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  Sustainability & Environmental Studies MSc

Online University of Strathclyde    Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering

Full time & Part time September, January MSc 12 months full-time; 24 months or 36 months part-time (on campus); 36 months part-time distance learning; 60 months professional development route
Business & Management (5) Environmental Sciences (13) Politics & Government (30)

FindAMasters summary

Embark on a transformative academic journey with our esteemed MSc in Sustainability & Environmental Studies. This cross-disciplinary programme delves into environmental management, policy, circular economy, and sustainable development on a global scale. Tailored for individuals from diverse academic backgrounds, the course offers a plethora of subject options to align with your expertise. Unveil major environmental issues, climate change strategies, and sustainable development methodologies while exploring avenues for eco-conscious economic growth. With a rich 30-year legacy, our degree stands as a pioneer in sustainability education in the UK. Benefit from our state-of-the-art laboratory facilities and engage in the Living Laboratory for Sustainability initiative. Upon graduation, unlock a world of opportunities in environmental consultancy, government agencies, and more. Join us to cultivate a sustainable future for all. Entry requirements welcome applicants from various disciplines, ensuring a dynamic and inclusive learning environment.

About the course

Our MSc Sustainability & Environmental Studies offers a cross-disciplinary approach to the study of environmental management, policy, the circular economy, sustainability and sustainable development in both developed and developing countries. It is suitable for applicants from all academic backgrounds and our wide range of subject options enables you to choose classes to suit your background.

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Entry Requirements

Normally a first-class or second-class honours degree (or international equivalent) in any degree discipline.

All backgrounds considered, including social sciences, arts, engineering, law, chemistry, maths, physics, geology, biology and business.

Lower degree classifications may be considered if there is strength elsewhere (for example, relevant work experience, excellent final project/dissertation, very strong academic letter of reference, very strong application statement linking with career goals.)

 Course Content

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Where will I study?

Where is University of Strathclyde


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Student Profiles

Paul Adderley

Joint winner of the Thorburn Prize for the Best Dissertation in the MSc in Environmental Studies

After working for 10 years with PricewaterhouseCoopers in the accountancy profession, I decided to embark on an MSc in sustainability. When assessing the plethora of sustainability/environmental MSc programmes I had three core criteria: i) multi and inter disciplinary approach; ii) a balance of academic and industrial expertise, and iii) an established and dedicated department that was not merely the re-branding of less trendy disciplines. The David Livingstone Centre for Sustainability (DLCS) satisfied all these requirements throughout the course.

I found the module Principles of Sustainability was extremely challenging, but that’s exactly what I wanted; I wanted to immerse myself in the core issues of Sustainability. I wanted my head to ache! The Environmental Law module was also demanding, but it has given me a strong foundation. A number of other modules which provided useful practical application in the more theoretical aspects of the programme were Strategic Environmental Assessment, and Business Environmental Strategy. These modules have been very useful with my work in helping businesses with their Environmental Management.

Another strong aspect of the DLCS is that you have immense freedom to explore your own research interests which may be outside the department’s comfort zone. I also wished for my research to have a practical application. Since graduating, I kept exploring possible commercial opportunities for the research; it has now consolidated into a new web based tool for Sustainable Business Travel. In fact, the outcome of my MSc has been the central reason for establishing my own business: Sustainable Opportunity Solutions. At Strathclyde University, The Research and Innovation Group (RIG) provided helpful advice so I could begin to commercialise my research idea. Furthermore, RIG continues to provide opportunities for me to engage with the Strathclyde Entrepreneur Network.

Like most things in life, what you get out of it strongly correlates with your effort; but DLCS provides an enabling environment to support your aspirations. For me the aspirations I had in 2005 are materialising with new business opportunities.

I would suggest to anyone whatever stage in their career to discuss their post graduate aspirations with the team at DLCS. They will surely help you make the best decision.

