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MScEnvironmental Health Sciences

Why this course?

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

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 and land pollution
  • food safety and hygiene including production, distribution and fitness for human consumption
  • occupational health and safety including investigation and control of work-related accidents and ill health
  • the built environment including homes, workplaces and public spaces

Environmental health work is important and highly worthwhile and many of our students are motivated by a desire to directly improve living and working conditions for a wide range of people. 

You'll 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 sciences 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.

This course also provides an emphasis on teaching subjects that are relevant to contemporary problems faced by communities, government, industry and commercial organisations.

For example, professionals from outside Strathclyde 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.  

You’ll study

Teaching is based on a core of conventional lectures and tutorials, complemented by group projects, laboratory classes, student-led seminars and fieldwork. The programme can be studied over one year full-time, two years part-time or up to five years through Open Access.

On the full-time programme, you’ll follow a core curriculum of eight classes and four optional class. Each class is taught for two to three hours per week over eight to 12 weeks.

Following successful completion of the taught component, you’ll undertake a dissertation from June to August.


Our laboratory facilities are well-equipped for a wide range of chemical and biological measurements. High-technological instrumentation and space are available to investigate:

  • marine and freshwater quality
  • air quality
  • solid and hazardous wastes
  • environmental microbiology

Teaching staff

The course is delivered by staff from the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering. A brief profile of some members of the academic team is provided below:

  • Dr Iain Beverland is the programme manager of the MSc in Environmental Health Sciences. He has research & teaching interests in the areas of air pollution control, environmental epidemiology, exposure assessment, & public/environmental health. Current research includes study of the effects of exposure to air pollution on human health, with a focus on traffic-related air pollution in urban areas. 
  • Dr Tara K. Beattie has expertise in the field of public health and the management of water and solid waste. Her research interests include free-living protozoa and their potential to cause human disease.
  • Dr Raymond Wong has research and teaching interests in the areas of food laws (EU and UK), policies and compliance; food poisoning, contamination and prevention; and food safety management systems.
  • Dr Christine Switzer specialises in contaminant fate, transport and remediation with emphases on non-aqueous phase liquids and aggressive remediation technologies.

Additional information

Staff within the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering have engaged with developing Environmental Health training in Africa for almost 20 years.

Dr Tracy Morse, a graduate from the BSc (Hons) Environmental Health programme, was a recent winner of the title Strathclyder of the Year. Dr Morse won the title for her outstanding work as Project Manager of the University's Scotland Chikwawa Health Initiative. This is a scheme funded by the Scottish Government to improve maternal health and drive down infant mortality rates in four villages in Southern Malawi. Dr Morse is the Malawi-based coordinator of all the activities of the University's Malawi Millennium Project.

Open Access

Home students can also choose to study through Open Access. This is initially a non-graduating route. You register for one module at a time and have the option to build up credits eventually leading to a Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma or MSc. You can take up to five years to achieve the qualification.

This option is popular with students in employment, who may wish to undertake modules for Continuing Professional Development purposes.

Home students who do not meet the normal MSc entry requirements for this programme are welcome to apply through the Open Access route instead.

Course content

Compulsory classes

Air Pollution, Climate Change & Human Health

This class provides you with knowledge and skills related to atmospheric pollution impacts, ranging from local to global scales.

This includes a focus on the assessment & management of impacts on human health through interface between the public health sciences of environmental epidemiology and environmental toxicology; and environmental engineering approaches to manage environmental risks.

Contaminated Land Management

Within the background of land redevelopment (residential, industrial/commercial and gardens/parks), this class aims to provide insights into the remediation of contaminated land, including the regulatory framework and risk assessment, sampling & analysis, and various remedial techniques for contaminated land.

Food Inspection & Control

The aim of this class is to give you an understanding of the need for, and the principles and methods of, food inspection and control. Learning is focussed on the emphasis to safeguard public health, for example through food inspections and audits, and environmental issues including food packaging.

