Sustainability, Planning and Environmental Policy (MSc)

Understand more about sustainability theory, principles and practice - and help meet the policy challenge.

The MSc Sustainability, Planning and Environmental Policy is specifically aimed at those people wishing to gain expertise on contemporary sustainability issues. Students gain insights into the ways in which problems are defined, and the scope for applying cutting-edge policy and planning solutions to the environmental challenges faced by government, business and regulatory bodies.

The course links together theoretical debates about sustainability at different spatial scales with the practical dimensions of policy formulation and implementation. The planning system is given particular attention because it provides one of the most sophisticated mechanisms for regulating environmental change. A further core feature of the course is the focus on the latest social science research around environmental problems.

The course modules address three key dimensions:

  • Principles and processes - how policies may (or may not) achieve more sustainable development;
  • Resource sector studies - comparative and in-depth analysis of sustainability issues in key economic sectors (including food, transport and housing);
  • Research training - the development of sustainability and planning research skills.

Course Recognition

This MSc is recognised by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) as a 'specialist' masters, allowing those who have completed a three year RTPI recognised undergraduate spatial planning degree to complete the RTPI's educational requirements for membership. For further details visit the Royal Town Planning Institute website.

It is also accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), allowing completion of the educational requirement for RICS membership. For further details visit the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors website.

Course Structure

The MSc Sustainability, Planning and Environmental Policy is offered as a one year full-time or a two year part-time course.

It is divided into two parts:
Part 1 comprises a teaching programme of core and option modules over two semesters (or four semesters for the part-time course).
Part 2 comprises an individual dissertation on a topic selected by each student in consultation with members of staff. Whilst there are few constraints on the choice of topic, it must address at least one of the core course themes of sustainability, environmental policy and planning.

The following list relates to the modules for the academic year 2015/16. Please note that these may be subject to change.

Core Modules

Option Modules

The course is assessed through continuous assessment (a variety of seminars, essays, project work and practical exercises) and examinations. Where required there is room for flexibility in setting alternative, comparable assessments.

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

Study Visits

A residential field study visit is undertaken as part of the course. The School does partly subsidise the trip but students must allow for travelling and subsistence expenses.

Employability

The course offers the knowledge and expertise for developing a research career or taking advantage of the increasing professionalisation of environmental jobs in the private and public sectors, including: government departments and environmental agencies; the business sector; consultancy, and environmental pressure groups.
Our Alumni collectively represent the variety of potential careers and jobs that our current (and future) students may embark on.

Suitability

This MSc is suitable for graduates in subjects such as geography, sociology, politics or economics, and/or those with appropriate professional qualifications in planning. Applicants with a background in other subjects, and relevant work-based experience, will also be considered.

Entry Requirements

Applicants should normally hold a first or second class Honours degree in an appropriate subject. A minimum standard in English language of IELTS 6.5 or equivalent will be required for students whose first language is not English. Pre-course English Language tuition is available.

See this course on the University's Coursefinder website.