Study an Environment MSc at Cranfield

There is a growing need for environmental engineers who understand the technologies for pollution control and the commercial opportunities for business. This course equips students with the knowledge and skills to solve a wide range of environmental engineering challenges.

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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 project 40%.
  • QualificationMSc, PgDip, PgCert
  • Study typeFull-time / Part-time

Who is it for?

Suitable for graduate scientists and engineers concerned with the protection and enhancement of human life through the improvement and protection of environmental quality at both local and global scales. 

The MSc course comprises eight assessed modules, an integrated group project and an individual project. Students undertaking the Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip) complete the eight modules and the group project. Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert) students are required to complete six of the eight modules.

Why this course?

This course equips students with the knowledge and skills to solve a wide range of environmental engineering challenges. The course covers municipal and hazardous waste management, process emissions, contaminated land, water, wastewater and waste disposal. The programme also addresses energy and resource recovery from waste materials.

The course will provide you with:

  • An advanced theoretical and specialist understanding of processes and practices central to environmental engineering
  • An ability to select and apply appropriate existing and emerging technologies that can achieve lower environmental impact via an integrated and cross-disciplinary approach
  • Scientific, technical and engineering principles, economic consequences and risks of environmental management options as best practice
  • Capacity to undertake successful technical research projects using appropriate methods of critical analysis.

Informed by Industry

This course was developed by the team through engagement with a number of industrial contacts. 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. 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.

Your 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 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).

CIWEM logo

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.

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.

Individual project

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

Assessment

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

University Disclaimer

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 core modules and some optional modules affiliated with this programme which ran in the academic year 2016–2017. There is no guarantee that these modules will run for 2017 entry. All modules are subject to change depending on your year of entry.

Core modules

Environmental Risks: Hazard, Assessment and Management

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

    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 borders. There is therefore little consensus on the competencies risk analysts require to be considered proficient. This module aims to provide an 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 toxicology. In doing so, this module will provide a means of improving the capability and capacity of students to perform European-wide risk assessments.

Syllabus
    • Current legislation for environment (water, air and land) protection and pollution control
    • Public health and health and safety
    • Qualitative, quantitative and probabilistic risk analysis tools 
    • Problem definition and conceptual models
    • 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 a student 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;
  • be able to 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; and
  • review, critique and suggest improvements for other risk assessment and management methodologies within the given scenarios.

Circular Waste Management: Recycle, Recover and Dispose

Module Leader
  • Dr Raffaella Villa
Aim

    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.

Syllabus
    • 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 a 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;
  • Identify the properties (physical, chemical, and biological) commonly associated with Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) and integrate them into waste management calculations;
  • Critically assess the performance of treatment processes including how wastes are analysed and data interpreted;
  • 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;
  • Evaluate specific process parameters critical to the design of non-landfill treatment processes (e.g. thermal destruction efficiencies; flue gas desulphurisation requirements);
  • Critically assess specific waste/feedstock treatment processes involved into a circular economy (e.g. MBT, AD, biorefinery)
  • Apply concept and principle of waste management into a circular economy. 

Process Emissions and Control

Module Leader
  • Dr Iq Mead
Aim

    The aim of this module is to provide an understanding of the major air pollutants, the associated regulatory frameworks and detection and monitoring techniques. The module will cover principal air pollutants associated with industrial processes such as bioaerosols, odours, dust and particulates, noise and radiations.

Syllabus
    • 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.

Soil Erosion Control: Principles and Practices

Module Leader
  • Dr Robert Simmons
Aim

    The control of water pollution and sedimentation needs to be based on the correct identification of source areas of sediment, a knowledge of the processes by which water and sediment are moved over the land surface, and an understanding of how these processes are affected by the physical environment and socio-economic factors.  Soil conservation can be achieved through within-field and catchment management by targeting erosion control measures at critical locations in the landscape, producing appropriate designs and gaining the support of interested groups and organisations for their implementation.

