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Environmental Sciences MSci

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Study mode

4-years full-time; 4-years compressed sandwich; 5-years thick sandwich

UCAS code

F851, F853 with Professional Experience

Start date


Study location

Brunel University London campus

Entry criteria

BBB (A-level)

Postgraduate Open Evening: 23 January 2019

Book your place
Placement Offered This course has a Professional Experience option


This is a new course and we are accepting applications for 2019/20 entry.

The Environmental Sciences team at Brunel are previous winners of the Queen's Anniversary Prize.

The course is also based on the 15 “most wanted” skills identified from a national employer’s survey by the Natural Environment Research Council.

Brunel University London’s impact on the future wages of its graduates is among the best in the country compared to other universities, according to a new analysis of government data by The Economist (2017).


We regularly host online webinars to give you the chance to find out more about our courses and what studying at Brunel is like.
For a playback of our recent Environmental webinar, click here.

About the course

The Environmental Sciences MSci has been designed to be flexible and to focus on cross-disciplinary skills that the environmental scientists of the future will need. We have a vast and well-respected research background to draw upon to ensure you receive a world-class education. The Environmental Sciences team at Brunel are previous winners of the Queen’s Anniversary Prize and we were ranked in the top 5 in the UK for research impact in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework. The course is also based on the 15 “Most Wanted” skills identified from a national employer’s survey by the Natural Environment Research Council. The MSci course will give you a specialisation in an important Environmental Science area of your choice.


Our MSci programme aims to give students:

  • A cross-disciplinary and holistic approach to Environmental Sciences
  • A master’s level specialisation in a growth area in Environmental Sciences
  • A practical and research-informed experience in the field, the lab and with computer based techniques
  • An appreciation of the relevance of Environmental Sciences in the wider world and the confidence and leadership skills to be pro-active on matters of sustainability
  • The specific skills that major Environmental Science employers demand, as well as the general skills that have significant value in other sectors


Contact our Enquiries team.
Course Enquiries: +44 (0)1895 265599 (before you submit an application)
Admissions Office: +44 (0)1895 265265 (after you submit an application)

Course content

Level 1 - Dynamics of Natural Environments
You will learn about the interdisciplinary principles and processes that govern the environment. This will include the physical, chemical and biological knowledge required to develop a holistic Earth system perspective and will cover theoretical, practical and field-based approaches.

Level 1 compulsory
Biological Processes
Earth System Science
Environmental Chemistry
The Biosphere and Ecology
Natural History and the Environment
Research Skills, GIS and Fieldwork I
Natural Environments Case Studies
Leadership for Sustainability I

Level 2 - Environmental Change and the Anthropocene
Students will then examine how Earth systems have changed over time, with a particular focus on human influences. The “grand challenges” of environmental science will be introduced here, which include climate change, pollution, biodiversity loss, land-use change and sustainability. In turn, the effect of these changes on environmental and human health will be investigated.

Level 2 compulsory
Ecosystem Stressors
Climate Change
Environmental Pollution
The Sustainability Challenge
Research Skills, GIS and Fieldwork II
Anthropocene Case Studies
Leadership for Sustainability II

Level 2 options (choose one)
Environmental Health
Biochemistry: Structure and Function
Introduction to Programming
Fundamentals of Fluid Mechanics
Construction and Sustainability
Fundamentals of Geotechnical Engineering and Surveying

Level 3 - Environmental Solutions
The next stage of this programme will be to analyse and evaluate potential solutions to environmental problems. This will often involve the synthesis of ideas from different fields, such as sustainable development, systems thinking, technology, resource management, psychology, monitoring, modelling, policy/law or public health. Indeed, students select a number of optional topics to focus their studies on particular themes that have clear routes to employability and lead to a more specialised MSci pathway.

