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Sustainability and Environmental Management MSc

Learn about the course below
September 2022
EU/INT induction: September 2022
1 year full-time
2 years part-time
£9,600 (UK) *
£14,800 (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.

*This course is currently being reviewed. Please check back regularly for changes

Find out more

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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.

We are regularly reviewing and updating our programmes to ensure you have the best learning experience. We are taking what we've learnt in recent years by enhancing our teaching methods with new and innovative ways of learning.

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 from 2022

We have developed new approaches to teaching and learning for the 2021/22 academic year.

We are currently reviewing our approach to teaching and learning for 2022 entry and beyond. We've learned a lot about how to give you a quality education - we aim to combine the best of our in-person teaching and learning with access to online learning and digital resources which put you more in charge of when and how you study. We will keep you updated on this throughout the application process.

Your timetable will be built around on campus sessions using our professional facilities, with online sessions for some activities where we know being virtual will add value. We’ll use technology to enhance all of your learning and give you access to online resources to use in your own time.

The table below gives you an idea of what learning looks like across a typical week. Some weeks are different due to how we schedule classes and arrange on campus sessions.

This information is likely to change slightly for 2022 entry as our plans evolve. You'll receive full information on your teaching before you start your course.

Learning structure: typical hourly breakdown in 2021/22

Live in-person on campus learning

Contact hours per week, per level:

7 hours

Live online learning

Average hours per week, per level:

2.5 hours

Tutor set learning activities

Average hours per week, per level:

30 hours

Outside of these hours, you’ll be expected to do independent study where you read, listen and reflect on other learning activities. This can include preparation for future classes. In a year, you’ll typically be expected to commit 1200 hours to your course across all styles of learning. If you are taking a placement, you might have some additional hours.

Definitions of terms

  • Live in-person on campus learning – This will focus on active and experiential sessions that are both:
    • Led by your tutors including seminars, lab sessions and demonstrations We’ll schedule all of this for you
    • Student-led by you and other students, like small group work and presentations.
  • Live online learning – This will include lectures, tutorials and supervision sessions led by your tutor and timetabled by us. It also includes student-led group work that takes place online

  • Tutor set learning activities – This covers activities which will be set for you by your tutor, but which you will undertake in your own time. Examples of this include watching online materials, participating in an online discussion forum, completing a virtual laboratory or reading specific texts. You may be doing this by yourself of with your course mates depending on your course and assignments. Outside of these hours, you’ll also be expected to do further independent study where you’ll be expected to learn, prepare, revise and reflect in your own time.


You 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 be delivered online and on campus and you 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 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.

  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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