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Sustainability and Environmental Management MSc

Learn about the course below
October 2021
EU/INT induction: September 2021
1 year full-time
2 years part-time
£9,400 (UK) *
£14,500 (EU/INT) *
Course leader
Dr Christophe Viavattene

The need for environmental sustainability is increasingly acknowledged in policy areas throughout the developed and developing world. For this reason, our course is designed for those looking to gain a high-level qualification in the theory and practical application of sustainable environmental management.

Why study MSc Sustainability and Environmental Management at Middlesex University?

Our Master's degree in Sustainability and Environmental Management (suited to those with science and technical experience) offers insight into the causes and solutions to a range of environmental issues. You will develop the ability to evaluate the constraints and opportunities facing a variety of institutions and acquire the skills required to implement sustainable policies. You will undertake problem solving scenarios, develop analytical skills and critically evaluate environmental management policies.

You will study alongside students from a range of cultural backgrounds offering you the chance to learn in an international arena and share ideas on a global scale.

Course highlights

  • You will have the opportunity to either undertake a field study trip, subject to availability as a result of the COVID-19 restrictions or using our highly successful virtual case study to explore a practical environment which has challenged stakeholders and the practice of sustainability. This will support learning about management and policy solutions for sustainability through practical experiences.
  • Our teachers are actively linked to a variety of governmental and non-governmental organisations and these links are fed into the programme delivery.
  • This course is accredited by the Institution of Environmental Sciences.
  • Teaching by specialist staff including practitioners and researchers from our world-renowned Flood Hazard Research Centre inspires our students and in turn, expands their ambitions.
  • We provide an exciting and motivating programme of guest speakers, seminars, field visits and external visits, COVID-19 permitting.
  • As a student of this course, you'll receive a free electronic textbook for every module.

Find out more

Sign up now to receive more information about studying at Middlesex University London.

What will you study on the MSc Sustainability and Environmental Management?

This MSc course is aimed at students with an interest in the application of sustainable environmental management principles in practice. It focuses on sustainability issues and the development of tools and techniques to envision change and bring about practical solutions to real world cases.

You will gain an in-depth understanding of the scientific basis of the most significant global environmental issues confronting private and public sector decision makers and they will master a variety of analytical approaches to aid the design, evaluation and application of management options based on law, policy and best practice.


  • Modules

    • Global Sustainability Issues and Practice (15 credits) - Compulsory

      This module sets the ethos of the programme orienting students towards the sustainability issues across the three core domains of sustainability – the environmental domain, social domain and economic domain. It presents the theory, drivers, experience and challenges across various spheres of experience and practice including the natural environment, communities and business. It also presents the approaches used to influence these contexts.

    • Applied Sustainability Case Study (15 credits) - Compulsory

      This module seeks to explore the current nature and history of the environmental, social and economic sustainability challenges in a case study environment subject to sustainability challenges. The case study involves exposure to a practical case study environment, which has challenged stakeholders and the practice of sustainability.

      The case study is normally experienced through the field trip in late March, with a week long visit to various locations in a selected relevant location.

      Where travel is not permitted, or where there are personal issues presented to the course team, an alternative virtual on-line case study will be made available.

    • Environmental Law and Governance (15 credits) - Compulsory

      This module grounds student learning in the policy, legal and governance relating to sustainability from local to international level. It provides key principles of policy and law, and their application to key domains of concern.

    • Environmental Assessment and Management (15 credits) - Compulsory

      This module equips students with the practical tools and approaches to successful environmental assessment and management in organisations through a focus on the environmental management systems approach and application to varying industry sectors.

    • Research Methods (30 credits) - Compulsory

      This module prepares students with the philosophical and practical methodological approaches to research through lectures and workshops which prepare the student not only with knowledge but practical experience of working with the tools and computer packages including Minitab and NVivo.

    • Research Project (60 credits) - Compulsory

      This module provides for independent research completion by the student to completion of MSc level dissertation supported by a dedicated supervisor.

    • Professional Experience Placement (30 credits) - Optional

      This module provides students with the preparatory skills for undertaking a work experience placement in a relevant field. Supported by the Middlesex University Employability Office, students are given the opportunity to undertake a work placement.

    • Factors affecting risk and strategic risk intervention (15 credits) - Optional

      This module aims to provide you with an overview of the theory and application of risk management as it is applied at a strategic level from a multi-disciplinary, science-led perspective and explore frameworks that can be used to relate the functions of risk management and the actors that perform them in order to enable you to better understand the process of decision making and the factors which influence it.

