MSc/Postgraduate Diploma Environmental Health

Entry year
Course code
Health and Social Sciences
15 months full-time or 27 months part-time
Full-time (2 days per week); part-time (one day per week), starts January. Forty-eight days total attendance plus exam time.
Programme leader
Sharon Humphries

This course is open for applications.

Page last updated 6 August 2020


A professionally accredited, vocational postgraduate education in environmental health with strong links to public and private sector employers, and taught content that reflects current and predicted industry trends.

Accreditations and partnerships:

Our MSc Environmental Health course is designed specifically to enable health professionals to develop expertise in environmental health issues, and is aimed at graduates keen to acquire the professional skills associated with identifying, assessing, evaluating and controlling environmental factors that affect health. It educates and supports anyone pursuing public or private sector careers that promote and protect human health and welfare. Employability is excellent, thanks to strong links with and direct teaching input from employers across the South West.

Direct routes to employment or career enhancement

The majority of our students go straight into related employment. With many securing positions before graduation, with employers such as national food and health, safety and environment organisations and consultancies, national retailers and the leisure/holiday sector, as well as local councils, or overseas with a growing international focus on environmental health issues. This is reflected in our increasing number of international applicants.

You'll have the knowledge and experience in decision-making needed to identify and tackle environmental health issues in a wide range of contexts. You'll also be ready to contribute significantly to existing environmental health practice, and to respond and initiate change in line with current and emerging public health issues.

On completing the course, you can continue your professional development by registering for the Chartered Practitioner Programme, delivered by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH). You will be then designated as having achieved the highestprofessional leveland able to use the nominals CEnvH.

The faculty also provides an MSc Environmental Health Professional Practice course for those seeking professional training.



Studies focus on key current environmental health concerns, and cover public health, food safety, housing, health and safety at work, and pollution management. The core modules are:

  • Environmental Health Principles and Practice - A critical understanding of environmental health legal systems, risk assessment, employability skills and how they apply in practice through field visits, and input from experienced practitioners and employers.
  • Food Control - Developing an understanding of food safety situations along with the skills needed to assess and control them effectively. This is through a combination of teaching and practical sessions.
  • Pollution Management - Learning to understand, evaluate and mitigate aspects and processes of human activity that can cause environmental contamination of air (including noise), water and land.
  • Health and Safety Management - How working environments can affect our health, safety and welfare and how we can minimise incidence and negative effects through target-based interventions. 
  • Housing - Looking closely at the relationship between housing, communities and health, and the risks associated with housing deficiencies.
  • Introduction to Public Health - Learning how to critically analyse what determines health and illness in social, environmental and political contexts.
  • Health Promotion - Evaluating approaches to tackling health inequalities within communities.
  • Quantitative Health Research - Critical analysis and interpretation of epidemiological studies, in preparation for the research aspect of the course dissertation.
  • Dissertation - Design and execute a planned research study based on relevant methodology within an appropriate research framework.

Please also note this structure is for the full-time course delivery only. For part-time delivery, the same modules will be studied. However, the structure will differ.

The University continually enhances our offer by responding to feedback from our students and other stakeholders, ensuring the curriculum is kept up to date and our graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for the real world. This may result in changes to the course. If changes to your course are approved, we will inform you.

Learning and Teaching

The course is supported fully by on-line material and library access, and comprises a careful balance of individual and group learning. Group sessions are designed to take advantage of the wide range of practical and professional skills and experience our students bring to the mix.

See our full glossary of learning and teaching terms.


The Master's degree requires an accumulation of 180 credits. Modules are mostly 15 credits, with one worth 30, and the dissertation at 45. 

Assessment is by written exams, oral presentation, poster display or practical sessions, depending on the module - and your Master's dissertation.

See our full glossary of assessment terms.


Professional accreditation

This course is accredited to the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health's (CIEH) 2011 curriculum.

To become a Chartered Practitioner you must complete the Chartered Pracitioner Programme delivered by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health.

