Develop your career as a highly sought after environmental engineer 

Suitable for graduates in engineering, science, and geography, the Environmental Engineering MSc will help you enhance your career by specialising in environmental engineering studies, involving the application of scientific and engineering principles to protect and improve the environment. Accredited by CIWEM and IAgrE, this course will equip you with the knowledge and skills required to solve a wide range of environmental engineering challenges and make a real difference to the planet, - including municipal and toxic waste management and disposal, process emissions, contaminated land and water, waste disposal, energy, and resource recovery. Cranfield offers a unique, postgraduate-only environment where you will learn from a teaching team with extensive experience of solving real-world environmental challenges.


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

Who is it for?

This environmental engineering course is designed for science, engineering, and geography graduates who are passionate about the protection and improvement of environmental quality alongside enhancing the quality of human life.

We also welcome graduates currently in employment who are keen to gain further qualifications or to pursue a career change, or individuals with other qualifications and considerable relevant experience.

During the environmental engineering masters, you will learn principles of environmental improvements, including the protection of environmental quality at both local, landscape and global scales.

Your career

With the current global focus on the full range of environmental issues, graduates of this course can expect to be highly sought after by employers. Equipped with the advanced knowledge and management skills to analyse processes, principles, and practices essential to environmental challenges, you will have opportunities to pursue careers across a wide range of industrial and public organisations.

Successful graduates have been able to pursue or enhance careers in a variety of key areas such as:

Research Consultant, Environmental Scientist, Waste Consultant, Environmental Consultant, Site Engineer, Environmental Quality and Compliance Consultant, Risk Prevention & Environmental Engineer, Project Engineer, Research Engineer, Environmental Engineer, Environmental Project Manager, Supply Chain Manager, and Digital and Analytics Specialist.

Some graduates have also followed the academia route through progression onto PhD study.

Previous students have gone on to jobs within prestigious institutions including:

Golder Associates, Arup, Seche Environment, EnvironTec Gmbh, Deloitte, BP, Chevron, WSP, Jacobs, Viridor, Syngenta, SCOTEC UK, Mondelēz International.

Cranfield Careers and Employability Service

Cranfield’s Career Service is dedicated to helping you meet your career aspirations. You will have access to career coaching and advice, CV development, interview practice, access to hundreds of available jobs via our Symplicity platform and opportunities to meet recruiting employers at our careers fairs. Our strong reputation and links with potential employers provide you with outstanding opportunities to secure interesting jobs and develop successful careers. Support continues after graduation and as a Cranfield alumnus, you have free life-long access to a range of career resources to help you continue your education and enhance your career.

Cranfield supports international students to work in the UK after graduation

I love the variety of the modules in my Environmental Engineering MSc at Cranfield. I believe that the course provides state-of-the-art topics, that discuss the most critical environmental challenges in the world.

Cranfield University is unique in the UK because it focuses exclusively on graduate students. We need to work with some of the brightest and best scientists around the world, and Cranfield University are one of the partners that we selected to work with on a long-term strategic basis.
I couldn’t think of a better place to develop academic skills alongside exposure to industry leaders.
There are students that are coming up with ideas that I would never have thought of and I know that businesses who we collaborate with would never have thought of. So it’s really important to get idea generation, to get motivations and to get people engaged in what businesses need today.

Why this course?

A masters in environmental engineering course will equip you with the knowledge and skills focusing on innovative approaches and technologies to solve a wide range of future sustainability challenges to fulfil sustainable development goals. The course covers municipal and hazardous waste management, process emissions control, contaminated land, water, wastewater, and waste disposal. The programme also addresses energy and resource recovery from waste materials.

  • Study a course with accreditation by the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM), and the Institution of Agricultural Engineers (IAgrE).
  • Benefit from Cranfield’s applied focus by working on real-world problems faced in industry during your studies.
  • Participate in individual and group projects focused on your personal interests and career aspirations.
  • Learn from lecturers with extensive, current experience of working with industry on solving real-world environmental challenges.
  • Technical modules incorporate a range of industry relevant topics, including Pollution Prevention and Remediation Technologies and Land Engineering Principles.
  • Management modules cover essential topics such as Waste Management in a Circular Economy and Environmental Risks: Hazard, Assessment and Management

Informed by industry

The Environmental Engineering MSc is closely aligned with industry to ensure that you are fully prepared for your new career.

