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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.  

Opportunity to do MSc dissertation linked to Malawi

The Department has strong links with Malawi. Professor Bob Kalin takes students to Malawi every year for their dissertation/project. This is mainly offered to the students in the MSc in Hydrogeology but there is the potential for students from this MSc to also take part.

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.


As part of the class Independent Study in Collaboration with Industry, you can apply to work with industry projects.


Our £6 million state-of-the-art laboratory facilities are well-equipped with high-technological instrumentation and available space to investigate:

  • environmental & molecular microbiology
  • environmental chemistry
  • analytical chemistry
  • geomechanics & soil quality
  • structural design & material science

Discover more about our laboratory facilities.

Living Laboratory for Sustainability

You'll benefit from this innovative initiative which encourages students and researchers to carry out projects that aim to work towards the enhancement of the university’s sustainability. Check out some of our students’ projects and dissertations.

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' and a University Values People Orientated award. Dr Morse won these for her outstanding work as Project Manager of the University's Scotland Chikwawa Health Initiative. Funded by the Scottish Government International Development Fund Dr Morse and Dr Tara Beattie are currently implementing a ‘Healthy Settings’ health improvement programme in 18 rural communities in the Chikwawa District of Malawi. The aim of the programme is to take a holistic approach to health improvement, where changes to the home, work and community environment offer substantial benefits to the health of the people living in Malawi.

Most of our staff are also part of the Centre for Water, Environment, Sustainability & Public Health.

Flexible learning

If you can't attend this course full-time on campus, there are various Flexible Learning options available to you.

Professional Development Courses

This is initially a non-graduating route. You'll register for one 10 credit class at a time, and have the option to build up credits. This will eventually lead 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 might want to take classes for Continuing Professional Development purposes.

A range of qualifications will be considered for entry.

Distance learning

You can also study this course by Distance Learning, which is based on three years part-time study of 60 credits per year.

This allows you to complete the course by studying online at home at a time that suits you, without attending at our Glasgow campus. This means you can study while balancing your existing work and family commitments. This option is suitable for students located anywhere in the world.

Course content

Compulsory classes

Air Pollution, Climate Change & Human Health
You'll gain the knowledge and skills applicable to atmospheric pollution impacts, ranging from local to global scales. This includes a focus on the assessment and management of impacts on human health through effective interface between the public health sciences of environmental epidemiology and environmental toxicology; and environmental engineering approaches to manage environmental risks. Teaching staff: Dr Iain Beverland
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 focused on the emphasis to safeguard public health, for example through food inspections and audits, and environmental issues including food packaging. Teaching staff: Dr Raymond Wong

Occupational Health & Toxicology
This class examines the influence of the workplace environment on human health, and introduces hazard analysis and risk assessment in relation to workplace exposures. The class also provides an introduction to toxicology and the mechanisms by which environmental contaminants affect human beings. The various sections of the class are underpinned by cross-cutting public health principles implemented through population-based methods in occupational and environmental epidemiological and toxicological sciences. Teaching staff: Dr Iain Beverland
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. Teaching staff: Dr Tara Beattie

Public Health Studies
This class develops your 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. Teaching staff: Dr Tara Beattie
Qualitative & Quantitative Research Methods

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

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 and statistical methods. The class also includes discussion of ethical issues. Finally, there is dissertation-related teaching on choosing a research question and a research method, and writing a research proposal. This is a semester 1 and 2 class but meetings do not happen every week. Teaching staff: Dr Elsa João

Environmental Pollution Management
In this class you'll develop in-depth knowledge and skills regarding the science, engineering and management of environmental pollution control approaches to protect public health. You'll benefit from research-led teaching at the interface between public health and environmental engineering, with particular focus on risk-centred methods. Lecture sessions are complemented by industrial and government case studies in contemporary air quality management practice. Teaching staff: Dr Iain Beverland
Water Environment Management
This class develops 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. It also provides knowledge on the design and process involved with the control of water and wastewater treatment. Teaching staff: Dr Tara Beattie

Optional 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. Teaching staff: Dr Elsa João

Contaminated Land

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 and analysis, and various remedial techniques for contaminated land. Teaching staff: Dr Christine Switzer.

