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 challenges in a career in an environmental engineering sector. 


  • 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 course is suitable for graduates of science, engineering, and geography who are concerned with the protection and improvement of environmental quality alongside enhancing the quality of human life. If you are a graduate currently in employment but keen to extend your qualifications or to pursue a career change, or an individual with other qualifications but possess considerable relevant experience this course would be suitable for you. This course teaches principles of environmental improvements, including the protection of environmental quality at both local, landscape and global scales. The knowledge and skills gained will enable you to solve a wide range of environmental engineering problems including municipal and toxic waste management and disposal, process emissions, contaminated land and water, waste disposal, and energy and resource recovery.

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 professionals in this sector.

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 and Environmental Project Manager.

Cranfield Careers Service
Our Careers Service can help you find the job you want after leaving Cranfield. We will work with you to identify suitable opportunities and support you in the job application process for up to three years after graduation.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.

Previous students have gone on to jobs within prestigious institutions including:
Golder Associates, Arup, Seche Environment, EnvironTech Gmbh, Deloitte, BP, Chevron, WSP, Jacobs, Viridor.

Why this course?

This course equips you 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.

 Hear from student Adam Cockayne on studying Environmental Engineering MSc part-time.

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.

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.

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 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 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 Simon Jude

    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. 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 informatics. In doing so, this module will provide a means of improving the capability and capacity of students to perform European-wide risk assessments.

    • 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 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;
  • 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.

Waste Management in a Circular Economy: 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.

    • 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. 

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 students in using decision support tool and modelling to deal with pollution prevention and remediation.  

    • 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.

Modelling Environmental Processes

Module Leader
  • Dr Andrea Momblanch
    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 the students the opportunity to strengthen their 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 as well as the group-work based assignment, the student’s 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 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 module a student should be able to:

    Examine the major environmental models currently being applied in soil, water, ecosystems and atmosphere
    Identify and evaluate the standard types of numerical models in use in environmental sciences
    Formulate the generic process of model design, building, calibration and validation. Recognize some of the uncertainties introduced in this process
    Evaluate the process of model development might be undertaken in different programming environments
    Undertake a systems analysis. 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
    Determine the impact and relevancy of environmental models to policy and scientific discourse.

    Land Engineering Principles and Practices

    Module Leader
    • Dr Lynda Deeks
      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 drainage, soil erosion control, slope stabilisation and irrigation 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.
      Site Assessment: Concept of land capability and land quality
      Land forming, earth moving and landscape modification.
      Geotechnics: Slope stability
      Surface erosion of slope forming materials
      Top and sub soil management.

    Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student 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
    Undertake an erosion survey and risk assessment
    Devise strategies for the long-term management of top soil and subsoil in land engineering projects.

    Process Emissions and Control

    Module Leader
    • Dr Iq Mead
      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 students 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 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

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

    • Explain 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.

    Clean Technologies in Water Energy and Food Nexus

    Module Leader
    • Professor Frederic Coulon

      The aim of the module is to introduce 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. Students 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 a student 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 aim of this module is 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
      Water quantity control.

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

    Explain the processes and consequences of soil erosion, and of sediment transport and deposition
    Select appropriate input parameter values to apply erosion models to predict current erosion status and evaluate different conservation measures
    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
    Gain experience of managing a catchment management project, set by an external client, which requires, using problem solving techniques, writing a consultancy-style report and meeting deadlines set.


    The MSc of this course is accredited by the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) and Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM)

    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.

    CIWEM logo 

    CIWM Accreditation 2018-2020

    Rosie Chalker

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

    Rosie Chalker, Risk Manager, studied an MSc in Environmental Engineering

    How to apply

    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.