This is the course for people wishing to develop their skills and knowledge to become the world’s environmental visionaries and managers of tomorrow.
The course offers students the opportunity to gain a broad understanding of sustainability whilst allowing for a degree of specialism within the context of strategy and management.
‘Sustainability’ and ‘Sustainable Development’ are widely used terms with various interpretations and applications across different industrial, commercial, charitable and governmental organisations. This course equips graduates with the knowledge and skills to operate across multi-disciplinary projects.
Our Environmental Sustainability courses offer a multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural experience, allowing you the flexibility to tailor your degree to meet your own particular interests in sustainable design, construction, strategy and management.
The Strategy and Management pathway is an ideal course for graduates and professionals looking to become the environmental policy makers and leaders of tomorrow.
You will learn core strategic, management and decision-making skills, underpinned by an understanding of science and technology, together with the tools needed to formulate and enact policy decisions and to instigate, develop and undertake sustainable solutions.
Our next Postgraduate Open Event is Wednesday 25 November 2015.
Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.
The programme has two intakes, in September and January, and may be studied in full or part-time mode. The full time duration is 17 months.
We welcome students from around the world. You should preferably have an Upper Second Class Honours degree or equivalent.
You will also need to be proficient in written and spoken English as well as numerate and IT literate.
Suitable previous degrees include subjects such as planning, geography, construction, business, management, economics, engineering and the physical sciences.
We will consider other qualifications and suitable work-based experience on an individual basis.
|Level - With or without relevant experience||Requirements 2015/16|
|1st class or 2.1||An interview may be required prior to an offer|
|2.2||Must undertake a selection process|
|3rd class or Pass||Only admitted in exceptional circumstances|
|Overseas candidates must have an equivalent qualification and have a minimum overall IELTS score of 6.0 or equivalent, with a minimum score of 5.5 in all four skills.|
|MSc||Jan 2016||FT||17 months||£8,000|
|MSc||Sep 2016||FT||1 year||£7,500|
If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form instead.
|MSc||Jan 2016||FT||17 months||£11,500|
|MSc||Sep 2016||FT||1 year||£12,000|
If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form instead.
The University reserves the right to increase fees broadly in line with increases in inflation, or to reflect changes in government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.
There are no compulsory additional costs or charges associated with studying on this course. While you may choose to purchase personal copies of text books, all our key text books are available from our library or online (subject to normal library loan and online access arrangements). If your course includes a residential study session, the accommodation costs for this are already included in your course fee.
Based on the past experience of our students, you might find it helpful to set aside about £50 for each year of your studies for stationery and study materials. All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.
Your personal statement is a highly important part of your application. It gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.
Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:
Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?
If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.
Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.
Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.
eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.
You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.
Get more information on writing personal statements.
Search our Frequently Asked Questions for a range of information about our courses and studying here.
We offer further information on possible postgraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.
Dynamic Natural Environments
This module is based upon the belief that it is essential to understand the ‘big-scale’ picture of dynamic earth processes in order to know how to make a difference on the ‘small-scale’ of everyday environmental management and sustainable development.
This module equips students with a broad foundation of knowledge and skills in environmental science and covers areas including the philosophy of science; the geological record of climate and environmental change and evidence of a dynamic planet as a context for understanding future scenarios; the nature of change, complexity and paradox; the meaning of statistics; population factors; and habitats and ecology.
Society, Economics and Environment
This module will give students an understanding of social and economic aspects of managing environments with sustainability in mind. It focuses on linking theory and practice in demonstrating how the built, natural and social environments are interlinked.
Students will have the opportunity to critically review existing commonly used methods and tools, and familiarise themselves with ‘new’ approaches suitable for more holistic decision-making and project appraisal. Examples of topics to be covered include the DPSIR framework; Strategic Environmental Assessment; Sustainability Appraisal; Cost Benefit Analysis; and the Ecosystem Functions and Services concept
This module introduces students to a range of techniques and methodologies related to the design and maintenance of buildings. It emphasises the need for life-cycle thinking and stresses the fact that there is much more to ‘green’ buildings than the use of ‘bolt-on’ technologies. The module starts with a discussion of the general principles of green architecture and design methods along with an overview of the main standards and measures in use such as BREEAM, the Code for Sustainable Homes and Passivhaus.
The main part of the module is concerned with specific design considerations including location and environment; types of building materials; thermal mass principles; the differing requirements of new build and refurbishment projects; insulation, glass and lighting; HVAC; and façade engineering.
Management Tools for Sustainability
The assessment and management of environmental impact is an increasingly important part of development and sustainability. This module is designed to give students exposure to key ideas related to this area of work. The module takes a practical approach to the development and implementation of management and decision making tools.
Students are introduced to the theory and methodology behind these tools and then expected to actively engage in their application. In particular, the module focuses on commonly used approaches such as ISO14001; Environmental Impact Assessment; Strategic Environmental Assessment; and Ecosystem Services Assessment.
