MSc Sustainability & Environmental Studies

Key facts

  • Start date: September
  • Accreditation: Institution of Civil Engineers, Institution of Structural Engineers, Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation & Institute of Highway Engineers
  • Study mode and duration: 12 months full-time; 24 months or 36 months part-time (on campus); 36 months part-time distance learning; 60 months professional development route
  • Award: Only engineering department of its kind in Scotland with an Athena SWAN Silver Award

  • Eligibility: All academic backgrounds accepted

Study with us

  • carry out an industrial project
  • suitable for graduates for any background 
  • examine strategies and policy options for achieving sustainable development
  • 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

Accreditation

This degree is accredited by the

  • Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE)
  • Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE)
  • Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT)
  • Institute of Highway Engineers (IHE)

on behalf of the Engineering Council 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.*

See Joint Board of Moderators website for further information.

*It should be noted that candidates completing the MSc who hold an underpinning accredited IEng degree or a non-accredited bachelor degree will need to apply for an academic assessment to determine whether they will meet the educational base for CEng registration.

How could the Covid-19 pandemic affect my studies?

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Why this course?

This course, which has been established for more than 25 years, 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. It is suitable for applicants from all academic backgrounds and our wide range of subject options enables you to choose classes to suit your background.

You’ll learn about major environmental issues and the circular economy and gain an understanding of 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.

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.

THE Awards 2019: UK University of the Year Winner

What you'll study

You'll take three compulsory classes and choose a further nine from a wide range of optional classes.  Each class is normally taught for two hours per week over eight to 11 weeks. Following successful completion of the taught classes, you'll undertake a dissertation from June to August.

Work placement

As part of the class Independent Study in Collaboration with Industry, you can apply to work with industry projects, one of which 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 gives you practical experience on environmental responsibilities within a business.

MSc project 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.

Attendance

One year full-time study involves attendance at classes over two terms, plus a dissertation during the third term.

Part-time (open to UK/EU students only) involves class attendance in Years 1 & 2 and a dissertation in Years 2 or 3.

You can also study this course part-time through online distance learning, over 36 months, offering a flexible learning mode of study.

Flexible learning

Students from Scotland/EU 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.

Scottish/EU students who do not meet the normal MSc entry requirements for this programme are welcome to apply through the Flexible Learning route.

Chartered Institute of Highways & Transportation logo
Institution of Civil Engineers logo
Institute of Highway Engineers logo
Institute of Structural Engineers logo

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. Get involved with Sustainable Strathclyde.

Teaching staff

Dr Elsa João, 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.

Athena Swan

We've been awarded the Athena Swan Silver Award for our work supporting women in engineering. The Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering was the first engineering department in Scotland, and currently the only civil engineering department in the UK with an Athena SWAN Silver Award.

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Course content

* Denotes classes that are available for distance learning. Please note: not all electives are available for distance learning study mode.

Circular Economy & Transformations Towards Sustainability*

The class, run by the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, introduces circular economy as a systems-based concept in which production is designed to be restorative and resilient, 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-a-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 and consumer behaviour; 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.

Environmental Impact Assessment*

This class, run by the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, 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. Students are also introduced to key principles of Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA).

Choose nine from this list
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

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.

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 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.

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 a 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.

Games of Strategy

In many environments, decisions are not made in a vacuum: what any individual does affects the wellbeing of others, and vice-versa. When this is the case decision-making requires some very careful thought indeed. Game Theory recognises this inter-dependence of decisions, and through its study students will develop skills to analyse such strategic environments using appropriate game theoretic tools, enabling them to enhance their decision-making ability in environments where they face strategic adversaries. Whilst Game Theory is used extensively in Economics, it is also of great importance in the business environment whenever interactions take place at a strategic level.

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

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
International Development

This class introduces contemporary issues in the economics of development. The course aims to combine insights from theoretical economic models with empirical evidence regarding issues in low-income countries.

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.

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 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
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.

Water & Environmental Management

The module 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. The class also provides an introduction to water and wastewater treatment.

