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MSc/Postgraduate Diploma

Environmental Consultancy

This course is open for applications.

About this course

Entry year:
Course code:
Geography and Environmental Management
One year full-time or three years part-time.
Part-time, full-time
Programme leader:
Dr Jo Barnes
Key fact:
This course is accredited by the Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES), and provides you with the flexibility to study how you want to.

Page last updated 21 March 2018


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 the IES.

Your studies 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 will 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 on 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 which forms an integral part of your learning. As part of the learning is based in the workplace, the course is suited to people with previous work experience.

Accreditations and partnerships:



The full Master's course is comprised of 180 credits divided into three 60 credit stages: Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma and Masters. Students work incrementally through the three stages and must pass all modules at each one to progress to the next.

The course is flexible and therefore suitable for part time and full time students. You will select three optional modules, complete a three-month placement and undertake a dissertation. The key taught areas include business and environmental management, corporate social responsibility for business, and environmental law. The following core modules are indicative of the course structure:

  • Environmental Business Skills - This module covers the key topics and skills needed for successful environmental consultancy practice management.
  • Professional Practice in Environmental Sciences - You will complete at least 48 days of work/based learning in a placement 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.
  • Dissertation (research project) - You will investigate, tackle and report on a specific issue in current environmental consultancy practice, with supervision from specialist subject tutors.

You will also choose three options from the following set of modules, the nature and content of which is in line with current and future trends in environmental consultancy:

  • Sustainable Technologies allows you to look at technologies and the ways in which they can be implemented that potentially provide the basis for a fundamental re-shaping of how society works. This is especially looked at in the field of energy supply and use, through technologies such as biogas digesters, wind power, solar power and the opportunities for bio fuels and greater energy efficiency.
  • Environmental Assessment will enable you to understand how to do an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) within the framework of current best practice, through hands on case studies. Related areas such as Strategic Environmental Assessment will also be explored to consider how to build sustainability into the whole development lifecycle.
  • Introduction to Applied GIS introduces fundamental concepts related to GIS and its application, and develop the basic practical skills that are extended across the rest of the programme. The 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 Challenges for the 21st Century will give you a better understanding of the role of freshwater resources and their management in the contemporary world. The module considers the major political, economic and policy issues facing water managers in two broadly conceived world regions: the Western capitalist world and the so-called "developing world".
  • Catchment Hydrology will provide you with a good understanding of the components of the hydrological cycle, from precipitation through to interception, evaporation, infiltration into the soil and movement within the soil and groundwater zones, leading to runoff observed in rivers. The module will also equip you with the fundamental analytical skills of the hydrologist, including the preparation of flow duration curves, and calculation of flood frequencies. 
  • Catchment Management provides an opportunity to apply your knowledge to the practical challenges in catchment management. Having selected a catchment near you, and on the basis of fieldwork and available spatial datasets, you will investigate and document catchment issues, problems, threats and assets. You will then formulate a catchment management plan to protect and enhance the assets and address the priority problems and threats in a structured manner.   
  • Water Policy and Law provides an introduction to the legal framework and context within which water management operates.
  • Sustainable Development: Principles and Practice explores the fundamental nature, causes and consequences of sustainable and unsustainable development. Practical exercises and projects give you first-hand experience of putting key concepts, frameworks and tools for implementing sustainable development into practice.
  • Spatial Analytical Methods focuses on developing an understanding of the underlying principles and applications of different methods of GIS analysis. This module covers topics such as vector analytical methods, raster analysis and fuzzy logic, remote sensing, spatial statistics, network analysis and dealing with error and uncertainty in spatial analysis.
  • Waste Management and Contaminated Land
  • Air Quality Management

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 will normally start your research project or dissertation after completing the professional practice element of the course. You may base the research project or dissertation on a problem identified through your placement.

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 teaching and learning 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 will learn during traditional lectures as well as through practical sessions, small group tutorials and field trips.

For more details see our glossary of teaching and learning terms.

Study time

Full time: one year, starting in September. Full-time students normally begin the academic year with a three-month coursework block followed by a three-month professional practice placement, before finishing with a research project.

Part time: up to three years, starting in September. The course is structured to allow a flexible approach to study for those with personal and professional commitments.

Part-time students can take modules in an order that suits their circumstances. As already mentioned, the research project can be based on a problem in your workplace. This is particularly attractive to employers sponsoring your studies.


We assess through coursework, project work - including group work and exams. You may also be assessed through viva voce.

For more details see our full glossary of assessment terms.


Professional accreditation

IES student membership

The MSc Environmental Consultancy is accredited by The Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES) so you can apply to be a Student Member of the IES a long-established and highly reputable environmental science professional body. It's free, and you can then use the post-nominal StMIEnvSc.

Download the Student Membership Pack from the IES website.


Developing your environmental professional practice is a central element of this course, and you'll spend at least 12 weeks in professional practice, through work placements, on short-term project work. Your placement allows you to apply theoretical principles to a real-world environment, and we will help and support you in finding a suitable work placement.

Working in partnership

We have strong links with a range of organisations to ensure this course remains up to date and relevant. These companies may also provide professional practise work placements during your studies:

"Parsons Brinckerhoff is pleased to have a close association with this course. We have taken on placement students every year and many of them have secured permanent positions with us."

Ross Singleton, Director, Parsons Brinckerhoff Ltd

Study facilities

We have a range of well-equipped laboratories, each with specialist technicians supporting teaching and research. Our audiovisual facilities provide resources for photography, digital imaging, filming and sound recording.

The UWE library is the largest in the south west, with a huge range of resources for background reading and research. The library operates various systems that offer access to its resources at any time suitable to you.

Academic writing, communication and English skills (ACES) programme

If you're an international student, our ACES programme offers support for academic writing, communication and English language skills. It provides courses, workshops, consultations and drop-in sessions to meet your individual language and communication needs. As a full-fee paying international student, you receive 100 ACES credits when you begin your course, which you can redeem against any of the activities the programme offers.

Find out more about the facilities and resources UWE has to offer.


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.

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.


Full time course

FeesAmount (£)
Home/EU-Full Time-Award Fee7000
Home/EU-Full Time-Module Fee (15 Credit)583
International-Full Time-Award Fee12500
International-Full Time-Module Fee (15 Credit)1042
Offshore-Full Time-Award Fee12500
Offshore-Full Time-Module Fee (15 Credit) 1042

Part time course

FeesAmount (£)
Home/EU-Part Time-Module Fee (15 Credit)583
Offshore-Part Time-Module Fee (15 Credit)1042

Supplementary fee information

For information on fees, managing your money and determining your fee status, please go to our fees and funding pages.

For information about funding options visit our postgraduate funding and scholarships pages.


Entry requirements

We normally require an honours degree of 2.2 or above in a geographical, environmental or scientific subject.

We can consider applicants who do not meet the normal entry requirement, but who do have relevant professional experience or qualifications. In your application, you should describe in detail your professional experience and qualifications.

English Language Requirements
If English is not your first language, you will also need to demonstrate your English Language proficiency. For this course, in the British Council International English Language Test (IELTS) we normally require an overall score of 6.5 and not less than 6.5 in each component.

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 further information

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