Manchester Metropolitan University


Environmental Management and Sustainable Development

2017 entry

Features and benefits of the course

  • The School has a well established reputation in the field of environmental management and hosts world-class research and education in atmospheric and sustainable development issues. The course is supplemented by in-depth case studies and the involvement of practitioners in the field which enhances the vocational aspect of the course further.
  • This cross-discipline programme is offered both on a part-time and full-time basis in order to meet the learning needs of both busy professionals as well as new graduates.
  • The School of Science and the Environment has been awarded several Green Apple awards for Excellence in Environmental Education and Practice.
  • We are home to leading research groups such as the Centre for Aviation Transport and the Environment, who were part of the Nobel Peace Prize winning team for work on climate change, the Environment Research Centre and the Research Centre for Applied Social Sciences.
  • You will use outstanding facilities and industry standard equipment. Through a combination of laboratory sessions and fieldwork, we will not only teach you how to use industry-standard testing kit, we will show you first-hand. You will learn how to use:
    • palin tests to monitor water quality
    • air quality monitoring devices including special particulate meters
    • i-buttons for accurate air temperature measurement
    • field spectro-radiometers which mimic satellites in orbit to identify environmental crises on the ground, for example vegetation stress. They offer data comparable to that of Met Office weather stations.
    This experience of using equipment widely used in Industry will help to ensure you are ready for the next step in your career.

Placement options

Our MSc Environmental Management and Sustainable Development gives you the opportunity to undertake a 3-6 month environmental management work placement over the summer months as you study.

You will gain first-hand experience of live sustainability projects in the workplace, allowing you to put everything you study into practice and giving you invaluable skills and experience to showcase on your CV. 

Our students have had great success on their work placements leading to job offers and a fascinating, rewarding career in sustainable development and environmental management. We’ve had student placements at local authorities, housing associations and hospitals. Some examples of recent success include:

  • Lucy completed her work placement at Stockport Homes winning an award for work placement of the year. She went on to work at the Environment Agency and is now Lead Environmental Management Systems Officer at Thames Water
  • Natalie also did her placement with Stockport Homes which led to permanent employment first as Energy Adviser and now Energy Services Team Leader
  • Jennifer was employed by Sefton Council following her placement there
  • Georgia was employed by Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust/Manchester Royal Infirmary following her placement there.

About the course

The course provides systematic understanding of the scientific background; critical awareness of the state of knowledge and the burden of proof requirement; comprehensive knowledge of the policy and regulatory frameworks; and a practical understanding of management methodologies relating to environmental management. The programme's vocational aspect is supplemented by in-depth case studies, field practitioner expertise, and the opportunity for a placement-based research project.

This cross-discipline programme is offered both on a part-time and full time basis in order to meet the learning needs of both busy professionals as well as new graduates.

Our Masters programmes are practically based and heavily supported by laboratory work, case studies, tutorials, fieldwork and projects. They are run by a large group of research-active staff with strong links to a variety of research institutions, national organisations and non-governmental bodies in the UK and overseas.

Our weekly Café Scientific gives students the opportunity to debate and discuss conservation and environmental management issues with teaching staff, hear from outside speakers and reflect on their own learning.

Our Research in Environmental Science

Research in the School was rated ‘internationally excellent’ with some rated ‘world leading’ in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework. We are home to leading research groups such as the Centre for Aviation Transport and the Environment, who were part of the Nobel Peace Prize winning team for work on climate change, the Environment Research Centre and the Research Centre for Applied Social Sciences.

The Environmental Science Research Centre focuses on the biological, chemical and physical processes that govern Earth systems and ecosystems and the impacts of climatic and environmental change. Collaboration is a strength exemplified through internationally excellent research in aviation policy.

Ongoing research is funded by a range of external sponsors, including EPSRC, NERC, the Department for Transport, the EU and British Council as well as a number of NGOs and industrial partners. Our researchers have strong international links with Germany and China.  

Typical units of study may include

Year 1

This course can be taught full-time over 1 year, or part-time 3 years. If taught full-time all units will be taken within 1 year.

Click below for unit information.

Core Units
Management for Sustainable Development

The central aim of this unit is to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the various methods and techniques available to organisations to assist them in making effective decisions to further sustainable development. This unit aims to establish a critical awareness of challenges to organisations presented by sustainable development priorities and the extent to which available tools and techniques can empower organisations to address challenges effectively. The unit comprises five primary components:

An introduction to the scale of the sustainable development challenge facing organisations, focusing primarily on the eco-efficiency improvements required to compensate for economic growth and the potential implications for future visions of development.