Food Safety & Hygiene
This class aims to provide an understanding of the current food enforcement bodies, the national and European food laws and their enforcement power and procedures. The main focus is to ensure that you learn the general and specific food legislation and requirement for the protection of public health.
Occupational Health & Toxicology
This class provides you with an understanding of the influence of the workplace environment on human health, in addition to introducing hazard analysis & risk assessment in relation to workplace exposures. It also provides an introduction to toxicological sciences covering basic principles of toxicology and the mechanisms by which environmental contaminants affect human beings.
Public Health Studies
This class develops students’ understanding of public and environmental health, and the multidisciplinary approach in preventative and proactive action to safeguarding public health. A diverse range of subjects are covered ranging from the risk assessment approach taken with respect to protecting the public from private water supplies, to the role of environmental health professionals in the prevention of the spread of infectious disease. The class also provides students with fundamental knowledge regarding Health Improvement/Promotion and Health Protection, including the different methods used and the variety of agencies involved.
Waste Management & Landfill Design
This class covers organisational and regulatory aspects of waste management practice in the UK: legislation, composition of domestic and industrial wastes, storage, collection, reception, and disposal of solid wastes, clinical wastes, sewage sludge disposal, recycling and recovery.
Water & Environment Management
To develop an understanding of the physical, chemical and biological parameters within surface water and how these relate to water quality, water quality objectives and pollution control strategy. To provide knowledge on the design and process involved with the control of water and wastewater treatment.

Elective classes

Choose four from the list.

Environmental Impact Assessment

This class provides an introduction to the methods used to predict environmental impacts, and evaluates how these may be used to integrate environmental factors into decisions.

The class draws principally on the UK planning context of environmental impact assessment of individual projects (project EIA), but also takes account of EIA experience in other countries and international organisations.

Environmental Pollution Management

This class develops in-depth knowledge & skills regarding the science, engineering & management of environmental pollution control approaches to protect public health.

The class achieves these aims through research-led teaching at the interface between public health and environmental engineering, with a particular focus on methodologies based on risk-centred approaches.

Lecture sessions are complemented by industrial & government case studies in contemporary air quality management practice.

Geographical Information Systems (GIS)
This practical-based classe provides a thorough introduction to the rapidly growing field of Geographical Information Science.

The class covers the key theoretical principles but also provides many computer-based exercises using current state-of-the-art Geographical Information Systems (GIS) – namely IDRISI and ArcGIS. The class evaluates how GIS can be used for spatial query and analysis, while at the same time assessing the quality and the effectiveness of the resultant products in terms of their use.
Infection & Vector Control

This class aims to give the students an understanding of the common vectors of disease, infections and the principles of control.

Implication of effective pest control management is directly related to significant public health issue and the module achieve this aim through detailed knowledge of various types of common pests and their proper control.

Pollution & Rehabilitation of Degraded Ecosystems

This class introduces key principles of ecology and it then explores the ecosystems problems caused by pollutants, both atmospheric and aquatic, with regard to toxicity, bioaccumulation and ultimate disruption. Approaches to remedial clean-up are described in relation to current legislation.

Principles of Environmental Microbiology

This class aims to introduce microbiology in a manner that is of practical importance in environmental engineering and science.

Emphasis is placed on the microbial ecology and microbiology of dilute nutrient solutions such as lakes, subsurface environmental and biological treatment processes.

Microbial physiology and biochemistry will be discussed in detail as it pertains to environmental systems.

Both biodegradation and public health aspects of microbiology are included. The class combines theoretical and fundamental concepts in biology, and laboratory analytical skills to provide a basic background in microbiology grounded in practical applications..

Qualitative & Quantitative Research Methods

Students will acquire familiarity with, and practice of, contemporary research techniques, and examine different ways of, and gain experience in, presenting research results.

An examination of the methodologies used in environmental research and an evaluation of their application to different kinds of research problems will be undertaken.

The class discusses the key principles, and practical exercises, on both quantitative and qualitative research methods, including survey methods, interviewing techniques, use of census data, statistical methods and policy analysis.

It also includes a discussion on ethical issues. Finally, there is dissertation-related teaching on choosing a research question and a research method, and writing a research proposal.

Research Protocols for Science & Engineering

The course will familiarise students with basic research methodology, including the use of scientific literature, quantitative and qualitative methods, the maintenance of laboratory notes and the use of scientific English.

Particular assistance is given on research techniques to prepare students for the dissertation/project stage of the course.

