MSc Environmental Consultancy
This course is open for applications
Page last updated 6 February 2024
This course is triple-accredited by the Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES), the Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) and the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA).
MSc Environmental Consultancy is strongly interdisciplinary and practical, and draws on our wide-ranging and well-established links with environmental consultancies, industry, national and local government and accrediting bodies.
Your degree here at UWE Bristol (two-time winner of the International Green Gown Awards) will be academically rigorous and relevant to the professional skills of environmental consultants and will equip you to make informed decisions in finding solutions to a range of environmental challenges.
You'll learn how to make positive contributions to existing environmental consultancy practice and respond to and initiate change in line with contemporary and emerging issues.
Students joining this course come from a range of different backgrounds. You may be a recent graduate, or an experienced environmental consultant seeking advanced qualifications. This rich mix of students and the differing skills they bring, offer a unique and interesting learning environment for all.
Strong industry links
This course provides an excellent opportunity to gain industry experience with a placement, forming an integral part of your learning. As part of your learning is based in the workplace, our course is both suited to applicants with previous work experience, as well as those looking to embark on a new career.
The optional modules listed are those that are most likely to be available, but they may be subject to change.
The course is flexible and therefore suitable for part-time and full-time students. You'll select two optional modules, complete a three-month placement and undertake a dissertation. The key taught areas include business skills for environmental consultancy, environmental assessment and options in renewable energy, carbon management, air quality, water management and law, and GIS.
- Environmental Business Skills - covers the key topics and skills needed for successful environmental consultancy practice management, including the main areas of consultancy and clients. You'll develop an understanding of the consultancy value proposition and explore the financial dynamics of running a consultancy. You'll also practise and develop some of the core skills of presentation, marketing and report writing.
- Environmental Assessment - introduces the principles and practice of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). It'll help you to understand what EIA is, how it works,and what its strengths and weaknesses are. You'll also learn how it has developed, what is current best practice, and crucially how to engage with EIA in your career in the future.
- Professional Practice in Environmental Sciences - provides you with support when applying for a minimum 48-day placement as part of your degree,normally at an environmental consultancy setting. This will give you an insight into the responsibilities of the profession and offer a real-world context to your learning.
- Masters Project - you'll undertake an independent research project to investigate, tackle and report on a specific issue in current environmental consultancy practice, with supervision from specialist subject tutors.
Plus, two optional modules from the list below, the nature and content of which is in line with current trends in environmental consultancy:
- Renewable Energy and Carbon Futures - explores a range of renewable and sustainable technologies, and the energy policy debates that underpin the rationale for adopting them. You'll investigate the different opportunities and challenges impacting the low-carbon energy transition and considerations of carbon will form a central factor in these debates.
- Introduction to Applied Geographical Information Systems (GIS) - introduces fundamental concepts related to GIS and its application and develop the basic practical skills that can be extended across the rest of the course. This module covers the history of GIS, issues about GIS and society, an introduction to spatial data formats and a technical introduction to ArcGIS.
- Water Management and Law - will introduce you to a range of topics relating to water management in a challenging future, including governing legal frameworks. The module considers the major political, economic, regulatory and policy issues facing water managers in two broadly conceived world regions: the Western capitalist world and the so-called "developing world". The module will include a series of lectures addressing these topics as well as invitations to attend relevant external events and presentations by visitors to the university.
- Air Quality Management - covers an introduction to concepts of air quality management from UK and European policy perspectives. It focuses on pollutants of concern, their sources and health effects, ways of monitoring and modelling air pollution, the role of the planning system in managing the impacts of new development, and mitigation strategies and measures to reduce air pollution.
Throughout the course, we review future projections in the environmental consultancy sector, take advice from the course's Steering Committee, and reference the Environmental Data Service's annual survey.
You'll normally start your research project or dissertation alongside or after the professional practice element of the course. You may base the research project or dissertation on a problem identified while on placement.
This structure is for full-time students only. Part-time students study the same modules but the delivery pattern will be different.
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'll inform you.
Learning and Teaching
The learning and teaching methods across the course are designed to ensure you develop a range of valuable professional skills as well as subject expertise.
The learning approach is one of collaborative learning, where you'll learn during traditional lectures as well as through practical sessions, small group tutorials and field trips.
See our full glossary of teaching and learning terms.
The course runs over one academic year starting in September. You should expect to attend lectures 2-3 days per week in the autumn term. In the Spring and Summer terms, you may also have taught modules depending which options you select, but you'll focus on your placement and dissertation (Master's Project).
