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Sustainability Planning and Environmental Policy (MSc)

  • Duration: 2 years
  • Mode: Part time

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Why study this course

This MSc enables students to develop critical learning and applied skills in the field of contemporary sustainability.

The MSc Sustainability Planning and Environmental Policy will provide you with knowledge and understanding of sustainability theory, principles and practice. You will 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 is aimed at those wishing to gain expertise on contemporary sustainability issues. It 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 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.

Distinctive features

  • Scope to focus on environmental problems and environmental policy in a range of sectors, including planning, food/agriculture, transport and housing.
  • This course 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.
  • Accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), allowing completion of the educational requirement for RICS membership.

Accreditations

Where you'll study

School of Geography and Planning

Join us as we explore and tackle the social, political, economic, development and environmental challenges which affect where and how we live.

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  • Telephone+44 (0)29 208 74022
  • MarkerKing Edward VII Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3WA

Admissions criteria

Applicants should normally hold a minimum 2:2 degree in an appropriate subject. 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.

A minimum standard in English language of IELTS 6.5(to included 5.5 in each sub-score) or equivalent will be required for students whose first language is not English. Pre-course English Language tuition is available.

If your offer to study at Cardiff University is conditional on IELTS, we recommend that you take the ‘IELTS for UKVI’ test at an approved centre. This will give you greater flexibility regarding how to meet the English Language conditions of your offer. Please note that ‘IELTS for UKVI’ is the only test outside the UK that can be accepted for entry to Pre-sessional English Language programmes.

You are expected to demonstrate an interest in the field, and some familiarity with contemporary environmental policy and planning issues.

Find out more about English language requirements.

Applicants who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK must present an acceptable English language qualification in order to meet UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) requirements

Criminal convictions

You are not required to complete a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check or provide a Certificate of Good Conduct to study this course.

If you are currently subject to any licence condition or monitoring restriction that could affect your ability to successfully complete your studies, you will be required to disclose your criminal record. Conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • access to computers or devices that can store images
  • use of internet and communication tools/devices
  • curfews
  • freedom of movement
  • contact with people related to Cardiff University.

Course structure

This course is offered in part-time mode normally for 2 years (though this may be extended to 3 years), leading to the award of an MSc in Sustainability, Planning and Environmental Policy.

A Diploma is awarded to students who successfully complete the taught part of the Programme but who do not wish to undertake a dissertation.

It is divided into two parts:

  • Part one comprises a teaching programme of core and optional modules over four semesters.
  • Part two comprises an individual dissertation on a topic selected you will select in consultation with members of staff. Whilst there are few constraints on the choice of topic, it must address the core course themes of sustainability, environmental policy and planning.

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.

You will be required to take taught modules to a value of 120 credits altogether, as well as the dissertation which is worth 60 credits. 

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2020/21 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2020.

Year one

Year two

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.

Learning and assessment

How will I be assessed?

 Assessment methods include:

  • Examinations
  • Essays
  • Reports
  • project work
  • verbal presentations.

Written examinations are used to test your understanding of key environmental policy frameworks, knowledge of substantive law and ability to construct legal arguments.

Essays and reports will allow you to employ knowledge generated during the modules in pieces of policy evaluation or sustainable development in action.

Seminar presentations and debates are used to encourage you both to develop and clarify you understanding of a contemporary sustainability issues (in order to defend a debating a position) and give you an opportunity to enhance your oral presentation skills.

How will I be supported?

You will have access to a range of facilities and resources, including:

  • A dedicated 40 PC laboratory with high quality peripherals including; network account laser printing, large format colour printing, A4 colour printing.

  • GIS facilities/workstation/access to Edina digimap digital mapping facility.

  • An additional  30 PC open-access laboratory in the Glamorgan Building.

  • An excellent Planning library containing around 12,000 books, 280 journal titles and substantial annual stock expenditure.

  • Access to online international databases/computerised library facilities.

  • Access to Dyslexia resource facilities.

  • Use of Learning Central  in all modules  to provide module information and learning resources. 

You will have regular meetings with your allocated personal tutor to review your progress.

English language support will be available if your first language is not English.

Support will also be available if you are working/being assessed through the medium of Welsh.

We will support the development of your professional skills during induction week by providing training on computer use and presentation skills.

Feedback

Formative feedback is given in tutorials, discussion classes and problems classes as well as through individual written comments on coursework.
 

What skills will I practise and develop?

You will acquire a range of skills in the analysis and critical appraisal of literature, policy and practice, in the construction and presentation of written arguments, and in the oral presentation of work.

You will also be introduced to relevant skills in the environmental assessment of projects and policies. Throughout the course, you will acquire skills in a range of environmental research methodologies.

As a graduate from this programme you will be able to:

  • Understand the philosophical, economic, political and social dimensions of sustainable development.
  • Be alert to strengths and weaknesses of the concept of sustainable development, particularly as these apply in ‘real life’ situations.
  • Interpret contemporary developments in planning through broader theoretical understanding of socio-economic political and environmental change.
  • Develop a detailed and critical understanding of environmental policy and environmental planning processes at the global level, within Europe and in particular within the UK; and of the links between environmental policy and the land use planning system.
  • Familiarise themselves with sustainability issues within a range of special fields, including: environmental assessment, climate change, transport and the environment, sustainability and the agri-food system, environmental management and regulation, and environmental management in practice. 

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2020/21)

Tuition feeDeposit
£4,350None

More information about tuition fees and deposits, including for part-time and continuing students.

Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.

EU students entering in 2020/21 will pay the same tuition fee as UK students for the duration of their course. Please be aware that fees may increase annually in line with inflation. No decisions regarding fees and loans for EU students starting in 2020/21 have been made yet. These will be determined as part of the UK's discussions on its membership of the EU and we will provide further details as soon as we can.

Students from outside the EU (2020/21)

Tuition feeDeposit
£9,725£1,000

More information about tuition fees and deposits, including for part-time and continuing students.

Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.

Career prospects

This 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 non-governmental organisations.

Funding

Master's Excellence Scholarship

This award worth £3000 is open to UK and EU students intending to study one of our taught master’s degrees.

Postgraduate Master’s Finance

If you’re starting your master’s degree in September 2020 or later, you may be able to apply for postgraduate student finance to support your study at Cardiff University.

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