windmills standing in a green field

MScSustainability & Environmental Studies

Why this course?

This course is one of the oldest sustainability courses in the UK. It turns 25 years old this year!

This course offers a cross-disciplinary approach to the study of environmental management, policy, the circular economy, sustainability and sustainable development in both developed and developing countries.

The course began in 1992, hot on the heels of the Rio Earth Summit that brought to light sustainable development, climate change and biodiversity as issues of national and international concern. You’ll learn about major environmental issues and the circular economy. You'll understand the methods in which environmental considerations and climate change are used in development and planning decisions. You'll be expected to probe, for example, strategies and policy options for achieving sustainable development without increasing the ecological footprint of economic activities.

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.

Our graduates are in demand!

There’s a strong demand for graduates with skills in environmental management, circular economy and policy-making. We’ve seen our graduates capitalise on a wide range of employment within the private, public and voluntary sectors.

Applicants from all backgrounds

We're looking for students from all backgrounds, including:

  • arts
  • biology
  • business
  • chemistry
  • computer sciences
  • engineering
  • geology
  • law
  • maths
  • physics
  • social sciences

You'll be able to select class options from a wide range of subjects to suit your background.

New class

This course has the circular economy at its heart. Starting in session 2017-18, a new class on the circular economy will be compulsory for students who register for this MSc.

Work placement

As part of the class Independent Study in Collaboration with Industry, you can apply to work with industry projects. One of the projects is the Carbon Clinic.  This is an innovative collaborative project between the Carbon Trust and the University. It aims to provide support to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to reduce their carbon footprint and give you practical experience on environmental responsibilities within a business.

Facilities

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

Dr Girma Zawdie, MSc Sustainability and Environmental Studies Course Director and Leader

Delivery Team Expertise

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

Accreditation

This degree is accredited as meeting the requirements for Further Learning for a Chartered Engineer (CEng) for candidates who have already acquired a partial CEng accredited undergraduate first degree.

For further information, visit the Joint Board of Moderators website.

Flexible learning

Home students can also choose to study through Flexible Learning. 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 Flexible Learning route.

Course content

Compulsory classes

Leading Issues in Circular Economy

This class, run by the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering 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. 

Qualitative & Quantitative Research Methods

In this class, run by the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, 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 take place every week.

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.

Elective classes

Choose eight from this list

Environmental Economics

The main objective of this class is to provide a grounding in the economics of the environment. It demonstrates what economic analysis can contribute to discussions about the use of our natural capital (or environmental resource) base, and to discussions about policy responses to environmental problems.

A key element of the economic approach to environmental policy is ‘value for money’ - designing policy interventions that give the greatest environmental improvement for any particular budget outlay. But economic analysis also deals with questions about sustainability (and so impacts on future generations) and equity between different individuals, groups, and countries.

This class pays particular attention to international environmental problems. Such problems have been high on the agenda for environmental policy interventions since the Rio Summit of 1992, yet are ones that seem to be the most difficult to make progress with. We examine why this has been the case, making use of the growing literature on international environmental agreements.

The class adopts a practical, applied orientation throughout. Applications include transport policy, water quality and availability, global climate change, and loss of biological diversity.

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 & analysis, and various remedial techniques for contaminated land.

Necessary requirements for this class

Some previous knowledge of environmental engineering, environmental science, chemistry, or public health is beneficial.

Energy Economics

Energy resources (such as crude oil, natural gas, coal, biomass, wind and sunlight) can be harvested and converted into useful forms to produce energy commodities (such as petroleum and diesel fuel, natural gas, and electricity) that can be used to provide energy services for human activities.

The class begins by studying the forces that generate both demand for and supply of energy resources and energy commodities. It considers what factors determine the way those commodities are transported to users, and how residuals are disposed of. It investigates the roles of alternative market and regulatory structures on these activities, the impacts of such activities and their environmental consequences.