The course runs over two academic years starting in September. You should expect to attend lectures 1-2 days per week in the Autumn terms (Years 1 and 2). In the Spring and Summer terms, you'll focus on your placement (Year 1), and your dissertation (Master's Project) (Year 2). The course is structured to allow a flexible approach to study to fit in with your personal and professional commitments.
Part-time students can select their optional modules in an order that best suits their own circumstances. As already mentioned, the research project can be based on a problem identified in your workplace or placement. This is particularly attractive to employers sponsoring your studies.
We'll assess through coursework, project work and group work and you may also be assessed through viva voce.
See our full glossary of assessment terms.
This course is accredited by The Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES), the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) and the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM).
Our accreditation entitles you to apply for free student membership of these professional bodies and use the post-nominals StMIEnvSc.
Developing your environmental professional practice is a central element of this course, and you'll spend at least 10 weeks in professional practice, on work placements and short-term project work. Your placement allows you to apply theoretical principles to a real-world environment, and we'll help and support you to find a suitable work placement.
Working in partnership
We have strong links with a range of companies and organisations to ensure this course remains up-to-date and relevant. Many of our contacts have Bristol offices and may also provide professional practice work placements during your course:
- Air Pollution Solutions
- Air Quality Consultants
- Ecus Ltd
- Eunomia Research and Consulting
- Hoare Lee
- Mott Macdonald
- Pell Frischmann
- Royal Haskoning
- T & P Regeneration Ltd
- Wardell Armstrong
- Wood plc
"WSP is pleased to have a close association with this course. We have taken placement students every year since 2007 and many of them have secured permanent positions with us."
Ross Singleton, Director, WSP UK Ltd.
We have a range of well-equipped laboratories, each with specialist technicians supporting teaching and research. Our audio-visual facilities provide resources for photography, digital imaging, filming, and sound recording.
Frenchay Campus library is the largest in the south-west, with a huge range of resources for background reading and research. The library operates various systems offering access to its resources when it suits you best.
Our Study Skills pages provide information about online help, workshops, and individual support. Also, for international students or any student who needs additional English language skill support, there's more information on our English language pages.
Learn more about our facilities and resources.
Take a Virtual Tour of the Geography and Environmental Management facilities and see what's on offer here for you.
Careers / Further study
There are many opportunities for environmental consultants. They're needed in a wide range of industries and sectors, including oil, chemical, energy, waste management, transport, water, construction, metal, engineering, agriculture, mining and quarrying. Central and local government, charitable organisations, retail, commerce and manufacturing sectors also employ environmental consultants.
Graduates from this course have gone into many interesting and exciting areas of work, and the course has an excellent employment record. While many have found roles with large multidisciplinary environmental consultancies, others have used their learning, skills development, and contacts from the professional practice placement to become environmental campaign managers, waste managers, wind-farm planning specialists, protected species experts, planning and development consultants, and many other roles.
Here's what some of our former students said about the course:
"I liked the fact that curiosity and questions were encouraged and supported by staff throughout the course. The course gave me the academic background that related to the current environmental consultancy industry and prepared me to work in the industry by helping me get that practical experience through the placement module." Natasha
"This year on the Environmental Consultancy MSc course was really enjoyable. This was because everything that we learned was relevant and very interesting. Also I found that the lecturers and support staff in general went out of their way to make time for us. Finally, the course has been very good for building students' confidence so that they have the knowledge and skills to put themselves out there for employment. It has been a great year!" Katie
We normally require an honours degree of 2:2 or above in a geographical, engineering, environmental or scientific subject.
If you do not meet the above grade requirements but have at least 12 months relevant professional experience and/ or equivalent qualifications, we will consider you on an individual basis.
You are required to complete a personal statement for this course. Please read the personal statement guidance carefully and make sure that you answer the questions on the postgraduate application form within the personal statement tabs, keeping to the advised word count.
English Language Requirement
International and EU applicants are required to have a minimum overall IELTS (Academic) score of 6.5 with 5.5 in each component (or approved equivalent*).
*The University accepts a large number of UK and international qualifications in place of IELTS. You can find details of acceptable tests and the required grades you'll need in our English Language section.
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.
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.
For international and EU students we also strongly recommend you take our English Language and Academic Culture course which runs at UWE Bristol at the start of your course. This free one-week course is for students who have received an unconditional offer from UWE Bristol.
You're eligible to apply, if you:
- have been accepted on a UWE Bristol course
- have a valid UWE Bristol Welcome ID.
Watch our pre-sessional English Language film and hear students talk about the course and life in the UK.