Climate Change and Sustainability MSc
- Course Content
- Special Features
- Teaching & Assessment
- Entry Criteria
About the Course
Our MSc in Climate Change and Sustainability has been developed around two important principles:
- the latest academic research from this field, which is used to give you all the necessary knowledge to work on sustainability issues; and
- the skills requirements of employers in the environmental sector, so that you can be sure of your employability.
Whether you want to work in the public, private, charitable or academic sector, our course has the flexibility to give you the focused knowledge and skills that are needed to start, or re-energise, your career.
The programme is based around five compulsory modules that provide the essential background to climate change and sustainability. Students then chose three optional modules to focus their studies on their particular area of interest e.g. energy, policy and law, environmental management, modelling and data analysis or environmental science. Indeed, our alumni have gone on to work in all these areas.
The programme can be taken Full- or Part-time (from two-days or one-day contact time per week, respectively, depending on the optional modules chosen) and has a start date in September or January.
This MSc is accredited by the Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES) and the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM). The Environmental Science teaching team has achieved the NUS Green Impact Bronze accreditation. We have excellent links with many employers and regularly have guest lectures from, or site visits to, these employers.
Scholarship schemes available for this MSc course
You can find out more about Environmental Sciences in our brochure.
You will be provided with an interdisciplinary knowledge of the science and potential impacts of climate change across a variety of key areas, including energy, health, business, policy and technology. This is underpinned by a critical understanding of the concept of sustainability as applied to resource and energy use. The course will give you the skills and confidence required to develop creative and evidenced solutions to climate change and sustainability.
In so doing, we aim to meet the changing needs of society by generating graduates able to tackle the challenges presented by climate change, thus preparing them for careers that will span the transition to a post-carbon economy. The course content has been developed in consultation with our alumni, employers and using the findings of national surveys of environmental sector employers (i.e. the NERC Most Wanted Skills survey).
About Environmental Sciences at Brunel
During your MSc you will be based in the Environmental Sciences group, which is closely linked to one of Brunel’s flagship research institutes: the Institute of Environment, Health and Societies (IEHS). IEHS is a rapidly expanding research centre housing a strong team of leading experts held in high international regard in their respective fields. In 2011, our research revealing the link between chemicals in rivers and reproductive health won the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education. Given this background, we are committed to research-led and innovative teaching.
Course Director: Dr Andrew Russell
Compulsory modular blocks
Climate Change: Science and Impacts (15 credits)
Sustainable Development in Practice (15 credits)
Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation (15 credits)
Environment, Health and Societies (15 credits)
Research and Critical Skills in Environmental Science (15 credits)
Dissertation (60 credits)
Optional modular blocks
Students normally choose 2 modules from Group A and 1 module from Group B. (If desired, students are also able to choose “1 module from Group A and 2 modules from Group B” or “3 modules from Group A and no modules from Group B” but must understand that this unbalances the 2 terms: 45:75 or 75:45 credits as opposed to 60:60.)
Group A (pick 2)
Environmental Hazards and Risk (15 credits)
Environmental Management (15 credits)
Biosphere (15 credits)
Environmental Modelling (15 credits)
Renewable Energy Technologies I - Solar (15 credits- September start only)
Renewable Energy Technologies II - Wind, Tidal, Wave, Hydroelectricity (15 credits- September start only)
Group B (pick 1)
Clean Technology (15 credits)
Environmental Law (15 credits)
GIS and Data Analysis (15 credits)
The dissertation is a key aspect of your studies and you need to know that we have the expertise to support your research project. Within the Institute for the Environment, and the wider Brunel community, we have world leading experts who can supervise you on the following example topics:
- Air pollution and public health
- Clean process technology and recycling
- Ecosystems and disease environments
- Ecotoxicology, chemicals in the environment, endocrine disruption and chemical safety assessment
- Environmental change, climate change, geological and hydrological hazards
- Water, waste and industrial wastewater treatment
- Climate modelling
- Antarctic climate dynamics
- European thunderstorms
Recent dissertation titles
- Implications of changes in Arctic sea ice and the North Atlantic Oscillation for understanding the Caspian Sea level in the 20th and 21st Centuries
- A critical analysis of the scientific argument for climate change scepticism
- Demographic patterns indicate the onset of climate refugees from the coastal zone in Bangladesh
- Fuel Security - The Real Drive for Emission Reductions in the Aviation Sector?