A review of key management tools designed to inform sustainable development decision-making. This will included, but not be restricted to, environmental management systems, Life Cycle Assessment and DfE, ecological footprint analysis and carbon accounting and management

Corporate Social Responsibility - highlighting the range of stakeholders requiring organisations companies to adopt proactive social and environmental strategies; the reasons for, and content of, corporate social responsibility and environmental management reports; use of quantitative key performance indicators; and the emergence of varied and intensive stakeholder dialogue activities.

Environmental and Strategic Impact Assessment – this will highlight the practical difficulties of delivering on sustainable development policy by evaluating the impact of EIA and SEA on local decision-making

Unit review – designed to capture key learning and reinforce the challenges associated with delivering on policy commitments.

Masters Project in Environment and Geography

This unit encompasses planning, executing and writing a Masters project in the fields of environment and geography. The aims, methods, research design, data gathering, analysis, outcomes and presentation will be appropriate to a Masters Project. Students will demonstrate that they have appropriately addressed project management, health and safety and ethical issues pertinent to their area of study. Where appropriate, the project may be undertaken in association with an external organisation. Content includes Planning a Masters Project in the context of appropriate aims and objectives, research design, time and project management, ethical considerations, health and safety, researching the literature, problem and research question formulation, appropriate data collection. Data synthesis, analysis and interpretation, ordering and presenting an argument in the context of the literature and critical reflection for dissemination by thesis.

Policy for Sustainable Development

This unit introduces the concept of sustainable development and provides an overview of relevant theory and of international and national policy and legislation. This unit aims to establish a critical understanding of the concept(s) of sustainable development and the policy responses to the challenges that sustainable development poses. The unit comprises three taught components:

The first part of the unit will cover topics such as:  the environment-development interface and the emergence of sustainable development; the theoretical concepts of sustainable development and their implications for environmental management; and a critical review of international and national policy commitments to sustainable development.

The second part of the unit will address topics relating to:  social and economic policy at international, national and sub-national levels; integrated land use planning for social, economic and environmental objectives; international and national nature conservation policy; species and habitats policy; and their implications for environmental management and for sustainable development.

The final part of the unit will focus on pollution prevention and control policy. Topics that will be covered may include: air, land and water related policy; Issues related to minimum compliance, beyond compliance and best practice; voluntary approaches to regulation; and an overview of the implications for environmental management and for sustainable development. 

Research Design & Methods

This unit aims to establish a clear critical understanding of the nature and implementation of a research project. Students will consider philosophy of science; common errors in critical thought; research ethics, health and safety; preparation of research proposals; statistical analysis; graphical presentation of data; sampling techniques. A field trip will develop research skills. The unit comprises five components:-

Methodological background: Focusing on the philosophical and theoretical underpinnings of research approach and design as applicable to specific postgraduate programmes within environment and geography.

Research Design: Highlighting how best to undertake research by developing a strategy, methods, techniques and methodology tailored to the area of interest. This provides a general overview of project planning and management (where appropriate including negotiation of a project with a placement provider), and how this enables effective delivery on defined research aims and objectives.

Research Methods: Provides an overview of the range of data acquisition and analysis techniques appropriate to different programmes of study. The strengths and weaknesses of various techniques will be highlighted to allow informed selection of suitable methods for proposed research projects and ensure reliable outcomes.

Field Trip: There will be a 4-day field trip in the first week after the Easter Holiday.  This might typically be to the Lake District. The students will be set team-based tasks for preparation of a formative assessment.

Research Proposal: Students will define and plan a research project. This will involve identifying the research question, highlighting ethical considerations and risk assessments, selecting the appropriate methods of data collection and analysis. Students will thereby define a comprehensive project plan.     

Science for Sustainable Development

This unit examines the scientific frameworks, from both a global and a local perspective, that underpin sustainable development and related policies. The unit first explores the ideas relating to a global earth system, globalisation and the global-scale impact of human activities. It also seeks to explain the role of change over varying timescales. Climate change and climate change models are discussed and critically evaluated. Second, the unit aims to establish a systematic understanding of environmental monitoring at the local scale, with particular attention to the urban built environment. Such environmental monitoring will focus on chemical (of air, land and water) and ecological status assessment in urban built environments, i.e. local air quality monitoring, modelling and management and contaminated land assessment, as well as consideration of risks associated with environmental contaminates in urban environments. The second part of the unit will be introduced via lectures, with the main focus being on the completion of field surveying and sampling and subsequent determination of environmental contaminants in the laboratory.