Syllabus
    • Definitions and agents of water and wind erosion
    • On and offsite consequences ad impacts of erosion
    • Erosion processes: Detachment, entrainment, transport and deposition
    • Rainfall erosivity
    • Soil erodibility
    • Slope and landcover/management factors affecting erosion
    • Role of grass roots for erosion control
    • Soil compaction and role in runoff generation
    • Socio-economic, regulatory and policy contexts of soil erosion control
    • Soil conservation approaches including, soil management, agronomic measures, waterway design, cover crops and terraces
    • Soil conservation planning integrating technical and consultation-based multi-stakeholder approaches. 
Intended learning outcomes

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

  • Describe the processes of soil erosion, and of sediment transport and deposition.
  • Define the environmental impacts of soil erosion, and the need for erosion control and soil conservation.
  • Evaluate erosion risk at a field and catchment scale and identify potential sources and sinks of sediment.
  • Make appropriate decisions on selection of soil conservation approaches to control erosion, based on a fundamental understanding of erosion processes.
  • Select appropriate input parameter values to apply erosion models to predict current erosion status and evaluate different conservation measures.
  • Design an erosion control strategy for an individual farm, taking account of its location within a catchment and socio-economic conditions.
  • Manage a soil conservation project, set by an external client, which requires, using problem solving techniques, writing a consultancy-style report and meeting deadlines set.

Pollution Prevention and Remediation Technologies

Module Leader
  • Professor Frederic Coulon
Aim
    The module introduces the extent and consequences of pollution in the environment, identifies and evaluates technologies for prevention and remediation and exposes students in using decision support tool and modelling to deal with pollution prevention and remediation.
Syllabus
    • 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 a student 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.

Electives

Risk Management and Reliability Engineering

Module Leader
  • Dr Jitka MacAdam
Aim

    Risk management has become the central function of a utility manager. Utilities provide essential public health and environmental protection services to society and those working in the sector need to be versed with the context, tools and requirements of good risk governance. This module then aims to equip technologists with the skills to commission, appraise and review risk assessments within the utility sector, specifically for water, wastewater and solid waste unit processes and assets to introduce the management and governance of risk within the utility sector technical, managerial and human factors.

Syllabus

    This module explores risks from the strategic to operational level and both quantitative and qualitative
    tools and techniques. It does this by exploring:

    • Drivers for risk management in the utility sector - why manage risk?
    • Corporate risk management structures, tools and techniques
    • Basic probability and statistics
    • The reliability, availability and maintenance of unit processes
    • Risk analysis tools and techniques
    • Assets, risk management and public health protection
    • Regulatory risk assessments in support of environmental permits
    • Communicating risk, building stakeholder confidence
    • Risk governance in the utility sector towards high reliability organisations.
Intended learning outcomes

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

  • Summarise the context of risk governance in the utility sector and explain organisational structures for risk management; relate these to corporate objectives, e.g. licence to operate
  • Exemplify strategic, tactical and operational risk in the water, wastewater or waste sector
  • Identify and select from key risk analysis tools and techniques appropriate to a range risk problem under study; be confident about the rules for selecting risk techniques
  • Undertake reliability analysis calculations, understanding and calculating mean times to failure
  • Identify critical control points and devise risk management strategies for managing risks to and from engineered systems; relate these to the development of water safety plans 
  • Devise risk governance structures and debate key risk management competencies for individuals, organisations and specialists; recognise core features of a risk mature organisation
  • Scope out and critically evaluate environmental risk assessments in the context of regulatory permitting sitting, operations and discharge.

Modelling Environmental Processes

Module Leader
  • Corstanje, Dr Ronald R.
Aim

    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.

Syllabus
    • 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
  • Recognise 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.

Land Engineering and Water Management

Module Leader
  • Deeks, Dr Lynda L.K.
Aim
    Improvement of land quality and the reclamation of degraded land are needed to ensure the sustainable delivery of ecosystem goods and services. Landscapes can be engineered to deliver these services by application of a base understanding of fundamental environmental properties and interrelationships of soil, vegetation and water. This understanding is grounded in basic soil physics, hydrology, hydraulics, geotechnics and agronomy. Land managers and engineers can design and implement appropriate land, water and vegetation management through interventions such as drainage, soil conservation, slope stabilisation and irrigation. This understanding and skills set are also the basis for management of projects involving land forming, reclamation, restoration and protection, which require selection, design, engineering and maintenance of appropriate structures.
Syllabus
    • Managing plant and soil water status through estimates of crop water requirements; development of field water budget. Evapotranspiration, drainage, runoff, seepage, soil water storage, and capillary rise
    • Concept of land capability and land quality, criteria used for assessing land capability and its classification. USDA scheme, Canadian Land Inventory.
    • Slope stability; mechanisms of slope failure. The stability of shallow slope failures, Taylor’s stability numbers.
    • Slope stabilisation principles and processes
    • Landscape design, land forming, earth moving and landscape modification. Top and sub soil management and vegetation establishment. Design of earth embankment storage dams.
    • Hydrology; peak and catchment yield, design of runoff
    • Hydraulics calculation of channel discharge capacity using Manning‟s Equation (and others). The design of channels, waterways weirs, spillways, culverts and control structures
    • Drainage; drainage machinery selection and performance, types of drainage problems and their recognition. Design for water table control: use of Hooghoudt and Glover Dumm equations and the Ernst equation for sub irrigation design; the Miers approach; practical issues of drainage design: selection of materials, drainage maintenance, pipe surround, backfill and pipe sizing
    • Managing plant and soil water status through estimates of crop water requirements; development of field water budget. Evapotranspiration, drainage, runoff, seepage, soil water storage, and capillary rise
    • Crop responses to salinity and sodicity; management of saline and sodic soils; the leaching process.
Intended learning outcomes