- Climate change and resilience in the Arabian Peninsula – water management strategies for the Gulf States
- Use of living walls and green roofs to reduce the air quality and greenhouse gas impact of Heathrow Airport
- The Climate Change and Sustainability MSc is an Interdisciplinary course led by an award winning Research Institute (The Institute of Environment, Health and Societies).
- There is an extensive range of optional modules.
- There is an excellent staff to student ratio (around 1:4).
- This course is accredited by the IES and CIWEM as well as the NUS Green Impact accredited teaching team.
- You will benefit from our outstanding alumni network.
- You can study this course full -time (two days a week contact time) or part-time (one day a week contact time).
- You can start in September or January.
- We have excellent links with employers who give our students guest lectures on campus and also the opportunity to visit their sites.
- We have designed the curriculum around employer needs and we also help you to develop your employability skills.
- Brunel is a campus university with excellent facilities and it’s close to London with great transport links.
A range of assessment methods are employed including coursework reports, group and individual presentations and exams. Group work features strongly in the Sustainable Development in Practice module, which employs problem-based learning methods throughout
Employability is central to our MSc programme. First, we aim to provide you with the knowledge, skills and abilities that employers want. On top of this, we also want to help you get your career going by providing support and advice on looking for jobs, getting you application right, CV writing, interview skills and even how to use social media to help. You will also have a mock job interview with a real employer from the environmental sector during your MSc studies.
For some of our graduate success stories, have a look at this list of Institute for the Environment alumni.
Global warming is a pressing and universal environmental issue, which is likely to affect essentially all arenas of human activity. This will create demand for professionals with the knowledge and understanding of how to mitigate our impact on the atmosphere and how to adapt to climate change. These professionals will be needed in a wide variety of organisations in public, private and charitable sectors; in energy, transport, mining, heavy and light industrial, service and retailing, financial, marketing and insurance.
Many of our students have also gone on to further postgraduate studies, working towards PhDs within the Institute for the Environment, other Brunel University Schools and other universities around the world.
Past Student Profiles and Testimonials
Our students go on to have successful environmental careers thanks to their qualifications from IfE. You can read some profiles from past students in our Past Student Profiles and Testimonials document and here are some highlights:
Current employment: Director of his own sustainability consultancy.
Antony said: “After too many years working in wholesale finance in the City of London I felt ready to take up a new challenge and align my working life with my personal interests.
What I liked about the Climate Change Impacts and Sustainability course was its broad multidisciplinary nature and the fact that the syllabus has been designed to fit the specific subject domain.
I was particularly concerned about the challenges of returning to full-time education as a mature student. As it turned out, I was not alone, and academic life, though challenging, has proved to be very rewarding.”
Current employment: Schools Coordinator and European Projects Manager for Energy Solutions NW London, a sustainability charity.
Ben said: "I always dreamed of completing a Masters and when I decided that I wanted to change my career in order to work in the environmental field I decided that this was the perfect opportunity and would definitely enhance my career prospects. My previous employment experience plus my Masters from Brunel were an ideal combination when applying for my current job.
I was struck by the variety of tasks we were asked to undertake, emphasis being paid equally to working in a team and individually. The course went beyond purely academic study requiring a range of transferable skills to be developed. In particular I feel my presentation skills and ability to communicate increased dramatically as a result of being required to regularly feedback our research to our peers. This has helped me enormously in my current job where I have to speak to a wide range of stakeholders about a range of subjects.
In general my course was a small and very close-knit group. Studying this great course was a real pleasure, equipping me with skills and memories that will stay with me a very long time."
Current work: Set up www.greenfootprint.co.uk, a web business to help people reduce their carbon footprint.
Lucinda said: "Climate Change is one of the biggest issues we face today, and one of the most complicated. I enrolled on the MSc course to improve my understanding of this important topic, but the breadth and depth of subject area, and diversity of backgrounds of fellow students meant I achieved much more than that!
Not only do I feel I have a solid foundation in the science, politics and ethics of climate change, I also gained the confidence and
inspiration to start my own business helping others understand climate change, and take action against it."
