MSc Environmental Assessment and Management

Key facts

(2014 Research Excellence Framework)


UEA research into the hazard risks of landslides could help save lives thanks to a new digital resource which launches today.

Read It


Students on a field trip in Slapton, South Devon.


Radical new ways of removing CO2 from the atmosphere could prove to be a risky business – according to an environmental scientist at the University of East Anglia.

Read It


There has been a rapid growth in Environmental Assessment (EA) requirements around the world, at both project and strategic levels, which has generated a need for additional personnel. In Europe thousands of environmental assessments are carried out annually, and new legislation has placed obligations on many organisations to carry out strategic environmental assessments of their plans and programmes without the trained personnel to do so.

EA places demands upon those involved in both planning and authorising development proposals. Scientists must use their technical expertise to provide inputs into EAs; lawyers must establish and operate the procedures; developers must formulate their proposals within the legislative framework; agencies must review the adequacy of EAs; and decision makers must learn how to respond to the increased breadth and depth of information on potential impacts.

The focus of environmental assessment has shifted from the project level, where the implications of individual project proposals are assessed, to the strategic level, where the implications of policies, plans and programmes are assessed. Strategic EA Practice varies around the world and at different levels of decision making. Some jurisdictions focus on environmental aspects only, whereas others undertake sustainability appraisal which balances the environmental impacts alongside social and economic (including health) impacts. Whatever the focus, there is a need to establish groundrules for the scope of the assessment, and a need to apply suitable assessment methods to fully understand the potential outcomes of policy, plan or programme development.

To meet the demand for skilled personnel in these areas, this is a vocational course designed to provide a rigorous and professional training in the broad range of skills required. It combines theory, much of which has been developed by internationally renowned staff based in the School, with practice through collaboration with local businesses.

Recent Dissertation Titles

  • Waste management in offices: a case study of the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital
  • An evaluation of perceptions of barriers to the utilisation of crop biomass as a source of renewable energy
  • Determining significance in environmental impact assessment: A review of impacts upon the socio-economic and water environments

“My MSc was recognised as a big advantage when I was applying for my first job in Environmental Consultancy. Being taught in a specialist department meant I gained directly relevant knowledge and skills which are invaluable in my working life.”

Frances Kirwan Former Student.

Course Modules

Students must study the following modules for 120 credits:

Name Code Credits


The dissertation is an individual research project under the guidance of an academic supervisor within one of the research groups in the School. In addition, for project placement opportunities with outside organisations there may also be guidance from an outside collaborator. Research undertaken normally involves the analysis and interpretation of data collected in the field, from measurements of a sample in the laboratory or from data gathered from other sources including the media, questionnaire surveys, interviews, etc. This module is reserved for MSc students and all students must have taken ENV-7119Y.




BEFORE TAKING THIS MODULE YOU MUST HAVE TAKEN ENV-7020A Environmental Assessment is considered to be more effective when conducted at strategic levels of decision making, and is usually perceived to have a goal of achieving sustainable development. This module provides experience of conducting a particular form of strategic assessment, Sustainability Appraisal (SA), which incorporates environmental, social and economic considerations into plan making. Through practice of SA, a field course involving hands-on application of environmental assessment techniques, and consideration of effectiveness theory, this module will examine what makes assessment effective. Please note that there will be a charge for attending this field course. The overall field course charge is heavily subsidised by the School, but students enrolling must understand that they will commit to paying a sum (in the region of GBP300) to cover attendance. Further information is available from the module organiser.




Semester 1 teaching is compulsory for all MSc students, while semester 2 is for students to attend the classes they need. The primary purpose of this module is to provide support and training for the dissertation to ensure that the necessary research is well planned in advance. To get the best possible start for the dissertation, advice is given on how to make the best use of UEA library resources, and how to undertake a literature review and the ethics procedures. There is also a discussion about the assessment for this module, which is the dissertation proposal. A substantial part of semester 1 is devoted to how to use statistics for the analysis of different types of projects. For students who are undertaking social science dissertations, supporting lectures and practicals are provided in semester 2. These include: social science research design to ensure there is a sound understanding of the fundamental concept and requirements of good research; questionnaire survey design; interviewing techniques; focus groups methods; and techniques analysing qualitative data. This module must be taken before the ENV-MB4X Dissertation.




