Published: 17 February 2022

A week in the life of an environment and sustainability postgraduate student

As an environment and sustainability student, you’ll engage with modules that are taught on an intensive basis. Throughout the semester, your timetable will vary from periods of self-study to weeks full of lectures and workshops. 

How you’ll learn

Before the start of each module, you’ll be tasked with pre-module reading and preparatory work which will inform your studies moving forward. This is followed by a week of teaching which will consist of:

  • Lectures
  • Captured content
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Field trips.

Following the intensive teaching week, you’ll then have four weeks to complete your post-module coursework.

Our students typically take one of the intensive modules every three or four weeks. 

A week in the life

Each week will be different as you work through your modules. Find out what a typical intensive teaching week is like for students on the Environmental Science and Society module.

Throughout the week you’ll attend lectures and workshops led by academics from the Centre for Environment and Sustainability, as well as guest speakers. Before each day of teaching, you’ll be required to complete pre-reading and engage with online resources. 

There are also many opportunities for activities in societies and clubs in the evenings and at weekends.


Introduction to environmental science and sustainability

  • Preparation: approximately 160 minutes of recorded lectures
  • 11:10am – 11:45am: Tutorial: Natural cycles, ecological systems and ecosystem services
  • 12 noon – 1pm: Tutorial: Ecology, Biodiversity and biodiversity loss
  • 2:45pm – 3:30pm: Tutorial: The importance of scale for environmental measurements
  • 4pm – 5pm: Guest speaker seminar: Natural capital in Surrey.


Pollution and natural systems

  • Preparation: approximately 160 minutes of recorded lectures
  • 10:30am – 11:15am: Tutorial: Agriculture, crop protection and pesticides
  • 11:30am – 12:15pm: Tutorial: Pollution and environmental impact categories
  • 12:30pm – 6pm: Visit to Long Reach Sewage Treatment Works.


Pollution and natural systems/risk management

  • Preparation: approximately 130 minutes of recorded lectures
  • 11am  – 12:30pm: Tutorial: Climate change, sustainable development and energy 
  • 1pm – 2pm: CES lunchtime seminar – Implementing sustainability across the University of Surrey estate          
  • 2:15pm – 2:45pm: Tutorial: Introduction to environmental risk management and environmental risk assessment group exercise
  • 3pm – 4:30pm: Guest seminar: Flood Risk in Practice
  • 4:30pm – 5:30pm: Tutorial: Environmental risk assessment group exercise.                                 


Environmental Risk Assessment

  • 9:30 – 5:30pm: Environmental risk management group exercise.     


Environmental policy and sustainability

  • Preparation: approximately 215 minutes of recorded lectures
  • 11am – 11:45am: Tutorial: Environmental policy and sustainability at the EU and international level            
  • 12:15pm – 12:45pm: Tutorial: Mega-trends: The policy context of a rapidly changing world 
  • 1:45pm – 3pm: Guest seminar: Environmental policy and sustainability at the national level
  • 3:30pm – 4:15pm: Tutorial: Environmental policy and sustainability at the local level  
  • 4:15pm  – 5pm: Tutorial: Introduction to the assignment, MEQ completion and module conclusion.


Learn more about postgraduate study with the Centre for Environment and Sustainability



This is an example timetable from one of the intensive modules which ran in the 2021-2022 academic year. The timetable listed is indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication and may be subject to teaching availability, student demand and/or class size caps. Given the changing nature of the Covid-19 pandemic, our hybrid learning model is under continuous review. See the latest information on all changes.

Please note the balance between captured content lectures and live lectures is under consideration for the next academic year. Some of the captured content might be offered as live lectures moving forward.


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