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. Teaching staff: Dr Elsa João
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. Teaching staff: Dr Tara Beattie

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. Teaching staff: Professor Vernon Phoenix, Dr Christine Switzer

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. Teaching staff: Dr Charles Knapp

Leading Issues in Circular Economy

This class, with a strong industry input, introduces circular economy as a systems-based concept in which production is designed to be restorative and regenerative, while waste is designed out of the system. Circular economy is thus featured as a reaction to the conventional dispensation of the linear ‘make-use-dispose’ economy, and as a framework for the development and management of a sustainable, 'waste-as-resource' economic system. The implications of the concept for research, policy and industrial practice are also explored as these relate to innovation and knowledge production; social trends; consumer behaviour and market trends; conservation and sustainable use of energy and material resources; climate change and environmental sustainability; and design of business models for green enterprise development and for sustainable growth and employment generation. Teaching staff: Dr Elsa João, Dr Girma Zawdie

Strategic Environmental Assessment in Action

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. Teaching staff: Dr Elsa João

City Systems & Infrastructure

This class will examine the key systems and infrastructure on which urban centres depend and promote critical reflection on how the design, management and monitoring of these systems impact on the social, environmental and economic sustainability of cities. The use of case studies will allow students to engage with real-world situations, challenges and opportunities and consider multiple infrastructure and technology options for sustainable city strategies. Teaching staff: Dr Neil Ferguson

Independent Study in Collaboration with Industry

This class will allow students carrying out placements and projects with industry to develop and refine professional skills while gaining credits in the process. One project will be the small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) Carbon Audit that students carry out with training from Carbon Trust. A placement type project activity is another possibility, by individual agreement. Approval of students being able to take this class would be done on case-by-case basis by the MSc course leader. Teaching staff: Dr Richard Lord

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

Normally, a first or upper second-class Honours degree from a UK university (or equivalent overseas qualification) in a 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).

English language requirements

For candidates whose first language is not English, minimum standards of written and spoken English are an IELTS minimum overall band score of 6.5 (no individual test score below 5.5). Applicants with slightly lower scores have the opportunity to attend the University's Pre-Sessional English classes to bring them up to the required level.

Professional Development Courses

Alternative qualifications or professional experience may be considered by the course leader (home students only), depending on the class chosen. Find out more about our Flexible Learning options.

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 International Study Centre 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


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


  • £7,800

Rest of UK

  • £9,250


  • £18,750

How can I fund my course?

Faculty of Engineering scholarships

Faculty of Engineering Excellence Scholarship (FEES)

We're offering a substantial number of Faculty of Engineering Excellence Scholarship (FEES) for new self-funded, international (non-EU) fee paying students with excellent academic qualifications.

It's a scholarship for £2,700 towards course tuition fees for an MSc programme.


Students must achieve a minimum of a 2:1 (or equivalent) in their undergraduate degree to be considered.

More engineering scholarships
Take a look at a full list of scholarships available in the Faculty of Engineering

Scottish and non-UK EU postgraduate students

Scottish and non-UK EU postgraduate students may be able to apply for support from the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS). The support is in the form of a tuition fee loan and for eligible students, a living cost loan. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

Students coming from England

Students ordinarily resident in England may be to apply for postgraduate support from Student Finance England. The support is a loan of up to £10,280 which can be used for both tuition fees and living costs. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

Students coming from Wales

Students ordinarily resident in Wales may be to apply for postgraduate support from Student Finance Wales. The support is a loan of up to £10,280 which can be used for both tuition fees and living costs. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

Students coming from Northern Ireland

Postgraduate students who are ordinarily resident in Northern Ireland may be able to apply for support from Student Finance Northern Ireland. The support is a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

International students

We have a large range of scholarships available to help you fund your studies. Check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

Please note

The fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.


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.

Post Study Work

The University of Strathclyde can endorse graduates on a visa that allows them to engage in business. The is for international students who have an innovative business idea and want to work in the UK (initial permission to stay of 12 months, with a possible extension of 12 months if suitable progress is made). The Strathclyde Entrepreneurial Network (SEN) can give support and guidance to help you develop your business idea.

Contact us


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 fulfil all academic and financial requirements by end of July.

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 applications closer to the start of term.

Environmental Health Sciences - Distance Learning

Qualification: MSc, Start date: Sep 2018, Mode of delivery: distance learning, part-time

Environmental Health Sciences

Qualification: MSc, Start date: Sep 2018, Mode of delivery: attendance, part-time

Environmental Health Sciences

Qualification: MSc, Start date: Sep 2018, Mode of delivery: attendance, full-time

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