Environmental assessment is a term used to describe procedures for evaluating the potential environmental consequences of policies, programmes, plans and projects. It is a well established tool for environmental policy integration, being routinely employed in more than 100 nations and by many international aid and funding agencies. This multidisciplinary module focuses on the theory and methods of environmental assessment and the decision-making contexts in which they are employed. It explains the procedural stages of, and selected methodologies for, environmental assessment and provides practical experience in applying them. If not already compulsory, students are recommended to take ENV-7021K



Students will select 60 credits from the following modules:

Students may also choose modules from other Schools, subject to their approval and to timetable compatibility, with the agreement of the Course Director and of the School concerned.

Name Code Credits


Climate change and variability have played a major role in shaping human history, and the prospect of a warming world as a result of human activities (principally via changing atmospheric composition) presents society with an increasing challenge over the coming decades. This module covers the science of climate change and our current understanding of anthropogenic effects on climate. It provides details about the approaches, methods and techniques for understanding the history of climate change and for developing climate projections for the next 100 years, supporting further study of the scientific or policy aspects of the subject in either an academic or applied context. Starting with an introduction to the changing climate, techniques and approaches, and the main themes in current climate research, the module is structured around three topics: (1) fundamentals of the changing climate: techniques and approaches, including the Earth's energy balance, causes of climate change and the greenhouse effect; (2) research methods, consisting of empirical approaches to climate reconstruction (such as tree-ring research), assembly of observational data (focusing on the global temperature record) and data analysis (causes of recent climate change) and theoretical or model-based approaches (including an introduction to energy balance models and general circulation models); (3) the history of climate change and potential causal mechanisms, concentrating on the period from 1000 CE to the present and climate projections out to 2100 CE The module is lecture based but supplemented by compuyter modeling practical classes and student-led seminars.




Climate change is an energy problem. The conversion and use of energy is responsible for the significant majority of greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing emissions to mitigate climate change implies a transformation of the current global energy system. The required energy transition must include changes in technologies, behaviours, policies, infrastructures and whole systems. To avoid the impacts of climate change associated with a >2oC rise in mean global temperatures, future energy transitions must be deep, pervasive, long-term and sustained. This module examines energy transitions for climate change mitigation from a range of perspectives, focusing on the long-term. First, the implications for climate change of current energy resources, technologies and services will be evaluated. Second, evidence from history on the drivers and dynamics of energy transitions will be considered. Third, socioeconomic scenarios of future change over the 21st century will be used to explore the prospects and potentials for mitigating climate change by transforming the global energy system. Scenarios will be critically analysed from both technological and sociotechnical perspectives, supported by relevant concepts and theories. Particular emphasis will be placed on innovation challenges and needs. Fourth, the energy system and integrated assessment models used to quantitatively analyse climate change will be reviewed, and integrative energy system challenges considered.




This module aims to engage students in understanding complex interdisciplinary challenges associated with environmental pollution management via detailed studies of selected pollution issues. Students will develop skills in quantifying and analysing problems and developing and presenting effective policy responses.




The global biodiversity crisis and mass species loss has major implications for society - how can we solve these problems in a world challenged by climate change, population growth and the need for socio-economic development. This is an inter-disciplinary module focusing on the critical evaluation of scientific evidence as a basis for biodiversity conservation policy, strategy and instruments. It is of particular interest to Applied Ecology and Conservation MSc (AEC, BIO) students and is compulsory for MSc students of the International Master in Applied Ecology (IMAE, ENV) and for the MSc in Environmental Sciences Pathway in Ecology and Economics for Sustainability. Students attend an initial block of lectures critically reviewing the context for biodiversity conservation, socio-economic drivers of biodiversity loss and the importance of biodiversity to human society, challenging the assumption that ecosystem services are synonymous with conservation and exploring how differing perspectives influence conservation approaches. We examine conflicts between biodiversity conservation and livelihoods, and review approaches for resolving these (including market-based approaches, Payments for Environmental Services, and REDD+). The module is assessed by coursework designed to develop transferable skills of evidence-based scientific appraisal, including: identification of relevant evidence needs, evaluation of the quality of evidence, synthesis of policy and research implications. Assessments develop communication skills through succinct communication of scientific evidence and are supported by feed-forward formative exercises. CO-TAUGHT WITH ENV-6006A




