School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

MSc Environmental Consultancy

Conserve our environment for future generations – work with industry and governments to reduce human impacts and provide solutions to environmental problems. MSc Environmental Consultancy will help launch your career, giving you the skills and knowledge required for a job in the environment sector. Maximise your career prospects by learning the latest techniques used in the management and assessment of environmental impact, and develop your practical skills with an eight week industry placement.

Key features

  • Embark on an eight week work placement in the environmental sector which will give you an invaluable insight into the environmental business sector and, in many cases, has led to permanent positions being offered by employers. See the organisations we partner with to provide student placements.
  • Work towards achieving chartered environmentalist status through your masters. The award has also received considerable support and recognition from employers and professional bodies such as the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA). 
  • Benefit from our expertise in areas including species and habitat restoration, evaluation of contaminated water and terrestrial environments, environmental law, geographical information systems, waste management and marine surveys.
  • Take the opportunity to carry out your own environmental impact assessment, from data acquisition to production of a full environmental statement.
  • Investigate through fieldwork how environmental issues and constraints have been managed in the South West and further afield.
  • Use the University’s high specification analytical equipment for environmental monitoring and the research vessel, Falcon Spirit, for marine sampling.
  • Undertake a research-based project – you’ll be encouraged to develop a solution to a problem-based research question, working where possible in association with industry and your academic advisor.
  • All modules are assessed 100% by coursework, designed to reflect the outputs of the industry, readying you for what you are likely to be asked to do in your job.

Course details

  • Programme overview
  • Learn from our environmental management expertise in areas including ecological impact assessment, protected species and habitat survey, pollution prevention, evaluation of contaminated environments, water resource management, geographical information systems, waste minimisation and marine ecological survey. The programme consists of a 12 week and 7 week period of taught modules with an 8 week environmental sector work placement and 18 week dissertation period. Modules are assessed 100% by coursework and designed to mirror professional practice. You’ll be provided with subject-specific knowledge and training in research methods. You’ll carry out an environmental impact assessment, from data acquisition to public inquiry, and develop your field survey skills over the equivalent of two weeks. Practising consultants give you an insight into opportunities within the environmental sector and you’ll hear how environmental management can help protect the environment and save money.
    Core modules
    • ENVS5004 Work Placement Project

      This module is concerned with the acquisition of professional practice knowledge and skills through work experience with a professional consultancy organisation. It will allow students to apply their knowledge and training to real projects and gain an insight into potential careers within the environmental sector.

    • GEES515 Professional Practice in the Environmental Sector

      This module examines the place of sustainability and environmental management in modern business practice, and prepares students for professional work experience in semester 2. It also provides students with a critical understanding of the principles, ethics and methods of environmental law and regulation, and examines the role of economics in characterising and addressing human interaction with the environment

    • GEES517 Environmental Assessment

      This module examines current legislation and guidance on, and methods of, environmental assessment, focussing on strategic environmental assessment (SEA) and environmental impact assessment (EIA). Through critical investigation of case studies, students will learn how to use methodologies to evaluate impacts on environmental receptors and communicate outcomes, including impact statements, to professional standards.

    • GEES519 Environmental Knowledge: From Field to Stakeholder

      This module reviews qualitative and quantitative research methods relevant to professional and academic investigations in the field of policy-making, planning, management and consultancy in the built and natural environments. It encompasses the complete lifecycle of research (design, planning, data collection, knowledge dissemination and application), including stakeholder engagement across these stages.

    • GEES520 MSc Dissertation

      The student will complete an independent research project that they have designed in semester 1 as part of their research skills development. The record of the research will communicate the project aims, research problem, methodology, data analysis, interpretation, discussion/synthesis and conclusions in the format specified and to a professional standard.

    Optional modules
    • CHM5002 Analytical Chemistry Principles

      This module introduces the fundamental theoretical concepts in analytical chemistry. It also provides training in problem solving and teamwork.

    • ENVS5002 Investigation and Assessment of Contaminated Environments

      Students are introduced to the scientific principles underpinning pollutant behaviour in the environment including the use of modelling and the process of site investigation and risk assessments. Students undertake a risk assessment of a contaminated site using literature and field investigation. Case study examples are used to highlight environmental consultancy approaches to site investigation and evaluation.

    • ENVS5003 Ecological Survey Evaluation and Mitigation

      This module will examine UK and European nature conservation policy, species and habitat protection, ecological survey techniques and habitat mapping. Taught survey methodologies will follow statutory and developer guidelines for both protected species and habitat survey. Case study examples will be used to highlight environmental consultancy approaches to compensation and mitigation.

