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Course content

This programme provides an accredited pathway for science-based graduates to become Environmental Health practitioners. It is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) as meeting its core curriculum requirements. 

The course is taught using formal lectures; workshops; group work; case studies and student centered learning, recognising the importance of technical and practical skills as well as academic excellence. Site visits are arranged in order for students to put into practice their newly acquired skills. Students benefit from being taught in a research-intense environment and are encouraged to develop their critical thinking and research skills. The course supports building the foundation of competence through the knowledge and skills required by the CIEH curriculum.

This programme is aimed at UK/EU students. If you are an International student, please see the equivalent Public and Environmental Health MSc programme.

Course details

This course fulfils the academic requirements to become a graduate Environmental Health Officer. On completion of the MSc, students will need to undergo practical training in an approved organisation and complete their Portfolio of Professional Practice (PPP) to become a registered Environmental Health Practitioner. The portfolio is based upon the concepts of experiential learning and reflective practice and requires candidates to undertake a range of interventions, develop a range of skills and reflect upon their experiences. Further information can be found on the CIEH PPP pages.

Students benefit from being taught in a research intense environment and are encouraged to develop their critical thinking and research skills. The course supports building the foundation of competence through the knowledge and skills required by the CIEH curriculum.

Bringing out the best in our students

Our students regularly win awards and recognition for their work from Environmental Health organisations, often allowing them to influence real-world issues and policies.

Former MSc Environmental Health student Gam Bahadur Gurung was recently awarded the Environmental Protection UK ‘best research project for indoor air quality’ prize for his dissertation entitled ‘To investigate the exposure to Carbon Monoxide (CO) and PM2.5 levels inside the shisha premises of Birmingham in collaboration with Birmingham City Council (BCC)’. This is the second award that Gam has received for his dissertation, having previously been awarded the Sir Oliver Lodge Prize. Find out more about Gam's award 

Top marks in CIEH Annual Graduate Award

Former Student Rebecca Espley won the West Midlands CIEH award 2017 for the best dissertation from the West Midlands, investigating Awareness of Allergens and Consumer Protection. The award was presented at the WMCIEH annual conference held at the University of Birmingham.

The CIEH has historically held an annual competitive award to students, selected from the 13 accredited UK universities, who have the best academic records, achieve the highest results in the CIEH examinations and successfully present at a formal CIEH panel on a selected topic. Our students have won a number of gold, silver and bronze medals.

Learning and teaching

The ethos of the course is problem-based learning. Its purpose is to provide students with the skills and knowledge to be able to work as an Environmental Health Practitioner within a range of organisations including National and Local Government, Health Services, Commercial Companies and Private Consultancies. 

The course is led by experienced Environmental Health Practitioners supported by external lecturers who are recognized specialists in their fields. Students have opportunities to be taught by and supported in their own research dissertations by the research scientists within the Division of Environmental Health and Risk Management.

Placements and Portfolio of Professional Practice

The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) has accredited the course since 1991. Further to completion of the MSc, you must undertake a period of work based learning. You will be required to complete a Portfolio of Professional Practice ( PPP) of work based learning for the CIEH and undertake a professional interview with the CIEH.

Graduate Training programmes can be up to 12 months in length or can be shorter internships. The majority are provided within local authorities, but an increasing number are offered by private companies such as ASDA retail company. There may be some financial support given by the training provider. Many are advertised through the CIEH journal, Environmental Health News, and directly to the University. We offer you full support to prepare for interviews for these positions.

If you are a part-time student already based in Local Authorities then you may be able be able to negotiate individual arrangements subject to meeting the Chartered Institute’s PPP requirements.

Portfolio of Professional Development (PPP) Distinction for Birmingham Student

On graduation, Emma Stiff obtained a placement at Birmingham City Council where she completed a Portfolio of Professional Practice (PPP) as required by the CIEH prior to taking her professional examinations. She received an award as the first student ever to obtain a distinction in all 15 components of the PPP. The award was presented by Lt Col Douglas Ralph, Chair of the Qualifications Standards Committee, and Graham Jukes, Chief Executive.


Visit the Environmental Health - MSc page on the University of Birmingham website for more details!

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