This module will provide essential GIS tools and principles that will be applied to modelling ecological responses to environmental change, focusing on habitat and climate change. Core GIS skills will be delivered, these include field data collection and extraction of data from national and global ecological (e.g. land cover and land use) and climate databases (e.g. BADC, EU Ensembles). It will also include the manipulation of such vector and raster files using techniques such as buffers and overlays and more advanced context operators. Particular attention will be paid to understanding the uncertainties associated with such analyses. These skills are key in many areas of ecological research, but are particularly useful for the creation of variables needed for modelling environmental change. Skills will be continually assessed through online assessment. Understanding and modelling ecological responses to environmental change is essential to better manage natural resources, optimize ecosystem services and minimize biodiversity loss. Recent research shows climate can affect the functioning of communities and ecosystems through phenology mismatches and range shifts. This module will explore species and ecosystem responses to climate and habitat change, at various spatial scales from local to landscape change using GIS tools. There will be extensive emphasis on practical GIS skills which will be delivered using the open source QGIS software. Students will also be introduced to GIS with R.




The aim of the module is to show how environmental problems may be solved from the initial problem, to mathematical formulation and numerical solution. Problems will be described conceptually, then defined mathematically, then solved numerically via computer programming. The module consists of lectures on numerical methods and computing practicals (using Matlab); the practicals being designed to illustrate the solution of problems using the methods covered in lectures. The module will guide students through the solution of a model of an environmental process of their own choosing. The problem will be discussed and placed into context through a project proposal, instead of an essay, and then solved and written up in a project report. The skills developed in this module are highly valued by prospective employers of students wishing to carry on into further studies or in professional employment. MSci STUDENTS NOTE, TO TAKE THIS MODULE YOU CANNOT HAVE PREVIOUSLY TAKEN ENV-6004A OR EQUIVALENT




Have you ever wondered why human economic activity seems to be so bad for the environment? Does it have to be like that? Is it possible for human beings to enjoy high standards of living and a high quality environment? Through the study of the principles of Environmental Economics this course sets out to answer those questions. Addressing a wide-range of economy-environment problems including car pollution, over-fishing, climate change and declining oil stocks, the course shows that most environmental problems can be solved through the adoption of policies crafted with the careful application of economic reasoning. Co-taught with ENV-6012B. MSci STUDENTS NOTE, TO TAKE THIS MODULE YOU CANNOT HAVE PREVIOUSLY TAKEN ENV-6012B OR EQUIVALENT




This module will introduce you to the technology for 21st century ocean observing systems. It aims to give you hands-on and practical experience with the latest marine technology. The module will discuss cabled ocean observatories, floats and autonomous vehicles, exploring both how they work and how they can be applied to marine monitoring. Marine autonomy is a growing area, with applications in policy (for example marine monitoring for the Marine Strategy Framework Directive) and in industry (for example oil and gas, marine renewables) as well as scientific research. You will learn about the various sensors that are deployed in the ocean on these platforms, how they work, what they are used for, and how to calibrate and process the data. A key part of the module will be equipping you with skills in using ocean gliders.




The aim of this module is to expose students to the technical and commercial realities of production and supply of oil and gas including both upstream and downstream aspects. An overview of the subject leads to a number of specific case studies provided by practising engineers. A number of assessment techniques are used, from numerical analysis to research for a briefing document and debates. There will be some team-based elements. What follows is indicative because each year the case studies will reflect the expertise of the visiting practising engineers.