Level 3 compulsory
Sustainable Development
Environmental Governance
Planetary Health Case Studies
Individual Project
Leadership for Sustainability III

Level 3 options (choose two)
Pollution Solutions
Clean Technology
Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation
Ecology and Conservation
Public Health
Genetics, Evolution and Biodiversity
Molecular Pharmacology and Toxicology
Algorithms and their Applications
Software Development and Management
Civil Engineering Hydraulics
Water Engineering
Sustainable Construction
Sustainable Infrastructure Development
Geotechnical Engineering

Level 5 - Environmental Practice
For MSci students, the programme progresses to incorporate specialised content that develops the knowledge and skills required to practice as an environmental scientist at a high level. There is a particular focus on the synthesis of ideas across disciplinary boundaries within the MSci. To this end, students undertake a significant research project that allows them to develop their own ideas under the supervision of an expert in the field.

Level 5 compulsory
Group Project

Level 5 options (choose five)
Climate Change: Science and Impacts
Biosphere II
GIS and Data Analysis
Environmental Law
Environmental Management
Integrated Pollution (counts as 2 choices)
Environmental Monitoring (counts as 2 choices)
Priority Pollutants and Human Health Effects
Essentials in Ecotoxicology
Designing, Analysing and Interpreting (Eco) Toxicological Studies
Reproductive Toxicology and Endocrine Disruption
Big Data Analytics
Data Visualisation
Quantitative Data Analysis
Water Infrastructure Engineering
Water Treatment Engineering
Water Process Engineering

Read more about the structure of undergraduate degrees at Brunel and what you will learn on the course.

Typical dissertations

Students will be given a selection of dissertation projects to choose from or they can develop their own idea. These projects could come from a wide range of disciplines, such as: environmental change, pollution, water, resources, ecosystems, clean technology, public health, data analysis techniques and field techniques.


The course ensures you are readily employable in a wide variety of graduate-entry career paths. Many of our graduates find fulfilling work in areas such as: environmental protection; environmental management and consultancy; environmental compliance and sustainability; or environmental research. Our Leadership for Sustainability module ensures that students are addressing their employability and professional development as well as engaging with the skills they require.

Brunel’s Professional Development Centre also provides many opportunities for students to attend workshops focussed on employability and securing a career, such as: networking; psychometric and aptitude testing; interview skills; role play interviews; teamwork exercises; and producing a CV and covering letter.

Careers and your future

On completing the programme, our graduates will be able to take up many different environment focussed roles, such as environmental practitioners, environmental analysts and environmental managers. This need within the public, private and charitable sectors is increasing. The specialist “streams” also open up different avenues for our students to go down (e.g. toxicologist, public health analyst, environmental engineering firms).

Postgraduate research or study is another major option: there is a vibrant research environment within Environmental Sciences at Brunel and we are a member of the Natural Environment Research Council’s London Doctoral Training Partnership.

Work placements

Placements are available as a full academic year within the programme or, in some cases, can be completed over two summer vacations without the need to add an extra year to the programme duration. Students are free to work with Brunel’s Professional Development Centre to secure a placement with an organisation that we have an existing relationship with or to arrange an appropriate placement destination themselves.

Students at Level 1 and 2 are given the chance to meet and network with Level 3 students who have returned from their placement, to appreciate their experiences and the advantages.

Placement opportunities include:

  • Environmental protection
  • Environmental management and consultancy
  • Environmental compliance and sustainability
  • Environmental research

The positive impact of a placement on graduate employment outcomes across Brunel is considerable. Those who have done placements are also much more likely to be in employment for which their degree was a formal requirement or where they believe their degree gave them a competitive advantage in recruitment.

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.

» More about Employability

Entry criteria 2019/20

  • GCE A-level BBB, to include a grade B in a Science, Environmental, or Maths subject.
  • BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma DDD in in a related subject.
  • BTEC Level 3 Diploma DD in any subject with an A-level at grade B in a Science, Environmental, or Maths subject.
  • BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma D in any subject with two A-levels at grades BB, to include a Science, Environmental, or Maths subject.
  • International Baccalaureate Diploma 30 points, including a 5 in a Higher Level Science, Engineering, or Maths subject.
  • Access to Higher Education Diploma Complete and pass a related Access to Higher Education Diploma course with 45 credits at Level 3, with Merit or above in all units.

