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Corporate Environmental Management - MSc

Course Description

This programme is run by the Centre for Environmental Strategy (CES), which is a leading centre for environmental and sustainability-related research and postgraduate teaching.

CES accommodates a wide range of disciplines dedicated to resolving environmental problems, and this Masters programme prepares future environmental and sustainability professionals for the challenges faced by the corporate world.


This programme gives you a solid grounding in issues key to the sustainable development debate. The views of stakeholders such as business groups, environmentalists, government agencies and development institutions will be considered.

You will acquire the necessary skills to evaluate existing frameworks, inquire into environmental issues in organisations and industries, and develop sensitive business practices.

The programme provides excellent preparation for any corporate-focused environmental career. It provides a route to graduate membership of the Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment. We encourage you to read about the past and present student experiences of our environment and sustainability programmes.


This programme is studied full-time over 12 months and part-time for up to 60 months. It consists of eight taught modules and a dissertation.

The following modules are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that not all modules described are compulsory and may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.
-Environmental Law
-Foundations of Sustainable Development
-Environmental Auditing and Management Systems
-Corporate, Social and Environmental Responsibility
-Life Cycle Thinking
-Ecological Economics
-Environmental Science and Society
-Industrial Placement
-Integrated Assessment
-Sustainable Development Applications
-Transitions to a Low Carbon Economy
-Life Cycle Assessment
-Psychology of Sustainable Development
-Energy Policies and Economic Dimensions
-Corporate Energy Management
-Energy-Consumer Goods in the Home
-The Energy Market from the Purchaser’s Perspective
-Energy in Industry and the Built Environment
-Renewable Energy and Sustainability
-Transport Energy and Emissions
-Emissions Trading
-Risk Management Optional


-Provide participants with a solid grounding in the sustainable development debate from the wide-range of perspectives, i.e. business groups, environmentalists, government agencies, development institutions, etc.
-Equip participants to evaluate existing political, socio-economic, ethical, cultural and regulatory frameworks to inform decisions regarding environmental practice
-Equip participants to develop a sensitive business practice towards environmental and social issues
-To equip students with the necessary skills for critical inquiry related to environmental issues in organisations and industries


The programme provides opportunities for students to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, skills, qualities and other attributes in the following areas:
Knowledge and understanding
-Intra and inter-organisational contexts in which corporate environmental strategies are developed
-Concepts of sustainable development and their usefulness to business ethics
-Evolving regulatory and policy framework as part of engendering an anticipatory view of environmental management
-Knowledge of a range of corporate environmental management strategies and control mechanisms
-Accessing and using environmental data

Intellectual / cognitive skills
-Absorb complex environmental information and communicate them effectively through logically constructed argumentsCreatively formulate new ideas (MSc, PGDip and PGCert)
-Learn the value of teamwork to solve problems that require multi-disciplinary engagement
-Independent learning and study through self-directed assignments and dissertation
-Critical reading and analysis of environmental policy and regulation
-Inductive reasoning: using specific examples/observations and forming a more general principal
-Deductive reasoning: use stated general premise to reason about specific examples

Professional practical skills
-Comprehend how corporations build, implement and maintain an Environmental Management System (EMS)
-To perform an EMS Audit according to the ISO standards
-Give coherent presentations
-Lead discussions on complex subject areas
-See the other side of the argument given that there are varying and often conflicting perspectives in the environment field
-Competently handle environment information
-Self-motivation, self-regulation and self-assurance

Key / transferable skills
-Acquire knowledge and skills to prepare and deliver a structured and successful presentation
-Write effectively as a means of communicating important ideas
-Communication of findings and presentation of research to a non-specialist audience
-Lead discussion of small/large groups
-Organise and manage a research project
-Basic to advanced IT skills, depending on type of electives and dissertation topic
-Willingness to learn


Several high-profile guest lecturers have assisted with the delivery of some of the modules. CES modules make maximum use of guest lecturers, drawing on the practical skills and experience of key experts from government and industry to complement the theoretical components of the modules offered.

For example, Jonathon Porritt, former chairman of the Sustainable Development Commission, gives a guest lecture on the Sustainable Development Applications module, analysing the standing of sustainable development in business and policy making.

The extensive expertise of CES academics and researchers is also drawn upon in modules. Professor Tim Jackson, advisor to the government and international bodies and author of the seminal book, Prosperity without Growth – economics for a finite planet–also lectures on some CES modules.


