Postgraduate MSc


School of Science, Engineering and Environment





One year

Two year

Next enrolment

January 2021


In a nutshell

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.

Perfectly positioned to allow you to seize upon the burgeoning sustainability sector.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.

You will:
  • Study the contemporary issues across a broad range of topics including food security, renewable energy, urban agriculture, water security and waste management
  • Develop your understanding of best practice and radical approaches in urban environments
  • Learn the use of Geographical Information systems (GIS) and its use in visualisation and planning
  • Learn theoretical and practical knowledge of pollution and remediation

students accepted

This is for you if...


You are concerned about human welfare and protecting the environment


You want to develop the skills so you can be part of the solution to deliver a more sustainable society


You want to study a relevant postgraduate course that blends theory and practice

Course details

All about the course

The Sustainability programme is available in flexible study formats, including full and part-time pathways. It comprises eight 15 credit taught modules, followed by a 60 credit research project.

  • Full-time students will take modules in trimesters one and two, and complete the project module in trimester three.
  • Part-time students will spread their studies over trimesters one and two of two years, and complete the project module in year three.

During your studies you will gain both theoretical and practical experience - field trip opportunities form an important part of this course, enabling you to experience sustainability first hand.

Trimester one

Resource Security

This module explores the complex field of resource security, from energy to food and beyond. With rising populations and cities expanding, resource management is more vital than ever. You will explore resource security through an interdiscplinary lens, touching on fields including planning, environmental, soil science and beyond, in an attempt to understand the complex nature of the topic.

Postgraduate Scholarship Skills

This module lays for foundations for studying at master's 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 you to understand about the complex ethics procedures and requirements at master's level, preparing you for the dissertation element of the course.

Choose two options from

Geographical Information Systems

You 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. You will receive lectures to accompany the practical classes to ensure you understand the history, present and future of GIS and sensory remote analyses applied to the field of sustainability. The practical (computer) classes will train you 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.

Environmental Pollution and Remediation

A combination of lectures, seminars and tutorial sessions is used to enhance your learning process. Lecture sessions allow the delivery of theoretical component, enabling you to gain fundamental knowledge of environmental pollution and remediation. Seminar sessions provide an opportunity for you to develop skills for presentation of environmental data. The tutorial sessions allow interaction between you and the lecturer and this will help you to solve problems encountered during the module delivery in a timely manner. In addition, there are time slots allocated to guided independent reading to allow you to develop self-taught skills. Topics from water and soil pollution, to techniques for environmental pollution investigation will be explored during this module.

Energy and Sustainability

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.

Trimester two

Contemporary Issues in Sustainability

This module explores the broad concept of sustainability: the terms development, contemporary and future uses. You 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. Field trips to sustainability projects along with a series of guest speakers and hands-on workshops will enable you to experience topics discussed up close.

Planning and Policies of Urban Environments

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 field trips 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.

Research Design and Delivery

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.

Trimester three


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.     

Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.

What will I be doing?


Teaching is informed by research based on the international work delivered in collaboration with colleagues in Africa, North America and other parts of the world.

Teaching is delivered by a range of methods including lectures/seminars, field trips (including a residential field trip and day trips for each module), practical sessions and guest talks.  


Assessment methods include coursework, exams and consultancy work.

School of Science, Engineering and Environment

Rising to the challenge of a rapidly changing world, our multi-disciplinary courses will shape the next generation of urbanists, scientists, engineers, consultants and conservationists. Shaped by industry and delivered by supportive programme teams, you can develop the skills to become unstoppable in your career.


During your studies, you will experience a modern learning environment, enriched with accessible lecture theatres and AV-equipped classrooms and laboratories, computing suites and multimedia libraries, with access to industry journals, databases, and simulation software.

Programme Team

The Sustainability postgraduate programme is delivered by an academic team with exceptional research experience and extensive professional connections.

Employment and stats

What about after uni?


The broad programme scope ensures a wide variety of career options, from graduate schemes which require a postgraduate qualification to more specialist roles and further study. 


Sustainability postgraduates can choose research to take their subject knowledge even further. Learn more about postgraduate research opportunities available through our Doctoral School.

The Ecosystems and Environment Research Centre at Salford is home to our vibrant, collaborative community exploring a range of sustainability-related fields, from energy and food security to ecosystem services and environmental assessment.

A taste of what you could become

A sustainability officer

An environmental consultant

An ecosystems specialist

A project officer

A governmental researcher

And more...

Career Links

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’.

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.


What you need to know


This course is recommended for geographers, environmentalists, planners and other recent graduates as well as field practitioners already working in sustainability, looking to advance their skillset and career prospects.


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.

Standard entry requirements

Undergraduate degree

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

Alternative entry requirements

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).

How much?

Type of study Year Fees
Full-time home 2020/21 £9,000per year
Full-time international 2020/21 £15,210per year
Part-time 2020/21 £1,500 per 30 credits
Full-time home 2021/22 £9,180per year
Full-time international 2021/22 £15030per year
Part-time 2021/22 £1,530 per 30 credits
Additional costs

A non-refundable deposit of £25 is charged for all residential field courses. You will not be charged for field (day) trips, but you are expected to provide your own refreshments.

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

International Scholarships for 2021/22

If you are a high-achieving international student, you may be eligible for one of our international scholarships worth up to £5,000. Our international scholarships include the Salford International Excellence Scholarship.

Visit our International Scholarships page for more information.


Apply now

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Enrolment dates

January 2021

September 2021