Environmental Sustainability (Strategy and Management) - PgCert / PgDip / MSc

Attendance:
Full Time
Starting:
January 2015, September 2015
Campus:
Fees:
£7,750 for UK/EU Full Time (view all fees)

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.

What's covered in the course?

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.

Visit our open day

Postgraduate Open Event

Our next Postgraduate Open Event is Wednesday 25 November 2015.

Registration will open in the Autumn but in the meantime, why not sign up to receive email updates about the University?

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This course is open to International students

Birmingham School of The Built Environment

Discover the Birmingham School of The Built Environment

Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.

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Study options

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.

Entry Requirements

UK students
Essential

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.

Admissions Policy
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
EU/International students
Essential
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.

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
PgCert / PgDip / MSc Jan 2015 FT 17 months £7,750
Sep 2015 FT 1 year £8,000

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
PgCert / PgDip / MSc Jan 2015 FT 17 months TBC
Sep 2015 FT 1 year £11,500

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.

Your personal statement

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:

Course choice

Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?

Career plans

If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.

Work experience

Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.

School or college experience

Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.

Non-accredited skills or achievement

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.

Postgraduate Scholarships

We’re aiming to make a postgraduate qualification affordable to everyone and can offer awards of up to £10,000 to selected students.

There are three scholarships for postgraduate study that you should know about if you are considering studying a postgraduate course in 2015/16:

1
BCU Masters Scholarship

The BCU Masters Scholarship award is a £10,000 payment towards your tuition fees (and an additional cash payment of the remaining sum if your tuition fees are less than £10,000).

2
BCU Academic Excellence Scholarship

The BCU Academic Excellence Scholarship is a 50% reduction of your tuition fees.

3
BCU Loyalty Scholarship

The final scholarship on offer is the BCU Loyalty Scholarship, and is only available to students who progress to postgraduate study directly from their undergraduate course. It entitles you to a 10% discount off, plus an additional 5-10% subject to meeting certain criteria.

Applications for our BCU Masters and BCU Academic Excellence Scholarships 2015/16 have now closed. However, you can still register your interest for future opportunities.

Register your interest

This course is not available part-time

Got any questions?

Search our Frequently Asked Questions for a range of information about our courses and studying here.

Financial Support

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.

Stage 1: Postgraduate Certificate

Dynamic Natural Environments
15 credits

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
15 credits

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

Green Design
15 credits

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
15 credits

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.

Stage 2: Postgraduate Diploma

Sustainable Futures
15 credits

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
15 credits

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
15 credits

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
15 credits

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.

Stage 3: Masters

Masters Project
60 credits

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.

Course Structure

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.

Further Study

The University has a range of research (MPhil and PhD) postgraduate programmes.

Employment Opportunities

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

OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

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.

Graduate jobs

The number of positions within the sustainability field grows every day. Typical roles can include:

  • Environmental engineers
  • Environmental analysts
  • Sustainability managers
  • Sustainability designers
  • Construction project managers.

International Students

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:

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

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

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.

Learn more about BCUIC

Our Facilities

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:

Computer Assisted Taking Off

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.

Computer Assisted Design (CAD)

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.

Surveying equipment

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.

A computer-generated virtual site

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.

Nicki Schiessel Harvey

Director of Recruitment and School Tutor for Personal Development

Nicki spent four years as an environmental planning consultant at Atkins Planning, Landscape and Heritage in Birmingham, focusing on EIA, Sustainability Appraisal and socio-economic assessment work on a range of public and private sector projects. This followed an early career in tourism management across Asia, several years’ tourism lecturing in the UK, and an MSc in Environmental Management and Tourism, where her dissertation focused on the use of socioeconomic assessment in planning and funding waterways restoration projects. She then became a research analyst at the West Midlands Regional Observatory, the research arm of Advantage West Midlands. There she worked with a range of data sources to manage the evidence base for Regional policymaking.

Nicki returned to academia as a PhD researcher attached to the URSULA (Urban Rivers and Sustainable Living Agendas) research project at the University of Sheffield, drawing on her heritage and environmental assessment experience in examining the ways changing values attached to urban waterways influence planning for urban waterway corridors.

Professor Mark Reed

Professor in Interdisciplinary Environmental Research

Mark graduated in 1997 and 1999 with a BSc (Hons) Tropical Environmental Science and an MSc Agroforestry from the University of Aberdeen. He then received his Post Graduate Certificate in Learning & Teaching in Higher Education in 2004 and his PhD in 2005 from the University of Leeds.

Since then, Mark has played a leadership role in research worth £9.5 million, and been a funded member in teams that have secured a further £2M. Mark has more than 50 peer-reviewed ISI-listed journal articles published or in press, in addition to book chapters and other publications. His H index is 19 according to Scopus (20 including book chapters and conference papers according to Google Scholar). Marks' work has been covered by the Guardian, Radio 4, Radio Scotland and international media.

In 2008, Mark became the first UK researcher to be awarded a joint fellowship by the US Social Science Research Council and ESRC. In 2009 Mark was awarded the ESRC’s Michael Young Prize, “rewarding the very best early career social scientists whose research has the potential to make a positive and far-reaching impact beyond academia”.

In 2010, he was invited as a lead author on the “Socio-Economic and Knowledge Management” Working Group to provide a synthesis of current research and make recommendations to the 10th Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification. In 2011, the Sustainable Uplands project (that Mark has co-ordinated since 2005) was voted “best example of impact” at the Rural Economy and Land Use programme’s final conference – one of only two projects receiving awards out of over 100 investments.