Full-time students are able to undertake an industrial placement module which enables them to spend six to twelve weeks working for a company or NGO, doing the type of work they will aim to find on graduation.

Examples of organisations at which recent industrial placements have taken place include:
-Minimise Solutions
-Portsmouth City Council
-Diocese of London
-The Radisson
-LC Energy
-Solar Aid

Graduates go on to a diverse range of careers implementing sustainable development and dealing with the real environmental challenges facing humanity.

Recent examples include working as an energy efficiency officer for a local government, an environmental officer in multi-national chemical company, a sustainability advisor for a national television / radio station, an environmental consultant for an engineering consultancy, and a programme officer with a sustainability charity.

Other graduates use the research skills they developed to go on and do PhDs.


We often give our students the opportunity to acquire international experience during their degrees by taking advantage of our exchange agreements with overseas universities.

In addition to the hugely enjoyable and satisfying experience, time spent abroad adds a distinctive element to your CV.

Visit the Corporate Environmental Management - MSc page on the University of Surrey website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Nicki Ledger

4472.jpg "Nicki Ledger, originally from the UK, studied at the University of Surrey for an MSc in Corporate Environmental Management and is now working as a Sustainability Officer for the City of Melville.

“I originally completed a degree in Biology, but found it very hard to get into the environmental industry without specialised knowledge,” she says. “Studying the MSc in Corporate Environmental Management at Surrey provided me with a mix of theory and practical skills. The variety of teaching methods, guest lecturers from a range of sectors and the opportunity to undertake an industry-based placement made this course stand out from the rest. The fact that participants were drawn from such a variety of backgrounds was great; the range of perspectives was really enlightening.”

Nicki enjoyed her experience at Surrey because of the academics, facilities and subject matter. “My supervisor was available to provide support with finding a placement, choosing a dissertation topic and agreeing research methods. And the lecturers were fantastic – really engaging and passionate. They all have a strong research portfolio which helps to show how theory can be applied to real-world scenarios. The field trips and practical aspects of the course were also really useful and fun.”

Having undertaken a work placement with a small consultancy firm called Sustainable Homes based in Kingston, as part of her degree, Nicki was able to put her theoretical understanding into practice. “I helped Sustainable Homes develop a sustainability assessment programme for social housing providers,” she explains. “I also used this opportunity to generate a research question around how residents use water-efficient fittings. The company provided me with contacts for research participants and were supportive throughout.

“Surrey’s MSc taught me about the practical side of environmental management within organisations,” she concludes. “It also gave me insight into the potential barriers of implementing sustainability measures. Most importantly, my degree taught me how to think systematically – how to properly examine the life-cycle impact of a product or process.

“The best thing about studying this course at Surrey was the contacts I have made. The sustainability world is quite small, and having supportive and knowledgeable peers is invaluable!”

Nicki is now living in Australia, coordinating environmental management systems, leading water and energy efficiency projects, teaching school children about sustainability, as well as implementing community engagement programmes."

(Student Profile)

Nicholas Roberts

4473.jpg “The diverse course content of my MSc at Surrey appealed to me,” he says, “as I was looking to build on my undergraduate knowledge but didn’t know what shape my Masters programme should take. Over time, I was able to craft a degree programme in Corporate Environmental Management which best suited my interests and aspirations.

“I was lucky to develop a dissertation topic which really tallied up with my outside interests in climbing and the outdoor sector: leading to work experience with the British Mountaineering Council. My supervisor, Dr Jonathan Chenoweth, shared my passion for the sector, and gave me invaluable insight into this field.”

Nicholas says he enjoyed working at Surrey, even though his lecture timetable was a little daunting at first. “A week of nine to five lecturers can sound a bit of a nightmare, but it was actually great. Seminars were broken up with guest speakers, break-out sessions and engaging content.”

Having the opportunity to undertake a work placement during his MSc, Nicholas interned at Portsmouth City Council. He says, “I was able to work within a city authority, which gave me insight into how public bodies work, and interacted with community groups and green champions; all experiences I have been able to reference in interviews to land future roles.”

Nicholas is now able to support athletes and sports enthusiasts, starting up sustainability conversations and implementing positive environmental behaviours – including the recommendation of cutting the embedded carbon and water footprint in meal choices and reducing the use of disposable plastic bottles. He is also working with the British Association for Sustainability in Sport to design a national award to be presented to ‘green’ sports teams.

