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Course content

Why Surrey?

This programme is run by the Centre for Environmental Strategy (CES) – 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 a new generation of environment and sustainability professionals for the strategic challenges ahead.

This programme provides both a theoretical and practical grounding for evaluating the technical, social, economic and organisational elements of environmental problems.

These include life-cycle assessment and other analytical methods to understand how to use resources and manage materials and waste. You will learn how to anticipate and respond to future policy developments and market pressures, understand stakeholders’ roles, and develop problem-solving and decision-making skills.

This programme provides a route to graduate membership of the Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment. We encourage you to explore past and present student experiences of our environment and sustainability programmes.

Programme structure

This programme is studied full-time and part-time. It consists of eight taught modules and a dissertation.

Example module listing

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.

Industrial placement

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
  • GAP
  • Diocese of London
  • The Radisson
  • LC Energy
  • AECOM
  • Solar Aid
  • NUS

Guest lecturers

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.

Educational aims of the programme

  • Provide theoretical and practical grounding for evaluating technical, social, economic, and organisational aspects of environmental problems
  • Apply life-cycle assessment thinking and other analytical methods to gain better understanding of resource uses and materials/wastes management
  • Anticipate and respond pro-actively to future environmental policy developments including government regulation and policy, and competitive market pressures
  • Develop a greater understanding and sensitivity to the range of stakeholders in environmental planning and management
  • Adapt and apply appropriate specialist techniques and methodologies for problem-solving andn decision-making through advanced module options

Global opportunities

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 Environmental Strategy MSc page on the University of Surrey website for more details!

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