In 2011, Mark became a member of the Programme Advisory Group for NERC’s Biodiversity, Ecosystem Services and Sustainability programme. He was a contributing author to the upland chapter of the UK National Ecosystem Assessment and am co-leading one of the Work Packages for the follow-on to the National Ecosystem Assessment. Mark is on the Roster of Experts in the second phase of DEFRA's Ecosystem Markets Taskforce. He helped lead the development of Knowledge Exchange Guidelines for RCUK’s Living with Environmental Change partnership, and is working with EU's Biodiversa programme to develop similar guidelines.

Claudia Carter

Reader in Environmental Governance

Claudia studied geography and environmental management and for many years worked in academic and applied research on environmental governance, environmental values, public and stakeholder engagement, critical evaluation, and interdisciplinary research approaches. She joined Birmingham City University in 2011 as a researcher and lecturer teaching and supervising undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Current / recent research projects include work packages 9 and 10 of the UK National Ecosystem Assessment (NEA) Follow-On programme focusing on assessing and developing tools to take account of the Ecosystem Approach in decision-making; and collaboration in the Rural Economy and Land Use programme (RELU) - funded project 'Managing change at the rural-urban fringe'.

Past posts included Project Leader/Social Scientist at the Forestry Commission's Research Agency - Forest Research (Farnham, England; 2006-2011); Researcher in the Socio-Economic Research Group (SERG) of the Macaulay Institute (Aberdeen, Scotland; 2002-2006), Research Associate in the Department of Land Economy at the University of Cambridge (1998-2001). For more information about Claudia's work and current research, please contact her via claudia.carter@bcu.ac.uk.

Professor Alister Scott

Professor of Environment and Spatial Planning

Alister started his career as a Landscape Conservation Officer for Dartmoor National Park in 1986.

In 1988 he become Head of Countryside Management at the Welsh Agricultural College in Aberystwyth

In 1996 his role expanded with the merger of the College with Aberystwyth University and he was Head of Countryside

In 2004 he took up a Senior Researcher role at the Macaulay Land Use Institute in Aberdeen

In 2006 he became Head of Research in the Centre of Environment and Panning in Geosciences at the University of Aberdeen

In 2008 he joined the Geography, Tourism and Environmental Planning unit  at the University of Waikato in New Zealand as Head of Environmental Planning  

In 2009 he joined Birmingham City University as senior lecturer and advanced to his present role as Professor of Environment and Spatial Planning.

Roger Wall

Senior Lecturer

Before joining the University in 2001, Roger worked for a water resource management consultancy specializing in IT solutions and GIS applications, and as a software engineer for a German consultancy firm.

He recently completed his involvement with the IEE IEC-SME project and was part of the team that wrote the final report and disseminated the findings in Brussels. He was worked on a joint ESRC-EDF bid with other members of the School and have taken part in an Erasmus exchange to EIGSI in La Rochelle. He is currently responsible for developing a new MSc course provisionally entitled, ‘Creating A Sustainable Environment’.

He has also previously worked on business engagement programmes designed to help SMEs develop and market environmental technologies (EnviroInnovate & EBOP).

Rogers current interests are linked to building design and renewable energy technologies. He is also interested in the complexities of sustainable systems and the need to balance many different and often conflicting factors.

Susan Johnson

Senior Lecturer

Susan's industry experience has enabled the introduction of practical surveying skills and modern techniques in the teaching of the core QS skills, helping students to progress through their Quantity Surveying degree. A large proportion of students are able to graduate with honours degrees and employability skills that greatly assist them in securing a job in the future.

Susan has experience in cost management of construction projects, both new build and refurbishment, with values ranging from £1m to £80m, procured under various standard forms of contract. She's been involved on projects through from inception to completion in market areas such as industrial, residential, education, commercial and retail, procured by both competitive and negotiated routes. Susan has considerable experience of cost control on major construction projects incorporating sustainable options and green infrastructure issues. She places particular emphasis on providing early cost advice on alternative designs options considered on projects, working as a vital member of the project team.

Susan's last few years in industry focused on education and commercial buildings where a BREEAM rating was to be achieved and where proposed designs were incorporating many sustainable items. Many projects were part funded and the requirement of funding was the demonstration of the incorporation of Green issues such as green roofs, photovoltaics, biomass boilers, heat pumps and remediation of brown field sites.

Professor Peter Larkham

Professor of Planning

Following a PhD in urban geography, Peter remained for several years at the University of Birmingham working on projects funded by the Leverhulme Trust and British Academy, before coming to the (then) Birmingham Polytechnic in 1991. He is now Professor of Planning in the Birmingham School of the Built Environment.

Peter has published over 65 refereed journal papers, written and edited several books, and presented numerous papers at conferences in the UK and worldwide. His most recent book is Alternative visions of post-war reconstruction (edited with John Pendlebury and Erdem Erten) and Shapers of urban form (edited with Michael Conzen), both published by Routledge in 2014).

Peter is also Director of Research Degrees for the Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment.  He has examined over 25 PhDs and chaired 14 vivas.  He is now working with the UK Council for Graduate Education's working group on the "Quality and reputation of the UK doctorate".

Paul Laycock

Senior Lecturer

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.

UK prospective students:

UK enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5595

EU / International prospective students:

International enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5389

Already applied?

Email the applications team

+44 (0)121 331 6295