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Master Environmental Assessment and Management

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  • Entry requirements
    Upper second class honours degree, or equivalent. Applicants with additional experience but without this entry requirement are considered on merit. Applicants whose first language is not English must demonstrate that their level of English is appropriate to study at postgraduate level. This course requires IELTS level 6 (preferably 6.5) in the academic test, with a minimum score of 6 in reading and writing. For TOEFL the required score is 550-575 (paper-based) or 213-232 (computer-based), with a score of 4.5 in the Test of Written English (TWE).
  • Academic Title
    MSc / PGDip Environmental Assessment and Management
  • Course description
    The MSc in EAM has Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) accreditation: graduates are eligible to commence the RICS APC. They can also take the exams for Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) Associate.

    The MSc in Environmental Assessment and Management (EAM) is a dynamic and well-established course. It has a reputation for promoting best practice and using recent research in the broad field of environmental and ecological policy and practice in the British, European and international context. It appeals to graduates and practitioners from around the world: it has an excellent employment record, but also many graduates go on to further research. The course adopts an integrative approach to demonstrate the complementary roles of natural resource management and planning, with applications in issues such as mitigation banking, climate change adaptation and mitigation, and strategic policy making. Practical experience of methods is provided, and there is an excellent array of options. The course is taught at the Headington Campus.
    Course content

    The MSc course consists of four core modules, two optional modules and a dissertation, representing 180 master's-level credits. The PGDip consists of four core modules and two options (representing 120 master’s-level credits).

    The core modules:

        * Principles of Environmental Assessment and Management (20 credits) considers the context within which EAM is carried out: the principles of sustainability, international and national policy, approaches to valuing the environment, attitudes to conservation, and the role of the public in environmental decision making.
        * Ecosystem Degradation and Management (20 credits) reviews the nature and extent of ecosystem degradation resulting from human activities, and considers possible methods for avoiding degradation and managing, conserving and restoring ecosystems.
        * Procedures and Methods of EIA (double module, 40 credits) examines the processes and procedures in carrying out an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) or Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), and provides a practical introduction to methods for assessing, predicting and mitigating a wide range of ecological and socio-economic impacts. The module emphasises fieldwork and case studies.

    The dissertation comprises:

        * Research Methods (half module, 10 credits), which develops the skills needed to research environmental issues, including the formulation of research problems and methodology, data collection and analysis.
        * Dissertation (50 credits), which is an individual research study on a topic relevant to EAM chosen by the student.

    One single module generally involves one taught session per week over the 12 weeks of the semester.

    Optional modules provide an opportunity for students to widen or deepen their field of study. There are three types of optional module as follows:

    a) Recommended optional modules are considered to be particularly relevant to the course and include:

        * Environmental Management Systems introduces environmental management, the systems and approaches which are being increasingly used in industry and commerce to meet the challenge of sustainable development and to monitor and improve environmental performance.
        * GIS and Environmental Modelling is concerned with the practical application of geographical information systems (GIS) and a variety of other computer-based techniques and models (such as expert systems, and spreadsheets) as tools to assist in environmental management and decision making.
        * Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) examines SEA principles and SEA’s status worldwide; links between SEA, environmental impact assessment, and strategic decision making; and a wide range of SEA tools and techniques, and their advantages and disadvantages in various settings.
        * Spatial Planning in Action presents an analysis of the structure, objectives and responsibilities underlying the practice of spatial planning from a UK perspective. The legal basis, administrative aspects and current issues in planning decision making are introduced, including development plan making, development control and the appeal process.

    b) Alternative optional modules are normally selected from an approved list of courses currently running in the University, including Management of Waste and Contaminated Land; Globalisation, Environment and Development; and Pollution Measurement and Analysis. However, a student may seek approval from the programme leaders to take a suitable unit that is not included in the approved list.

    c) An Independent Study module involves individual work on an appropriate topic or set of topics, conducted under supervision and with prior approval of the course leaders. No more than one Independent Study unit may be included in a programme.
    Teaching, learning and assessment

    Teaching and assessment methods reflect the wide variety of topics and techniques associated with environmental assessment and management, including lectures, directed reading, workshops, seminars, and practical and project work. Some modules also include site visits and fieldwork, which provide direct experience of the more practical and current issues in environmental assessment and management. Each module on the course is assessed individually. Assessment methods include essays, seminar papers, in-class tests, project work and oral presentations, workshops, simulations and practical exercises. In keeping with the course emphasis on practical application, the majority of assessment is based on coursework.


    The course is distinctive in being taught jointly by the Schools of Life Sciences and Built Environment, which encourages a lively, inter-disciplinary approach to environmental issues. Both Schools have excellent standards for research and teaching, and are noted for their promotion of best practice and cutting-edge research.

    Visiting speakers from industry and business, local government, environmental consultancies and relevant research bodies are also integral to the overall delivery of the course.

    The course has professional recognition for the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), and also enables graduates to consider further qualifications with Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), and Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA).

    The course has an excellent reputation and outstanding employment record, with graduates working in environmental consultancies such as Scott Wilson, Land Use Consultants, RPS, ERM, Waterman and WSP, and in regulatory and non-governmental agencies in Europe and overseas.

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