Sustainability & Strategic Environmental Assessment

This class allows students to develop theoretical and applied understanding of key principles of sustainability and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA).

SEA is a significant appraisal and decision-aiding tool that evaluates the environmental impacts of policies, plans and programmes, such as a transportation policy or a local development plan.

Learning & teaching

Teaching is based around lectures and tutorials. You’ll also take part in group projects, laboratory classes, student-led seminars and fieldwork.

Throughout the course there is a strong emphasis on teaching that is relevant to contemporary problems faced by communities, government, industry and commercial organisations. For example, external professionals worked together with academic staff and students in the teaching of case studies of outbreaks of water-borne and food-borne diseases.


You’ll present work in written, verbal and graphical forms including field and laboratory reports, portfolios, posters and oral presentations.

Entry requirements

First or upper second-class Honours degree from a UK university (or equivalent overseas qualification) in a relevant science or engineering discipline.

Lower degree classifications might be considered if there is strength elsewhere (for example, relevant work experience, excellent final project/dissertation, very strong academic letter of reference, very strong application statement linking with career goals).

Open Access

Alternative qualifications or professional experience may be considered by the course leader (home students only), depending on the module chosen. Find out more about Open Access.

Pre-Masters preparation course

The Pre-Masters Programme is a preparation course for international students (non EU/UK) who do not meet the entry requirements for a Masters degree at University of Strathclyde. The Pre-Masters programme provides progression to a number of degree options.

To find out more about the courses and opportunities on offer visit or call today on +44 (0) 1273 339333 and discuss your education future. You can also complete the online application form. To ask a question please fill in the enquiry form and talk to one of our multi-lingual Student Enrolment Advisers today.

Fees & funding

How much will my course cost?

All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.



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How can I fund my course?

Scholarship search

Faculty of Engineering Excellence Scholarship Scheme for International Students (Sept 2015 entry)

The Faculty of Engineering at the University of Strathclyde is offering a substantial number of scholarships for international students with outstanding academic qualifications who are commencing their studies from September 2015. Students may be eligible for a scholarship towards their tuition fees of up £3,340 for the first year of their programme of study. Find out full details of our scholarships.

Please note

The fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year.


Graduates in environmental health sciences are well prepared for a wide range of professions that require intellectual flexibility and analytical skill.

Many of our graduates have highly successful careers in environmental regulation, government departments, environmental consultancy, health and safety management, food industry, public water utilities, and waste management.

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.

Employers of Strathclyde Environmental Health graduates include:

AECOM; ACS Physical Risk Control Ltd; British Army; British Petroleum; Glasgow Caledonian University; GlaxoSmithKline plc; Health Protection Scotland; IBI Group Inc; International Atomic Energy Agency; Institute of Occupational Medicine; Malaysian Government; Maltese Government; Swaziland Department of Health; Logica plc; Malawi Government; National Health Service in Scotland; Ricardo AEA Ltd; Royal Bank of Scotland; Royal Environmental Health Institute of Scotland; Royal Navy; RPS Group Plc; Scottish Environmental Protection Agency; Scottish Government; UK Meteorological Office; University of Edinburgh; University of Glasgow; University of Strathclyde; World Health Organisation.

The MSc Environmental Health Sciences programme is not a pre-training programme for students wishing to become a local government Environmental Health Officer in Scotland through the Royal Environmental Health Institute of Scotland (REHIS) scheme of professional training.


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.

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.

Environmental Health Sciences

Qualification: MSc, Start date: Sep 2015, Mode of delivery: attendance, full-time

Environmental Health Sciences

Qualification: MSc, Start date: Sep 2015, Mode of delivery: attendance, part-time

Environmental Health Sciences

Qualification: MSc, Start date: Sep 2016, Mode of delivery: attendance, full-time

Civil & Environmental Engineering - Open Access (Modular)

Qualification: , Start date: Sep 2015, Mode of delivery: attendance, part-time

Civil & Environmental Engineering - Open Access (Modular)

Qualification: , Start date: Sep 2016, Mode of delivery: attendance, part-time

Environmental Health Sciences

Qualification: MSc, Start date: Sep 2016, Mode of delivery: attendance, part-time

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