• Status: Fully Approved
  • Start date: October 2017
  • Duration:

    2 years part-time or 1 year full-time

  • Attendance:

    Two evenings a week part-time; four evenings a week full-time.

    From October

  • Location:

    Central London

  • Professional bodies that recognise this course:

    Completion of this MSc allows you to become an Associate Member of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA).

    IEMA is the largest professional membership body for the environment with over 15,000 members working across all industry sectors. IEMA Associate Member status is required for many environmental job roles.

Programme overview

The MSc Environment and Sustainability aims to provide an advanced-level grounding in sustainable responses to a broad range of environmental issues. It explores the relationship between policy, practice and the ecological environment, and the development of effective strategies for addressing the threats and opportunities posed by environmental issues. As the programme is offered through part-time, evening, face-to-face study, it provides a distinctive opportunity for practitioners to combine study with a continuing career.

Completion of this programme will allow you to apply to become an Associate Member of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA). IEMA is the largest professional membership body for the environment with over 15,000 members working across all industry sectors. IEMA Associate Member status is required for many environmental job roles.

Aimed at people from a wide range of backgrounds, the course is suitable for anyone who wishes to develop a deeper understanding of the key drivers of environmental policy developments in the UK and internationally.

Find out more about studying at Birkbeck and what our students say about our geography- and environment-related programmes.

How to apply

You apply directly to Birkbeck for this course, using the online application.

Need help with your application? Watch videos featuring our academic experts giving advice on applying to Birkbeck and answering some of the most frequently asked questions.

Birkbeck can give you all of the information and help you need to complete your application form, including our online personal statement tool, which will guide you through every step of writing your personal statement.

Application deadlines and interviews

Application deadline: 20 September.

Online application

Environment and Sustainability (MSc) (Part-time)

Environment and Sustainability (MSc) (Full-time)

Why study this course at Birkbeck?

Course structure

The MSc Environment and Sustainability comprises six taught modules, two at 30 credits, the others at 15 credits. A 60-credit dissertation is also required, making 180 credits in total.

Compulsory modules will be undertaken in the first year in Environment and Policy (30 credits), Environmental Science for Environmental Management (30 credits), Sustainable Business Practice (15 credits) and Environmental Reporting and Management Systems (15 credits).

By engaging with academic, professional and popular literature you will gain an informed understanding of the key issues in the two important areas of science and policy. You will be able to assess the effectiveness of different policy approaches and critically evaluate different environmental issues.

In the second year of the programme, you will further develop your research skills in the uncredited module GEDS Research Methods, designed to equip you with the necessary skills to complete an independent research project. You will pursue your own interests via two option modules worth 15 credits each - in Energy and Climate Change, Cultural Landscapes, Readings in the Environment, Introduction to GIS, or Remote Sensing and Environment, or other Birkbeck modules - and conducting research for an in-depth study of real environmental challenges (60 credits).

Compulsory modules: MSc Environment and Sustainability

Indicative option modules


Please note: not all option modules run every year.

Entry requirements

Good honours degree or equivalent.

International entry requirements

If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, the requirement for this programme is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 7.0, with not less than 6.5 in each of the sub-tests.

If you don't meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses, foundation programmes and language support services to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.

Visit the International section of our website to find out more about our English language entry requirements and relevant requirements by country.


Part-time home/EU students: £ 3975 pa
Full-time home/EU students: £ 7950 pa
Part-time overseas students: £ 7225 pa
Full-time overseas students: £ 14450 pa

Additional costs

As well as fees, you should expect to pay other study-related expenses, for travel to and from College, books, stationery, etc. Birkbeck provides advice and financial support for students who experience hardship in meeting the travel costs of essential fieldwork or study visits.

On this programme, you will also have to pay for the following additional costs:

The field-trip to Delhi, India is an optional element of this programme and will cost approximately £1130 per person.

Payment and Fees Discounts

Flexible finance: pay your fees in monthly instalments at no extra cost. Enrol early to spread your costs and reduce your monthly payments.

Fees discounts: If you are a Birkbeck alumni or a member of a union that is recognised by the Trades Union Congress (TUC), you may apply for a 10% discount off your tuition fees.

Funding and Financial Support

The government's new postgraduate loan scheme allows you to borrow up to £10,000 to cover the cost of your tuition fees, living costs or other study expenses – and you don't have to start repaying until 2019.

Part-time students who are experiencing financial need may apply for assistance from the Birkbeck Alumni Fund Postgraduate Opportunity Bursary.

Find out more about funding and financial support at postgraduate level.

Careers and employability

Graduates go on to careers in business, environmental management, local government, policy work, and in environmental groups and charities. Possible professions include geographical information systems officer, nature conservation officer, or environmental consultant. This degree can also be useful in becoming a planning and development surveyor or town planner.

Find out more about these professions.

Find out more about the destinations of graduates in this subject.

We offer a comprehensive Careers and Employability Service to help you advance your career, while our in-house, professional recruitment consultancy, Birkbeck Talent, works with London’s top employers to help you gain work experience that fits in with your evening studies.

Teaching and assessment


    Teaching will take place in lectures and seminars, but substantive content will also be delivered through the Moodle virtual learning environment.

    Student learning, as well as taking place within formal face-to-face sessions, will involve reading and assimilating the considerable literature on this subject, and engaging with key experts and stakeholders in guest sessions.

    Staff teaching on this programme


    Taster lecture: 'Climate Change and the River Thames'

    The River Thames is the lifeblood of London, yet under future climate change scenarios it will be under considerable pressure. With projected changes in rainfall affecting both the water quality and quantity received in the upper reaches of the Thames and sea level rise encroaching in the lower parts, what is the future for this iconic part of London’s landscape?

    Listen to a podcast of this lecture, delivered by Dr. Becky Briant and read a blog post.


    Coursework and examinations. Master's programmes require a substantial piece of independent research in the form of a dissertation, which accounts for one-third of the MSc.

    Our research

    Birkbeck is one of the world’s leading research-intensive institutions. Our cutting-edge scholarship informs public policy, achieves scientific advances, supports the economy, promotes culture and the arts, and makes a positive difference to society.

    Birkbeck’s research excellence was confirmed in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, which placed Birkbeck 30th in the UK for research, with 73% of our research rated world-leading or internationally excellent.

    In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), Sociology at Birkbeck was ranked 13th in the UK.

    Read about Birkbeck research that crosses disciplines and focuses on pressing questions within the social sciences and humanities.

    Further study opportunities