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Waste and Resource Management (MSc/MTech/PgCert/PgDip)

Course Description

Course Description

This Waste and Resource Management MSc aims to meet a clear industry need for high-skilled graduates in waste and resource management. The term ‘circular economy’ is becoming commonplace for the sustainability sector. It refers to genuine ambitions and mark a step-change in the way we are thinking about business and growth, a change that is good news for the environment we work to protect.

A key driver will be the sustainable resource management sector and how it continues to evolve to support the resource needs of a recovering economy and a consumer market increasingly focused on making sustainable choices.

As a sector, waste has shown beyond doubt its ability to innovate and adapt: moving resiliently from landfill to waste prevention and resource recovery in all its forms. As an industry, waste management is just beginning to assert itself as an important part of the environmental agenda, shrugging off negative public perceptions which have seen it labelled as ‘dirty’ and ‘unskilled’. It is an industry that young people should be excited to become involved with. The variety of opportunities within the sector mean that it can appeal to a huge pool of talent, if it can successfully position itself as the place to be for those in search of skilled, long-term employment.

In addition waste industry employs environmental scientists, engineers, biologists, geologists, civil engineers and soil experts to protect today’s environment while developing more sustainable waste management practices. Some of the most ground-breaking environmental technology being used today drives positions like gas technicians, hazardous materials experts, and landfill gas operators.

- Awarded for excellence:
Some of our students work have been judged by the most respected experts in the sector. These long-standing and well-respected awards are given for outstanding achievement in the sustainability, resource and waste industry
- Ed Cook was awarded the Roger Perry Award for his thesis titled ‘Optimising the non-biological outputs of mechanical-biological treatment facilities’ by CIWM’s Sustainability & Resource Awards 2015.
- Harriet Emkes was also awarded the Roger Perry Award in 2013.
- Russel Harwood was the winner of the Geotech Award in 2010 at the CIWM Professional Awards Ceremony.

Course overview

The course comprises eight assessed modules, a group project and an individual research project.

The modules include lectures and tutorials, and are assessed through practical work, written examinations, case studies, essays, presentations and tests. These provide the 'tools' required for the group and individual projects.

Group project

The group project is a multi-disciplinary, team-based activity. It provides students with the opportunity, whilst working in teams under academic supervision, to take responsibility for project tasks, with success dependent on the integration of various activities. Many projects are industrially orientated with support from industry and other external organisations.

Students on the MSc Waste and Resource Management compete for a series of trophies and prizes presented by leading organisations associated with Cranfield University.

Individual Project

A key benefit of the Cranfield MSc is that individual projects are often backed by leading organisations. This means you have the opportunity to develop solutions to real problems - either undertaking the project within the company or working here at Cranfield, using the University's equipment and facilities.


The course comprises eight assessed modules, a group project and an individual research project.

Core -

Environmental Risks - Hazard, Assessment and Management
Evaluating Sustainability
Process Emissions and Control
Pollution Prevention and Remediation Technologies
Risk, toxicology, exposure and health
Food Chain Resilience
Circular Waste Management; Recycle, Recover and Dispose


Taught modules - 40%, Group project - 20%, Individual project - 40%


Funding opportunities exist, including industrial sponsorship, School bursaries and a number of general external schemes. For the majority of part-time students sponsorship is organised by their employers. We recommend you discuss this with your company in the first instance.

Career opportunities

Career prospects for students on the Waste and Resource Management course are excellent. The waste management industry is undergoing a change in strategy as a result of the introduction of increasingly arduous legislation, tougher enforcement, and better educated consumers making demands about the environment (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – DEFRA, 2006 and 2011; Energy and utility skills, 2010). This is stimulating considerable investment by the waste industry in alternative technologies to reduce and reuse waste, rather than rely on simple landfill. This sector therefore has an urgent requirement for well qualified staff with management expertise who can meet the challenges of this future sustainable agenda.

Further Information

For further information on this course, please visit our course webpage - http://www.cranfield.ac.uk/courses/masters/waste-and-resource-management.html

Visit the Waste and Resource Management (MSc/MTech/PgCert/PgDip) page on the Cranfield University website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Nathalie Chilro

Why did you choose your postgraduate course?
I chose this postgraduate course to obtain the appropriate background and understanding necessary in my position as Wastewater R&D Process Scientist within Southern Water (SW)

Describe your experience of postgraduate study at Cranfield
As a part-time student, it has been hard work with very little holidays, but the experience has been amazing and very refreshing. It has given me back some confidence and self esteem I had lost or never managed to achieve in my previous University experience.