Five GCSEs at grade C or grade 4 or above are also required, including English Language and Maths.

Please check our Admissions pages for more information on other factors we use to assess applicants as well as our full GCSE requirements and accepted equivalencies in place of GCSEs.

Entry criteria are subject to review and change each academic year.

International and EU entry requirements

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 (min 5.5 in all areas)
  • Pearson: 51 (51 in all subscores)
  • BrunELT: 60% (min 55% in all areas)

You can find out more about the qualifications we accept on our English Language Requirements page.

If you require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK, you must prove knowledge of the English language so that we can issue you a Certificate of Acceptance for Study (CAS). To do this, you will need an IELTS for UKVI or Trinity SELT test pass gained from a test centre approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and on the Secure English Language Testing (SELT) list. This must have been taken and passed within two years from the date the CAS is made.

Should you wish to take a pre-sessional English course to improve your English prior to starting your degree course, you must sit the test at an approved SELT provider for the same reason.

We offer our own BrunELT English Test and have pre-sessional English language courses for students who do not meet requirements or who wish to improve their English. You can find out more information on English courses and test options at the Brunel Language Centre.

Teaching and learning

Teaching and learning

The course is based around four key teaching and learning practices:

Knowledge: We use lectures and online materials on our Virtual Learning environment to give students a broad and logically-structured knowledge of environmental systems and the ways in which humans interact with them.

Synthesis and creativity: Guided seminars and Problem Based Learning sessions will be used throughout the course to encourage students to bring ideas together from different topics and to begin to develop creative and evidence-based solutions to complicated problems.

Application: All our key modules include practical sessions in the field, laboratories or computer labs – your knowledge becomes crystallised and useful when it is applied directly. You also have the option of applying and developing your knowledge and skills in a work placement.

Real world: There are field courses in Levels 1 and 2 that will require students to travel to specifically chosen locations for residential field courses to apply techniques and knowledge in the field. In addition, there will be day-long site visits and field activities throughout the course and students have the option of including overseas fieldwork in their final year project.


Our assessment strategy has been developed to aid your learning and to give you the best chance to succeed in the course. We have similar assessment types across Levels so that you can feel well prepared. Formative assessments (i.e. assignments that do not count towards your final mark) will be used to familiarise you with assessment types and to help cement learning. We also ensure that assessment criteria are clear and that students understand the purpose of different assessments. In short, we want assessments to be an opportunity to learn and not for students to feel examined. In practice, this will involve written coursework, presentations, written exams, online exams and lab- and field-based assignments.

Special features

  • You can undertake a work placement in the summer vacations between years on the three year course or as a dedicated additional year to the programme on the four year course.
  • You’ll be taught by an award-winning research group that have brought this experience to every aspect of the degree, from the lecture content to the logical progression of the programme.
  • We have extensive state-of-the-art teaching facilities and research laboratories.
  • You’ll undertake our unique Professional Development module, which involves various activities designed to develop leadership and influence skills e.g. attending seminars and workshops, volunteering with community groups, engaging with local businesses, working with professional societies or organising public engagement events.

Fees and funding

Fees for 2019/20 entry

UK/EU students: £9,250 full-time; £1,000 placement year

International students: £16,850 full-time

Some courses incur additional course related costs. You can also check our on-campus accommodation costs for more information on living expenses.

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 year and may be subject to an annual increase. Home/EU undergraduate student fees are regulated and are currently capped at £9,250 per year; any changes will be subject to changes in government policy. International fees will increase annually, by no more than 5% or RPI (Retail Price Index), whichever is the greater.

There is a range of financial support available to help you fund your studies. Find out about undergraduate student funding options.