  • An Industrial Advisory Board for the programme scrutinises course content and ensures its relevance to the needs of global employers.
  • Industry practitioners contribute directly to the course by teaching alongside academics from Cranfield ensuring the relevance of course content to the professional world. For example;Tarmac contributes to the Land Engineering Principles Practices module is a lecture on Quarry Restoration: case study. This also includes a site visit to Tarmac's Broom Quarry site to look at the on-going site restoration.
  • Sixty percent of the course is focused on applied research projects including group projects (20%) and an individual thesis project (40%); both also supported by industry and environmental sector organisations.

Course details

The modules include lectures and tutorials, and are assessed through examinations and assignments. There is an emphasis on analysis of real problems. Students undertaking the Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip) complete the seven modules and the group project. Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert) students are required to complete six of the eight modules.

Water course structure diagram

Course delivery

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

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.

Recent group projects include:

Individual project

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


Keeping our courses up-to-date and current requires constant innovation and change. The modules we offer reflect the needs of business and industry and the research interests of our staff and, as a result, may change or be withdrawn due to research developments, legislation changes or for a variety of other reasons. Changes may also be designed to improve the student learning experience or to respond to feedback from students, external examiners, accreditation bodies and industrial advisory panels.

To give you a taster, we have listed the compulsory and elective (where applicable) modules which are currently affiliated with this course. All modules are indicative only, and may be subject to change for your year of entry.

Course modules

Compulsory modules
All the modules in the following list need to be taken as part of this course.

Environmental Risks: Hazard, Assessment and Management

Module Leader
  • Dr Abdou Khouakhi
  • Dr Monica Rivas Casado

    Over the past decade environmental regulators and the public have aimed to improve the quality of environmental management by basing choices on reliable data and assessment. However risk analysts often develop their competencies from their specific profession, for which the requirements can vary across industries, government bodies and geographical boarders.

    This module aims to provide a transdisciplinary understanding of the theory and practice of effective management of all phases of environmental hazards. The module covers key topics including conceptual model development, probability, risk characterisation, and informatics. In doing so, this module aims to provide you with the capability and capacity to assess the wide range of increasingly complex risks and hazards facing organisations, policymakers and regulators.

    • 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,
    • Evaluating and communicating sources of uncertainty.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

  • Identify, analyse and evaluate 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,
  • Critically evaluate the decision process underpinning the management of such risks and provide justification for the prioritisation and application of different risk management actions,
  • Examine and interpret 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,
  • Review, critique and suggest improvements for other risk assessment and management methodologies within the given scenarios.

Modelling Environmental Processes

Module Leader
  • Professor Ronald Corstanje

    An introduction to the full suite of environmental models and modelling methods that are currently used to describe and predict environmental processes and outcomes. The objective of this module is to give an overview of the different types of models currently being used to describe environmental processes and how they are being applied in practice. The module will offer you the opportunity to strengthen your analytical abilities with a specific mathematical emphasis, including programming and modelling, which are key skills to launch future careers in science, engineering and technology. In addition, throughout various interactive learning events, your social skills will be intensively trained.

    • 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 parameterisation and calibration.
    • Identifying what makes models powerful. Predictions, Scenario and Sensitivity testing.
    • Recognising limits and uncertainties; validating the model. Recognising the importance of good data.
    • Practical applications of environmental models. How this is done, in what programming language?
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

  • Identify and evaluate the standard types of numerical models in use in environmental sciences (including soil, water, ecosystems and atmosphere).
  • Formulate the generic process of model design, building, calibration and validation. Recognise some of the uncertainties introduced in this process.
  • Assess the model building process in the context of the system under consideration.
  • Construct a model of environmental processes and modify it into a user friendly environment.
  • Evaluate the impact and relevancy of environmental models to policy and scientific discourse.

  • Pollution Prevention and Remediation Technologies

    Module Leader
    • Professor Frederic Coulon

      The module introduces the extent and consequences of pollution in the environment, identifies and evaluates technologies for prevention and remediation and exposes you to using decision support tool and modelling to deal with pollution prevention and remediation.

      This module is 10 credits.


      • 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 module you should be able to:

    • Define and discuss the key issues related to environmental pollution prevention and remediation,
    • Critically appraise the range of remediation technologies for soil and groundwater,
    • Appraise the key indicators for sustainable remediation approach,
    • Select and evaluate accepted decision tools to assess remediation performance and end-points.

    Waste Management in a Circular Economy: Reuse, Recycle, Recover and Dispose

    Module Leader
    • Professor Frederic Coulon

      The aim of this module is to provide specialist understanding of the major processes used for municipal waste management and their role within an integrated – circular - waste management system. In particular the module will focus on the bottom three points of the waste hierarchy: recycle, recover and dispose.

      This module is 10 credits.