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

  • Explain the concept of land capability and carry out land capability classification.
  • Calculate the stability of slopes and design of simple support and stabilisation processes
  • Undertake an erosion survey and risk assessment
  • Design earthworks for landforming, landscaping and water storage.
  • Calculate runoff and yield for catchment
  • Design channels/ waterways and simple hydraulic structures.
  • Design appropriate water table control systems for drainage and sub irrigation
  • Calculate irrigation requirements for crops and soil water deficits in different environments.

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:

    Environmental Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), Carbon and Water Footprints, the Ecological Footprint, Environmental Impact Assessment, Uncertainty in LCA, Social aspects of LCA, Life Cycle Costing

    •  Application areas:

    Manufacturing, businesses, food production and consumption, energy systems, waste management, decision makers (e.g. procurement), 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 systems.
  • Apply life cycle approaches in assessing environmental sustainability to make justifiable 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

Fees and funding

European Union students applying for university places in the 2017 to 2018 academic year and the 2018 to 2019 academic year will still have access to student funding support. Please see the UK Government’s announcement (21 April 2017).

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.

Future Finance Scholarship

All students starting a full-time Masters course in 2017/18 can apply for the Future Finance Scholarship worth £5,000 toward course tuition fees.

Butterfield Postgraduate Environment Scholarship

A USD$25,000 scholarship for students pursuing a postgraduate degree in study related to the protection and improvement of island environments. Applications close on 28 April 2017.

The Cranfield Scholarship

We have a limited number of scholarships available for candidates from around the world applying for the 2017 intake. Scholarships are awarded to applicants who show both aptitude and ability for the subject they are applying. Find out more about the Cranfield Scholarship

Postgraduate Loan from Student Finance England

A Postgraduate Loan is now available for UK and EU applicants to help you pay for your Master’s course. You can apply for a loan at GOV.UK

Santander MSc Scholarship

The Santander Scholarship at Cranfield University is worth £5,000 towards tuition fees for full-time master's courses. Check the scholarship page to find out if you are from an eligible Santander Universities programme country.

Chevening Scholarships

Chevening Scholarships are awarded to outstanding emerging leaders to pursue a one-year master’s at Cranfield university. The scholarship includes tuition fees, travel and monthly stipend for Master’s study.

Commonwealth Scholarships for Developing Countries

Students from developing countries who would not otherwise be able to study in the UK can apply for a Commonwealth Scholarship which includes tuition fees, travel and monthly stipend for Master’s study.

Future Finance Student Loans

Future Finance offer student loans of up to £40,000 that can cover living costs and tuition fees for all student at Cranfield University.

Erasmus+ Student Loans

This new loan scheme for EU students is offered by Future Finance and European Investment Fund and provides smart, flexible loans of up to £9,300.

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

Candidates must possess, or be expected to achieve, a first or second class UK Honours degree in a relevant engineering or science-based discipline, or the international equivalent of these UK qualifications. Other relevant qualifications together with industrial 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. Our minimum requirements are as follows:

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.

Applicants who do not already meet the English language entry requirement for their chosen Cranfield course can apply to attend one of our Presessional English for Academic Purposes (EAP) courses. We offer Winter/Spring and Summer programmes each year to offer holders.

Your career

On completion of this MSc, graduates have a broader network of global contacts, increased opportunities for individual specialism and a wide range of careers as professional scientists and engineers in the environment sector.

Rosie Chalker

I couldn’t think of a better place to develop academic skills alongside exposure to industry leaders

Rosie Chalker, Risk Manager

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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