    • Flood Risk Management (15 credits) - Optional

      Flooding is widely recognised globally as one of the most common natural catastrophes and with climate change the frequency and severity of flood disasters is expected to increase. The aim of this module is to introduce how and why floods occur and for you to investigate and evaluate the core principles and concepts of flood risk management. The module will introduce the complex issue of flood risk and examines how it is understood in different contexts by different cultures and communities; the impacts (both positive and negative) will be considered. You will be introduced to practical ways of managing flood risk and case studies will be used to demonstrate differing management approaches and options applied in different settings. Also, the module will introduce you to the three key dimensions of flood risk management relating to the physical basis of flood generation and flood frequency in the context of changing climatic and societal ‘futures’; the social, environmental and economic impacts of flooding; and solutions, challenges and approaches: delivering flood risk management to societies in a range of socio-economic and physical contexts.

More information about this course

See the course specification for more information:

Optional modules are usually available at levels 5 and 6, although optional modules are not offered on every course. Where optional modules are available, you will be asked to make your choice during the previous academic year. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module,  or there are staffing changes which affect the teaching, it may not be offered. If an optional module will not run, we will advise you after the module selection period when numbers are confirmed, or at the earliest time that the programme team make the decision not to run the module, and help you choose an alternative module.

How is MSc Sustainability and Environmental Management taught?

This programme will be delivered in a blended learning format using live interactive teaching sessions via a number of learning platforms e.g. Kaltura newrow Adobe Connect or Zoom. These sessions will be recorded so that you can return to this learning in your own time and study at your own place. Learning may be supplemented by pre-recorded lectures, virtual case studies and data analysis activity where students can access the information at any point. Any practical sessions will either be virtual or on campus where this is possible in light of the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak. This wide range of teaching and learning approaches are used to build up your skills and knowledge.

You will take part in online problem solving discussions, critical debates and exercises, online workshops, and in-class activities. You will supplement all this with your own guided and independent reading. The mix of delivery modes will be varied and suitable to the content being delivered.

The course includes a field trip in late March with a week-long field trip subject to any restrictions arising from the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak. Where travel is not permitted, or where there are personal issues presented to the course team, an alternative virtual on-line case study will be made available.

Middlesex is committed to equipping and accommodating learners fully online where they cannot reach campus, and where a second lockdown is in place. In such event, the fully online scenario will be in place to provide and support students’ learning.



Assessment is entirely through coursework. As well as your dissertation and research project, you will be assessed through essays, papers, reports, group and individual online or face-to-face presentations, case study analyses, policy analysis reports and bibliographic exercises. Students will give feedback on each other’s work, and you will also be asked to evaluate your own work.

Teaching and learning

Changes for students in 2020

If you’re starting university in 2020, we’ll be teaching you in different ways to make sure you get the best learning experience possible. You’ll learn through live sessions with teaching staff and have the chance to study independently too, with access to all the online resources you need through our globally available student portal.

We’re planning different scenarios for teaching so that we can be flexible. While we’re social distancing, we’re aiming to teach you through some small group sessions on campus, with other interactive teaching as well as larger lectures delivered online and recorded sessions available to you on-demand. If you’re unable to make it to campus at first, or we need to limit access to campus in the future, your course can be delivered fully online.

The table below shows current plans for your learning across a typical week, including scheduled live online teaching and an indication of what we hope to teach face to face, where you can make it to campus. While some weeks might look different to this, due to how we schedule classes and make arrangements for any face to face sessions (for example, in some cases these could take place every two weeks with an increased number of hours), the table gives you an idea of what to expect based on the overall number of teaching hours on your course.

You’ll receive final arrangements for your teaching and a full course timetable before you start.

Scenario 1: course delivered fully online


Live learning

Contact time per week, per level:

9.5 hours


Self-paced learning time

Average hours per week, per level:

40.5 hours


On demand resources

Average hours per week, per level:

1.75 hours

Scenario 2: course delivered with a mix of online and face to face learning with social distancing in place


Live learning

Contact time per week, per level:

9.5 hours


Self-paced learning time

Average hours per week, per level:

40.2 hours


On demand resources

Average hours per week, per level:

1.6 hours


Face-to-face sessions

Contact time per level:

13 days on campus.

2 additional days depending on optional modules.

Field trip 5 days.

Read more about our scenarios for returning to campus and what they might mean for your teaching and learning experience, and how you’ll be able to access student support.

Future plans for teaching

We’re developing our timetable for face to face teaching  with current government advice on social distancing to keep you safe. If social distancing requirements are lifted, we’ll start to safely move back towards our usual teaching arrangements with more opportunities for face to face learning. Some learning and support might stay online in this scenario. If more restrictions are put in place, or there is another lockdown, we’ll be prepared to deliver your learning and support fully online, with alternative arrangements made for any required placements. We’ll always give you notice of any changes that we make.