      • Integrated waste management: appraisal of national and international legislation and policy,
      • Circular economy in the waste context,
      • 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, AD and other biorefinery processes,
      • Thermal treatment: incineration, gasification, pyrolysis, combined heat and power, waste to energy, solid recovered fuel.
    Intended learning outcomes

    On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

    • Appraise the role of waste treatment technologies under the circular management agenda - drivers, selection, pre-requisites requirements, waste types treated,
    • Apply the concepts and principles of the biological processes for treating organic waste to the waste degradation context and evaluate and calculate energy potential,
    • Explain why landfill gas (LFG) is treated and how to control, collect and treat the gas. Appraise the parameters contributing to LFG production and composition, the risks and production controls and calculate their potential impact,
    • Critically assess specific waste/feedstock treatment processes involved into a circular economy (e.g. MBT, AD, biorefinery),
    • Apply the concept and principle of waste management into a circular economy.

    Land Engineering Principles and Practices

    Module Leader
    • Dr Lynda Deeks

      Natural landscapes and built environments can be engineered to optimise the goods and services delivered to society, including provision of natural resources and the regulation of water and carbon. Technologies that prevent and/or reverse land degradation can be devised and implemented to ensure sustainable use of finite land resources. Environmental engineers and land managers need sound understanding of the environmental properties that determine land capability for any given desired end use, as well as the interrelationships between soil, water, vegetation and built structures. This understanding is grounded in basic soil physics, hydrology, hydraulics, geotechnics and agronomy. With this background, appropriate interventions such as soil erosion control and slope stabilisation can be designed and implemented to improve inherent land quality. The required skills set also informs the management of environmental projects involving land forming, reclamation, restoration and protection, which require selection, design, engineering and maintenance of appropriate structures.

      This module is 10 credits.


      Site Assessment: Concept of land capability and land quality:

      • Criteria used for assessing land capability and its classification - USDA scheme, Canadian Land Inventory, urban land capability scheme.

      Land forming, earth moving and landscape modification:

      • Earth works design - Defra recommendations, Water retention - ponds.
      • Machinery and equipment used (+ visit to Tarmac or similar).

      Geotechnics: Slope stability:

      • The stability of shallow and deep slope failures.
      • Methods of slope stability calculations - Finite slope analysis etc.
      • Slope engineering for slope stability - bunds and berms, bioengineering, biotechnical engineering.
      • Surface erosion of slope forming materials:

      • Soil erosion processes.
      • Soil erosion consequences.
      • Surface soil erosion control - terraces, check dams, agronomic techniques (bioengineering),

      Vegetation as an engineering material (bioengineering and biotechnical engineering),


      Top and sub soil management

      • Vegetation establishment.
      • Site maintenance.
    Intended learning outcomes

    On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

    • Apply the concept of land capability to site assessment and carry out land capability classifications,
    • Explain how to design earthworks and select appropriate land-forming machinery/equipment,
    • Calculate the stability of slopes and design of simple support and stabilisation systems,
    • Devise strategies for the long-term management of top soil and subsoil in land engineering projects.

    Process Emissions and Control

    Module Leader
    • Dr Zaheer Nasar

      The aim of this module is to provide an understanding of the major air pollutants emitted by key industrial processes, the associated regulatory frameworks and monitoring and control techniques. A further element of this module is for you to gain an in-depth knowledge of emission control strategies currently applied by industry, e.g. processes modification and implementation of appropriate control mechanisms.

    • Air Quality Parameters, pollution sources, their impact and regulation (UK and EU).
    • Bioaerosol emissions monitoring and sampling strategies.
    • Advanced data analysis and dispersion modelling.
    • Carbon capture and storage.
    • Specific pollutants: particulates, odour, bioaerosols and biogas.
    Intended learning outcomes

    On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

    • Interpret the extent, impact and implications of emissions from industrial processes.
    • Describe the linkage between major emissions that contribute to air pollution to their related industrial processes.
    • Discuss emission abatement strategies currently applied in industry and design principles for each of the strategy.
    • Analyse a specific emission control scenario and apply the design principles to design an appropriate emission control systems.
    • Critically evaluate the efficiency of emission control systems based on operational and design parameters through case examples.

    Cleantech in Water-Energy-Food Nexus

    Module Leader
    • Professor Frederic Coulon

      The aim of the module is to introduce you to the international priorities under the umbrella of the Water-Energy-Food nexus across sectors and scales. The module is premised on the understanding that environmental resources are inextricably intertwined and therefore there is a need of advancing a nexus approach to enable integrated and sustainable management of water, energy and food systems. You will learn and evaluate a range of innovative technologies that provide significant gains in terms of provision and management of energy, water and food and resources.


