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MSc Corporate Environmental Management

Course Description

For over 20 years, the University of Surrey has led the way in environmental research. From investigating people’s attitudes to the environment to understanding how nanotechnology can enhance future solar power solutions – environment and sustainability researchers take a truly collaborative approach to seeking new sustainable solutions for a more prosperous, equitable, safe and secure future.


This programme is run by the Centre for Environmental Strategy (CES) (http://www.surrey.ac.uk/ces/), which is a leading centre for environmental and sustainability-related research and postgraduate teaching in the UK. CES accommodates a wide range of disciplines dedicated to resolving environmental problems. The programmes prepare a new generation of environmental professionals for the myriad of challenges ahead of them.

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.


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 a sensitive business practice.

The three CES programmes can be taken full or part-time, and are taught through a series of intensive, week-long modules. You will also complete a dissertation, and have the option of a placement in industry or the public sector. CES modules make full 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.

The programmes provide excellent preparation for any sustainability or environment-related career and they are accredited to provide the basis for Associate membership of the Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment.

Why not read about past and present student experiences of our environment and sustainability programmes, including Cheyvonne James (http://www.surrey.ac.uk/discover/cheyvonne-james-msc-sustainable-development), Nicki Ledger (http://www.surrey.ac.uk/discover/nicki-ledger-msc-corporate-environmental-management), Nicholas Roberts (http://www.surrey.ac.uk/discover/nicholas-roberts-msc-corporate-environmental-management), Matthew Arnold (http://www.surrey.ac.uk/discover/matthew-arnold-msc-corporate-environmental-management), Harsheenee Doorga (http://www.surrey.ac.uk/discover/harsheenee-doorga-msc-sustainable-development), Ayman AlAfifi (http://www.surrey.ac.uk/discover/ayman-alafifi-msc-environmental-strategy) and Katie McManus (http://www.surrey.ac.uk/discover/katie-mcmanus-msc-sustainable-development).

Programme structure

The programme of study is structured in a flexible format, with modules offered as a series of intensive one-week lectures, seminars and practical exercises, supported by independent learning material.

The programmes are based on one-week modules in a similar format to the University’s Engineering Doctorates. Each programme consists of eight modules and a project/dissertation. Four modules are compulsory and the remaining four optional modules can be chosen from a wide range available at CES and other relevant MSc programmes. Each module carries 15 credits.

The compulsory modules have been designed by CES in consultation with industry and will continue to be fine-tuned in close consultation with our graduates and collaborators in the field.

Students on the full-time programmes start in September and follow a sequence of modules that has been designed to ensure steady and structured progress through the achievement of the Postgraduate Certificate to the Diploma and Masters degree. Part-time students may begin the programme at any time of the year.

You are allowed to choose up to two modules elsewhere in the University of Surrey’s Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences (http://surrey.ac.uk/feps/), or from the Energy and Environmental Technology and Economics programme at City University, as agreed with your personal tutor. Students may take modules at other universities with the approval of the Board of Studies.

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
- Diocese of London
- The Radisson
- LC Energy
- Solar Aid

Module overview

For full details of the modules listed below, please visit the University's module catalogue - https://modcat.surrey.ac.uk/search_provisional.asp


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.

See the profiles, at the end of the page, of some recent graduates from the CES MSc programmes.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching is a collaborative effort between university lecturers and research fellows, with some industrial contributions where appropriate.

Each module is taught over an intensive five-day period, preceded by preparatory reading and followed by coursework. A typical five-day teaching week is an intensive period of lectures, interactive group work and seminars, with occasional site visits. A preparatory learning package for each module is generally made available on the University’s online learning system.

Seminars, themes, discussions and fieldtrips are also organised to give students opportunities to consolidate their learning.

Each module is a self-contained unit, assessed separately. Traditional essays, report writing and case-study presentations will be required for assessment. There are no exams on any of the modules.

Your dissertation of 15,000 words will involve an in-depth piece of research on an appropriate subject. This may be the findings of a small-scale pilot study, an analysis of data or a development of theoretical aspects of a topic.

You must achieve a satisfactory standard in both the taught modules and the dissertation to be awarded a Masters degree.

Each full-time student will be allocated a personal tutor. Together, you will draw up a personal study plan. It is recommended that you meet regularly to discuss your progress.


The Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) is a broadly based environmental management organisation with more than 15,000 members. Successful completion of the modules Life Cycle Thinking, Environmental Science and Society, Environmental Auditing and Management Systems, and Environmental Law offer a direct route to associate membership of IEMA.


Our Admissions Policy (http://www.surrey.ac.uk/apply/policies/postgraduate-admissions-policy) provides the basis for admissions practice across the University and gives a framework for how we encourage, consider applications and admit students.

Further information for applicants - http://www.surrey.ac.uk/apply/postgraduate

Visit the MSc Corporate Environmental Management 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 .


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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