Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma, MSc
This course was established over 25 years ago and is now widely recognised as an international leader in training environmental managers for work in both the public and private sectors. Environmental managers play a vital role in the protection and sustainable use of resources. Students learn to address issues such as adaptation to climate change, biodiversity and sustainable energy management. At the local level Environmental Management focuses on conservation and protection of land and water resources and natural habitats.
Stirling’s graduates work for organisations such as the Environment Protection Agencies, major conservation bodies, local authorities and independent environmental consultancies, many in senior positions.
Our course gives students:
Studying for a degree means learning in different ways; managing your own time; conducting research; mastering new computer skills. We have the facilities and advice on hand to help you do all this - and do it well.
Of the many reasons students come to Stirling, such as academic reputation and research standards, one factor is always cited: the outstanding beauty of the University's Stirling campus.
A minimum of a second class Honours degree (2.1 preferred) or equivalent in a relevant subject. Applicants from other disciplines with a 2:1 or 1st but with significant appropriate/relevant work/life experience are encouraged to apply.
If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:
For more information go to English Language Requirements
If you don’t meet the required score you may be able to register for one of our pre-sessional English courses. To register you must hold a conditional offer for your course and have an IELTS score 0.5 or 1.0 below the required standard. View our range of pre-sessional courses.
The basic structure is three modules in each of Semesters 1 and 2 followed by a dissertation, with each module worth 20 SCQF credits at level 11 and the dissertation worth 60 credits.
Students who meet the requirements of the taught course will qualify for the Diploma and may proceed to the MSc. This involves completion of a three-month Research Project, often in collaboration with an outside agency. Students frequently choose a topic complementary to their option selection, allowing them to develop a high level of competence in aspects of environmental management relevant to their future employment.
An example of a project undertaken in Summer 2013 is A challenge in assessing the visual impact of wind turbines: does one focal length suit all?
The course is taught primarily by staff within Biological and Environmental Sciences, but also by staff from other departments of the University and visiting professionals from outside agencies.
Assessment is via coursework and examination, and may include teamwork and presentations. Exams are held in December and May, and MSc research projects are submitted in early September.
Students choose 3 of the following modules in the autumn
Analysis of Environmental Data builds competency in the use of R (a statistical analysis package) and RStudio (which makes coding in R easier) for the analysis of environmental data. Students understand how to undertake effective manipulation, statistical analysis, interpretation and presentation of data, and how to critically assess the same procedures in the scientific literature.
Environmental Policy and Management focuses on the establishment of environmental policy formulation principles and its relationship to environmental management, a critical awareness of the objectives, principles and instruments of environmental policy at a UK/EC level, and an understanding of how environmental management systems can be effectively integrated with business operations.
Environmental Economics enables students to understand and apply economic theory and methodologies to the better understanding of environmental problems, and to become competent in applying economic analysis to improve the design of environmental policy.
Field Techniques On this residential field course students learn environmental monitoring and survey techniques and their limitations, and about sampling issues develop an awareness of up to date approaches and technology available for fieldwork.
Students choose 3 of the following modules in the spring
Environmental Impact Assessment focuses on the understanding of the current approaches, concepts and requirements for environmental impact assessments. In particular, specific knowledge on the types of environmental impacts caused through the different phases (e.g. construction, operation and decommissioning) of energy production infrastructure will be gained.
Environmental Geomatics (GIS) delivers a knowledge of the concepts and foundations underlying Geographical Information Systems (GIS), Earth Observation (EO) and Global Positioning Systems (GPS), an understanding of different remote sensing platforms, instruments and data types, and builds an appreciation of the use of GIS and EO in environmental management.
Environmental Law covers the principles of environmental law at different levels (e.g. international, European, UK and Scottish) and examines how the regulations are enforced in Scotland and the UK.
Ecosystem Services explores the application of the ecosystem services concept to environmental management and conservation, provides an understanding of the principles of ecosystem functioning and the importance of biodiversity, raises awareness of the complex interactions and feedbacks between environmental and ecological processes and the policy context of different energy technologies.
Environmental Impacts of Energy Production enables students to understand the key technical principles of different forms of energy production and their relationship with environmental impacts, recognise major knowledge gaps and uncertainties in our understanding of environmental impacts, and examine some of the approaches used to mitigate impacts and the constraints on their effectiveness.
Economics of Climate Change enables students to apply economic reasoning to issues in climate change and to think about climate policy in a consistent and creative manner.
Glasson et al (2012), Introduction to Environmental Impact Assessment
Full-time: one year
Part-time: 24 months
The timetable below is a typical example, but your own timetable may be different.
Full-time students are expected to be at the University most days of the week. Part-time students should be able to dedicate two or three days per week.
There is a six-day residential field course in Cairngorm National Park in early October.
In REF2014 Stirling was placed 6th in Scotland and 45th in the UK with almost three quarters of research activity rated either world-leading or internationally excellent.
In the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), 40 percent of research in Biological & Environmental Sciences at Stirling was graded as 'Internationally Excellent' or 'World Class' and a further 50 percent 'Internationally Recognised'.
The University of Stirling is a hub for environmental bodies in Scotland. Several environmental consultancies and NGOs have offices in or around the University, including RSPB, British Trust for Ornithology and The Conservation Volunteers, and we work closely with these organisations in conducting research. We have excellent links with government e.g. SEPA, and have senior Scottish Natural Heritage and RSPB staff among our Honorary professors.