    • Water-energy-food nexus approaches,
    • Solar energy technologies, concentrated solar power,
    • Water and wastewater treatment technologies,
    • Bioenergy including anaerobic digestion and biogas upgrade/cleanup,
    • Nutrient and resource recovery,
    • Renewable energy,
    • Water and sustainable Agrifood systems,
    • Decision support technology.
    Intended learning outcomes

    On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

    • Critically appraise the key issues related to water-energy-food nexus challenges,
    • Critically evaluate the opportunities in the development and management of the water-energy-resource nexus, tailored to specific sectoral needs,
    • Appraise the key indicators for clean technologies.

    Catchment Management

    Module Leader
    • Dr Robert Simmons

      The catchment is often the unit of landscape at which environmental planning, engineering and management takes place. Understanding the intra and inter-field hydrological and hydraulic processes and factors affecting these operating on hillsides and in channels is essential to ensure the delivery of ecosystem goods and services, including the provision, regulation and protection of natural resources such as water, land and soil. The aim of this module is through applying the source, pathway, receptor approach to improve understanding of the drivers of catchment hydrological processes with regard to water quantity and quality, and how these can be managed through engineering practices including drainage, irrigation and soil erosion control.


      Principles of catchment hydrology and hydraulics

      • Problems of catchment management,
      • Water quantity,
      • Prediction of peak runoff (Rational) and catchment yield including water flow in structures e.g., channels, porous media and prediction of irrigation demand,
      • Water quality - sources of contamination / pollution, and consequences including surface erosion of slope forming materials; soil erosion processes and consequences,
      • Catchment modelling - purposes of catchment modelling, types of models and examples (e.g., SWAT and MIKE-SHE) and catchment modelling challenges. Soil erosion risk assessment and modelling USLE and MMF.

      Water quantity control - investigation of land drainage status and required site moisture conditions for desired end uses

      • Drainage design: types of drainage. Role and design of surface drainage channels: natural channels; engineered channels, diversion drains, etc,
      • Role and design of subsurface drainage systems including; Moles, tiles, pipes, water table control using Hooghoudt, Glover Dumm equations and the Miers approach, as well as hydraulics calculation of channel / pipe discharge capacity using the Mannings equation and practical issues of drainage design: selection of materials, drainage maintenance, pipe surround, backfill and pipe sizing,
      • The design of control structures including culverts - water storage structures, including ‘green’ infrastructure e.g, green roofs,
      • Case studies: SUDs Sustainable Drainage systems; Lined (grassed) waterways,
      • Management of irrigation systems in a catchment context; yield response to water, engineering, and technology options. Ernst equation for sub irrigation design.

      Water quality control - control of sediment, nutrients, agrochemicals, other contaminants.

      • Surface soil erosion control (prevention) including Buffer strips, Grassed Waterways, Filtersocks and other on-farm phosphorous removal structures and P-sorption mechanisms, Tramline and wheeling management options and SuDS,
      • Water treatment in the catchment (remedial) including; water treatment works and contaminant sorbing materials.
    Intended learning outcomes

    On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

    • Critically evaluate sources of sediment, nutrients and pesticides within a catchment, their pathways and receptors and identify management options,
    • Select appropriate input parameter values to apply soil erosion models to predict current erosion status and evaluate different soil conservation measures to control both water quality and quantity,
    • Design drainage systems, channels/ waterways and simple hydraulic structures including the calculation of peak runoff and total yield for a catchment,
    • Devise preventative and remedial techniques to improve catchment water quality, taking account of site location within a catchment and socio-economic conditions,
    • Evaluate the impacts and trade-offs between improving irrigation efficiency and catchment water resources.

    Teaching team

    You will be taught by industry-active research academics at Cranfield with an established track record, supported by visiting lecturers from industry. To ensure the course is aligned to industry needs, the course is directed by its own Industrial Advisory Committee.

    The Admissions Tutor is Dr Chris Walton and the Course Director is Dr Zaheer Nasar.


    The MSc of this course is accredited by the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM), and the Institution of Agricultural Engineers (IAgrE).

    Benefits of accreditation include: complementary student membership while on the course, the opportunity to join Young Professional Project Groups, thus giving access to mentoring opportunities, career talks, increased employability, access to free events, and free publications such as CIWEM’s magazine called The Environment.

        IAgrE logo          CIWEM logo

    How to apply

    Click on the ‘Apply now’ button below to start your online application.

    See our Application guide for information on our application process and entry requirements.