Programme Review

Each programme of study that we offer undergoes an annual review to ensure an up-to-date curriculum supported by the latest online learning technology. In addition, we undertake a major review of the programme, normally at 6-yearly intervals, but this can take place at a more frequent interval where required. Applicants should note that the programme currently provided may be subject to change as a result of the review process. We only make changes where we consider it necessary to do so or where we feel that certain changes are in the best interests of students and to enhance the quality of provision. Occasionally, we have to make changes for reasons outside our control. Where there are changes which may materially affect the current programme content and/or structure, offer holders will be informed.

Assessment details

A continuous variety of assessment methods includes policy briefings, executive summaries and practical reports. MSc students will complete a dissertation.

Additional Information About this Course

Students are expected to comply with the Schools codes of conduct and behaviour on field courses and placements.

Teaching Staff

Your studies are supported by a team of committed and enthusiastic teachers and researchers, experts in their chosen field. We also work with external professionals, many of whom are Manchester Met alumni, to enhance your learning and appreciation of the wider subject. Details of departmental staff can be found at:

Typical entry requirements

A good UK Honours degree (or international equivalent) in a subject such as environmental science or management, sustainable development, social sciences, geography, chemistry, biology, engineering or the majority of science subjects is usually required – or, alternatively, relevant environmental experience. All applications will be considered on their own merit.

International students please see

Applicants from the Commonwealth countries may be eligible to apply for the Commonwealth Shared Scholarship.

There’s further information for international students on our international website if you’re applying with non-UK qualifications.

How do I apply for this course?

The quickest and most efficient way to apply for this course is to apply online. This way, you can also track your application at each stage of the process.

Apply online now

Applications for this course close on the 23rd of August 2017.

Career options after the course

This course aims to provide relevant knowledge and skills required of environmental managers operating at a strategic level in the public, business and non-governmental sectors. An MSc qualification demonstrates your aptitude for high-level study and research and your advanced laboratory skills. Recent graduates have been employed by local authorities, the environmental and sustainable departments of major companies, regulatory authorities and research organisations. Others have gone on to create their own successful environmental companies.

Where did our students go next?

  • Nicola is a Carbon Consultant at SLR Consulting
  • Caroline went on to work in Carbon Management for Manchester Growth Company
  • Jeremy was employed straight after completed the MSc air an Air Quality Consultant for the environmental Consultancy Firm RSK.

What's more, this MSc course will also give you a range of transferable skills, for example presenting scientific findings or explaining complex concepts to non-specialists, making you ideal for a career in technical sales and marketing.

Careers support is available from the moment you join us, throughout your time here, and for up to three years after the completion of your course. We have a range of services available through The School of Science and the Environment and the University Careers Service including dedicated careers and employability advisors.

Keep your options open

The Masters in Environmental Management and Sustainable Development allows you to keep your career options open. You may pursue further study towards a PhD and an academic career. As Carly, one of our recent graduates, says: 'I really benefited from Manchester Met's links with industry. My Masters project was based in one of the University's Research Centres, which was funded by a big industry partner and from which I gained a PhD place.'

Professional Accreditation

The School of Science and the Environment has strong links with professional bodies who accredit many of our undergraduate degrees. Our Environmental Science degrees are professionally accredited by the Institution of Environmental Sciences and pathways are accredited by the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management. The Geography pathway Contemporary Urbanism and Planning is accredited by the Institute of Place Management.

Confirmation of Regulator

The Higher Education Funding Council for England is the principal regulator for the University.

Important Notice

This online prospectus provides an overview of our programmes of study and the University. We regularly update our online prospectus so that our published course information is accurate and up to date. Please note that our programmes are subject to review and development on an ongoing basis. Changes may sometimes be necessary. For example, to comply with the requirements of professional or accrediting bodies or as a result of student feedback or external examiners’ reports. We also need to ensure that our courses are dynamic and current and that the content and structure maintain academic standards and enhance the quality of the student experience.

Please check back to the online prospectus before making an application to us.

The provision of education by the University is subject to terms and conditions of enrollment and contract. The current Terms and Conditions Applicable to the provision of the University’s Educational Services are available online. When a student enrolls with us, their study and registration at the University will be governed by various regulations, policies and procedures. It is important that applicants/students familiarize themselves with our Terms and Conditions and the Key Contract Documents referred to within. Applicants will be provided with access to an up to date version at offer stage. This can be found within the Information for Offer Holders document.