Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) is a decision-making process used to compare the comparative efficiency of competing projects over their lifetime.

Projects are 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 short course explains the principles of CBA and students will acquire the knowledge and skills in the application of CBA to environmental projects.

At a glance

Course structure

Half of this five-day course is delivered through a class-room based exercise looking at the financial and societal (economic) benefits and cost of a woodland establishment project. The other half of the course is delivered through lectures and seminars from Cranfield University staff and external speakers.

What you will learn

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

  • Demonstrate an understanding of and differences between equity and efficiency,
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the role that equity and efficiency play in policy making and the trade-offs involved,
  • Critically evaluate different measures of welfare changes with respect to the environment,
  • Demonstrate a systematic understanding of cost-benefit analysis,
  • Demonstrate an understanding of cost-benefit analysis through the application of the principles to an case study application.

Core content

  • Pareto optimality in a market economy,
  • The compensation principle and the social welfare function,
  • Principles and practice of cost-benefit analysis,
  • Financial appraisal,
  • Extended cost-benefit analysis,
  • Risk and uncertainty,
  • Case study applications of cost-benefit analysis.


Day Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
09.00 - 10.30 Introduction to course
Market Efficiency

Cost Benefit Analysis practical Financial appraisal: an example Sensitivity analysis Assignment (Phase 2 and 3) workshop
10.30 - 11.00 Break Break Break Break Break
11.00 - 12.30

Market failure and the role of cost benefit analysis

Cost Benefit Analysis practical


Financial appraisal: an example

Sensitivity analysis

Cost benefit analysis in practice

12.30 - 14.00 Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch
2.00 - 3.00

Cost Benefit Analysis practical


Cost Benefit Analysis practical

Private study

Monte Carlo simulation

Cost Effectiveness Analysis

15.00 - 15.30 Break Break Break Break Break
3.30 - 5.00

Cost Benefit Analysis practical


Cost Benefit Analysis practical


Private study

  Monte Carlo Simulation

Private study – continue to work on assignment

Upgrade to a professional qualification

Cranfield credits are available for this short course which you can put towards selected Cranfield degrees. Find out more about short course credit points.


Dr Paul Burgess - Reader


20% discount for Cranfield alumni, 10% discount for colleagues of alumni

£1,340 - Professional/trade association discount 

£1,280 - Multiple bookings* 

* Minimum of 5 delegates

Accommodation options and prices

This is a non-residential course. If you would like to book accommodation on campus, please contact Mitchell Hall or Cranfield Management Development Centre directly. Further information regarding our accommodation on campus can be found here.

Alternatively you may wish to make your own arrangements at a nearby hotel.

Location and travel

Cranfield University is situated in Bedfordshire close to the border with Buckinghamshire. The University is located almost midway between the towns of Bedford and Milton Keynes and is conveniently situated between junctions 13 and 14 of the M1.

London Luton, Stansted and Heathrow airports are 30, 90 and 90 minutes respectively by car, offering superb connections to and from just about anywhere in the world.

For further location and travel details

Location address

Cranfield University
College Road 
MK43 0AL

Read our Professional development (CPD) booking conditions.