    • GEES505 Sustainable Management of Freshwater Ecosystems

      Sustainable environmental planning of land and water resources in the EU requires an ecosystem approach to river basin management. We explore the inherent challenges to this approach including the environmental legacy of earlier management approaches, how to work with natural catchment processes and flood regimes, and how to integrate diverse stakeholder viewpoints into a performance-based management framework.

    • GEES506 Climate Change: Science and Policy

      This module explores the science and policy of climatic change, including lessons from the past and the relevance of past climates to the global warming debate. We question climate change detection and attribution, feedbacks and uncertainty in climate change. We explore political actions through international political agreements and national policies and adaptation strategies and management of change in the UK

    • MATH513 Big Data and Social Network Visualization

      Sophisticated analytics techniques are needed to visualize today's increasing quantities of Big Data. Up-to-date R tools including dplyr for data manipulation, ggplot2 for visualization, and knitr/LaTeX for document presentation are studied. These are applied to database interrogation, social network visualization and sentiment analysis. The module provides considerable experience of writing professionally documented R code using RStudio.

Every postgraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the programme aims, the programme structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest programme structure and may be subject to change:

MSc Environmental Consultancy Programme Specification September 2019 3607

The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.

Entry requirements

UK/EU

You will normally be a graduate with an upper second class (2:1) degree or higher from an environmental, geographical, chemistry, marine, geology or biological subject discipline who is looking for environmental sector training. If you apply with a 2:2 and relevant environmental management experience, this would also be acceptable.

Equally, you could be a graduate from related disciplines who have worked within the environmental sector and is looking to gain a specialist qualification. If you apply without recent formal qualifications you may still be accepted.

INTERNATIONAL

If you are an overseas applicant you can check the comparability of your qualifications with the UK equivalent through the UK National Recognition Information Centre (NARIC), who provide an advisory service.

English language requirements.

If your first language is not English then evidence of English proficiency is required. The level of proficiency that is required can vary with the type of programme for which you are applying. For further advice on the appropriateness of overseas qualification and proficiency in the use of English, please contact our International Office.

The minimum IELTS score for acceptable English proficiency for entry is normally 6.5.

Fees, costs and funding

New Student 2018 2019
Home/EU £9,500 £9,500
International £14,000 £14,400
Part time (Home/EU) £550 £550
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per 10 credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances.

Postgraduate scholarships for international students

We offer several scholarships for international students who wish to study postgraduate taught (PGT) degree programmes.

Find out about the postgraduate scholarships available to you as an international student

How to apply

When to apply

Most of our taught programmes begin in September, with some January starts also available. Applications can usually be made throughout the year, and are considered until programmes are full. 

Before you apply

Familiarise yourself with the information required to complete your application form. You will usually be required to supply:
  • evidence of qualifications (degree certificates or transcripts), with translations if not in English, to show that you meet, or expect to meet the entry requirements
  • evidence of English language proficiency, if English is not your first language
  • a personal statement of approximately 250-400 words about the reasons for your interest in the course and outlining the nature of previous and current related experience. You can write this into the online application form, or include it as a separate document
  • your curriculum vitae or résumé, including details of relevant professional/voluntary experience, professional registration/s and visa status for overseas workers
  • proof of sponsorship, if applicable.
If you require further information take a look at our application guidance.

Disability services

If you have a disability and would like further information about the support provided by University of Plymouth, please visit our Disability Services website. 

International students

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email international-admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.

Submitting an application

Once you are happy that you have all of the information required you can apply using our online postgraduate application form (the blue 'Apply now' icon on this page).

What happens after I apply?

You will normally receive a decision on your application within four weeks of us receiving your application. You may be asked to provide additional information; two academic/professional references, confirming your suitability for the course; or to take part in an interview (which in the case of overseas students may be by telephone or video conference) and you will be sent a decision by letter or email.

We aim to make the application procedure as simple and efficient as possible. Our Admissions and Course Enquiries team is on hand to offer help and can put you in touch with the appropriate faculty if you wish to discuss any programme in detail.

If you would like any further information please contact the Admissions and Course Enquiries team:

Telephone: +44 (0)1752 585858
Email: admissions@plymouth.ac.uk 

Admissions policy

More information and advice for applicants can be referenced by downloading our Student Admissions Policy Prospective students are advised to read the policy before making an application to the University.

