MSc in Environmental Health

main content

The MSc in Environmental Health has been designed to allow graduates from a range of life science disciplines to develop and extend specialist knowledge in risk-based assessment and management of environmental influences on human health.

The Programme and its International Context

Environmental Health is the assessment and management of environmental influences on human health. This includes the study of:

  • Environmental protection (including control of air, water & land pollution)
  • Food safety & hygiene (including production, distribution & fitness for human consumption)
  • Occupational health & safety (including investigation & control of work-related accidents & ill health)
  • The built environment (including homes, workplaces & public spaces).

The above examples highlight the important and highly worthwhile nature of environmental health work. Many environmental health students are motivated by a desire to directly improve living and working conditions to the benefit of a wide range of people. Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) in Scotland are involved in all of the above areas of environmental health together with continually emerging issues in public health.

The MSc in Environmental Health is the only programme of its kind in Scotland and is accredited by the Royal Environmental Health Institute of Scotland (REHIS).

Students develop expertise in current methods for examining factors that affect human health, assessing and managing the risks involved, and meeting the challenges resulting from changes in the interaction between people and the environment. The wide scope of Environmental Health and the corresponding breadth of the degree reflect rapid technological progress. Environmental impact assessment, sustainable development, air, water and noise pollution are increasingly important and there is a pressing need for graduates with skills in these disciplines.

Correspondingly, the course provides an emphasis on teaching subjects that are relevant to contemporary problems faced by communities, government, industry and commercial organisations. For example, external professionals work together with academic staff and students in the teaching of case studies of outbreaks of water-borne and food-borne diseases and also in urban and industrial air quality management.

Teaching is based on a core of conventional lectures and tutorials, complemented by group projects, laboratory classes, student-led seminars and fieldwork. The course can be studied over 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time or up to 5 years via Open Access.

Course Structure

Please click on MSc Environmental Health  for details of compulsory and optional modules offered and class content.

Career Prospects

Graduates in Environmental Health are well prepared for a wide range of professions that require intellectual flexibility and analytical skill. Many graduates from the Strathclyde programme have highly successful careers in environmental consultancy, health and safety management, food industry, public water utilities, waste management, and housing sector. There is increasing recognition by employers in the private sector that graduates in Environmental Health have skills and backgrounds that are well suited to management roles in a range of related business activities, including the specialist field of Corporate Social Responsibility.

One option is to develop a career as an Environmental Health Officer (EHO), where the variety & nature of work, salaries, working conditions, job security and fringe benefits in this field compare very favourably with other graduate-level disciplines.

Other options include careers as Environmental Protection Officers (EPOs) working for the Environment Protection Agencies (Scottish Environment Protection Agency [SEPA] and the Environment Agency [EA]).  Indeed, the majority of EHOs, and many EPOs, in Scotland today hold the BSc (Honours) degree in Environmental Health from the University of Strathclyde.

Admission Requirements

MSc: Normally a First or Upper Second-class Honours BSc degree from a UK University or equivalent Overseas qualification, in a relevant life science or engineering discipline.

Although normally at least 2:1 is required, lower degree classifications might be considered if there is strength elsewhere (e.g. relevant work experience, excellent final project/dissertation, very strong academic letter of reference, very strong application statement linking with career goals).

Open Access Route: Applicants with alternative qualifications and/or professional qualifications or experience are welcome to apply; each application is judged on its own merits.

One year full-time study involves attendance at classes (120 credits) over 2 terms, plus dissertation (60 credits) during the 3rd term. This is the only option for Overseas students.

Part-time (open to UK/EU students only) involves classes attendance, completing 60 credits in year 1 and 60 credits plus dissertation in year 2. Depending on the timetable, just 2 days work release per week may be needed 24 weeks/year.

Online Application

Online applications are open for September 2014 entry via the link below. Please refer to further details below and the Entry Requirements section above.

INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS: Please upload copies of supporting documentation when submitting your MSc application (including full degree transcripts, CV and Supporting Statement) - see 'Frequently asked Questions' for further details on documents and tuition fees. We advise applications are submitted in time to fulfill all academic and financial requirements by end of July 2014.

(High calibre applicants with a 1st class honours degree who wish to apply for university scholarships, would need to also submit a separate formal scholarship application - see 'Funding Opportunities' for details.

HOME/EU STUDENTS: When submitting your application, please upload full copies of degree transcripts, CV, a Supporting Statement and academic reference letters if available.   Due to the limited number of home/EU places, a waiting list may operate for Sept 2014 applications closer to the start of term.

2014-15 Applications:

The link to apply for September 2014 entry (academic year 2014-15) is available below.

for Sep 2015 entry to full-time MSc environmental health (Admission Code : CLMSC7)

Postgraduate entry requirements are in our prospectus.

for Sep 2015 entry to part-time MSc environmental health (Admission Code : CLMSC8)

Postgraduate entry requirements are in our prospectus.

EH MSc brochure title page

Environmental Health brochure

Click on link above to read about the nature of environmental health study and professional practice.

Tracy Thomson Conducts Interview With Family In Malawi

Dr Tracy Morse Award Winner - Environmental Health Graduate


Alastair MacDonald Christine Rogers-Bald Dr Stuart Sneddon Eilidh Meechan Linda Kain Moira Malcolm


The REHIS Prize for Best MSc Environmental Health Student is given at an annual award ceremony

2012/13 Best MSc Student - Cameron McAuley (Scotland) - photo above at ceremony in 2013

Best Student and Dissertation 2011/2012 - Jonathan Gillespie (Scotland)

DLCS Prize for Best MSc Environmental Health Dissertation

Best Dissertation 2012/13 - Funwako Dlamini (Swaziland)

Best Dissertation 2011/2012 - Kondwani Chidziwisano (Malawi)

Professional roles of Environmental Health graduates

See Issue 41, page 8 of SEPA View for a profile of Kenny Boag, who graduated from the department with BSc (Hons) in Environmental Health

See Strathclyde graduate Eilidh Meechan talk about a career as an Environmental Health Officer in South Lanarkshire Council.
full article and videos

News & Events

Africa Academy for Environmental Health (March 2010) Click here to read more.

Further Reading

Industry Recommendations