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School - School of Environment & Life Sciences

Subject area - Environment

Start Dates(s): September; January


One year full-time

Two years part-time

In Brief:

  • Study a broad MSc with options to focus on environmental sustainability, geographies of sustainability and many more areas in the field including planning, food security and more
  • Research-led teaching by international experts in the field of sustainability, free field trip opportunities  [£25 administration fee applies]
  • Particularly strong growth within this sector - sustainability is at the forefront of global and national debates, with employers viewing qualifications providing skill sets around this topic as highly sought after
  • Part-time study option
  • International students can apply

Course Summary

Sustainability is a broad and interdisciplinary field involving challenges related to improving human welfare, environmental quality, resource and food security, urban planning and beyond. With cities expanding and the world’s population reaching 9.7 billion by 2050, this field is being viewed  as  increasingly important and career opportunities are vast. 

This course allows you to explore the field in a variety of ways: choosing an environmental, geographical or mixed pathway and touching on contemporary themes from food security to urban planning and beyond.

Teaching on this course is informed by research drawing on the international work being carried out with colleagues in Africa, North America and other parts of the world. In addition you will gain both theoretical and practical experience - fieldtrip opportunities form an important part of this course,  allowing  you to experience sustainability first hand. Ultimately this MSc is perfectly positioned to allow you to seize upon the burgeoning sustainability sector.

Course content ensures that graduates of this MSc will be equipped with the knowledge and skillset to explore many career opportunities including roles such as sustainability officer, environmental consultant, ecosystems specialist, project officer, military sustainability officer, governmental researcher, geotechnical assistant, ranger and public health intelligence officer. Additionally there are opportunities in teaching and for PhD study.

Core modules may include:

  • Contemporary Issues in Sustainability (15 credits)
  • Resource Security (15 credits)
  • Postgraduate Scholarship Skills (15 credits)
  • Planning and Policies of Urban Environments (15 credits)
  • Research Design and Delivery (15 credits)
  • Dissertation (60 credits)

Then you can choose two 15 credit modules which may include:

  • Geographical Information Systems (GIS) (15 credits)
  • Environmental Pollution and Remediation (15 credits)
  • Energy and Sustainability (15 credits)

Entry Requirements

Applicants should possess at least a UK lower second class honours degree (2:2) or equivalent in any subject.

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

  • Geographers, environmentalists, planners and other recent graduates
  • Practitioners in the field looking to advance their skillset and careers
  • Individuals interested in the field of sustainability.


  • Lectures/seminars – interactive sessions using innovative techniques by lecturers at the forefront of the sustainability field.
  • Fieldtrips – a residential fieldtrip along with day trips for each module.
  • Practicals – getting hands-on with the latest equipment.
  • Guest talks – hear from those driving the sustainability agenda in practice, from politicians to local authority and consultant leads.


Methods include coursework, exams and consultancy work.

Postgraduate Staff Profile

Dr Michael Hardman, Lecturer in Geography:

Follow Mike on Twitter @DrMikeHardman

Dr Michael Hardman is Lecturer in Geography in the School of Environment and Life Sciences at the University of Salford. He is an interdisciplinary researcher interested in the broad area of sustainable urban environments. His research predominantly focuses on the idea of ‘urban agriculture’  and  sustainable cities, exploring ways to introduce agricultural activities into cities, particularly through informal means such as ‘guerrilla gardening’. He leads a wide variety of externally funded projects which explore the potential for urban agriculture, has keynoted at a range of international  events  and has published widely on the topic; his book ‘Informal Urban Agriculture’ was the first in the Springer international urban agricultural series. 

Michael is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and co-founder of their Food Geographies Research Group. Alongside this he is a member of the Town and Country Planning Association, ISUF, the British Sociological Association and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy; he is also the only UK academic  on  the international Carrot City Research Group based in Toronto, Canada. Michael’s research has featured heavily in the media, with hundreds of appearances in the likes of BBC News, BBC radio/tv, The Independent, The Times, The Telegraph, CNN, The Conversation and other major international news  outlets.

Mr Andrew Clark, Lecturer in Environmental Management:

I joined the University in 1989 and have been a lecturer in environmental assessment and management for over 20 years. I have wide-ranging teaching experience in environmental management and pollution control both as a full-time lecturer and a visiting lecturer in China, India and the Czech Republic.

I have had extensive involvement in developing client-based consultancy projects for students studying for MSc Environmental Assessment and Management, MSc Safety, Health and Environment and MSc Environmental and Public Health. These projects involve working with clients to deliver solutions  to  environmental problems. This project work assists graduates in developing 'real-world' experience and professional skills while providing mutual benefits for the clients. Projects have included contaminated land investigations using XRF and ICP-OES, developing environmental management systems and  procedures,  assessing the feasibility of rainwater harvesting systems for business, investigating and implementing waste minimisation programmes and the assessment of low emissions measures for fleet management. 

I have been involved in a range of collaborative projects with organisations  in  the public, private and third sectors. Recently completed projects include food waste minimisation analysis in universities, environmental engagement in large organisations and low emissions strategies for fleet management in local authorities.


Career Prospects

The broadness of this MSc ensures that career options are not constrained, from graduate schemes which require a postgraduate qualification to more specialist roles and further study, there are many career options to take advantage of from studying this degree. Some of which include:  

  • Sustainability Officer/Environment Lead (all major organisations have these roles)
  • Environmental Consultant
  • Ecosystems Specialist
  • Project Officer
  • Teacher
  • Military Sustainability Officer
  • Governmental Researcher
  • Academic
  • Geotechnical Assistant
  • Public Health Intelligence Officer
  • Ranger
  • PhD study

And many more (civil service fast track, police fast track etc)

Links with Industry

You will have opportunities to get hands-on experience working with local, national and global key actors through guest lectures and fieldtrips to sites, along with the integration of a client-based ‘live project’. Furthermore, formative and summative work will be based around real industrial problems in this area, allowing you to work on ‘real life’ problems. Industrial partners range from local authorities to national and international bodies; there is an opportunity to work alongside these actors within modules and the dissertation element.

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). There are ample PhD opportunities in the field of Sustainability – from studying energy and food security to ecosystem services and environmental assessment.

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