Indicative Course Content
A range of modules are available allowing you to either broaden your experience of environmental management and its applications or to focus on more specific areas.
Many modules are based around case studies, industrial or field visits and extensive laboratory facilities allow practical work in the analysis of soils, airs and waters for physical, chemical and biological properties.
In the core programme you will study:
- Global Environmental Issues & Solutions
- Environmental Management & Auditing
- Environmental Law
- Clean Energy, Climate and Carbon
- Pollution Prevention and Control
Your programme of study can be personalised by selecting from subjects such as:
- Environmental Impact Assessment
- Contaminated Land
- Environment Monitoring (Practical Laboratory Skills)
- Ecological Management and Assessment
- Regulation, Monitoring and Assessment of Water Pollution
- Environmental Observation by Remote Sensing (GIS)
Your final period of study is based on your own area of interest in environmental management and involves an individual project on a subject of your choice.
Details of the main subjects
Global Environmental Issues, Solutions and Skills
This double module aims to introduce global environmental issues alongside both international and national environmental management techniques to cope with a changing planet. Many students without an Environmental Science background will benefit from this introduction to issues not covered by other mandatory modules and will assist them in gaining professional membership of an environmental body (we currently recommend IEMA or CIWEM). Issues from natural cycles, ecosystems, pollution sources and effects, environmental regulators, environmental risk, sustainable development, principles of environmental policy, atmospheric issues, water issues, analysis of environmental data, waste management, corporate social responsibility and environmental economics will be covered.
Environmental Management and Auditing
This module develops the theme of Environmental Management from Environmental Audits through to formalised frameworks of management systems which, somewhat like quality systems, record, monitor and report a company’s environmental performance. The module aims to give students skills to enable them to approach meeting the environmental responsibilities of a company in a quantifiable manner. In order to achieve this, tools such as Life Cycle Analysis, Mass Balance, Strategic Planning, Process Analysis, and Tests for Significance will be employed. Thus the concept of best environmental choice can be applied by students on completion of this module. Students will acquire skills in how to conduct a Technical Audit, including energy, noise, water and waste, which is the precursor to establishing an Environmental Policy, and if required, a formal Environmental Management System (EMS). Students will also practise auditing an EMS, a requirement of maintaining a formal EMS, to identify non compliances and recommend improvements.
This module will provide a basis for an informed understanding of the law relating to the environment. To that end it will cover major areas of environmental protection law in the UK and the influence of the European Union. Emphasis will be placed upon the role of law in preserving and protecting the environment, and upon evaluation of control, the part played by domestic courts in resolving the often conflicting societal interests involved in environmental protection and its implementation. The role of national and regional regulatory agencies, professional institutions, pressure groups and private individuals in formulating and implementing anti-pollution measures will be examined along with current proposals for reform.
Clean Energy, Climate and Carbon
Climate change, and the anthropogenic shaping of the global climate system, has become a defining phenomenon of the 21st century. Assessing and managing the risks posed by climate change is now a major driver of national policy and international diplomacy and provides a backdrop against which new social movements, business strategies and public policies are, and have, emerged. Consequently, this module examines the consequences of climate change for businesses and society, with consideration given to issues of the sustainable growth of low carbon economies. These consequences – physical effects, social responses, and technology-policy debates - will be examined from a number of different disciplinary perspectives, with an emphasis on sources of renewable energy and carbon management.
The analysis of soil, air, water and foodstuff samples is essential in maintaining a healthy environment and people acting as regulators or as environmental managers in industry or consultancies will from time to time be required to collect and submit for analysis samples of various environmental media. To carry out this process successfully the person needs to have a thorough understanding of the processes being carried out. This knowledge is required in the interpretation of the analytical results, design of sampling regimes and management of sample preservation and storage. It is also important that the person involved in specifying environmental analysis is fully aware of the range of capabilities in a modern environmental laboratory and is able to interact with professionals in the laboratory. This module aims to provide the knowledge and skills required to achieve these aims whilst at the same time developing the understanding of environmental analytical chemistry in its academic context. This module importantly also develops the basic laboratory proficiency which will be required if a student is later to carry out a project thesis involving chemical analysis. This module is essential if you wish to do an analytical laboratory based project.
