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School - School of Environment & Life Sciences

Subject area - Environment

Start Date(s): September; January


One year full-time

Two years part-time

Fees 2018-19:

2019-20 fees will be displayed shortly.

Part-time - £1,332 per 30 credit module

UK - £7,992

International - £13,860

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:  
This module explores the broad concept of sustainability: the terms development, contemporary and future uses. Students will explore a range of topics in class, from urban sustainability to Just Sustainabilities, radical sustainability and other concepts, such as ecosystem services and beyond. Fieldtrips to sustainability projects along with a series of guest speakers and hands-on workshops will enable students to experience topics discussed up close.        
A core focus of this module will surround food security due to staff expertise and the popularity of this topic, although Trimester 1 will cover the field broadly before focusing down on this topic more explicitly. The sessions will explore renewable energy, urban agriculture, water security, waste management and a host of other topics. The module will explore a range of contexts, from challenges in the Global North to emerging challenges in the Global South, such as overpopulation and the link to resource use. Field trips to innovative projects will form part of the module, enabling students to get hands-on with the topic.      
This module lays for foundations for studying at level 7 (Masters Level) and involves exploring a range of topics, from communicating work to critical analysis of literature and other areas. There is a core focus within the module on personal development and getting ready to conduct independent research in the field. The module also allows students to understand about the complex ethics procedures and requirements at Masters Level, preparing them for the dissertation element of the course.      
This module explores the role of planners and policy tools in enabling sustainability. We review best practice and how radical approaches have allowed cities to become more resilient. An example of this can be seen with Brighton and how planning policy there is being used to grow the local food movement.Workshops, lectures and practical classes, along with fieldtrips and guest speakers, will be used to add to the discussions. Industry partners will also be heavily involved with this module, each of whom will bring a wealth of knowledge to the classroom discussions.      
This module will prepare you for your dissertation by enabling you to design, plan and execute a programme of research and to analyse research results appropriately. It will provide opportunities for you to acquire essential research skills relevant to your discipline in both a field and laboratory setting. The experience in applying these skills will be invaluable in planning and undertaking your dissertation.    .        
The module will utilise the knowledge and skills gained in the earlier part of the programme to develop a research project. The research project will fit within the subject area of the degree programme that the student is undertaking. Workshops will be delivered during the early part of the module to provide students with initial structured support. Students may have the opportunity to conduct the applied research within an organisation where appropriate. Students are encouraged to identify additional learning needs and complete training where necessary e.g. SPSS, NVivo, laboratory and field skills.      
Optional modules may include:  
Students will be taught using a series of integrated lectures and practical classes, which will use real world data in the area of sustainability. Extensive use of the Blackboard virtual learning environment for guided reading and for feedback provision from revision seminars and from private study time will be made. Students will receive lectures to accompany the practical classes such that they understand the history, present and future of GIS and sensory remote analyses applied to the field of sustainability. The practical (computer) classes will train the students to become competent in the use of GIS and remote sensing data processing software such as ArcGIS and freeware (e.g. QGIS) in the context of sustainability.        
A combination of lectures, seminars and tutorial sessions is used to enhance students’ learning process. Lecture sessions allow the delivery of theoretical component, enabling students to gain fundamental knowledge of environmental pollution and remediation. Seminar sessions provide an opportunity for the students to develop skills for presentation of environmental data. The tutorial sessions allow interaction between the students and the lecturer and this will help students solve problems encountered during the module delivery in a timely manner. In addition, There are time slots allocated to guided independent reading to allow students to develop self-taught skills. Topics from water and soil pollution, to techniques for environmental pollution investigation will be explored during this module.      
This modules aims to provide an insight into and critical awareness of environmental, technical, economic and political factors influencing policies and mechanisms for the sustainable management of energy and environmental resources. The focus is to develop and enhance the cognitive capacity and professional skills required to formulate strategies for reconciling conflicts between development and environmental protection in the context of energy and resources management. Topics from air pollution to energy and wider resource problems will be explored, using a range of delivery methods from lectures to field trips and beyond.

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.

Fees 2019-20

Fees for entry in 2019 will be displayed shortly.

Fees 2018-19

Type of StudyFee
Part-time£1,332 per 30 credit module
Full-time International£13,860

Additional costs

  • Field courses - a non refundable deposit of £25 is charged for all residential field courses
  • Field trips - students will not be charged for field (day) trips but are expected to provide their own refreshments.

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


  • 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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