Sustainability and Environmental Management MSc

Study level: Postgraduate
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This course aims to equip you with a range of knowledge, skills, and experience integral to the sustainability and environmental professional.

Year of entry


Coventry University (Coventry)

Study mode



1 year full-time
2-3 years part-time (UK only)

Course code


Start date

May 2024

Course overview

The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates that the green economy might generate 24 million jobs globally by 2030.

  • We live in a dynamic world where the impact of human activity on the environment and society is now recognised as needing urgent attention.
    In 2015 the UN launched its 17 Sustainable Development Goals which have quickly become adopted as the framework by which nations and organisations are measuring their progress.
  • This course is designed to reflect the needs of the profession as well as the research interests and commercial background of current lecturing staff. As such, it is evolving to try to meet the needs of this important discipline.
  • The course focuses on the environmental, technological, political, and social issues associated with environmental management and sustainability issues that face organisations.
  • You will have the option to apply for a ‘work placement’ opportunity2, designed to further develop your skills and knowledge with the aim of maximising your employability prospects. See modules for more information.
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Joint Top Modern University for Career Prospects

Guardian University Guide 2021 and 2022

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5 QS Stars for Teaching and Facilities

QS Stars University Ratings

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Top 5 UK Student City (Coventry)

QS Best Student Cities Index 2023

Why you should study this course

The world is changing because of continued pressures from our activities. Every week, news stories present new or updated challenges from across the world, whether the use and disposal of coffee cups, the growing spread of plastic wastes in our oceans or the threat to endangered species. We need to create and maintain a world which is fit for future generations. No longer is it enough for environmentalists to ‘save the planet’. Sustainability professionals must be able to work within the human and natural frameworks which underpin everything we do to create change.

  • The course is currently made up of eight taught modules which all students must take. Although the world is complex and full of uncertainty, there are a common set of skills and attributes needed by the modern practitioner. These cover environmental, social, and economic aspects of the sustainability agenda.
  • Key to sustainability is the ability to work with and through stakeholders, who have interests in or are affected by our activities. The combination of scientific understanding and evaluation with social science techniques is becoming vital to the delivery of successful programmes such as those aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Upon successful completion of the course, you should be able to use and evaluate a huge variety of information to meet challenges of this century. While climate change remains a clear and present threat, we must also consider our resilience and ability to adapt. And while energy and CO2 continue to drive many decisions, we must remember the vital importance of water, both quality and quantity; the waste we create and discard; the pollution from our economic endeavours; and the role of natural systems to support our species.
  • The course aims to align and recognise the importance of both people and the planet in the delivery of sustainable development goals, both in the UK/EU and across the globe.

Accredited and professional recognition

This course is accredited1 by:

IEMA The Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment

The Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment

This course is accredited by IEMA for 2023-24 entry. IEMA is the professional body for everyone working in environment and sustainability. This course entitles students to FREE student membership for the duration of the course and on successful completion, you qualify for GradIEMA. Graduate membership is a launchpad for future leaders within environment and sustainability and offers a range of benefits to support you throughout your career. You can then “Fast track” to Practitioner Membership (PIEMA) following successful completion of the work-based assessment of competence. If the accreditation of this course changes, we would seek to notify applicants and students as soon as possible.

CMI Chartered Management Institute

Chartered Management Institute 

As part of this course, you will undertake a professional development module which is currently accredited by the Chartered Management Institute for the 2023-24 intake. Upon successful completion of this module, you will gain the CMI Level 7 Certificate in Strategic Management and Leadership Practice at no additional cost.

Coventry University’s accreditation with CMI is currently ongoing for the relevant modules and is regularly reviewed and monitored by the CMI through their quality systems. Whilst Coventry University anticipates that these reviews will continue to be successful, if they were to be unsuccessful, the relevant module in this course would no longer be accredited and we would notify applicants and students of this change as soon as possible.

What you'll study

The course has been created to provide a consistent and standardised series of mandatory content which all students must complete. The breadth of sustainability can be bewildering, and we have listened to professionals across this wide field and focused on a series of fundamental areas. In these areas we will explore a wide range of current issues.

As a future sustainability practitioner, you may be required to use a broad range of tools and techniques. The course will allow you the opportunity to explore and use tools such as management systems (e.g. ISO14001:2015) life-cycle assessment, Social and Environmental Impact Assessment and stakeholder identification and mapping.