The module allows engagement in Earth science research topics at an advanced level and involves advanced study skills. The module will be strongly research lead and based around student-centred learning. The module will involve a) engagement with appropriate research seminars in the School of Environmental Sciences and b) directed research based around key topics with discussions and student seminars. The topics included will vary from year to year, depending on current research programmes, but they are likely to include topics in sedimentary geology, sedimentology, palaeoclimate, geological resources, Earth history, the Earth system, nuclear waste repository sites, carbon dioxide sequestration. The module is designed to develop students' research and scientific communication skills in addition to imparting specialist knowledge. Students will be encouraged to read widely on Earth science topics, gaining skills in literature searches, scientific comprehension and synthesis. Students will gain skills in scientific discussion via small group tutorials with Earth scientists who have a variety of backgrounds. Students' participation in research seminars will strengthen specialist knowledge and critical skills. The module will involve a) engagement with appropriate research seminars in the School of Environmental Sciences and b) directed research based around key topics with discussions and student seminars. The topics included will vary from year to year, depending on current research programmes, but they are likely to include topics in sedimentary geology or sedimentology, palaeoclimate, Earth history, the Earth system, natural hazard.




Advances in science and technology have transformed the world we live in and have increasing potential to disrupt environment and society for good and bad. This situation is particularly problematic in addressing pressing sustainability challenges. Science remains one of the main means of understanding environmental problems and technology can offer important possible solutions to them. Yet, science and technology are also causes of these problems in the first place, with some unintended consequences and effects only just being realised. This, coupled with unacknowledged social and ethical implications, fuels problems of public trust, controversy and resistance to certain forms of science and technology. It is increasingly realised that these problematic relations between science, society and politics form one of the main barriers to action on environmental and sustainability issues from global to local scales. This module provides an essential grounding in understanding these relationships and ways to improve them, explored through grand challenges such as energy, climate change, and natural hazards. The module provides students with an advanced introduction to the field of science and technology studies and its links with geography and environmental science. It is taught through lectures, seminars, practical exercises and in class discussions and debates in three sections: Part 1: Science, politics and power; Part 2. Science, society and the public; and Part 3: Governing science and sustainability.




From supernovae and the early condensation of the solar system, through the climate history of the planet and on to modern stratospheric chemistry, studies using stable isotopes have made a significant contribution to our understanding of the processes that shape the Earth. In this module we look at the theory and practice of isotope geochemistry, covering analytical methods and mass spectrometry, fractionation processes, and isotope behaviour in chemical cycles in the geosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and atmosphere. The course consists of lectures, practicals, including hands-on experience in the stable isotope laboratory, and student led seminars.




R is a free software environment for statistical computing and graphics that has rapidly gained popularity among scientists, and which is now the most commonly used software tool in several environmental sciences. R provides a wide variety of statistical techniques (including linear and nonlinear modelling, classical statistical tests, time-series analysis, classification, clustering, etc.). One of R's strengths is the capacity to produce publication-quality figures, including mathematical symbols and formulae. Using the R software as a platform will equip students with a flexible statistical and modelling tool, and the "R way of statistics" greatly facilitates the understanding of modelling and statistics. The insights gained and skills learned during this module will be used by students throughout their careers. This will significantly enhance students' employability and makes ENV-MA12 a flagship M-level module of the UEA.




This module investigates the impacts of consumption on social and environmental systems, and how these might be reduced. It presents the key theories and debates around sustainable consumption, and critically examines a range of strategies for achieving it, covering governmental, business, community and individual actors. A mainstream 'green growth' policy approach to sustainable consumption is contrasted with an alternative 'new economics' 'steady state economy' model, and we examine a range of perspectives on what drives consumption patterns. Workshop exercises to apply these theories to 'real world' examples will provide experiential learning opportunities. We then critically assess a selection of sustainable consumption initiatives in detail, for example local organic food, eco-housing, Transition Towns, local currencies and community-based behaviour-change campaigns. Students will be required to critically evaluate social science theories so some background in social science is stongly recommended (although not compulsory).




