Why choose this course
Our physical environment has a strong influence on how we act, feel and think. We form strong bonds with places that are important to us and visiting or remembering those places can benefit our health and wellbeing. However, many environments don’t support our wellbeing and can undermine this. In addition, individual human behaviour often damages the physical environments we depend on.
On our course, you’ll explore the relationship between people and their physical environment at every scale, from personal space in offices, to climate change awareness. You’ll gain the knowledge and skills to support the design, management and use of environments that benefit human function and health.
Our MSc Environmental Psychology course was established in 1973 and is the only one-year full-time degree in the world to focus on both sustainability and environmental design.
What you will study
On this course, you’ll address issues around architectural psychology, social change, and sustainable development, while reviewing the major theoretical formulations and models within environmental psychology. We’ll also give you an insight into qualitative and quantitative research methods, including the use of statistics, ensuring you have a solid foundation to collect, analyse and interpret data.
You’ll select from a range of optional modules to delve into topics, including applied psychology and public policy, chronic conditions, the history of social psychology, and psychological aspects of healthcare.
You’ll also complete a research dissertation that will allow you to carry out research on important topics in the field. Previous student projects have ranged from climate change perceptions to the design of open-plan offices, to studying the emotional and cognitive benefits of nature engagement. We’ll match your interests with the expertise of our academic staff, ensuring you get the best support.
Our facilities have recently undergone a £5 million investment, giving you access to the latest equipment, including a six-room virtual reality suite to simulate real-life scenarios, and two observation labs. As one of our students, you’ll get access to 20 bookable project rooms, a breakout space, equipment lockers and a computer lab.
We have a research-led focus to our teaching, ensuring everything you learn is up-to-date and relevant to employers. You’ll be taught by lecturers who are active researchers which may include Dr Birgitta Gatersleben (an expert in sustainable living and human wellbeing), Dr Chris Jones (an expert in public attitudes and responses to environmental change), and Dr Eleanor Ratcliffe (an expert in restorative environments and place).
You’ll automatically become a member of our Environmental Psychology Research Group, where we investigate topics including, how people interact with different types of environments, how these interactions impact people’s personal wellbeing, and how we should go about developing and managing healthy places and spaces for all.
You’ll participate in discussions about research topics, findings and publications, and you’ll benefit from our links with renowned research institutions across the world. We also have a host of external speakers that visit us and present their work, and a collection of seminars and workshops, allowing you to network with likeminded individuals.
Study and work abroad
There may be opportunities to acquire valuable European experience by working or conducting research abroad during your degree or shortly afterwards. It is possible to do this in the summer period with an Erasmus+ grant working on your dissertation or as a recent graduate. In order to qualify your Erasmus+ traineeship must be a minimum of two months.
Careers and graduate prospects
We offer careers information, advice and guidance to all students whilst studying with us, which is extended to our alumni for three years after leaving the University.
Applying your knowledge to current world problems, we’ll prepare for your career. 100% of our graduates from this course go on to full-time employment or further study.* Our alumni take on roles as creative analysts, environmental planning consultants, planning officers, project managers, renewable energy consultants, sustainability engagement officers, and workplace consultants. Graduates have gone on to work for consultancy organisations and the Government, as well as starting their own businesses.
The skills you gain are highly relevant in other fields, such as design, engineering, landscape architecture, and planning. Many of our graduates also go on to complete a PhD, investigating an area of personal interest.
*Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Survey 2016-17.
Modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that modules may be subject to teaching availability, student demand and/or class size caps.
Important: In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the University has had to change the delivery (and in some cases the content) of its programmes, together with certain University services and facilities for the 2020/21 academic year. These changes include the implementation of a hybrid teaching approach. View detailed information on the changes.
The University operates a credit framework for all taught programmes based on a 15-credit tariff. Modules can be either 15, 30, 45 or 60, 75 and 120 credits, and additionally for some masters dissertations, 90 credits.
The structure of our programmes follows clear educational aims that are tailored to each programme. These are all outlined in the programme specifications which include further details such as the learning outcomes:
Course timetables are normally available one month before the start of the semester. Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week (Monday–Friday). Wednesday afternoons are normally reserved for sports and cultural activities. Part-time classes are normally scheduled on one or two days per week, details of which can be obtained from the Academic Hive. View our Timetabling Policy (PDF).
A minimum of a 2:2 UK honours degree in either Architectural Engineering, Architectural Landscape, Architecture, Environmental Engineering, Interior Architecture and Design, Psychology, Urban Planning, or a recognised equivalent international qualification. We'll also consider relevant work experience if you don't meet these requirements.
View entry requirements by country
English language requirements
IELTS Academic: 7.0 overall with 6.5 in each element.
View the other English language qualifications that we accept.
If you do not currently meet the level required for your programme, we offer intensive pre-sessional English language courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.
Selection is based upon a candidate’s application, references and an informal interview. In special circumstances, a student may be set work for assessment before being offered a place on the programme.
The University of Surrey recognises that many students enter their higher education course with valuable knowledge and skills developed through a range of professional, vocational and community contexts. If this applies to you, a process called recognition of prior learning (RPL) may allow you to enter your course at a point appropriate to your previous learning and experience, or to join the start of a course without the formal entry requirements. This means that you may be exempt from certain elements of study in the course for which you have applied and be awarded credit based on your previous qualifications/experience. There are restrictions on RPL for some courses and fees may be payable for certain claims.
Please see the code of practice for recognition of prior learning and prior credit: taught programmes (PDF) for further information. Please email Admissions with any queries.
Start date: October 2021
Full-time - 1 year
Part-time - 2 years
- These fees apply to students commencing study in the academic year 2020-21 only. Fees for new starters are reviewed annually.
- If you are on a two-year or three-year part-time structured masters course, the annual fee is payable in Year 1 and Year 2 of the course.
You may be able to borrow money to help pay your tuition fees and support you with your living costs. Find out more about postgraduate student finance.
Terms and conditions
When you accept an offer of a place at the University of Surrey, you are agreeing to comply with our policies and regulations, and our terms and conditions. These terms and conditions are provided in two stages: first when we make an offer and second when students who have accepted their offers register to study at the University. View an example of our offer terms and conditions and our generic registration terms and conditions (PDF) as a guide as to what to expect.
Please note: our offer terms and conditions will generally be available in the September of the calendar year prior to the year in which you begin your studies. Our registration terms and conditions will vary to take into account specifics of your course and changes for the specific academic year.
This online prospectus has been prepared and published in advance of the academic year to which it applies. The University of Surrey has used its reasonable efforts to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content or additional costs) may occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for a course with us. Read more.
Further, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the University has had to change the delivery (and in some cases the content) of its programmes, together with certain University services and facilities for the academic year 2020/21. These changes include the implementation of a hybrid teaching approach during 2020/21. Detailed information on all changes is available at our dedicated course changes webpage. This webpage sets out information relating to general University changes, and will also direct you to consider additional information relating to specific programmes.