Crucial to the successful practitioner is an ability to apply a wide range of legislation and other compliance obligations. While the aim is not to turn you into an environmental lawyer, you will have the opportunity to learn how to access and evaluate the relevance of legislation from a strategic, management and project perspective.

This course includes the Leading Strategic Change through Creativity and Innovation Professional Development module developed in partnership with the Chartered Management Institute.


  • In an ever more interconnected world, sustainability professionals must be able to analyse their stakeholders' expectations and tailor their engagement approaches to meet the demands of different audiences. During the module, you will study many forms of corporate communications and marketing collateral, across all forms of media, in order to analyse the relative effectiveness and appropriateness.


  • This module will provide a basis for an informed understanding of the law relating to sustainability and the environment. It will cover major areas of environmental and human rights law in the UK, the European Union and other international organisations. Emphasis will be placed upon the role of law in preserving and protecting society and the environment.


  • This module will explore the role of Social Impact Assessment (SIA) and 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.


  • 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 several different disciplinary perspectives.


  • This module will take you through the description, genesis and attributes of formal Environmental Management System tools and techniques with focus on the ISO14000 series. You will discuss the benefits of EMS implementation, the challenges likely to arise in doing so, and how these challenges can be overcome.


  • The module will explore the variety of responses to prevent and control the impacts created by modern society, such as producer responsibility, environmental permitting and the circular economy. You will be encouraged to identify innovative solutions to pollution prevention.


  • This module aims to provide you with a broad perspective on the sustainable management, regulation, monitoring and assessment of water provision and disposal. You will explore water resources and the future threats to water supplies, examine drought and flood mitigation measures, water purification techniques and water management options.


  • This module is intended to provide you with a concise understanding of how we can continue to decarbonise our energy system. The module first explores traditional means of energy generation, including from fossil fuel and nuclear power, before exploring the various renewable energy technology options for heat, power and transportation.


  • The aim of this module is to give you the opportunity to apply a range of strategy and leadership problem solving techniques to situations where change is required. You will critically evaluate and develop solutions to complex, inter-related, multi-faceted issues that can be found in a variety of organisations and professional contexts.


  • This module is designed to provide additional support for your research project in the final semester. It provides a mechanism to support the scoping of the research and will reinforce knowledge of research design and methods.


  • The module aims to extend your experience in independent investigative work with a view to enhancing your ability to solve technical and environmental problems. Research methods for technical and scientific investigations are included. Written presentation skills are developed as an integral part of the project.


  • The module aims to assist and prepare you in the transition to postgraduate education by developing your academic skills, in order to improve and enhance your personal effectiveness as a learner. The module will look at areas such as critical reading, academic writing and referencing skills.


With work placement pathway

The ‘With work placement’ opportunity2 enables you to apply in semester 1 for an optional work placement of up to 12 months, extending the duration of your master’s to 24 months. The placement provides an opportunity for you to develop expertise and experience in your chosen field with the aim of enhancing your employability upon graduation. The work placement would take place in semester’s 3, 4 and 5.

Please note that the optional placement modules incur an additional tuition fee of £4,000. Placement opportunities may also be subject to additional costs, visa requirements being met, subject to availability and/or competitive application. Work placements are not guaranteed but you will benefit from the support of our Talent Team in trying to find and secure an opportunity. Find out more about the work placement option.

We regularly review our course content, to make it relevant and current for the benefit of our students. For these reasons, course modules may be updated. Part-time students should be aware that not all modules run every semester; your study plan for the course will be arranged between yourself and the Course Director and is subject to module availability.

How you'll learn

You will be taught face to face with the support of online teaching resources. We aim to enhance your learning of the subject modules with a parallel and complementary series of group tutorials which are designed to develop academic, professional and research knowledge and skills. These tutorials also allow discussion on key and current issues in relation to the research informed content with the modules.

This course can be studied on a full-time or part-time basis. Whilst we would like to give you all the information about our part-time offering here, it is tailored for each course each year depending on the number of part-time applicants. Therefore, the part-time teaching arrangements vary. Please request information about studying this course part-time.

Teaching contact hours

Actual teaching contact hours will vary depending on the requirements of a particular semester. The contact hours may be made up of a combination of face-to-face teaching, individual and group tutorials, and online classes and tutorials. Full-time students will typically study four modules per semester. In a typical week you’ll have 12-15 hours of contact time and will be required to undertake additional directed and self-directed study of around 25-30 hours.

The contact hours may be made up of a combination of face-to-face teaching, individual and group tutorials, and online classes and tutorials.

