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Environment and Public Policy (MSc/PgCert/PgDip)

Course Description

Course Description

Cranfield's Environmental and Public Policy course offers excellent grounding in environmental science, sustainability, ecosystem functions and environmental management. Students will have access to a full suite of policy making tools to translate science and environmental knowledge into effective and lasting policy. This course is suitable for new graduates keen to pursue a career in environmental policy or environmental management; environmental scientists, technologists and engineers looking to enhance their political skillset, either for a civil service, research, or industry career; policy-focussed individuals looking to move into the environmental sector and individuals seeking an intensely applied postgraduate experience and connections to the applied policy field.

Course overview

Specifically, lectures will cover:

- International, national and local political contexts
- Methods for designing new evidence-based policy, evidence assessment, futures thinking, cost-benefit appraisal and risk analysis
- Policy implementation including regulatory and other tools
- Policy review methods
- Communication and synthesis of environmental policies to inform strategic decisions.

This course comprises seven core modules, one elective module, a group project and an individual project.

Group project

Group projects, which run between February and April, enable you to put the skills and knowledge developed during the course modules into practice in an applied context while gaining transferable skills in project management, teamwork and independent research. Group projects are usually sponsored by industrial or public sector partners who provide particular problems linked to their businesses. Projects generally require the group to provide a solution to the operational problem. Potential future employers value this experience. The group projects are across the MSc courses in the environment programme, giving the added benefit of gaining new insights, ways of thinking, experience and skills from students with other backgrounds

During the project you will develop a range of skills including learning how to establish team member roles and responsibilities, project management, and delivering technical presentations. At the end of the project, all groups submit a written report and deliver a presentation to the industrial partner. This presentation provides the opportunity to develop interpersonal and presentation skills within a professional environment. The project is assessed through a written report and an oral presentation by the group. In addition, a poster exhibition provides the opportunity to develop presentation skills and effectively handle questions about complex issues in a professional manner.

Part-time students normally complete individual dissertations in place of the group project.

Recent group projects include:

-A global review of capacity building organizations in water and sanitation for developing countries (CAWST)
-A rapid evidence appraisal to develop better evidence for UK environmental regulation reform (Defra)
-Valuing and enhancing carbon sequestration on passive mine water treatment sites (Coal Authority)
-An integrated assessment of the Lafarge quarry restoration (Lafarge Tarmac)
-Regulation and networking in functional ceramics (Piezo Institute)
-Comparative regulatory policy landscape analysis for EU/UK electricity markets (Ernst and Young)
-Drivers and barriers for photovoltaic uptake in the UK.

Individual Project

The individual research project allows you to delve deeper into a specific area of interest. As our academic research is so closely related to industry and public sector organisations, it is very common for our partners to put forward real-world problems or areas of development as potential research topics.

The individual research project component takes place between April/May and August for full-time students. For part-time students, it is common that their research projects are undertaken in collaboration with their place of work under academic supervision, given the approval of the Course Directors.

Individual research projects undertaken may involve a wide range of techniques from qualitative analysis to quantitative modelling.

Recent individual projects:

-Systematic examination and analysis of European Court decisions based on the precautionary principle
-Exploring social media and networks as a driver to promote sustainable behaviour: case analysis and policy implications
-Evaluation of methods for sustainability assessments of new, emerging and/or renewable energy technologies
-Cultural services evaluation of agri-environment schemes at Waddesdon Manor Estate Farm
-The future resilience of river basin management measures: a framework for stress testing water management measures
-Stakeholder analysis of a chalk grassland landscape in southern England
-Implementing a Natural Capital Committee in the Lazio Region, Italy
-Decision support tool for rural electrification
-Development of an integrated economic model for the assessment of the environmental burdens of arable, forestry, and silvoarable systems.


There are seven core modules and one elective module from a choice of two.

Core -

Principles of Sustainability
Environmental Valuation
Environmental Advocacy and Discourse
Financial and Economic Appraisal for Environmental Management
Environment Horizon Scanning and Futures
Environmental Policy and Risk Governance
Technology, Environment and Society

Elective -

Environmental Management in Practice


For the MSc:
Taught modules: 40%
Group projects: 20%
Individual project: 40%

For the PgDip:
Taught modules: 66.6%
Group projects: 33.4%

For the PgCert:
Any of 6 taught modules: 100%


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

Graduates of this course have taken on Environment Policy Officer roles in Government, industry and NGOs. These posts cover an enormous range of environmental issues (e.g. climate change, deforestation, transportation, disaster response, or flooding), and typically develop into Senior Policy Officer roles, Director of Policy posts and ultimately Managing Director positions.

You will leave with an understanding of how to engage with management boards on a range of issues and present your arguments at a senior level. You will also gain skills and knowledge delivering significant business benefits to your employer, enhancing your progression to more senior roles in the future.

Further Information

For further information on this course, please visit our course webpage - http://www.cranfield.ac.uk/Courses/Masters/Environment-and-Public-Policy

Visit the Environment and Public Policy (MSc/PgCert/PgDip) page on the Cranfield University website for more details!

(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

Candidates must possess, or be expected to achieve, a first or second class UK Honours degree or equivalent in a relevant environmental, business or science based discipline. Other relevant qualifications together with industrial experience may be considered.

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