Environmental Strategy MSc

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Why Surrey?

This programme is run by the Centre for Environmental Strategy (CES) – a leading centre for environmental and sustainability-related research and postgraduate teaching.

CES accommodates a wide range of disciplines dedicated to resolving environmental problems, and this Masters programme prepares a new generation of environment and sustainability professionals for the strategic challenges ahead.

Programme overview

This programme provides both a theoretical and practical grounding for evaluating the technical, social, economic and organisational elements of environmental problems.

These include life-cycle assessment and other analytical methods to understand how to use resources and manage materials and waste. You will learn how to anticipate and respond to future policy developments and market pressures, understand stakeholders’ roles, and develop problem-solving and decision-making skills.

This programme provides a route to graduate membership of the Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment. We encourage you to explore past and present student experiences of our environment and sustainability programmes.

Programme structure

This programme is studied full-time and part-time. It consists of eight taught modules and a dissertation.

Example module listing

The following modules are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that not all modules described are compulsory and may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.

Industrial placement

Full-time students are able to undertake an industrial placement module which enables them to spend six to twelve weeks working for a company or NGO, doing the type of work they will aim to find on graduation.

Examples of organisations at which recent industrial placements have taken place include:

  • Minimise Solutions
  • Portsmouth City Council
  • GAP
  • Diocese of London
  • The Radisson
  • LC Energy
  • Solar Aid
  • NUS

Guest lecturers

Several high-profile guest lecturers have assisted with the delivery of some of the modules. CES modules make maximum use of guest lecturers, drawing on the practical skills and experience of key experts from government and industry to complement the theoretical components of the modules offered.

For example, Jonathon Porritt, former chairman of the Sustainable Development Commission, gives a guest lecture on the Sustainable Development Applications module, analysing the standing of sustainable development in business and policy making.

The extensive expertise of CES academics and researchers is also drawn upon in modules. Professor Tim Jackson, advisor to the government and international bodies and author of the seminal book, Prosperity without Growth – economics for a finite planet– also lectures on some CES modules.

Educational aims of the programme

  • Provide theoretical and practical grounding for evaluating technical, social, economic, and organisational aspects of environmental problems
  • Apply life-cycle assessment thinking and other analytical methods to gain better understanding of resource uses and materials/wastes management
  • Anticipate and respond pro-actively to future environmental policy developments including government regulation and policy, and competitive market pressures
  • Develop a greater understanding and sensitivity to the range of stakeholders in environmental planning and management
  • Adapt and apply appropriate specialist techniques and methodologies for problem-solving andn decision-making through advanced module options

Programme learning outcomes

The programme provides opportunities for students to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, skills, qualities and other attributes in the following areas:

Knowledge and understanding

Students will have understanding of:

  • National and supra-national policy frameworks and their implications to sustainable development
  • Systems thinking in environmental management
  • Evolving regulatory mechanisms to anticipate and adapt to new legislation
  • The place of ethics in good environmental practice and the advance towards sustainability
  • Balancing risk with economic and social outcomes
  • Strategic adaptation to technological changes, evolving values and regulation, andsocial expectations
  • Accessing and using environmental data

Intellectual / cognitive skills

Students will have learned:

  • To absorb complex environmental information and communicate them effectively through logically constructed arguments
  • To creatively formulate new ideas
  • The value of teamwork to solve problems that require multi-disciplinary engagement
  • Independent learning and study through self-directed assignments and dissertation
  • Critical reading and analysis of environmental policy and regulation
  • Inductive reasoning: using specific examples/observations and forming a more general principal
  • Deductive reasoning: use stated general premise to reason about specific examples

Professional practical skills

Students will be able to:

  • Understand and use LCA tools for decision-making
  • Read legal documents and communicate them succinctly to varying audience
  • Give coherent presentations
  • Lead discussions on complex subject areas
  • See the other side of the argument given that there are varying and often conflicting perspectives in the environment field
  • Competently handle environment information
  • Design, use, analyse various research/study techniques
  • Self-motivate and self-regulate

Key / transferable skills

Students will have learned:

  • Knowledge and skills to prepare and deliver a structured and successful presentation
  • To write effectively as a means of communicating important ideas
  • Effective communication of findings and presentation of research to a non-specialist audience
  • To lead discussion of small/large groups
  • To organise and manage a research project
  • Basic to advanced IT skills, depending on type of electives and dissertation topic
  • To apply basic numerical skills for research

Global opportunities

We often give our students the opportunity to acquire international experience during their degrees by taking advantage of our exchange agreements with overseas universities.

In addition to the hugely enjoyable and satisfying experience, time spent abroad adds a distinctive element to your CV.

Learn more about opportunities that might be available for this particular programme by using our student exchanges search tool.

Related programmes

Postgraduate (Taught)

Related departments/schools

Related research areas

Programme leader

Professor Stephen Morse

Find out more

General enquiries:

+44 (0)1483 681 681

Admissions enquiries:



Programme facts

Type of programme:


Programme length:

  • Full-time: To be confirmed
  • Part-time: To be confirmed

Start date:

Sep 2017

Entry Requirements

The normal entry level is a minimum 2.2 honours degree (or equivalent) in social, life or physical sciences, or engineering disciplines. Applicants without a qualifying degree, who have significant relevant experience, will also be considered.

Students are accepted on our MSc programmes from a wide range of academic backgrounds, the strengths of which will be built upon during each specific course.

View entry requirements by country

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, 6.0 in each component (or equivalent)

We offer intensive English language pre-sessional courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.


Study mode Start date UK/EU fees Overseas fees
Full-time Sep 2017 £9,500 £19,000
Part-time Sep 2017 £1,100* £2,200*

Please note these fees are for the academic year 2017/2018 only. Annual fees will rise by four per cent (rounded up to the nearest £100) for each year of study.

A complete list of all fees for our Masters Programmes


The Surrey International Scholarship for Excellence

For all (with the exception of MBA) postgraduate taught courses starting in September 2017 within the Surrey Business School and the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management we are offering all applicants who hold a 2:1 honours degree or equivalent the opportunity to be awarded between £2,000 and £4,000 through the Surrey International Scholarship for Excellence Scheme. Download a flyer or read more for eligibility and to apply.

For more details

Discounts for Surrey graduates

Thinking of continuing your education at Surrey? As an alumnus of Surrey you may be eligible for a ten per cent discount on our taught Masters programme fees. Learn more.

For more details

Admissions Information

Our Admissions Policy provides the basis for admissions practice across the University and gives a framework for how we encourage, consider applications and admit students.

Further information for applicants

Postgraduate Study Advice

Steps to Postgraduate Study is an official, independent guide for anyone considering a taught postgraduate course. The guide is produced by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, the Scottish Funding Council and the Department for Employment and Learning, Northern Ireland.

Find out more


Modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that not all modules described are compulsory and may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.