£5000 of postgraduate student awards available

These new awards from London livery company the Worshipful Company of Water Conservators are for postgraduate study in environmental consultancy or sustainable environmental management

More information and how to apply

Career opportunities

Our students have been successful in securing jobs within the environment sector, from bespoke local and regional consultancies through to large multi-national corporations, the Environment Agency, Natural England and local non-governmental organisations.

If you want to influence environmental developments and work within organisations to exert positive change then this could the programme for you.

Learn more about our career opportunities

Ross Singleton, Environment Director for Parsons Brinkerhoff, discusses placements and career opportunities with MSc Environmental Consultancy students.

Work experience

The MSc provides ‘real world’ experience during your eight-week placement (which can lead to permanent employment) of working with organisations who manage our environment, including:

  • Marine ecology and conservation at GoBe, Royal Haskoning DHV, Natural England, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Marine Biological Association, RPS
  • Environmental consultancy at Pell Frischmann, WSP, Atkins, Aecom, Royal Haskoning-DHV, White Young Green, Arcadis, Black and Veatch, Ramboll, Mott MacDonald 
  • Catchment management at the Westcountry Rivers Trust, Environment Agency, Natural England as well as Tamar, North Devon, South Devon, Blackdown Hills, Cornwall Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty 
  • Ecology at FPCR, Richard Green Associates, EAD ecology, Blackdown Environmental, Acorn Ecology.

Steph Rooke – BSc (Hons) Environmental Science and MSc Environmental Consultancy graduate

During Steph's time at Plymouth she chose the Environmental Management pathway, which has since been replaced by our BSc (Hons) Environmental Management and Sustainability programme.
Steph Rooke's profile

Tania Xin Tang - BSc (Hons) Environmental Science and MSc Environmental Consultancy graduate

There isn't a universal solution, that is why our future has infinite possibility, and that is why your thoughts and voice matter
Tania Xin Tang's profile

Mock planning inquiry film

Refusal of planning permission for tungsten reprocessing at Devon Great Consuls, near Tavistock, West Devon.

Starring MSc students from the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Plymouth.

Placements

MSc Environmental Consultancy students present their placement posters for the work placement project module.

The students worked at various environmental companies including Marine Ecological Surveys Ltd, Dorset Coast Forum, EcoSulis and Acorn Ecology.

View the organisations we partner with

Meet the tutors

Sean has over 20 years’ experience in consultancy and continues to maintain many links with employers. He specialises in water quality management to meet European Directives, particularly in areas associated with metal and nutrient pollution.

Dr Comber joined the University in 2012 and took over management of the MSc Environmental Consultancy programme.

Learn more about Dr Comber

Dr Paul Lunt

Paul maintains many links with employers, provides specialist training within the sector for the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) and has many years' experience of running postgraduate programmes.

Dr Lunt is now deputy programme leader, having created the MSc Environmental Consultancy programme in 2008 and managed it through to 2012.

Learn more about Dr Lunt

Research

Economic development and human population growth are leading to unsustainable exploitation of natural resources. This is being manifested in climate change, unprecedented loss of biodiversity and locally in a deterioration of our living environment.

Environmental management seeks to ensure sustainable development is achieved through environmental legislation, education and social responsibility.

Learn more about research in the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

Where are our graduates now?

Chris Rowett – Senior Environmental Consultant

Working at a variety of consultancies and NGOs (Non-Governmental Organisations), Chris completed an Environmental Science degree at the University of Plymouth before undertaking his MSc Environmental Consultancy in 2014–15. 

He undertook his placement at Parsons Brinkerhoff just before the merger with WSP in Exeter and secured a full-time job there from September 2015. 

Chris’ training and practical experience at the University of Plymouth has provided the knowledge and techniques required for his role as an Environmental Consultant. 

This includes an understanding of environmental law, policy and planning, pollution, impact assessment and sustainable development.

Chris has supported various environmental projects including EIA and SEA, as well as having undertaken numerous site and desk-based impact assessments and audits. 

Where do our graduates find jobs? 

Our graduates find jobs across the whole environmental sector, from large and small consultancies, to NGOs, charities or go on to do PhDs. 

Our Environmental Consultancy MSc students have been particularly successful in the past few years in securing jobs within the environment sector set against a challenging economic climate. 

A large proportion have gained jobs within consultancies as well as with NGOs, Government/regulators and within teaching and academia.

We have an excellent employability record for our students, driven to a large degree by their eight-week placement during March to May of their MSc course which provides the opportunity to contribute to projects, meet clients, write reports and in a number of cases each year this has led to a full-time job at the same company. 

90%+ of students get jobs in Environment Sector within 6 to 12 months of completing their masters, many at their placement organisations.

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