Study an Environment MSc at Cranfield

Environmental management is increasingly important in private, public and voluntary sector organisations. This course will equip you to critically evaluate environmental issues and contribute to the economic and policy decision making process in organisations of any size.

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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 projects 20%, Individual project 40%
  • QualificationMSc, PgDip, PgCert
  • Study typeFull-time / Part-time

Who is it for?

This course provides students with the necessary up-to-date knowledge and understanding of environmental issues and policy as they impact on the public, private and voluntary sectors. It also provides students with the ability and skills to develop and implement strategies to promote sustainable business practice.

This course will equip you to critically evaluate environmental issues and contribute to the economic and policy decision making process in organisations of any size. It will give you the skills and experience required to monitor and critically evaluate business practice through the environmental auditing and other assessment methods. You will graduate ready to effectively develop and implement best practice strategies which lead to environmentally and socially responsible products and services.

Why this course?

  • Employment prospects – our reputation and links with employers ensure outstanding opportunities to secure excellent positions.
  • Flexibility – A wide choice of topics for your personal project means that you can choose your own specialism. The course is available on a full-time or part-time basis.
  • Excellence in teaching – In the last Teaching Quality Assessment our courses were rated as “excellent”. Eighty percent of the staff are members of the Registered Practitioners with the Higher Education Academy.
  • Track record – we have been providing Masters-level training for over 20 years.
  • Professional recognition – We regularly consult with senior representatives of key industries on questions of course and curriculum design to ensure that the programme continues to reflect the changing needs of the various sectors in which our students aim to work. The course is accredited by the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM).
  • Postgraduate level – Cranfield University is entirely postgraduate. Many of the students on the course have considerable professional experience.
  • Expert staff – The course is designed and delivered by experts in the field of environmental management.
  • Practical focus – We believe in giving you as much hands-on work as possible so that you are learning by doing.

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

Your teaching team

In the last Teaching Quality Assessment, our courses were rated as “excellent”. The course is designed and delivered by experts in the field of environmental management and 80% of the staff are members of the Registered Practitioners with the Higher Education Academy.

Dr David Parsons - Course Director. A mathematician specialising in the use of modelling, risk assessment and optimisation in decision making related to natural resources.

The teaching team includes:

Invited lecturers:

Accreditation

This degree has been accredited by the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM).


Course details

This course comprises eight modules, an individual project and a group project.  Part-time students normally complete individual dissertations in place of the group project.

Group project

Group projects, which run between February and April, enable you to put the skills and knowledge developed during the course modules into practice in an applied context while gaining transferable skills in project management, teamwork and independent research. Group projects are usually sponsored by industrial or public sector partners who provide particular problems linked to their businesses. Projects generally require the group to provide a solution to the operational problem. Potential future employers value this experience. The group projects are across the MSc courses in the environment programme, giving the added benefit of gaining new insights, ways of thinking, experience and skills from students with other backgrounds.

During the project you will develop a range of skills including learning how to establish team member roles and responsibilities, project management, and delivering technical presentations. At the end of the project, all groups submit a written report and deliver a presentation to the industrial partner. This presentation provides the opportunity to develop interpersonal and presentation skills within a professional environment. The project is assessed through a written report and an oral presentation by the group. In addition, a poster exhibition provides the opportunity to develop presentation skills and effectively handle questions about complex issues in a professional manner.

Part-time students normally complete individual dissertations in place of the group project.

Recent group projects include:

  • Peterborough Smart City Urban Observatory (Opportunity Peterborough)
  • Mapping water risk in fresh produce supply chains (Sainsburys)
  • Carbon emission implications of slum sanitation improvement (WSUP)
  • Measuring water sustainability within a water utility (Yorkshire Water)
  • Regulation and networking in functional ceramics. (Piezo Institute).

Individual project

The individual research project allows you to delve deeper into a specific area of interest. As our academic research is so closely related to industry and public sector organisations, it is very common for our partners to put forward real-world problems or areas of development as potential research topics.

The individual research project component takes place between April/May and August for full-time students. For part-time students, it is common that their research projects are undertaken in collaboration with their place of work under academic supervision, given the approval of the Course Directors.

Individual research projects undertaken may involve a wide range of techniques from qualitative analysis to quantitative modelling.

Recent individual projects:

  • Systematic examination and analysis of European Court decisions based on the precautionary principle                                    
  • Sustainability key performance indicators for a media business
  • Benchmarking agricultural water value and environmental performance
  • How can the fast-moving consumer goods sector help create a market for waste treatment by-products?
  • Disruptive chemical technologies - building and interpreting a Delphi exercise to engage stakeholder viewpoints
  • An environmental evaluation of urban mobility based on an LCA approach
  • Evolution of UK and US shale gas sectors
  • Managing the adoption of circular economy in SME
  • Exploring social media and networks as a driver to promote sustainable behaviour: case analysis and policy implications
  • Evaluation of methods for sustainability assessments of new, emerging and/or renewable energy technologies
  • Exploration of WEEE regulations and the potential for additive manufacturing materials
  • 3D visualisation for marine spatial planning and risk assessment.