We have over 600 graduates from this long established course now working in environmental organisations in various parts of the world. Examples are:
GIS consultant in Norway, Researcher in Madagascar, Adviser for Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries in Greece, Environmental Consultant, Swaziland, consultant for Earth Systems in Melbourne, and many employed throughout Britain in governmental and non-governmental agencies, and private consultancies.
Environmental Management student 2013-14 :"One of the main reasons for deciding to progress with a Masters at the University of Stirling was not only the strong reputation of the course, but also the opportunity to carry out a work-based placement with the Making the Most of Masters scheme. This offers vital experience often missing from similar courses, giving graduates a competitive edge and increasing employability."
Nigel Willby (Course Director) is an aquatic ecologist with 20 year’s experience. He has worked on the ecology, assessment, conservation and management of rivers, canals, shallow lakes and wetlands throughout the UK and Europe with funding from a wide variety of organisations including the Environment Agency, SEPA, Scottish Natural Heritage, Natural England, Broads Authority, NERC, EU. Over the past 10 years he has been closely involved with the development and testing of classification tools to support the implementation of the Water Framework Directive, and with monitoring the ecological effects of beaver reintroductions.
Students on our courses have an excellent record in gaining employment in the environmental sector and many of our former graduates now hold senior positions. Typical jobs include: Environmental Consultant (e.g. Jacobs), Environmental Protection Officers and Scientific Advisers in environment agencies (EA, SEPA), Environmental Managers within local authorities, national industries (e.g. Northumbrian Water) and trusts (e.g. Tweed Forum).
Below are some examples of former students at different points in their careers:
I had a first degree in Applied Chemistry and then studied for the Masters in Environmental Management at Stirling University. Gaining the Masters has enabled me to further develop skills that have become so valuable to my current career. A month after completing the course I started work as a field engineer for an oilfield services company and have been able to apply many of the skills and information gained from the MSc course. There is a lot of room for personal growth at Stirling as the course is not just spoon fed; there are opportunities to develop ideas, and apply the information in real life situations. All the staff and support staff were more than helpful, and were very encouraging and supportive, both during my time there and since.
Jo McKenzie, graduated 2006 - now working for Lloyds Register in Norway.
Having taken a first degree in Geography I chose to study the Environmental Management course at Stirling University. The course was recommended to me by a former student and, having now completed the course myself, I would certainly recommend the course to others.
Shortly after completing the course I was very fortunate to be offered a position as an Environmental Advisor with Morrison Construction Ltd, working with Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors on the Forth Replacement Crossing project. I believe that the course not only helped me to secure this position, but that it has also greatly helped me in my day to day role as an Environmental Advisor. The course allowed the development of a wide knowledge base due to the range of modules offered and, in particular, knowledge gained on the Environmental Law and Environmental Policy modules has been very applicable to my current career. The practical fieldwork aspect of the course was also excellent and the skills gained during this have also been valuable in my career so far, as one of my roles is to undertake environmental monitoring across the site. Additionally, the course aided and encouraged the development of skills such as written and oral communication, teamwork, and independent study and time management skills, which are all invaluable in day to day life.
I am so glad that I was able to study on the Environmental Management course at Stirling as the course offered a fantastic opportunity to develop my environmental knowledge and skills.
E Slee, graduated 2011
I graduated from the MSc Environmental Management course in 2013. The course had a good reputation and had been recommended to me by previous graduates as it offered a good range of modules covering a number of relevant environmental issues. The course delivered on a range of modules which I feel really helped me to understand the connection between environmental issues and the working world. Following graduation, I undertook a temporary placement as a Recycling Development officer with East Renfrewshire Council through Adopt an Intern. This temporary placement gave me practical experience of how environmental policy is implemented. After five months at this placement I was offered a job as a graduate Environmental Consultant with EnviroCentre. The combination of the MSc along with a bit of practical experience has been instrumental in helping me to get this job. Furthermore, I find that I am using knowledge and skills that I gained during the MSc course in my day to day job, particularly the modules covering EIA, contaminated land, EMS and environmental policy and legislation. I would recommend that someone thinking about pursuing a career in the environmental field seriously considers undertaking an MSc like this to help them along the way.
Jennifer Ormiston, graduated 2013
NERC lists the most wanted skills of employers in the environmental sector in the following report:
This includes a set of cross-disciplinary skills that underpin our course structure. Early on in this course, students take a residential field module and immediately begin to learn practical identification, surveying, measuring and sampling skills. Having learned how to collect data they are then taught how to analyse, report and present them through the modules Analysis of Environmental Data (using R), GIS and Remote Sensing. Transferable skills often required within Environmental agencies/consultancies include the ability to translate theory into practice, to work in a team and independently, plan and coordinate research, and engage with a variety of different users.
We have excellent links with many organisations, particularly in Scotland. Visiting speakers are invited, both for stand-alone seminars and as an integral part of some modules. We make full use of our alumni and industry and government research contacts to assemble a diverse and topical seminar programme.
We strive to keep the course in tune with the needs of employers and changes occurring in the field of environmental management and policy. A networking event is held annually when students can meet with local employers to discuss work placements and future job opportunities.
Please choose a start date and study method from the drop-down list below, and click the Apply Now button below to begin the online application process. (Please make sure you have consulted the Postgraduate Study pages on the University website and the Online Application Guidance Notes before continuing).
You should expect to pay fees for every year you are in attendance and be aware fees are subject to revision and may increase annually. Students on programmes of study of more than one year should take this into account when applying.
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