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Environmental Modelling


School - School of Environment & Life Sciences

Subject area - Environment Work, Health and Organisations

Start Dates(s): September


MSc (one year full-time or up to three years part-time)
PgDip (8 months full-time or  two years part-time)
PgCert (4 months full-time or 8 months part-time)


Part-time - £1,260 per 30 credit module

UK - £7,560

International - £13,860

In Brief:

  • Maximise your employability potential by developing much needed environment-sector knowledge and skills
  • Develop the interdisciplinary expertise that will enable you to excel in your career
  • Develop your professional network by working on projects in both an academic and business context
  • Part-time study option
  • International students can apply

Course Summary

The MSc Environmental Modelling offers a broad curriculum that extends from the technical detail of environmental process modelling, to critical analysis of the role of modelling within decision-making processes, and the relevance of modelling to risk perception and management.

By bridging the divide between science and decision-making across a range of modelling contexts, this course adopts a truly interdisciplinary approach to the subject of environmental modelling. The inclusion of strong vocational and professional elements, in addition to traditional academic approaches is intended to ensure that graduates are equipped to enter a range of environment-related careers.

This course is particularly suited to those who wish to pursue a career with an environmental modelling focus, which is a priority area for environment sector employers in both the UK and abroad. This course will also prepare you to enter a broad range of careers across consultancy, business, research and government organisations. Graduates of this course will also be well placed to continue to a PhD programme.

Course Structure

This course has both full-time and part-time routes, comprising of three, 14-week semesters or five, 14-week semesters, which you can take within one or three years respectively.

Semester 1

Through this module you explore the development of environmental models, from initial conceptual models to functional computer models. With a focus on environmental processes, this module aims to provide you with a strong theoretical grounding in environmental modelling and enable you to design and implement modelling solutions.
Environmental modelling is often used as a tool to assess risk, so it is important for those studying environmental modelling to understand how risk is determined and communicated. This module aims to enable you to critically appraise factors that influence the perception of, and response to, a range of risks to the environment, safety, public health and well-being and their significance in risk communication and trust. This module also assists you in the evaluation of approaches in risk management processes and application to contextual situations.

Semester 2

This module introduces you to a range of case studies that illustrate different modelling applications and aims to enable you to use Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to extend your modelling skills into spatial modelling. The role of GIS visualisation functionality for the communication and interpretation of model outputs is also explored.
This module aims to enable you to design, plan and execute a programme of research through active enquiry and to undertake appropriate analysis of research results. You will have the opportunity to use research skills acquired in the applied context of ‘real world’ project work in a variety of professional settings and to develop the skills necessary for successful delivery of project outcomes.

Semester 3

The dissertation aims to contribute to the body of knowledge in your area by devising and conducting an independent research project. Through independent, self-motivated critical thinking, you are able to develop as a reflective practitioner.

Entry Requirements

Applicants should possess at least a UK lower second class honours degree (2:2) or equivalent. This Masters programme will appeal not only to those with backgrounds in environmental subjects (such as environmental science, geography, geology and earth sciences and oceanography) but also to those with a background in other sciences (such as physics and biology) or engineering who wish to develop their skills in an environmental context.

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

We welcome applications from students who may not have formal/traditional entry criteria but who have relevant experience or the ability to pursue the course successfully.

The Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) process could help you to make your work and life experience count. The APL process can be used for entry onto courses or to give you exemptions from parts of your course.

Two forms of APL may be used for entry: the Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) or the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).

English Language Requirements

International applicants will be required to show a proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.0 (no element below 5.5) is proof of this.

Suitable For

This course is ideally suited to those who wish to enter or are already employed in environment sector roles such as consultants, environmental managers, in the Government, and national and multinational businesses. The course also provides an excellent foundation for those wishing to undertake postgraduate research. Students will need a willingness to study across traditional disciplinary boundaries and to develop a range of professional skills in addition to environmental modelling expertise.

Fees 2018-19

Type of StudyFee
Part-time£1,260 per 30 credit module
Full-time International£13,860

Additional costs

You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.

Scholarships and Bursaries

For more information please see our funding section


This course offers a blended learning experience designed to cater for a range of learning styles:

  • Lectures, tutorials and seminars are supported by in-class exercises
  • Pre- and post-session study is administered through the Virtual Learning Environment
  • Practical classes enable you to develop your environmental modelling skills
  • Case studies and business-focused projects develop your professional and subject-specific skills
  • Field work and site visits develop your practical, observational and analytical skills
  • You also have the opportunity to discuss and exchange professional experiences with the course team and invited specialist speakers


Each module is assessed individually through coursework, comprising individual essays or group report presentations.

Postgraduate Staff Profile

Dr Mike Wood is a Reader in Applied Ecology in the School of Environment and Life Sciences at Salford.  Mike’s teaching and research interests focus on environmental decision making tools, including the development and application of environmental models and the use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS).  Mike holds positions on various international expert groups in the field of environmental modelling and has published widely on this topic.  He is currently engaged in a programme of research in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, modelling the spatial interaction between wildlife and radionuclide contamination within the Zone.  Further details of Mike’s research are available here.

Dr Mike Wood, Programme Leader, talks about his research into the impact of radiation on wildlife, specifically within the Chernobyl exclusion zone.


Career Prospects

This course is particularly suited to those who wish to pursue a career with an environmental modelling focus, which is a priority area for environmentsector employers in both the UK and abroad. This course will also prepare you to enter a broad range of careers across consultancy, business, research and government organisations. Graduates of this course will also be well placed to continue to a PhD programme.

Links with Industry

Through this course students have the opportunity to undertake some unpaid consultancy work for a client.  Potential clients include business, Government and academic institutions.  Working for clients in this way provides students with ‘real world’ experience to add to their CV and develops a broad range of highly attractive employability skills, including project management, communication, negotiation and problem solving.

Further Study

After completion of this course, you may wish to specialise in a chosen subject area in one of the School’s two main research centres: Ecosystems and Environment Research Centre (EER) or Biomedical Research Centre (BRC).

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