Chevening Scholarships Taiwan

The Chevening/Delta Environmental Scholarship Scheme is designed to promote environmental awareness and increase future activity to tackle environmental issues, in particular climate change, by offering two joint scholarships.


Entry requirements

Candidates must possess, or be expected to achieve, a first or second class UK Honours degree or equivalent in a relevant discipline. Other relevant qualifications, together with significant experience, may be considered. Suitable for graduates with natural, physical, engineering science and business-related degrees keen to align their careers toward natural resource and environmental economics; or graduates with a degree in economics seeking to develop a specialist knowledge of natural resource and environmental economics.

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.


Your career

Takes you on to a wide range of careers as professional economists in the public and private sectors.

Environment and Agrifood

Cranfield is really good at creating opportunities for students. It’s a fantastic learning environment.

Shannon Anderson,

Applying

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

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