Water & Wastewater Treatment Design

This module aims to develop a detailed understanding of treatment processes, as well as the ability to undertake design calculations sufficient to produce a concept and detailed design of a water and wastewater treatment plant.

Necessary requirement for this class

You must have a working knowledge of mathematics, equivalent to year-1 Calculus, and introductory knowledge of chemistry either from undergraduate or high school studies.

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

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.

If you're interested in climate change you should take the classes below:

Air Pollution, Climate Change & Human Health

In this class, run by the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, you'll gain the knowledge and skills on atmospheric pollution and climate change impacts, ranging from local to global scales. The class includes a focus on the assessment and management of environmental impacts on people through the interface between environmental science and engineering activities that mitigate environmental risks. Learning objectives are assessed through a formative portfolio covering the main syllabus areas. Student interaction is encouraged throughout the class through structured feedback sessions, directed reading, student-led question sessions & directed questions sessions.

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. 

Ananya Singh
The atmosphere is nurturing, the people are compassionate. Teachers are always encouraging you to reach your utmost potential and having the support of kind friends around aids to the same.
Ananya Singh
MSc Sustainability & Environmental Studies
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Entry requirements

Academic requirements

Normally a first-class or second-class honours degree (or international equivalent) in any degree discipline.

All backgrounds considered, including social sciences, arts, engineering, law, chemistry, maths, physics, geology, biology and business.

Lower degree classifications may 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.)

Professional Development Courses

Alternative qualifications or professional experience may be considered by the course leader (Scottish/EU 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 held at the University of Strathclyde International Study Centre, for international students (non EU/UK) who do not meet the academic entry requirements for a Masters degree at University of Strathclyde. The Pre-Masters programme provides progression to a number of degree options.

Upon successful completion, you will be able to progress to this degree course at the University of Strathclyde.

International students

We've a thriving international community with students coming here to study from over 100 countries across the world. Find out all you need to know about studying in Glasgow at Strathclyde and hear from students about their experiences.

Visit our international students' section

Map of the world.

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Fees & funding

2020/21

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

Scotland

£8,850
£4,200 per 60 credits (Distance Learning)

Rest of UK

£9,250
£4,200 per 60 credits (Distance Learning)

International

£21,850
£4,200 per 60 credits (Distance Learning)

Available scholarships

Take a look at our scholarships search for funding opportunities.

Please note: All fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.

How can I fund my course?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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International students

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

Faculty of Engineering Scholarships for International Students

If you're applying for an MSc course you'll be eligible to apply for one of our scholarships for up to £5,000 towards your tuition fees. 

Scholarships are available for applicants to all self-funded, new international (non-EU) fee paying students holding an offer of study for an MSc programme in the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Strathclyde.

Please note you must have an offer of study for a full-time course at Strathclyde before applying. You must start your full-time MSc programme at Strathclyde in the coming academic year (2020-21).

Find out more about our scholarship for international students
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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

Glasgow is Scotland's biggest & most cosmopolitan city

Our campus is based in the very heart of Glasgow, Scotland's largest city. National Geographic named Glasgow as one of its 'Best of the World' destinations, while Rough Guide readers have voted Glasgow the world’s friendliest city! And Time Out named Glasgow in the top ten best cities in the world - we couldn't agree more!

We're in the city centre, next to the Merchant City, both of which are great locations for sightseeing, shopping and socialising alongside your studies.

Find out what some of our students think about studying in Glasgow!

Find out all about life in Glasgow
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Apply

Sustainability and Environmental Studies

Qualification: MSc
Start Date: Sep 2021
Mode of Attendance: full-time

Sustainability and Environmental Studies

Qualification: MSc
Start Date: Sep 2021
Mode of Attendance: part-time

Sustainability and Environmental Studies - Online

Qualification: MSc
Start Date: Sep 2021
Mode of Attendance: part-time

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Contact us

Faculty of Engineering

Telephone: +44 (0)141 574 5484

Email: eng-admissions@strath.ac.uk