Definitions of terms

  • Live learning – Live learning will cover everything you’ll do with teaching staff like lectures, seminars, workshops and other classes, and we’ll schedule all of this for you. This might include some study outside your regular timetable, like taking part in discussion forums or online blogs where you’re supported by academic staff.
  • Independent learning – Independent learning is all the studying you’ll do outside your live learning sessions with teaching staff. This self-paced study will give you the chance to learn, prepare, revise and reflect in your own time as you need to, and you’ll have access to on-demand resources and materials to help you do your best.
    • Self-paced study – Self-paced study will give you the chance to learn wherever and whenever you want to and at your own pace, outside your live learning sessions. This independent learning could include reading and reflection, preparation for classes, revision or homework along with access to other online activities such as quizzes.
    • On-demand resources – You'll have access to on-demand resources like pre-recorded video lectures and workshops as part of your independent study. You’ll be able to review and revisit whenever you need to at your own pace.
  • Face to face sessions – Wherever it’s possible to do so, and we can make the necessary arrangements to ensure your safety, you’ll be able to attend scheduled sessions, workshops or appointments on campus as part of your live learning. The number of hours given in this scenario provides an indication of the number of hours of face to face learning you could expect, and a full timetable will be provided to you before the start of your course.


You’ll have a strong support network available to you to make sure you develop all the necessary academic skills you need to do well on your course.

Our support services will mainly be delivered online and you’ll have access to a range of different resources so you can get the help you need, whether you’re studying at home or have the opportunity to come to campus.

You’ll have access to one to one and group sessions for personal learning and academic support from our library and IT teams, and our network of learning experts. Our teams will also be here to offer financial advice, and personal wellbeing, mental health and disability support.

More on teaching for your subject in 2020/21

Read our guide to what’s been happening in your subject area recently and more about what to expect this autumn.

  1. Standard entry requirements
  2. International (inc. EU)
  3. How to apply
  1. UK
  2. EU/International
  3. Additional costs
  4. Scholarships and bursaries

How can the MSc Sustainability and Environmental Management support your career?

This course will equip you with the skills and expertise you need to work in a wide range of roles and sectors. Recent graduates have gone onto  sustainability consultants' roles in different sectors such as building construction or maritime sectors.

You might also wish to explore your options in research or academia, or even complete further study at doctoral level.

There are many opportunities available in a variety of sectors including consultant agencies, government ministries, non-governmental organisations (local and international) and education.

Dr Christophe Viavattene
Programme leader

Dr Viavattene's research with the Flood Hazard Research Centre is mainly focused on understanding how society can better manage the environment through the lens of the water resources and their associated risks (e.g. flood, drought, pollution).

  • Middlesex staff profile

    Becky Armstrong

    MSc in Sustainable Environment Management graduate

    The course modules available [on the MSc in Sustainable Environment Management] held a lot of interest for me, particularly the opportunity to gain work experience through the internship module.

    I definitely think the internship helped me to get my job, as the experience I gained during it (in particular taking part in environmental audits on site visits) was something I discussed a lot in job applications and was asked about specifically during interview. The understanding I gained throughout the internship showed during my interview and this, combined with my knowledge developed during the masters, boosted my confidence in both applying for jobs and at the interview stage.

    I'm really enjoying working in the sustainability sector after a couple of years of failed attempts before the master's and I'm really pleased to have found a job with such a well-established company in sustainability.

  • Middlesex staff profile

    Suzanne Worzella

    Energy Analyst | MSc Sustainable Environmental Management graduate

    Suzanne Worzella graduated in MSc Sustainable Environmental Management in 2010. She chose Middlesex because of the comprehensive and interactive programme for environmental management, and also its strong focus on fieldwork and practical learning. Suzanne found the diversity at Middlesex to be a huge asset to her degree, valuing the different perspectives and experiences of the students in her class. She also felt the passion and experience of the tutors greatly cemented her desire to learn.

    Having graduated, Suzanne now works for a company that focuses on helping large and multi-site organisations lower their energy consumption. Her role is as an Energy Analyst, but primarily as an Administrator in Business Development. As an Energy Analyst she diagnoses problems through several levels of data analysis. As a Business Development Administrator she focuses on expanding the business through reaching out to potential clients like universities and federal agencies. She is also helping her business be more sustainable and environmentally focused through revamping their marketing and business strategies to focus on their contribution to energy.

We’ll carefully manage any future changes to courses, or the support and other services available to you, if these are necessary because of things like changes to government health and safety advice, or any changes to the law.

Any decisions will be taken in line with both external advice and the University’s Regulations which include information on this.

Our priority will always be to maintain academic standards and quality so that your learning outcomes are not affected by any adjustments that we may have to make.

At all times we’ll aim to keep you well informed of how we may need to respond to changing circumstances, and about support that we’ll provide to you.

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