Environmental Impact Assessment and Management


Postgraduate Webinars

Start dates: January 2024 / September 2024 / January 2025 / September 2025

Full time: 12 months (Sept start), 17 months (Jan start)

Part time: 24 months (Sept start), 29 months (Jan start) (distance learning only)

Location: Headington, Distance learning

Department(s): School of the Built Environment

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All sorts of industries such as offshore wind, mineral extraction and construction depend on Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA). Although many are struggling to find people with the right technical knowledge.

The master’s at Oxford Brookes is a gateway to many potential careers consulting, project managing, developing regulations, or championing sustainability.

Your future is a top priority for us. We designed the course alongside industry partners to make sure you’re equipped with the skills they’re looking for. You’ll work on projects and submit reports. You’ll collaborate with students on other courses to get a feel for how their disciplines work. And you’ll have opportunities to network, and develop your confidence in reaching out to employers.

You also have the option to join us part time through distance learning. You can study alongside work or other commitments, joining our live-streamed classes or catching up on the recordings.

Attend an open day or webinar Ask a question Order a prospectus

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Why Oxford Brookes University?

  • Beyond theory

    As the course is delivered by the School of the Built Environment, there’s a very practical focus. We always emphasise how an idea applies in real life, whether that’s a construction project or natural resource extraction.

  • Think big

    We won’t just teach you to do assessments, we’ll show you ways of communicating impact and helping organisations transform the way they work.

  • Experience it

    Visit real sites like gravel quarries or incinerators to explore assessing impact on a live project and hear first-hand from practitioners working in the field.

  • Learn from our experience

    Our teaching staff are actively consulting and researching and will use their specialist knowledge to inform your classes.

  • Proven track record

    We’ve been teaching the subject since 1988, leading the field and even writing the standard textbooks.

  • Accreditation(s)

    Accredited by Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) as a Specialist Programme. Full RTPI accreditation when combined with PGDip in Spatial Planning or RTPI partially accredited UG course: BA Urban Design, Development & Planning; BSc Property Development & Planning. Accredited by Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) for Environmental Surveyor pathway to chartered membership. Accredited by IEMA (Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment) and an Approved University Partner.

    • Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
    • The Royal Town Planning Institute
    • Environmental Management and Assessment

Course details

Course structure

To gain the full MSc, you’ll complete 4 core modules, the Research Methods module, and a dissertation. You can choose to finish with a PGCert or PGDip instead or take individual modules for professional development.

We designed the course by consulting with our industry partners to make sure the content is relevant to your future career. You’ll understand challenges in the industry, get to know best practice, and hear the latest developments directly from our researchers.

The content applies to EIA all over the world. Our students are from a diverse range of backgrounds and have diverse perspectives. It’s a rewarding environment to study in. You’ll come away with inspiring ideas to apply in your own career.

If you’re joining us through distance learning, we’ve made the course as flexible as possible. You can join face-to-face sessions and meet the students on campus. You can join live lectures and seminars through video call. Or you can catch up on the recordings if you have previous commitments. You’ll study 1 module each semester, with classes taking place 1 day each week.

Two male students studying in a quiet space

Learning and teaching

We use an 'applied' approach to learning, sometimes called 'problem based learning' or PBL. You will work in groups and learn by actively puzzling through problems. These are adapted from complex real situations and case studies.

Full time students

Our teaching methods include:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • tutorials
  • workshops.

Study time during the semester usually consists of:

  • two x 2 hourly sessions per week for each of the two core modules
  • a weekly 2 hour session for research methods (reducing to approximately two class sessions in the semester 2)
  • independent learning and work on coursework assignments.

Open (distance) learning mode

Online learning material is provided via our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). Teaching methods include:

  • webinars
  • recorded lectures
  • discussion forums
  • Question and Answer sessions.

You will have the opportunity for face-to-face contact within the Intensive Study Periods.


You will be assessed solely by coursework. There are no examinations on the programme due to the problem-solving nature of our teaching methods.

You will develop and practice different skills based on the range of assessment methods which include:

  • report writing
  • verbal presentations
  • essays
  • journal entries
  • quizzes
  • collaborative group assignments.

Start this course in January

You have the option to start this course in January. You will study a range of modules between January and May. Between September and December you will complete your final modules and focus on your dissertation between January and May of the following year.

Study modules

Taught modules

Compulsory modules

  • Effective and Proportionate Environmental Impact Assessment (30 credits)

    Notions of ‘effectiveness’ are central to the EIA / ESIA debate across both the research and practice communities, leading to calls for more proportionate assessment that better reflects the significance of development project impacts. This module explores the systematic process of EIA / ESIA and the conceptual foundations of effectiveness to promote understanding of the development planning and design cycles where EIA / ESIA has greatest potential to shape sustainable outcomes. 

  • Collaborative Working and Knowledge Co-Creation (30 credits)

    The importance of collaborative working and the challenges and skills-gap associated with communication and knowledge management have been widely recognised within the context of multidisciplinary EIA / ESIA. In this module you will develop the conceptual understanding and practical insights required to work collaboratively and effectively with diverse stakeholders to harness knowledge to promote informed decision-making.