Dr Kate Thompson

Winner of the Thorburn Prize for the Best Overall MSc in Environmental Studies Student and Best Dissertation in the MSc in Environmental Studies

I took the course part-time over two years, which fitted in well with my work and family commitments and meant I only ended up with a couple of all night sessions to get assignments done! I’d worked for much of my life in seabird research and survey, but had taken a bit of a career break when I had my daughter and was doing a part-time admin job at Glasgow University. I wanted to get back into something a bit more challenging that fitted with my interests and would demonstrate some level of adaptability to potential employers. Doing the course gave me the kick start I needed and I moved to my current post, working on a Marine Spatial Planning pilot project, about half way through. I was then able to do my dissertation on a project directly related to my work, which was a great help.

Things I really enjoyed about the course were the variety of topics – I’d never imagined doing stuff on law or economics and finding it fun! It also gives you skills that can be readily applied – I’ve had to do SEA for real in my current job. The unending kindness shown to students by Morag is legendary and all the teaching staff were very approachable and supportive. My fellow students in both years were also great – interesting, diverse and fun.

Scariest bits were going into lectures with bunches of senior undergraduates young enough to be my kids and writing my first essay in over 25 years. But … I found I could do it and there were other times when my previous work experience was a real help.

So, if you too are going through a mini mid-life crisis and seeking a stimulating new direction this could well be the course for you … I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Gitanjali Nayer

I had previously worked in Facilities Management with Jones Lang LaSalle, India and received extensive technical training in maintenance and engineering by the company. I wanted to gain technical knowledge in the environmental sector and was very interested in the subject. Studying oversees is an extremely expensive affair and it is necessary to choose the right institute and country.

After almost a year of research, I short listed University of Strathclyde, Manchester University and Lancaster University and received admission in all three Universities. The obvious choice being University of Strathclyde because of the wide variety of electives, environmental sectors covered and the years of experience in the course. I personally prefer staying in cold countries so Glasgow was a very good choice, though could do with less rain.

The course is very well structured and students have the flexibility of choosing electives that they are interested in. The course is also tailored according to the job market and there are a lot of jobs available in the sector with almost 50 plus environmental companies based within Glasgow City.

The DLCS/Civil Engineering Department staff is extremely helpful and has extensive experience in the environmental sector. My special thanks to Peter Booth and Elsa João for providing me guidance throughout the course. The course also provides ample opportunity for students to get work placements and industrial experience. I was able to secure a summer internship with the Glasgow City Council through the Business Enterprise Partnership. My internship at the council involved sustainability mapping of new infrastructure and civil engineering projects across the City of Glasgow.

Peter Phillips

I took an unorthodox route to studying at the David Livingstone Centre for Sustainability but I’m reaping the rewards now!

Originally studying classical cello at the RSAMD in Glasgow, I changed tack after two years, deciding
against the potentially unreliable career of a freelance musician. I’d always been interested in geography, environment and science at school and before I knew it (well after two harsh years of working as a chef/ climbing instructor..) I was fixed with an interview with Peter Booth – course director.

Fortunately, Strathclyde were willing to let a keen yet degree-less candidate undertake classes towards the Environmental Studies MSc via their open-access scheme. The idea being that I ‘prove myself’ academically with a view to joining the diploma programme, grades and ability pending!
To cut a long story short, the work was highly engaging and the lecturing staff were approachable, knowledgeable and most importantly in my case; supportive. I worked hard and graduated in 2007 with an MSc in Environmental Studies at distinction level – not bad for a ‘cello player with half an undergraduate degree..?!

I found employment within the environmental sector shortly after submitting my dissertation. I am currently working as an Environmental Policy Consultant for EnviroCentre Ltd. – a multi-disciplinary environmental consultancy based in Glasgow.

If you’re considering a course within the department, especially if it’s via open-access, my advice would be GO FOR IT!

Mudzunga Thangavhuelelo-Lucas

My epic moment in the course was participating in the Carbon Audit project - a partnership between Strathclyde University and the Carbon Trust. The audit emphasised the importance of climate change mitigation and provided me with the skills that enabled me to get the job I am currently doing.

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