Suggested pre-course reading

We recommend reading these books before the programme, to give yourself essential background for the modules you'll study.

For Public Health and Health Promotion - Theory and Practice:

  • Naidoo, J. and Wills, J. (2008) Health Studies, An Introduction. Basingstoke, Palgrave, Macmillan

A useful introductory text that sets out the various perspectives on health and the ways health is studied through different disciplines. It introduces some of the main areas for studying health physiology, health psychology, sociology and policy, epidemiology and health promotion.

  • Orme, J., Powell, J., Taylor, P and Grey, M. (2007) Public Health for the 21st Century, New Perspectives in Policy Participation and Practice. 2nd ed. Open University Press/McGraw Hill

Covers a wide range of public health issues and spans undergraduate and Masters level studies.

For Environmental Health Principles and Practice:

  • Adams, J. (2007) Risk. Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group.
  • Partington, P. (2010) Introduction to the English Legal System. Oxford.

For Food Control:

  • Sprenger, R. (2009) Hygiene for Management. Highfield Publications.
  • Lean, J. (2006) Fox and Camerons Food Science, Nutrition and Health. 7th ed. Hodder Arnold.

For Pollution Management:

  • Hill, M. (2010) Understanding Environmental Pollution. Cambridge.

For Housing:

  • Marshall, D. (2006) The construction of houses. Estates Gazette

This is aimed specifically at students and practitioners who require a broad understanding of building construction as part of a wider sphere of professional activity.

For Health and Safety Management:

  • Hughes and Ferrett (2011) Introduction to Health and Safety. 5th ed. Butterworth-Heinemann.
  • Stranks, J. (2007) Health and Safety at Work.


Careers / Further study

There are more than 8,000 qualified Environmental Health Officers/Practitioners (EHOs/EHPs) in the UK and the employment opportunities are expanding. They are employed by both local government and industry, especially in food manufacturing, retail and the leisure sector.  Demand for EHPs in the public health sector is also rising as are the number of opportunities for Environmental Consultants. EHPs are also employed by the Food Standards Agency, Public Health England and the Environment Agency.

You will need to develop scientific and technological knowledge - as well as collaboration skills for working closely with other professionals and communities.

You may spend time inspecting premises and processes, giving technical advice and dealing with complaints. Practitioners also work to prevent future environmental problems with health protection and promotion programmes, and through involvement in the planning process. EHPs may also get involved in the legal side of things - for example, instigating enforcement procedures and appearing at judicial hearings.

Watch the CIEH's short film about a career in Environmental Health, which will show you the scope of employment opportunities for EHPs and give you a flavour of the diverse work situations you may find yourself in.

Our award-winning careers service helps you develop your employment potential through career coaching, a vacancy service for internships, placements, jobs, global opportunities, volunteering and community activity plus support for entrepreneurial activity, and access to employer events.

Read more about Brianna's career in environmental health, facilitated by UWE Bristols big focus on real-world practice.


Supplementary fee information

See our funding pages for more information. 

Fees include all residential field courses, day field courses, and a practical food inspection.


Entry requirements

Entry is open to those who:

  • hold a first degree (minimum 2:2 honours) in a science based discipline; or
  • hold a first degree (minimum 2:2 honours) in another discipline and can demonstrate that they have attained equivalent to the science foundation necessary for the programme in such cases; or
  • have other qualifications and/or experience considered to be equivalent by the Programme Manager.

Applicants will normally be interviewed and required to successfully complete an assessed piece of work.

UWE Bristol's International College
International students who do not meet the academic or English language requirements to study this course can qualify by completing preparatory study at our International College.

English language support

If you meet the academic requirements but require additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you may be able to attend one of our pre-sessional English courses. Students who successfully complete the pre-sessional course can progress onto their chosen degree course without retaking an IELTS or equivalent.

Read more about our Pre-Sessional English Programme.

For further information