The class identifies criteria required for the efficient provision and use of energy commodities and resources and reasons why efficiency is rarely achieved. The class adopts a practical, applied orientation throughout. Applications include the evaluation of renewable energy projects and the economic analysis of nuclear power.

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.

International Environmental Law

This module will discuss the international legal frameworks applicable to deal with transboundary and international environmental problems, looking at the effectiveness of international litigation in dealing with global environmental challenges and analysing the relationship between legal rules and governance structures related to non-environmental fields (eg international trade and investment).

Climate change will be used as a key case study, but other global environmental problems, such as loss of biodiversity, fish stocks depletion, transboundary water pollution and over-exploitation (both surface and groundwater) will also be looked at.

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.
Global Water Policy

 This class aims to provide you with the ability to:

  • recognise the issues relating to overall global water policy and its interactions with other global issues
  • discuss the impact of climate change and economic development on water resources and availability
  • explore the different implementation issues based on regional case studies
  • explore the role of stakeholders on the acceptance and achievement of policy objectives
Pollution and Rehabilitation of Degraded Ecosystems

The class looks at:

  • ecological principles (organism, population, community, & ecosystem levels)
  • the impact of various forms of pollution on ecosystems
  • options available for monitoring pollution impacts;
  • remediation alternatives, recovery management, or ways to enhance environmental systems
Principles Of Economic Appraisal

Appraisal and value of capital investment projects is a key element of strategic decision making by managers in both public and private sectors. But economic appraisal has a much wider scope than conventional capital appraisal, as it can encompass the wider external or social implications of capital projects, and it can be used to appraise programmes and policies, not just standalone projects.

This class provides participants with the foundation knowledge and skills to undertake economic appraisal in its various forms and contexts – both from the point of view of a single project and when making choices among a multiple set of options.

The class deals with a variety of forms of economic appraisal:

  • cost-benefit analysis (CBA)
  • cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA)
  • multi-criteria analysis (MCA)

The class also deals with special issues that arise in public or social appraisal. Applications include the appraisal of a traffic project, a cost-benefit analysis of a renewable energy project, and value-for-money choices in health care provision.

Principles of Environmental Microbiology

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

Topics covered include:

  • the microbial ecology and microbiology of dilute nutrient solutions such as lakes, subsurface environmental and biological treatment processes
  • microbial physiology
  • biochemistry
  • biodegradation
  • public health aspects of microbiology
Science, Technology & Innovation Policy

This class aims to introduce the conceptual and practical issues underlying policy-making processes, with a particular focus on the significance of science and technology policies and innovation management strategies and the application of these for the economic, social and environmental objectives of policy in the context of sustainable development.

The module also aims to explore questions as to how innovations occur and how they can be managed to enhance the objectives of sustainability. A major aspect of the module is the systems approach to innovation management, particularly with respect to the design of research strategies and the generation and use of knowledge.

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 & Environmental 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.
City Systems & Infrastructure

This class provides you with a comprehensive understanding of the complex and interrelated systems upon which cities depend, whilst developing knowledge of urban processes, technologies and infrastructure options for sustainable cities.

Public Health Studies

This class, run by the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, 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.

Work, Wellbeing and New Technology

This class explores the social implications of renewable energy technologies by critically evaluating the new opportunities and risks for work, employment, health and wellbeing associated with large, industrial scale projects and with localised, community energy alternatives. The class engages with practitioners across academic disciplines and the energy sector, and facilitates students from business and engineering working in interdisciplinary groups to assess changing technology and changing employment practices and their impacts of social wellbeing. A unique element of this class is that it includes a four-day field study to the Isle of Eigg (an island in the Inner Hebrides, off the west coast of Scotland) in April, that will provide practical experience for students’ group project work. Note there is a cost associated with this class (cost for 2017-18 has not yet been confirmed, but as a guide in 2016-17 it was £175 to cover field trip costs of transport, accommodation and food).