  • Environmental and Social Risk Management: New Frontiers of Decision Making (30 credits)

    This module examines new concepts in environmental and social risk management that are demonstrating evidence of traction in terms of research, policy development, and ‘state of the art’ practice. This includes approaches that seek to embed the full costs of development projects and on-going operations (e.g. the concept of ecosystem services, the natural capital approach, and the circular economy) and issues such as carbon management, climate resilience and ‘future-proofing’. The module critically examines the potential incorporation of these new concepts into the assessment and management processes associated with major development projects. 

  • The Digital Transformation: Towards Intelligent Impact Assessment (30 credits)

    This module develops the knowledge and skills required to critically engage with the call for more ‘intelligent’ EIA/ESIA i.e. the use of ICT to harness new opportunities for stakeholder interaction and engagement with development proposals, assessment information, and the ongoing management of impacts. The module emphasises geospatial information and spatial analysis (GIS) with reference to key stages of the EIA/ESIA process; technologies and strategies for engagement in the ‘Social Age’; and the use of technical opportunities for creative collaboration e.g. via Building Information Modelling (BIM). The module concludes by raising awareness of digital citizenship and cyber-ethics, the ‘seduction of digital’, and potential digital futures.

  • Applied Research Methods (10 credits)

    This module examines the fundamentals of research design, highlighting the difference between qualitative and quantitative approaches and exploring how data can be gathered and analysed to produce valid insights. It also provides an overview of particular research techniques that are likely to be appropriate for use within the Dissertation.

Final project

Compulsory modules

  • Dissertation (50 credits)

    The Dissertation follows on from Applied Research Methods and aims to generate new knowledge and also to develop your capacity to undertake rigorous research, to plan and execute an extended project, and to communicate complex ideas effectively. 

Please note: As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules you can choose from may vary from those shown here. The structure of the course may also mean some modules are not available to you.


The School of the Built Environment has an impressive list of funders and clients covering UK and EU government, research funding councils and industry.

  • the European Commission
  • UK Government/Agencies
  • local government
  • the commercial sector.

Research areas and clusters

Infrastructure and energy continue to be a key focus as they are the essential components of a rapidly urbanising world.

Research groups:

We have links with universities worldwide so there are exciting opportunities for collaborative research, exchanges and study overseas.


Whether you’re looking to move into a new career or you’re using the course as CPD to gain new knowledge, you’ll develop plenty of practical, career-enhancing skills at Oxford Brookes. Previous students are working in companies like WSP, Ramboll, AECOM, ERM, RPS Group, and Savills.

Your new EIA talents will be useful in a range of areas such as:

  • environmental and management consultancy,
  • local government,
  • regulatory agencies,
  • statutory consultees,
  • environmental NGOs,
  • major development companies,
  • engineering firms.

Or you might use the course as a stepping stone to a strategic or executive-level role where a strong technical background would be a huge benefit. For example, recent graduates have gone into management roles.

As the course is accredited by Royal Town Planning Institute and Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, you could also work towards a specialist career like environmental surveyor.

Our Staff

Dr Bridget Durning

Dr Bridget Durning is an academic, sustainability and impact assessment specialist.

Read more about Bridget

Dr Graham Wood

Graham's teaching interests include environmental assessment and management; GIS and information technology in environmental planning and management; environmental decision-making; and research methods.

Read more about Graham

Entry requirements

International qualifications and equivalences

How to apply

Application process

We advise applying in advance to secure places, and allow sufficient time for applications to be reviewed.

There is no formal application deadline (recruitment closes when teaching capacity is reached).

Applicants should also factor any time needed to meet offer conditions, arrange accommodation, and obtain a UK Student visa (if applicable).

Tuition fees

Please see the fees note
Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time

International full time

International distance learning part time

Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time

International full time

International distance learning part time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees

2023 / 24
Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time

International full time

International distance learning part time

2024 / 25
Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time

International full time

International distance learning part time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

+44 (0)1865 534400


Fees quoted are for the first year only. If you are studying a course that lasts longer than one year, your fees will increase each year.

The following factors will be taken into account by the University when it is setting the annual fees: inflationary measures such as the retail price indices, projected increases in University costs, changes in the level of funding received from Government sources, admissions statistics and access considerations including the availability of student support.

How and when to pay

Tuition fee instalments for the semester are due by the Monday of week 1 of each semester. Students are not liable for full fees for that semester if they leave before week 4. If the leaving date is after week 4, full fees for the semester are payable.

  • For information on payment methods please see our Make a Payment page.
  • For information about refunds please visit our Refund policy page

Additional costs

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course are detailed below.

Funding your studies

Financial support and scholarships

Featured funding opportunities available for this course.

All financial support and scholarships

View all funding opportunities for this course

Programme changes:
On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website. For more information, please visit our changes to programmes page.