MSc Environmental Practice

Explore practical approaches for tackling global challenges, and apply a combination of managerial practices and scientific methodologies needed for monitoring, managing and protecting the environment.

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The impact humans make on the environment has never been so pressing, or so high profile. Governments, researchers and private organisations are still grappling with the potential solutions for global challenges. Our MSc Environmental Practice provides an answer. It’s your chance to look beyond the headlines and explore the scientific, political and practical realities of protecting the environment.

As such, you’ll cover a diverse range of units throughout the programme. On one hand, you’ll develop skills in assessing, monitoring and modelling pollution in the air, water and land, as well as measuring ecosystem degradation. On the other, you’ll learn to apply environmental management tools, impact assessment procedures and carbon management methods.

Finally, you’ll also learn about sustainable development principles and environmental policies – and how to evaluate their implementation. This mix of policy, practice and science will take you from the classroom to the field to the lab. While you’ll develop desk-based assessment approaches, explore key concepts and analyse evidence in lectures and seminars, understanding the environment means getting out into the environment.

So, as well as various opportunities for field trips, you’ll get out into the field for a residential course where you’ll conduct an interdisciplinary environmental assessment. To help you develop your practical skills, you’ll learn in an altogether more cutting-edge environment – with high-spec teaching and research labs equipped with state-of-art analytical and computing equipment.

Features and Benefits

Career Prospects

This is a specialist course, designed to provide you with the skills and knowledge you’ll need for a career in environmental management or science at a strategic level. That could include consultancy roles in analytical chemistry (i.e. air, water, soil), carbon management, ecosystem services management, environmental management systems, impact assessment or in strategic impact assessment.

As such, it’s a masters qualification that could take you into a range of different organisations, from public sector environmental agencies and charitable sector environmental companies to private businesses and research organisations. Today, you’ll find previous graduates from our Department working in organisations including the NHS, Natural England, Stockport Homes, Sefton Council and the Environment Agency.  

Once you leave us, you should be equipped with the knowledge and career readiness skills to support the transition to a more sustainable future for a wide range of potential employers.

Learn more about graduate careers

Entry requirements

You’ll need a good UK honours degree – at least a 2:2 – or the international equivalent, in a relevant subject. We might also consider your application if you have professional experience in a related field.

Overseas applicants will require IELTS with an overall score of 6.5 with no less than 5.5 in any category, or an equivalent accepted English qualification. Accepted English qualifications can be viewed here.

Course details

Problem-based and work-based learning strategies include a residential field course, short field trips, practical classes, seminars, and involving practitioners in teaching. Practical classes take place in high specification laboratories equipped with state-of-art analytical and computing equipment. International case studies from rich, emerging, and poor countries are used throughout the programme. These allow UK and international students to gain insights from across the world. Students develop a specialism by undertaking either a master’s dissertation or a placement project. These prepare students for a career in research, private, public or charitable sectors.  The programme uniquely prepares students for combining scientific and managerial practices in implementing effective environmental strategies.

  • Sustainable Development
  • Science and Policy
  • Air Quality
  • Soil and Water Quality
  • Ecosystem Services
  • Environmental Assessment Field Course
  • Environmental Management
  • Climate Change and Carbon Management
  • Dissertation or Placement Project

Read more about this year of study

Core Units

Ecosystem Services and Evaluation

This unit introduces the concept of ecosystem services and its implications for environmental science and management. The ecosystem services framework is critically explained and discussed. 

Science and Policy

First, the students are introduced to the conceptual understanding of international environmental law. This may include the historical development, features, principles, actors and frameworks of international environmental law. Then, students focus on the challenges in implementing international environmental law. These may include challenges related to monitoring, reporting, disputes, compliance and selected legal perspectives. The implications of international environmental law for environmental science and management are covered throughout the unit.

Air Quality

This unit critically addresses the challenges of managing and improving urban air quality. This involves an evaluation of current criteria air pollution concentrations using both measurement and modelling approaches, and the impacts that these pollutants cause. The assessment comprises a practical case study based investigation of local air quality management within the current legal context.

Soil and Water Quality

Students will be introduced to pollutants (and their sources) that influence soil and water quality, and their potential negative impacts on ecosystem and human health. Key techniques used to identify occurrence and measure concentrations of pollutants in soil and water samples will be described. Practical identification and measurement of soil and water pollutants will be undertaken, including assessment of data quality and consideration of possible impacts.

Environmental Assessment Field Course

Students are introduced to a range of desk- and field-based environmental assessment methods.  These may include geographical information systems, remote sensing, social, economic, and environmental methods. Then, during a residential field course, students focus on applying a range of these methods by undertaking an interdisciplinary environmental assessment. Challenges related to data collection, analysis and reporting; and implications for environmental science and management are covered throughout the unit.

