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Environmental Impact Assessment and Management

MSc

Key facts


Start dates

January 2020 / September 2020

Course length

Full time: MSc: 12 months

Part time: Distance learning only: up to 5 years

Department

School of the Built Environment

Overview


We have designed our MSc Environmental Impact Assessment in close consultation with industry. You'll gain the knowledge and skill-set needed to work effectively with diverse project stakeholders and multi-disciplinary teams.

The course is aimed at those seeking to develop a career as practitioners working in:

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

You will learn to devise innovative solutions that maximise the potential for sustainable outcomes by:

  • drawing on the latest concepts in the field
  • harnessing the potential of digital technologies.

Our teaching is informed by the latest developments in theory and practice. We have strong links with the professional practitioner community. This allows us to shape the course design and bring real-world experience to the programme.

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How to apply


Entry requirements

Specific entry requirements

The course is open to applicants who hold a 2.1 undergraduate honours degree (or international equivalent).

We will actively consider applications from candidates with lower degrees, who can evidence relevant experience (or an alternative qualification) that demonstrates ability to study at postgraduate level.

Please also see the University's general entry requirements.

English language requirements

If your first language is not English you will require a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 overall with 6.0 in all components.

OR

An equivalent English language qualification acceptable to the University.

Please also see the University's standard English language requirements.

International qualifications and equivalences

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English requirements for visas

If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the University's requirements. Find out more about English language requirements.

Pathways courses for international and EU students

We offer a range of courses to help you meet the entry requirements for your postgraduate course and also familiarise you with university life in the UK.

Take a Pre-Master's course to develop your subject knowledge, study skills and academic language level in preparation for your master's course.

If you need to improve your English language, we offer pre-sessional English language courses to help you meet the English language requirements of your chosen master’s course.

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

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 Tier 4 visa (if applicable).

Apply now

Tuition fees


Please see the fees note
2020/21
Home/EU full time
£8,000

Home/EU distance learning
£4,000

International full time
£14,700

International distance learning
to be confirmed

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees


2020/21
Home/EU full time
£8,000

Home/EU distance learning
£4,000

International full time
£14,700

International distance learning
to be confirmed

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088

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.

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

Financial support and scholarships

For general sources of financial support, see our Fees and funding pages.

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, if any, are detailed below.

Field trips

All course participants can participate in an optional UK-based residential field trip in early January, between Semester 1 and 2. This is a great learning opportunity which we anticipate will be attended by the majority of the class.

Partially subsidised by the University, participants need to cover the cost of travel, and make a contribution to accommodation and food. These costs are additional to the programme fee reflecting the fact that some students prefer not to participate. The total additional cost will be in the region of £150-200. This does not include any flight and visa costs from the participant's location to the UK.

Intensive Study Periods

Twice a year open-learners are invited to join full-time students on campus for a three-day intensive study period.

Open-learners must find their own accommodation and need to cover expenses for:

  • Travel
  • Accommodation (to give an indication of the cost- the University's Scott House offers single ensuite rooms with self-catering facilities at £50.40 per night subject to availability (2018 rates). Alternatively, B&B accommodation or rooms in Oxford University Colleges can be found starting from approximately £40 per night or hotel accommodation starting from approximately £100 per night.

Learning and assessment


We have developed the modules in close consultation with leading practitioners, so course content:

  • responds to key industry drivers
  • follows the latest conceptual thinking
  • reflects international best-practice.

The MSc consists of:

  • four core modules
  • the Research Methods module
  • a final dissertation.

The PGCert and PGDip are offered as 'exit' awards. If you would like to graduate with one of these awards, please apply for the MSc in the first instance.

It is also possible to take individual modules as an associate student, either for personal or professional development (CPD).

Two male students studying in a quiet space

Study modules

Taught modules

Compulsory modules

Effective and Proportionate Environmental Impact Assessment

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

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

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

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

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

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 that shown here. The structure of the course may also mean some modules are not available to you.

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.

Field trips

Participants can participate in a UK-based residential field trip, in early January, and one intensive study period per semester.

The intensive study periods take place at our Oxford campus in Week 3 of each semester, typically lasting three days.

Please note that, although subsidised by the University, there are additional costs associated with the UK residential field trip and intensive study periods to reflect the fact that some students prefer not to take up these options. See the additional costs section of this page for more details.

Assessment

Assessment methods used on this course

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.

Research


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

Research areas and clusters

The Impact Assessment Unit (IAU) brings together one of the largest teams of expertise in this field worldwide. Our clients include:

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

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

The IAU works closely with colleagues in the following research groups:

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

After you graduate


Career prospects

Previous graduates on our postgraduate courses in this field have gone on to develop careers such as:

  • environmental consultancy and environmental planning practice e.g. working for companies such as WSP, Ramboll, AECOM, ERM, RPS Group, Savills Ltd, Amec Foster Wheeler, Golder Associates, Nicholas Pearson Associates, Pegasus Group, Waterman Group, Arcadis, Mott MacDonald, amongst many others
  • environmental managers and EIA / Sustainability officers with regulatory agencies and government departments, both in the UK and internationally 
  • environmental officers within industry e.g. the mining sector, power generation, automotive sector
  • officers with regulatory and non-statutory bodies and NGOs.

Full-time students have the opportunity to make contact with our distance-learning students, who are typically in full-time employment in the field. All students are encouraged to become part of our virtual alumni network which is hosted on LinkedIn.

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

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.