Assessment

Taught modules 40%, Group projects 20%, Individual 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.

Risk Communication and Perception

Module Leader
  • Rocks, Dr Sophie S.A.
Aim

    The aim of this module is for the student to fully understand the importance of individual and group attitudes towards the perception of risk and how this may influence views, conduct and actions in the face of a range of risks. To understand and be able to develop communication of information on risk to a range of audiences.

Syllabus
    • What is meant by the perception of risk and how it varies with context
    • Attitudes towards risk based on psychological, cultural and other dimensions
    • The role of various societal groups (the media, NGOs, etc) in risk issues
    • Models of the amplification and attenuation of risk
    • Understanding the “fright factors” in risk perception and the development of trust
    • Horizon scanning and scenario building tools for communicating future risk to individuals and organisations
    • Communicating risk messages to individuals, groups and society at large and errors in communication.
Intended learning outcomes

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

  • Describe the "non-science" influences in risk assessment and management using sociological and psychological theories relating to risk perception, attitudes and communication
  • Identify and describe drivers that may influence individual or group perceptions and attitudes towards risk in specific scenarios
  • Participate in the discourse on the roles in society of different stakeholders (e.g. the media, NGOs, academics, government) with respect to risk assessment issues and to be able to describe to others why they have the beliefs they hold
  • Demonstrate skills in listening to concerns from different individuals/groups towards risks and the ability to enter into dialogue with such groups
  • Communicate clearly to a range of audiences the impacts of future risks drawing upon the concepts of horizon scanning and using foresight tools, demonstrating the underlying principles and tensions within such techniques
  • Develop effective means of communication to suit specific or general situations and how to demonstrate its effectiveness, and critique methods based on theories and evidence.

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.

Evaluating Sustainability through Lifecycle Approaches

Module Leader
  • Dr Pietro Goglio
Aim

    The goods and services that we consume impose impacts on the environment. These include globally influential ones, like greenhouse gases and local ones, like water pollution. We need to quantify these to compare production or consumption methods and understand what our collective and individual consumption demands impose on the earth’s environment. We must also apply mature, critical thinking to environmental claims.
    A life cycle perspective forms the basis of much of the module. N.B. Economic sustainability is not addressed.

Syllabus
    • Frameworks and approaches: Life Cycle Assessment, Carbon and Water Footprints, Ecological Footprints, Environmental Impact Assessment, Carbon Brainprint, Uncertainty in LCA, , social Life Cycle Assessment, Life Cycle Costing
    • Application areas: Manufacturing, businesses, food production and consumption, energy systems, waste management, fishing and farming.

Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
  • Appraise and apply the principles of environmental Life Cycle Assessment and Water Footprinting to production system chains
  • Apply life cycle approaches in assessing the environmental sustainability to make claims about environmental sustainability.
  • Develop the ability to understand, analyse a production system with regards to environmental, social and economic sustainability.
  •  Provide insight into real life environmental decision making.

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.

Environmental Management in Practice

Module Leader
  • Drew, Dr Gill G.H.
Aim

    The purpose of this module is to introduce students to the practical issues associated with implementing Environmental Management Systems (EMS) into organisations. This requires a thorough understanding of the concept of an EMS, as well as the most commonly used frameworks, namely the ISO 14000 series of standards. In addition, knowledge of the potential barriers and pitfalls during implementation and the practical measures that can be implemented is required.  

Syllabus
    • Introduction to the International Standards associated with EMS
    • Environmental legislation and voluntary standards
    • Developing the business case for EMS
    • Barriers to implementation of EMS
    • Waste technology and prevention measures
    • Energy technology and monitoring
    • Water use and technology.
Intended learning outcomes

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

  • Understand and critique the ISO standards
  • Differentiate between voluntary requirements and legal or regulatory requirements of EMS
  • Evaluate the likely environmental aspects of an organisation, in terms of energy, waste, water and pollution, and the appropriate control mechanisms
  • Analyse the potential barriers to implementation of EMSs within specific organisational contexts.

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 £9,000 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 for students from Taiwan.



Entry requirements

This course is suitable for graduates with science, engineering, social science or business related degrees keen to pursue careers in resource management; or graduates currently working in industry keen to extend their qualifications; or individuals with other qualifications who possess considerable relevant experience.

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

Successful students develop diverse and rewarding careers in government ministries, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), environmental and business consultancies, public sector organisations such as environmental protection agencies, and the manufacturing and service industries in the private sector. 

The international nature of the course means that career opportunities are not restricted to the UK. Cranfield graduates develop careers around the world. 

We have been providing Masters level training for over 20 years. Our strong reputation and links with potential employers provide you with outstanding opportunities to secure interesting jobs and develop successful careers. The increasing interest in sustainability and corporate and social responsibility has also enhanced the career prospects of our graduates. 

Cranfield's applied approach and close links with industry mean 93% of our graduates find jobs relevant to their degree or go on to further study within six months of graduation. Our careers team support you while you are studying and following graduation with workshops, careers fairs, vacancy information and one-to-one support. 

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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