As an innovative and enterprising institution, the university may seek to utilise emerging technologies within the student experience. For all courses (whether on-campus, blended, or distance learning), the university may deliver certain contact hours and assessments via online technologies and methods.

Since COVID-19, we have delivered our courses in a variety of forms, in line with public authority guidance, decisions, or orders and we will continue to adapt our delivery as appropriate. Whether on campus or online, our key priority is staff and student safety.


Assessment for all modules is coursework and the Research Project is through coursework. You will also receive formative feedback to help you improve your performance.

The Coventry University Group assessment strategy ensures that our courses are fairly assessed and allows us to monitor student progression towards the achieving the intended learning outcomes.

International experience opportunities

You may have the opportunity to spend time on UK-based field trips2 to provide you with the opportunity to develop a wider appreciation of sustainability and environmental management in practice. A four-day residential field trip will include opportunities to experiment with different research tools and techniques, in advance of the research project module in the final semester. These research projects aim to reflect the students’ interests and research and consultancy practices of the teaching team.

You may also have the chance to visit local businesses and study their activities, impacts and interactions with communities and stakeholders, comparing these to other organisations around the world. These are included in the fees and are arranged by module leaders to meet needs.

Please note that all UK and international experience opportunities may be subject to additional costs, competitive application, availability and meeting applicable visa and travel requirements are therefore not guaranteed2.

Entry requirements

To enter this course, you should have obtained a first- or second-class honour’s degree in a relevant discipline.

In addition, you will need have familiarity and competence with industry standard word processing, data management and presentational software packages (such as Microsoft Office).

Each application will be considered on its merits and the final decision will be made by the course director. 

We recognise a breadth of qualifications, speak to one of our advisers today to find out how we can help you. 

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To enter this course, you should have obtained a first- or second-class honour’s degree in a relevant discipline.

In addition, you will need have familiarity and competence with industry standard word processing, data management and presentational software packages (such as Microsoft Office).

Each application will be considered on its merits and the final decision will be made by the course director.

Select your region to find detailed information about entry requirements:

You can view our full list of country specific entry requirements on our Entry requirements page.

Alternatively, visit our International hub for further advice and guidance on finding in-country agents and representatives, joining our in-country events and how to apply.

English language requirements

  • This course requires IELTS of 6.5 overall, with no component lower than 5.5.

If you don't meet the English language requirements, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course. 

For more information on our approved English language tests visit our English language requirements page.

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Fees and funding

2023/24 tuition fees.

Student Full-time Part-time
UK, Ireland*, Channel Islands or Isle of Man £11,200 | £4,000 (Work placement option additional fee) per year Request fee information
EU £11,200 | £4,000 (Work placement option additional fee) per year with EU support bursary**
£18,600 | £4,000 (Work placement option additional fee) per year without EU support bursary**
Not available
International £18,600 | £4,000 (Work placement option additional fee) per year Not available

For advice and guidance on tuition fees3 and student loans visit our Postgraduate Finance page and see the university's Tuition Fee and Refund Terms and Conditions.

We offer a range of International scholarships to students all over the world. For more information, visit our International Scholarships page.

Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessments, facilities and support services. There may be additional costs not covered by this fee such as accommodation and living costs, recommended reading books, stationery, printing and re-assessments should you need them.

The following are additional costs not included in the tuition fees:

  • Any optional overseas field trips or visits: £400+ per trip.
  • Any costs associated with securing, attending or completing a placement (whether in the UK or abroad).

*Irish student fees

The rights of Irish residents to study in the UK are preserved under the Common Travel Area arrangement. If you are an Irish student and meet the residency criteria, you can study in England, pay the same level of tuition fees as English students and utilise the Tuition Fee Loan.

**EU Support Bursary

Following the UK's exit from the European Union, we are offering financial support to all eligible EU students who wish to study an undergraduate or a postgraduate degree with us full-time. This bursary will be used to offset the cost of your tuition fees to bring them in line with that of UK students. Students studying a degree with a foundation year with us are not eligible for the bursary.

  • We carry out an initial fee status assessment based on the information you provide in your application. Your fee status determines your tuition fees, and what financial support and scholarships may be available to you. The rules about who pays UK (home) or international (overseas) fees for higher education courses in England are set by the government's Department for Education. The regulations identify all the different categories of student who can insist on paying the home rate. The regulations can be difficult to understand, so the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) has provided fee status guidance to help you identify whether you are eligible to pay the home or overseas rate.

    If you meet all the criteria required by any one category, including any residence requirements, your institution must charge you the home rate. You only need to find one category that you fit into.