Climate change and Carbon Management

This unit examines the challenge of climate change and our response to it. We first review the evidence for climate change, impacts and vulnerabilities. We then focus on mitigation, with an emphasis on greenhouse gas measurement and management. Students will critically assess and apply a range of carbon accounting methodologies, evaluating their strengths and weaknesses, and the implications for carbon management from international, national, organisational and individual perspectives.

Sustainable Development

Students are introduced to the conceptual understanding of the model of sustainable development. This may include different historical, disciplinary, ethical, theoretical, and global perspectives. Then, students focus on the challenges in implementing the model of sustainable development. These may include challenges related to governance, monitoring and measurement. The implications of the model of sustainable development for environmental science and management are covered throughout the unit.

Environmental Management

This unit comprises of two parts: an examination of the macro regulatory environment associated with new business developments, namely EIA; and both the macro and micro influences that shape decision making within an organisation. This unit provides students with the opportunity to study in the field of EIA and the closely associated Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA). The unit will cover the origins and regulatory background of EIA, project screening and scoping, preparing environmental statements, Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and Sustainability Appraisal (SA). Students will be introduced to the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and how the approach is adopted by organisations to manage and communicate their environmental performance.

Dissertation or Placement Project (Environmental Practice)

Placement Project [60 credits]

This unit comprises of two parts: a series of taught sessions, followed by a work-based placement tailored to the interests and professional ambitions of the student. The taught element of this unit will be delivered through a series of lectures, seminars and workshops, all designed to provide the student with a solid foundation from which to base their professional placement project. Topics covered will include project planning and management, data analysis, report preparation and employability skills. Typical work-based placements could include projects with local government agencies, charities/ NGOs, and environmental consultancies and/ or practitioners. Opportunities may also available to undertake research with academic staff, either internal to Manchester Met or in other universities. Students will be allocated to an academic tutor appropriate to the placement topic as a point of contact and support during the placement.

Dissertation (environmental) [60 credits]

This unit encompasses planning, executing and writing a Masters project in the field of environment science. The unit provides the framework and guidance for students to undertake and complete their research project. Students will demonstrate that they have appropriately addressed project management, health and safety and ethical issues pertinent to their area of study. Supervision by a member of staff with similar research interests ensures students get continual support to give them the confidence to complete their project successfully.

Placement options

As part of this programme, you can choose to complete your masters with a placement project. This might include projects with local government agencies, NGOs or environmental consultancies, or could involve working on a major research project with academic staff – whether from Manchester Met or another university. It’s a route that starts off with a series of lectures, seminars and workshops to give you the planning and reporting skills you’ll need, while you’ll have the continuing support of a tutor throughout. So, by the time you complete your placement project, you’ll not only have completed a major masters-level piece of work, but you’ll have valuable experience and vital professional skills to take into your career.

Department of Natural Sciences

Our Department of Natural Sciences is a research-rich academic community with a well-established reputation in biology, chemistry, geography and environmental science.

The department works with research institutions, industry partners, national organisations and NGOs worldwide to address the challenges posed by environmental, socio-economic, cultural and political change, as well as health and advanced materials.

More about the department

Taught by experts

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.

Meet our expert staff


UK and EU students

UK and EU students: Full-time fee: £8,500 per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Non-EU and Channel Island students

Non-EU international and Channel Island students: Full-time fee: £17,000 per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Additional Information

A Masters qualification typically comprises 180 credits, a PGDip 120 credits, a PGCert 60 credits, and an MFA 300 credits. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of study provided the course is completed in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Additional costs

Professional Costs


The residential field course is part of a compulsory unit. However, the trip is not compulsory. Students who are not able to attend the residential field course (for any reason) have the option of doing an alternative fieldwork project in Manchester. 

The £200 field course cost includes travel, accommodation, and all meals for three days. The course takes place in the Lake District. 

Postgraduate Loan Scheme

Loans of up to £10,906 for many Postgraduate Courses

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Alumni Loyalty Discount

Rewarding our graduates

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How to apply

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.

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If you are unable to apply online, you can apply for postgraduate taught courses by completing the postgraduate application form. There are exceptions for some professional courses – the course information on our on-line prospectus will give you more information in these cases.

Please note: to apply for this course, you only need to provide one reference.

You can review our current Terms and Conditions before you make your application. If you are successful with your application, we will send you up to date information alongside your offer letter.


Programme Review
Our programmes undergo an annual review and major review (normally at 6 year intervals) to ensure an up-to-date curriculum supported by the latest online learning technology. For further information on when we may make changes to our programmes, please see the changes section of our Terms and Conditions.

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. Please check back to the online prospectus before making an application to us to access the most up to date information for your chosen course of study.

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