Current employment: PhD student in the Institute for the Environment
Satwant said: "I’ve always been interested in ecology, environmental issues and their impacts. When I was planning to do postgraduate study in this field, I found out about Brunel, which is ranked as one of the best universities in environment research, and some of best known names in environmental studies are based here.
A big advantage is that the teaching links theoretical knowledge with practical applications. Since I finished my course, I’ve continued to work as a research assistant at the Institute for the Environment."
Current work: Recycling Advisor, City of London Corporation
Anthony said: "I was greatly impressed by how my course was comprehensively packaged and delivered, giving students a broad based knowledge of the concepts involved. The modules were thoroughly taught and supported by practical laboratory works, group discussions, seminar presentations, lectures by leading academics and environmental consultants. I particularly developed key presentation skills and team spirit as a result of the various seminar presentations, group task and discussions.
The Institute parades a wonderful team of staff that provided students with the so much needed support and advice with both academic work and life on campus which I particularly benefited from as a foreign student. The institute also prides itself in its good contact with a wide range of public and private environmental organisations and agencies across the UK. This presented me with the opportunity of developing useful experience in the field by working part-time for some of the organisations during my study.
The main highlight of my programme is my participation in a major research project. Besides enjoying the support and encouragement of my supervisor and other members of the research team, I was able to also develop key technical experience and insight into the relevant industry. For me, studying at the institute was not only academically rewarding but enjoyable."
At Brunel we provide many opportunities and experiences within your degree programme and beyond – work-based learning, professional support services, volunteering, mentoring, sports, arts, clubs, societies, and much, much more – and we encourage you to make the most of them, so that you can make the most of yourself.
UK/EU students: £7,000 full-time; £3,500 part-time
International students: £16,500 full-time; £8,250 part-time
Scholarship schemes available for this MSc course
- The Water Conservation Bursary (£4,000)
- The Queen’s Anniversary Prize Scholarships (6 x £3,000 fee waivers)
UK/EU students can opt to pay in six equal monthly instalments: the first instalment is payable on enrolment and the remaining five by Direct Debit or credit/debit card.
Overseas students can opt to pay in two instalments: 60% on enrolment, and 40% in January for students who commence their course in September (or the remaining 40% in March for selected courses that start in January).
Fees quoted are per annum and are subject to an annual increase.
Entry Requirements 2015/6
Students will be admitted with a Science or Social Science based degree with a minimum grade of a 2:2 (or equivalent) from a British University (or equivalent). A wide range of disciplines are acceptable, for example: Environmental Science; Engineering; Physics; Chemistry; Biology; Geography; Environmental Health; Marine Science; Maths; Agricultural Science; Law; History; Sociology; Psychology; Business and Economics.
Applicants with a third class honours degree or other qualifications will be considered if supported by science A-level (or equivalent) and relevant work experience. Such applicants may be required to attend an interview.
Entry criteria are subject to review and change each academic year.
International and EU
If your country or institution is not listed or if you are not sure whether your institution is eligible, please contact Admissions
This information is for guidance only by Brunel University London and by meeting the academic requirements does not guarantee entry for our courses as applications are assessed on case-by-case basis.
English Language Requirements
- IELTS: 6.5 (min 6 in all areas)
- Pearson: 58 (51 in all subscores)
- BrunELT: 65% (min 60% in all areas)
Brunel University London strongly recommends that if you will require a Tier 4 visa, you sit your IELTS test at a test centre that has been approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) as being a provider of a Secure English Language Test (SELT). Not all test centres have this status. The University can accept IELTS (with the required scores) taken at any official test centre or other English Language qualifications we accept as meeting our main award entry requirements.
However, if you wish to undertake a Pre-sessional English course to further improve your English prior to the start of your degree course, you must sit the test at an approved SELT provider. This is because you will only be able to apply for a Tier 4 student visa to undertake a Pre-sessional English course if you hold a SELT from a UKVI approved test centre. Find out more information about it.
Brunel also offers our own BrunELT English Test and accepts a range of other language courses. We also have Pre-sessional English language courses for students who do not meet these requirements, or who wish to improve their English.
Our International Pathways and Language Centre offers a number of foundation and pre-masters courses to provide you with the academic skills required for your chosen course.