How did it differ from undergraduate study?
Cranfield academics are approachable, friendly and helpful. Any question is never a stupid question! The strong link with the Industry is very valuable and the reputation of the university in the Water Industry is fantastic. When people ask me what course I am doing and where, there is always a very positive reaction and great respect for Cranfield University. It is like a business card that can open doors in the Industry.

What was you individual project about?
My MSc thesis was on sludge reduction and was sponsored by Southern Water and Rhodia Novecare.

Would you recommend the course? Why?
Yes, definitely. The course I attended was amazing for my professional development. My managers and other colleagues have been very impressed with my improvement. This has provoked the interest of few of my colleagues to do the same course and Managers have now asked volunteers who wish to attend the course.

How did your first find out about Cranfield?
Two of my very knowledgeable colleagues had done the course, so I wanted to follow the same path.

What were your original impressions of Cranfield and how have they changed?
I was very nervous because I had to go back to University, but I quickly got reassured because the small number of students makes it easier to communication with other students and academics.

What do you like about Cranfield?
The facilities are very good. How many universities would have their own sewage treatment works? The investment on pilot plants and high-tech instruments are very impressive. Finally the library with its “off-site” student help is very good. Most of all, what I like most about Cranfield is the friendly, strong teaching and support to students. Lecturers are so passionate about their job that they manage to transmit their passion to the students.

(Student Profile)

Alex Massie

Why did you choose your postgraduate course?
I had volunteered overseas before, but wanted to obtain a job in the field. In development and disaster relief it is now necessary to have an appropriate Masters qualification before you can be considered for the job and so I decided to take the course.

Describe your experience of postgraduate study at Cranfield
People who you are learning from are experienced and knowledgeable about the subject particularly with regards to the course director. The modules themselves were well designed and evidently based upon years of honing the content. I enjoyed the flexibility afforded by many of the learning tasks, and the week of practical work was excellent, though all too brief. The facilities at our disposal for study were generally excellent.

What skills are you acquiring from the study?
Whilst I had a significant understanding of the engineering elements in advance of the course, the social aspects and implications were something I had not addressed fully. Through the course I have learnt about the issues regarding communities and development, problems to look out for and methods of addressing this in the field.

What was your individual thesis project about?
My thesis was about the hygiene beliefs and practices of the Batwa tribe of central Africa, specifically in south west Uganda. I funded it entirely myself, though the major costs are air travel as living in country is usually very cheap. I was partnered with an NGO that I contacted at my own instigation as I proposed my own project. Proposing my own project gave me the flexibility to do what I wished, though it meant that I had to do all the groundwork myself.

Would you recommend the course? Why?
Yes, the experience of the lecturers and course director in particular. The extensive overseas experience of those running the course is vital for the vibrancy, success and relevance of the course and I was lucky to be able to learn from such people. I would urge anyone considering a similar course anywhere to look at the overseas experience of those running the course as well as the reputation among NGOs.

What do you most like about Cranfield?
Besides the course, the thing that attracted me to Cranfield was that it is a postgraduate only institution which means that mature students are the norm, not the exception. This means socialising is perhaps easier than in a university dominated by undergraduates.


Cranfield Postgraduate Loan Scheme (CPLS) - 20+ Awards

Cranfield University is now able to offer you a more affordable way to study an MSc with loans managed by Prodigy Finance.With a Cranfield Postgraduate Loan it is possible for you to take up your MSc studies with no repayments while you study. This will leave you free to concentrate on your course and enhance your career prospects.Launched in February 2014, the scheme is designed to support UK and EU students entering postgraduate study and is intended to attract those who may not otherwise progress to this level because of financial constraints.Loans of up to £15,000 are available (dependent on the tuition fees for your chosen course).If you are a UK student, loans are available for tuition fees and maintenance. EU students can apply for a loan covering only tuition fees.
Loans are repaid over a seven year period and repayments start six months after you complete your degree. As a not-for-profit scheme, funded by Cranfield and HEFCE, the loans are competitively priced (6.92% APR representative) and considerably more affordable than a standard career development loan.

Value of Scholarship(s)

Loans of up to £15,000 total


You can apply for a loan if you:• are domiciled in the UK or EU and qualify for ‘Home/EU’ fees and
• have an admissions offer to a Cranfield full-time, taught MSc course in a STEM (Science, Technology Engineering or Mathematics) subject

Application Procedure

If you already have an applicable course offer you can apply online through Prodigy Finance. You will need to provide Prodigy Finance with details of your offer from Cranfield. Your loan application will be considered and responded to within a few days.If you are yet to secure an offer of a place you can register your interest in the scheme and we will keep you up-to-date.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

A first or second class UK Honours degree in a relevant science, engineering or related discipline, or the international equivalent of these UK qualifications. Other relevant qualifications, together with significant experience, may be considered.

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