“The Corporate Environmental Management MSc at Surrey gave me the knowledge, resources and confidence to work within this sector, and without my dissertation, I would not have been as successful in my career,” Nicholas says. “I would recommend this course to others, and reiterate that the placement opportunities you get are invaluable to developing essential work skills and contacts.”

(Student Profile)

Matthew Arnold

4474.jpg “I wanted to study my MSc at the University of Surrey because of the broad range of relevant and interesting modules,” he says. “I was able to tailor the course to avoid revisiting familiar subjects.”

Matthew explains how he was supported whilst undertaking his studies. “Supervisors were always happy to engage in discussion and debate, gave detailed feedback on project work and did not hesitate to broker introductions with other academics and researchers as required.”

Finding the tuition beneficial, Matthew says that the lectures were both engaging and relevant to current issues. He illustrates this with an example: “Over the period of a Risk Management module held in partnership with City University, the lecturer was a guest on Channel 4 News who contributed to the Fukushima Disaster coverage.

“And some lectures were so popular that they were over-subscribed. The Sustainable Development module featured numerous prominent guest speakers and was fully booked up – but instead of limiting attendance, the University took advantage of the conference facilities of a local hotel, giving the module a very enjoyable and different conference atmosphere.”

Matthew was given the opportunity of a work placement (during his MSc) with Chris Britton Consultancy, a specialist highways subsidiary of Balfour Beatty. He focused on sustainability assessment schemes for civil engineering projects in the context of highways replacement and maintenance contracts. “I learnt much about a field of construction which was not familiar to me, and gained valuable experience working as part of a dedicated sustainability team.

“I would recommend the University of Surrey for its excellent facilities and picturesque campus immediately adjacent to a mainline railway station and bustling market town. The Corporate Environmental Management MSc was engaging and insightful and filled with professionals from a wide range of sectors. I was introduced to many new contacts and friends who were all attracted to the Centre for Environmental Strategy by its excellent reputation and research,” says Matthew.

Matthew is now responsible for managing and reporting on energy usage for his company’s properties in the UK, France, Germany and Sweden. He is also involved in identifying and implementing efficiency improvements.


Discounts for Surrey graduates - No. of awards TBC

If you are a self-funded UK, EU or international student who has studied for an undergraduate degree at the University of Surrey campus in Guildford, you could be eligible for a ten per cent discount on our taught postgraduate Masters programme fees. This scheme is for applicable to Postgraduate Taught entry students only and is reviewed annually.Students who graduated in 2013 are eligible, as well as alumni from previous years, on receipt of evidence of the award from Surrey and where we can identify that you actually studied in Guildford. Students from SII-DUFE are eligible for this scheme.Associated Institution students are not eligible. Not available to modular self-pacing students.

Value of Scholarship(s)

10% tuition fee discount


Self-funded UK, EU or international student who has studied for an undergraduate degree at the University of Surrey campus in Guildford

Application Procedure

If you have any enquiries regarding this matter please contact the Student Fees and Funding Office on [email protected]


GREAT Surrey Scholarships India - 6 Awards

Funded by the University and the UK government’s GREAT Britain campaign, up to six scholarships worth £5,000 (paid in the form of a fee discount) are being offered on postgraduate taught courses from the following subjects:- Chemical and Process Engineering
- Chemistry
- Civil and Environmental Engineering
- Computer Science
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering
- Environment and Sustainability
- Mathematics
- Mechanical Engineering Sciences
- PhysicsWHO CAN APPLY?You can apply for a GREAT Surrey Scholarship if:- You hold a high first-class degree from an Indian university (the minimum requirement is 65 per cent from a prestigious university or 70 per cent from a regional university).
- You hold an offer from Surrey to study any MSc course within the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, as listed above (you must hold an offer before submitting an application for a scholarship)

Value of Scholarship(s)



The GREAT Scholarship – India programme is aimed at high-calibre Indian students who want to study for a postgraduate programme in engineering.

Application Procedure

To apply, you will need to complete the online form - http://www.surrey.ac.uk/content/great-scholarships-india-2016

Further Information


Entry Requirements

The normal entry level is a minimum 2.2 honours degree (or equivalent) in social, life or physical sciences, or engineering disciplines. Applicants without a qualifying degree, who have significant relevant experience, will also be considered.Students are accepted on our MSc programmes from a wide range of academic backgrounds, the strengths of which will be built upon during each specific course.

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