Pollution Control & Modelling
Following recent changes in EU legislation and its implementation in the UK it is now appropriate to take a more integrated approach to pollution control. The new regime will require that the wider picture of environmental impact will have to be taken into account when approval is sought for operation of almost all major industrial processes. This module aims to provide the scientific basis for the understanding of the control measures which will be applied to various processes and an understanding of how the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control regime will operate in practice. Air and water pollution control technologies are explored alongside issues such as noise and land conditioning.
The implications of contaminated land from both an environmental and a legal point of view are now in the public eye and this subject is seen as a growth area. The Environmental Protection Act 1990 and, in particular the recent introduction of Part IIA, opened the door to an enormous interest from both industry and financial institutions. The foremost area of interest is the identification of contaminated land and the assessment of its significance. This module satisfies the need for professionals equipped to carry out this function. The aim of this module is to offer a program of study, which will equip students to carry out the role of manager of a project involving the assessment of contaminated sites either from field or archival evidence. It will also provide the basic background to the engineering of physical, chemical and biological treatment of contaminated land.
Ecological Management and Assessment
An understanding of the theory and practice of ecological management, underpinned by the principles of ecological assessment and countryside regulation, is a valuable addition to the skills package of a modern environmental professional. This module aims to familiarize students with ecological theory relevant to environmental management and conservation. The module also aims to provide students with practical skills in quantitative and qualitative ecology, along with providing a theoretical basis for the interpretation and evaluation of ecological data. Field trips and guest lecturers form a key element to this module.
Environmental Impact Assessment
The role of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) as a process for identifying, predicting, evaluating and mitigating the biophysical, social and other relevant effects of a proposed development prior to major construction decisions being taken will be explored. An introduction to the development of EIA and current legislative requirements are followed by a detailed examination of impact assessment methods. The module will develop skills and the thought processes required to predict significant environmental impacts and propose mitigation measures. The reliability of data and subjectivity of many impact estimates is addressed along with the quality of environmental statements. The use of Strategic Environmental Assessment in long range environmental planning will be analysed.
Regulation, Monitoring & Assessment of Water Pollution
This module aims to provide students with a broad perspective on the regulation, monitoring and assessment of water pollution; a major area of concern in relation to the delivery of point and non-point pollutants which affect the environment. Students will consider the effective monitoring and assessment of different pollutant types, together with the strengths and weaknesses of various procedures. This will be set within the current legal and technical framework for the enforcement and regulation of water pollution. The module aims to examine the main sources and types of pollutants in the aquatic environment, their fates and effects. It will also raise awareness of the technical methods used to reduce the impact of pollutants of aquatic systems.
Environmental Observation by Remote Sensing
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) need information. More precisely, users of GIS need information that is relevant, complete, accurate, timely, accessible, available in an appropriate format and cost- effective. Earth observation (EO) by remote sensing is an established source of information that meets the needs of many users and new missions are driving change in geographical applications. EO data are essential for characterising and monitoring the environment at local to global scales. For example, our management of natural resources at regional scales would be impaired and our understanding of global processes severely limited without satellite remote sensing. At a local scale orthophotos provide the framework for land reform and other users rely on archives of EO data to create a consistent record of land use change. The aim of this module is to better understand the principles and practice of EO by remote sensing within the context of GIS. The application of remote sensing and digital image processing to generate information involves a number of specific steps. In this module a student will study remote sensing in terms of a source-target-sensor system, develop a model-based approach to image interpretation and examine the conceptual and technical basis for integrating remote sensing and GIS.
This forms a major piece of work and is equivalent to a 1/3rd of your degree. There will be a series of classes in your first semester that help prepare you in the planning and execution of research. You are assigned a supervisor who will enhance your ability to identify, investigate and solve environmental problems. The module aims to develop your ability to commission, manage and evaluate research within an appropriate industrial, commercial or academic context. As such, there exist opportunities for a work-based project.