If you're interested in climate change you should take these 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.

Energy Resources & Policy

Against the background of international commitments on atmospheric emissions, diminishing fossil fuel resources and the liberalisation of energy markets, this class examines sustainable options for energy production, supply and consumption.

The aim is to give students an understanding of current trends, and to enable a critical evaluation of emerging ideas, technologies and policies.

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 module would be done on case-by-case basis by MSc course leaders. You’ll be selected by competitive application and CV. 

Learning & teaching

The MSc involves a curriculum of three core classes and a very wide range of optional classes. Each module is taught two to three hours per week over eight to 11 weeks.

In addition, you'll also undertake a dissertation between June and August. Progress to the dissertation is dependent on performance in the instructional modules.

Entry requirements

Normally, a first or upper second-class Honours degree from a UK university (or equivalent overseas qualification) in any degree discipline – all backgrounds considered, including social sciences, arts, engineering, law, chemistry, maths, physics, geology, biology and business.

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.)

For candidates whose first language is not English, documentary evidence of an appropriate level of competency of written and spoken English must be provided. The minimum standards 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

How much will my course cost?

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

Scotland/EU

  • 2017/18 - £5,500

Rest of UK

  • 2017/18 - £9,000*

* PGT Engineering students domiciled in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man and the Channels Islands will receive a £3,000 scholarship towards the cost of their fees (applies only to students not already in receipt of any other fees scholarship).

International

  • 2017/18 - £18,000

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.

Eligibility

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 starting in 2017 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 can 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

Postgraduate students starting in 2017 who are ordinarily resident in Wales can apply for 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. We are waiting on further information being released about this 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 starting in 2017 who are ordinarily resident in Northern Ireland can apply for support from Student Finance NI. The support is a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500. We are waiting on further information being released about this 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.

Careers

After graduation, many of our graduates get an Associate membership of IEMA (Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment) by doing the online exam. Becoming an Associate member of IEMA allows you to use the AIEMA suffix after your name — a way to prove to employers, clients and colleagues that you’re on the great career path that the MSc has given you.

Most of our students also become members of the IAIA (International Association for Impact Assessment) as the University offers a bulk discount membership for students. The IAIA launched IAIA Work Experience Program in 2017, which is only available to IAIA members (including student members). This innovative programme allows members who complete specific projects of benefit to the IAIA to be recognised through:

  • a Certificate acknowledging the work
  • the ability to include that project as professional work on their CV
This programme enhances the professional capacity of our students who take on a project; gaining skills that are complementary to the MSc programme.

There’s a strong demand for graduates with environmental management and policy making skills. As a graduate, you may find yourself in a range of positions in:

  • Private consultancies
  • Government agencies
  • Local authorities
  • Environmental regulators, businesses and agencies

Job titles include:

  • Community Renewal Energy Manager
  • Energy & Environmental Manager
  • Environmental Officer
  • Estates Manager
  • Graduate Planner
  • Principal Senior Ecologist

Employers include:

  • Atkins
  • Bell Group
  • East Dunbartonshire Council
  • Epsco

Post Study Work

The University of Strathclyde can endorse graduates on a visa that allows them to engage in business. The Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Scheme 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

Apply

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 conditions 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 be in operation for Sept applications closer to the start of term.

Sustainability and Environmental Studies

Qualification: MSc, Start date: Sep 2017, Mode of delivery: attendance, full-time

Sustainability and Environmental Studies

Qualification: MSc, Start date: Sep 2017, Mode of delivery: attendance, part-time

Civil & Environmental Engineering - Open Access (Modular)

Qualification: , Start date: Sep 2017, Mode of delivery: attendance, part-time

Sustainability and Environmental Studies

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

Sustainability and Environmental Studies

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

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Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering

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Civil Engineering student Sara Peat at the Forth Road Bridge, North Tower.

Civil & environmental engineering - our research

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