This module considers the impact of sustainability and climate change on the future of planning and the environment. It explores possible adaptation and mitigation of the built, managed and natural environment and looks at the ways in which society might change in the future. Due to the changing nature and importance of issues over time, the content of this module is likely to alter on a regular basis. Examples of topics that might be covered include: future urban and rural forms; food production; transport issues; water management; and civic participation and inclusion.
Energy Trends and Technologies
Energy plays a key role in today’s society. Any discussion of sustainable development needs to consider how supply and demand will be managed in the future. This module starts by considering the fundamentals of energy and the problems associated with our current dependency on fossil fuels.
It examines energy policy in terms of demand, security of supply and the potential of renewables; nuclear; clean coal; and carbon capture and sequestration. Renewable options discussed include solar energy; heat pumps; hydro-power; and wind energy. The module also emphasises the importance of energy efficiency and the possibilities offered by localised microgeneration.
Complexity, Conflict and Resolution
This module identifies and critically examines the complexity of human relationships with the built and natural environment, considering the range of often contested interests and values that decision-makers need to take into account (and where possible resolve), to achieve sustainable management.
The module starts by examining ideas of governance relating to complex and dynamic social-ecological systems. These ideas are illustrated by the use of examples and case studies from around the world. The second part of the module then looks at how these ideas can be applied along with knowledge exchange and participation to help facilitate the decision-making process in practice.
Management, Leadership and Innovation
This module aims to provide students with the opportunity to research, assess and analyse real life problems with a view to developing, presenting and implementing original solutions. Students will be put into inter-disciplinary teams and tasked with working on a set of given problems along the lines of the annual Engineers Without Borders challenge. They will be encouraged to take the lead role in their investigations and to both apply and challenge accepted best practice in sustainable development.
The module is designed to be student led and the content will vary dependent on the challenge presented. However, core ideas will be introduced throughout the module to familiarise students with accepted norms of management practice and leadership styles and also to encourage creativity and innovative solutions.
The Research Project is a major piece of individual work that allows students to build their understanding and expertise in a selected area of specialised study. It involves use of appropriate research approaches and skills, abilities to theorise and conceptualise, and encourages students to make connections between theory and practice in a selected specialist topic. It promotes independent and reflective learning in order to demonstrate ability to think and write at Masters level.
The course shares a number of modules with the MSc Environmental Sustainability (Design and Construction) pathway. Regardless of which pathway you choose, you will study Dynamic Natural Environments; Society, Economics and Environment; Green Design; Sustainable Futures; and Energy Trends and Technologies.
In addition, the Strategy and Management pathway offers modules in Management Tools for Sustainability; Complexity, Conflict and Resolution; and Management, Leadership and Innovation.
All the modules on the course incorporate a degree of flexibility to allow you to direct your learning according to your career aspirations and development needs.
The Masters Research Project is a major piece of work on a topic of your choosing which allows you to further shape your degree to your requirements.
All modules are delivered using a mix of learning and teaching styles that include lectures and small group seminars; workshops based on cases studies; action learning sets based on student-centred research; and directed learning using internet based forums. Much emphasis is placed on current developments and this will be supported by guest lectures and seminars as appropriate.
The University has a range of research (MPhil and PhD) postgraduate programmes.
There are a wide range of employment opportunities available within industrial, commercial, charitable and governmental organisations.
Many of these now employ environmental or sustainability specialists to work as part of larger project teams engaged in core activities.
OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.
It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.
The number of positions within the sustainability field grows every day. Typical roles can include:
Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.
The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.
Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:
International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.
BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.
We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £260 million on new learning facilities. It’s no surprise that the Complete University Guide placed us in the UK top 10 for spending on facilities in both 2012 and 2013.
Building work on our new Conservatoire began in the summer of 2015 – and is scheduled for completion in summer 2017. This, along with the construction of a new city centre accommodation block, means our students have access to their very own building sites.
We couple this with the more traditional, office-based facilities:
Here at Birmingham City University you will make use of commercial software as part of your assessment. Work is carried out in well-equipped and air-conditioned laboratories.
You will be provided with the latest CAD software – free of charge – to enable you to acquire the skills you need in a modern design office.
Part of your learning activity will be hands-on, including carrying out survey work using a range of equipment, such as levels, theodolites, measuring tapes.
The use of a virtual building site will help you to appreciate the surroundings of a typical construction site and experience some of the challenges you will face in practice.
Paul is a Senior Lecturer in Birmingham School of the Built Environment and Course Director for BSc (Hons) Architectural Technology.
Paul was originally a site manager. He moved into design management and from there became an Architectural Technologist. He taught at Northumbria University and then moved back into industry as a developer, before returning to education at Birmingham City University in 2005.