This year-long 40-credit module aims to recreate the industrial process of working in multi-disciplinary teams, competing for the support of a larger client. Real life industrial partners offer a new project to our students each year, with previous examples including designing a CHP facility to integrate anaerobic digestion as a fuel process and improving the industrial efficiency of a sugar manufacturer. Over the first semester each team expands the brief through the conceptual stage through to a design scheme, after being introduced to procurement and engineering design. In the second semester each team member focuses on a small element of the process to complete an individual design element before the team delivers a final report and presentation.




Whilst the University will make every effort to offer the modules listed, changes may sometimes be made arising from the annual monitoring, review and update of modules and regular (five-yearly) review of course programmes. Where this activity leads to significant (but not minor) changes to programmes and their constituent modules, there will normally be prior consultation of students and others. It is also possible that the University may not be able to offer a module for reasons outside of its control, such as the illness of a member of staff or sabbatical leave. Where this is the case, the University will endeavour to inform students.

Entry Requirements

  • Degree Subject This programme is open to students with a first degree in a related discipline and/or relevant work experience. Related disciplines cross the sciences, social sciences and arts.
  • Degree Classification Good first degree (minimum 2.1 or equivalent)
  • Alternative Qualifications Please contact us if you are unsure about the suitability of your background.

Students for whom English is a Foreign language

We welcome applications from students whose first language is not English. To ensure such students benefit from postgraduate study, we require evidence of proficiency in English. Our usual entry requirements are as follows:

  • IELTS: 6.5 (minimum 6.0 in all components)
  • PTE (Pearson): 62 (minimum 55 in all components)

Test dates should be within two years of the course start date.

Other tests, including Cambridge English exams and the Trinity Integrated Skills in English are also accepted by the university. The full list of accepted tests can be found here: Accepted English Language Tests

INTO UEA also run pre-sessional courses which can be taken prior to the start of your course. For further information and to see if you qualify please contact

Fees and Funding

Tuition Fees for 2017/18:

  • Home/EU:

     Full-time £7,300, Part-time £3,650

     If you choose to study part-time, please assume a pro-rata fee for the credits you are taking, or 50% of the equivalent fee per year if you are taking a full-time course on a part-time basis.  

  • Overseas:

      Full-time £14,800

      If you are classed as an 'overseas' student and are coming to UEA on a student or visitor's visa, UK visa rules won't normally allow you to study on a part-time course. You should always check with the UKVI for the latest requirement.


50% Final Year Undergraduate Continuation Scholarship

Current final year UEA undergraduate students who gain a First class degree and progress onto a postgraduate course in September 2017 will receive a 50% fee reduction scholarship. Who do not gain a First class degree will be eligible for the 10% UEA Alumni Scholarship outlined below. Terms and conditions apply.


UEA Alumni 10% Scholarship

A scholarship of 10% fee reduction is available to UEA Alumni looking to return for postgraduate study at UEA in September 2017. Terms and conditions apply.


Simon Wharmby Scholarship

  • Value: £3,000
  • Eligibility: Home, EU and Overseas applicants who have applied for an MSc course in the School of Environmental Sciences and been offered a place to begin in September 2017
  • How to apply: Any student who has received an offer for the course will automatically be considered for the scholarship. Please refer to our postgraduate scholarship pages for further information. 
  • Application deadline: 15th May 2017.  Applicants wishing to be considered must have submitted a complete application by this date.

How to Apply

Applications for Postgraduate Taught programmes at the University of East Anglia should be made directly to the University.

You can apply online, or by downloading the application form.

Further Information

To request further information & to be kept up to date with news & events please use our online enquiry form.

If you would like to discuss your individual circumstances prior to applying please do contact us:

Postgraduate Admissions Office
Tel: +44 (0)1603 591515

International candidates are also encouraged to access the International Students section of our website.

    Next Steps

    We can’t wait to hear from you. Just pop any questions about this course into the form below and our enquiries team will answer as soon as they can.

    Admissions enquiries: or
    telephone +44 (0)1603 591515