Our aim is to offer you sector-leading facilities4:

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The Library

You will benefit from our support designed to help you succeed and our industry-relevant teaching and resources. These include our modern library and computing facilities, dedicated careers advice and Your Students’ Union.

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Jaguar Centre

The Jaguar Centre has been specifically designed to provide facilities and services to support our postgraduate students including social spaces, computer suites and separate areas for small group study.

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The Hub

The Hub is the centre of student campus life. It's also home to the Health and Wellbeing Centre, the Spirituality and Faith Centre, the Tank Studio, Student Success Coaches and the Enterprise Hub.

Careers and opportunities

On successful completion of the course, you will be able to offer:

  • A critical awareness of current issues, legislation, risks & opportunities and practice in sustainability and environmental management.
  • The ability to apply sustainability principles to relevant stakeholders, organisations, products, and services.
  • Analysis of the implications of global trends and governance for the environment, for society and for organisations.
  • Analyse the role of innovation in developing sustainable products and services and providing sustainable solutions.
  • An in-depth understanding of the importance of multi-stakeholder engagement, communication, co-operation, and governance in aspects of policy, strategy development, implementation, and management.
  • The ability to manage data and information considering uncertainty and complexity to make appropriate and justifiable decisions.
  • The ability to conduct research, in an ethical manner, and analyse data using appropriate methods and communicate the output effectively.
  • Personal skills and competencies expected of a sustainability professional, in line with recognised standards.

All modules are designed to be relevant to the needs of the sustainability and environmental profession, based on IEMA’s graduate attributes. The formative and summative assignments that you will be set are industry-focused or have a real-world practical application.

You will be guided in development planning and reflective practice as current or future leaders, with a focus on influencing and managing change in your team, organisation, and the sector more widely.

Your career path could involve being actively engaged in delivering sustainable development within all types of organisations. At the heart of most modules are the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which are becoming the benchmark for organisations seeking to contribute.

Coventry University is committed to preparing you for your future career and aims to give you a competitive edge in the graduate job market. The university's Talent Team provide a wide range of support services to help you plan and prepare for your career.

Where our graduates work

Previous graduates have gone on to work as environmental officers in industry, local authorities, government agencies, universities, and consultancies. Others have undertaken further study, such as a PhD.

How to apply

  • Coventry University together with Coventry University London Campus, CU Coventry, CU London, CU Scarborough and Coventry University Online come together to form part of the Coventry University Group (the “University”) with all degrees awarded by Coventry University. 


    The majority of our courses have been formally recognised by professional bodies, which means the courses have been reviewed and tested to ensure they reach a set standard. In some instances, studying on an accredited course can give you additional benefits such as exemptions from professional exams (subject to availability, fees may apply). Accreditations, partnerships, exemptions and memberships shall be renewed in accordance with the relevant bodies’ standard review process and subject to the university maintaining the same high standards of course delivery.

    2UK and international opportunities

    Please note that we are unable to guarantee any UK or International opportunities (whether required or optional) such as internships, work experience, field trips, conferences, placements or study abroad opportunities and that all such opportunities may be subject to additional costs (which could include, but is not limited to, equipment, materials, bench fees, studio or facilities hire, travel, accommodation and visas), competitive application, availability and/or meeting any applicable travel COVID and visa requirements. To ensure that you fully understand the visa requirements, please contact the International Office.

    3Tuition fees

    The University will charge the tuition fees that are stated in the above table for the first Academic Year of study. The University will review tuition fees each year. For UK (home) students, if Parliament permit an increase in tuition fees, the University may increase fees for each subsequent year of study in line with any such changes. Note that any increase is expected to be in line with inflation.

    For International Students, we may increase fees each year but such increases will be no more than 5% above inflation. If you defer your course start date or have to extend your studies beyond the normal duration of the course (e.g. to repeat a year or resit examinations) the University reserves the right to charge you fees at a higher rate and/or in accordance with any legislative changes during the additional period of study.


    Facilities are subject to availability. Access to some facilities (including some teaching and learning spaces) may vary from those advertised and/or may have reduced availability or restrictions where the university is following public authority guidance, decisions or orders.

    Student Contract

    By accepting your offer of a place and enrolling with us, a Student Contract will be formed between you and the university. A copy of the 2023/24 contract can be found here. The Contract details your rights and the obligations you will be bound by during your time as a student and contains the obligations that the university will owe to you. You should read the Contract before you accept an offer of a place and before you enrol at the university.

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